#23: subvert the negative

Hello! Welcome back.

Today we’re talking about negative self-talk. For me, it’s hard to imagine sustaining a better internal monologue when it seems so normal to cut yourself down, see yourself for less than you’re worth.

This year — I’ve finally realized that my negative thoughts have held me back from so much, fear is forcing me to lose valuable time on curating the life I want to live. It feels comfortable to live in the negative when your brain has programmed it as normal.

What I’ve been working on is to consciously take note of the times when I start to tell myself a negative story about myself. I want to cut off those bad thoughts in the very moment by reminding myself of other ways that I see value in myself. I encourage you to better your self-talk this new year if it has been holding you back. It’s hard, but you are worthy of that.

Reprogram the internal monologue, the lies we tell ourselves, rewrite your own narrative. Without further introduction, let’s get into the news, environmental issues, podcasts, books, and more!

Enter newsletter #23: subvert the negative


2020 Election:

Bernie Sanders can unify Democrats and beat Trump in 2020 Here lies the case for Bernie Sanders in a Vox series “making the best case for each of the top Democratic contenders.” I’ll be interested to read this series for each of the candidates — what their downfalls seem to be and successful characteristics appear to the Vox staff.

This week, Bernie received endorsements — which differ a bit — but nonetheless from the Sunrise Movement and Emily Ratajkowski. Watch the videos below.

Warren vs. Sanders: A lot of you have been asking me who I support in the race, as I’ve been posting about both Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders. I went to Warren’s rally in Washington Square Park this fall, organized for Bernie all throughout the 2016 Presidential Primary Race. Here’s my unhelpful answer: I like them both. I really do.

I could get into a really long comparison between the two, but ultimately they will govern in a very similar manner if elected into office. Bernie has lacked serious media attention as a front runner in the race despite outstanding polling numbers and massive amounts of fundraising, which I find very problematic. Warren has made some stumbles on progressive issues in the past few months, but I find the attacks on her as a corporate Democrat to be extremely disingenuous.

I like how they’re both pushing each other, creating contours in what things they want to do first, how to fund ideas, etc.

When it comes to what they’ll do in office, they agree on most broad policy goals, encompass progressive politics, only differ on how fast to get there and where the funding will come from. Frankly, even for both of their wildest, most transformative changes they want to impose — such as Warren’s Wealth Tax and Bernie’s Medicare For All — these plans, unfortunately, won’t happen with a red Senate.

To read: American Carnage – Tim Alberta This book has been highlighting the ways that partisanship operates between the executive branch, the Senate, the House, and major players in each political party. It highlights a grim picture of a takeover of the Republican party when McCain, Romney both failed to create effective coalitions to combat the Democrats post-2008.

Alberta talks about the ways in which Obama knew that he only had one shot to pass something once in office, though of course he would’ve loved to work on immigration, health care, education, etc. — he knew that he only had so long with a both Democratic House and Senate, thus he chose healthcare — which became much more complex due to the ways Republicans derailed the bill, Fox News cried socialism, Obamacare got watered down from a public option (aka Medicare for All) due to a single vote from a Democrat named Joe Lieberman.

I think about this a lot in relation to Bernie and Warren –what policy will they push to pass with their one shot in office?

It is highly likely the Senate will stay red, thus a Democratic administration will lack the votes to pass sweeping legislative changes, thus having to rely upon bipartisan compromise… which does not exist in politics today.

How could a Democratic administration pass some of these policy initiatives? Abolish the Senate filibuster. (Bernie has yet to endorse the filibuster, Warren speaking outright in support of getting rid of this.) I spoke about this in a previous newsletter — which I encourage you to read here – #16: the pain of growth.


Ultimately, progressive Democrats need to unite behind either Warren or Sanders. Organize as you please, but when it comes to nomination time… we must select one of them or else the corporate side of the party will pave the path forward for the Democratic party into the future. The coalition would be a huge portion of the party with both of their bases. Many suggest that these candidates carve out the same voters in Democratic races, but that is false!

“It’s often assumed in horserace coverage of the primary that Warren and Sanders are competing for the same voters; if one rises in the polls, the other drops. But that’s only partially true. Thirty-one percent of Sanders supporters pick Warren as their second choice, but 29 percent pick Joe Biden and another 9 percent pick Andrew Yang. Similarly, 32 percent of Warren voters pick Sanders as their second choice, but 22 percent pick Biden and 11 percent pick Pete Buttigieg.

If Warren dropped out tomorrow, Bernie would gain some voters, but so would his moderate competitors. For instance, with Sanders polling at 20 percent and Warren at 14 in the Real Clear Politics average, Sanders would pick up about 5 percentage points if Warren dropped out, while Biden, who is at 30 percent, would pick up 3 and Buttigieg 2, the rest dispersed. Yes, Bernie gains, but Biden continues his climb toward 50 percent.”

Warren’s Latest Plan Signals That It’s Time to Talk About Joe Biden’s Record: Warren and Biden are known to not get along — as evidenced in their 2005 fight over the bankruptcy crisis, which clearly demonstrated who was siding with industry vs. the people. (Read this fascinating unraveling of their dynamic here in POLITICO: Inside Biden and Warren’s Feud.)

Biden actively worked to pass this bankruptcy bill, creating an unequal playing field in the area of debt management and giving more power to credit card companies. I hope that Warren and Biden get into this conflict live on the debate stage as a way to point out why he is unfit to be a Democratic nominee in 2020.

“Though the bankruptcy bill is known for its crackdowns on poor and middle-class bankruptcy filers, it also widened or kept open loopholes that enabled the rich to abuse the system.”

Joe Biden’s free ride is over: This piece lays out more of the 2020 political analysis of the schism between Biden and the progressives, talking about the ways in which Warren and Sanders are starting to poke holes in his record, policies, and voting history.

Here’s another explainer of her bankruptcy bill, here.

Neighborhood Defenders – Vox’s The Weeds: In this episode, the hosts look at the future of housing policy in the United States — the intersections between housing, zoning, race, regulation, and gentrification all mesh in debates around creating new infrastructure.

Buckle Up, John Roberts: Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts has a mixed reputation — some revel in the ways he holds together ideological moderation in our justice branch, others find his decision-making to be full of contradictions. This Amicus podcast episode is not only a deep dive into the Justice himself, but highlights some of items on the upcoming 2020 Supreme Court term docket.

(You can read more about John Roberts in my newsletter #18, here.)

Abortion: And Republicans are at it again to slowly chip away, cause distress over the issue of abortion rights: 207 Members of Congress told the Supreme Court to revisit/overrule the two major abortion decisions of Casey and Roe v. Wade.

But this is just a tactic to rally their evangelical base around an issue for the upcoming election. Republicans don’t dare want to touch Roe — as a majority of the public supports the decision — doesn’t want to see Roe undone.


On Aging – MindBodyGreen: A really engaging conversation on what to eat, how to move, what to avoid, and how biotechnology will advance in the near future to predict markers of aging. By next year, you will be able to take a test from David Sinclair which will output your age based on various health markers.

Mindful Movement- MindBodyGreen: Another MBG podcast episode, but this one is on the role of movement and brain chemistry. I resonated with a lot of the messages shared in the podcast — once you find movement you enjoy, you will feel the endorphins. Finding ways to exercise that I like have improved my mental health to a great degree.



What’s happening in Australia demonstrates how fragile our ecosystems are, how unpredictable the future will be as emissions rise.

How Long Will Australia Be Livable? A piece on the conversation going on in Australia about migration due to extreme climate events. Do groups of people stay in dangerous regions and fend for the land? How can we all move inwards away from the flooding coasts, burning forests, etc.?

“If people are to continue living in these places, ‘they’ve got to drastically change their relationship with the surrounding environment. … Another option is the retreat from flammable places.”

Disarm the Lightboats: This piece looks at the ways that discussions around actually doing anything to combat climate change are left to the elites. Until these rich people start to feel the impact, the most marginalized among us have been left to suffer the blunt of the catastrophe.

It’s the politics of the lightboats.

There is a real risk that strong states with developed economies will succumb to a politics of xenophobia, racism, police repression, surveillance, and militarism and thus transform themselves into fortress societies while the rest of the world slips into collapse. By that course, developed economies would turn into neofascist islands of relative stability in a sea of chaos.

And this gets at the intersection between climate change and nationalism.

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⚠️ The intersection between climate change + nationalism: Political demagogues around the world have channeled anger and fear into a message of racism, hierarchy, and war as a solution to an ecological collapse. It doesn’t matter what the IPCC, Paris Agreement, or Greta Thunberg say when you shove it in the faces of deniers — you legitimize the institutions that you personally value. This climate messaging fails to broaden support for the movement because those deniers don’t assuage value to the institutions that you’re shouting from. It’s not what we can say — what climate messages we can draft up — but how can we get hold of the 30-40% of the population that worships Fox News? They have turned to white nationalism, xenophobia, racism, sexism, etc. at a time when the future is confusing — we don’t know what the future economy, technology, planet, etc. will look like. From here it is easy to listen to fear, turn to greed, hatred of the other. A hierarchical worldview will only become more emboldened as the climate crisis intensifies — more migration, less land to live on, shortages of food and clean water. People will only turn further inward if they cannot envision a planet where there IS enough for us all to live. We need to paint a picture of a hopeful, exciting world — an imaginative vision of what’s next. I myself get pessimistic — the planet will burn, there’s no point to trying, especially as an individual. Plastic straws don’t fucking matter. But then I remember that humanity has the tools at our hands to reverse course. It is our job to reorient the views of others. We’re all scared of the same shit — a future of economic insecurity and a possibility for everything to go to hell. But it’s whether or not people feel included in the fight forward towards new jobs, vibrant technologies, healthcare, food stability, etc. Yes, there are plenty of violent people who cannot be convinced to turn to hope: don’t fight over them. Plenty of people want to live in a better world, just like you and I but unfortunately have fallen to nationalism and xenophobia when there do not appear to be better options. We can — and must win these people back. 💛

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Read this lovely interview with Naomi Klein here, On Looming Eco-Fascism.

She says…

“If you convince those people climate change really is real, or if it just becomes so obvious that they can no longer deny it, they don’t suddenly want to sign onto the Paris Agreement. What actually happens is they apply that intensely hierarchical supremacist worldview to the reality that what climate change means is that the space for people to live well on this planet is contracting. More and more of us are going to have to live on less and less land, even if we do everything right.

It’s already happening. So if you have that worldview, then you will apply it to people who are migrating to your country and to those who want to migrate to your country. We will harden the narratives that say those people deserve what they get because they’re inferior and we deserve what we have because we’re superior. In other words, the racism will get worse.”

How do we generate optimism and instill hope about the future when everything around us seems to be on fire?

Creative pieces like this video called “A Message From The Future With Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.”

In 2030, we ended the climate emergency. Here’s how: Here is another imaginative piece that tells a new story on climate change — one where we took action, worked together, compiled knowledge and resources towards a more just path forward. We created a world we want to live in.

“We will begin the process of climate reparations – partially repairing the loss and damage  of colonialism and decentralising political power on a global scale. We will begin the process of returning land to indigenous control.  We will see each other as people deserving of the right to thrive.

Indigenous people have, for centuries, effectively managed  more than 80% of the world’s biodiversity. The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples  provides a particularly effective model for how to uphold peaceful nation-to-nation relationships while simultaneously building a world that works for everyone. We, as humans, have known how to do this for a very long time. We will remember how to do it again.”

How We’re Going to Win: Another beautiful, optimistic video on how to imagine a better planet, thanks to the Sunrise Movement.

This Was The Decade Climate Scientists Stopped Being Polite: Playing nice, pointing at pretty climate science models with factual evidence on sea level rise, CO2 emissions hasn’t made any inroads to take action on climate change. No matter how these scientists deliver their reports in front of Congress — as the famous James Hanson testimony in the 1980s — we live in a time of hyper-partisanship and polarization.

We receive our information from ideological silos, often why the message that climate change needs our attention doesn’t matter to Fox News viewers. They watch, listen, and have bought into a narration of reality that ignores the brutal ways that the planet is already being devastated.

Scientists — and those dedicated to taking action on climate change need to stop framing the crisis as one of which we should passively try to address. Shit is on fire, and we need to talk about the planet in an honest way.

Emissions — which industries, products, lifestyle habits, etc. are doing the most to our planet? It’s mostly electricity and industry — lifestyle habits, such as flying — aren’t doing that much. Look at the charts below!

Should we burn our recycling? Sometimes, it’s better for the planet to throw plastic in the landfill than recycling. Listen to this episode of Vox’s Today, Explained on how American recycling works — and doesn’t work.

Climate Change Is the Symptom. Consumer Culture Is the Disease: So how can we do anything — a question I find myself returning to. How can we actually curb emissions, in a proportional, meaningful way?

“Individual action must occur collectively. Put more bluntly, it will require personal sacrifice from our entire society. We will have to fly less, drive less, Uber less. We will have to eat less red meat, drink less dairy, waste less food, and generally buy less crap that we don’t need.

A lot of Americans won’t want to do this! So, our government may have to compel it, whether through the Green New Deal or some other legislation.”

We are the solution — but we need to be compelled to take action systemically. Reframe the diagnosis of the problem from “Consume less shit!” to “Demand an end to a consumer culture!”

AOC Has Already Changed D.C. It Hasn’t Changed Her Much: A lovely read on freshman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s first year in political office. She is a major inspiration for me — for the ways she is breaking through political consensus on what’s possible, rattling those who’ve been slugged into political office for decades and don’t represent the changing demographics in America, and for the ways she embodies grassroots change which still negotiating with a more corporate Democratic party.

AOC and her staffers are still working to change politics outside of Congress by bringing new voices into the political conversation.

“After the election, two of her top campaign aides founded a program called Movement School designed to teach the next generation of campaign operatives what they learned from pulling off the upset of the decade. About 70 people have gone through the ten-week training camp, and they are spread out all over the country — a standing army of dedicated campaign staff that will only grow in the years ahead.”

As always — sign-up to receive the next installation of my newsletter here, and follow my Instagram for more frequent updates! Let me know your thoughts and share this newsletter with your friends, too. It means so much to me!

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