It’s Time to Clear the Air

No doubt you’ve seen quite a bit of press in the past two weeks covering the COP26 Summit in Glasgow and the climate implications of the recently passed infrastructure bill. I have spent a lot of time thinking about climate change and sustainability these last few years. When Natalie and I set out to create our nonprofit, we knew that being a low-carbon solution was one of the main selling points of our idea, and we were further encouraged when artists who focus on climate change and sustainability (and a myriad of subcategories) were among our most enthusiastic supporters. 

We recently set up a climate impact calculator to demonstrate the carbon cost of flying a guest speaker to an organization to make what in many cases is just a 60 or 90 minute presentation. It’s been both interesting and daunting to be on the vanguard of a delicate discussion among higher education professionals, stating the obvious: we’ve got to figure out how to fly less. Much less. And that’s just one category among many needing attention.

In case you haven’t had the bandwidth to closely follow all of the climate news as of late, I’d like to share highlights I’ve taken note of during this past year or so.

First, absolutely check out Sir David Attenborough’s opening address to world leaders at the COP26 summit. At 7 and a half minutes, it is time well spent. Of course Attenborough is known to most of us as the voice of so many breathtaking BBC produced nature documentaries and I’d like to recommend one in particular. 

Released in 2020, A Perfect Planet may be the most spectacular nature series yet produced but it is the final chapter: “Humans” that is, in many ways, the feature film to Sir David’s succinct but powerful remarks at COP26. He draws on his entire career covering the natural world to chronicle how the earth’s climate has changed and how humans are the root cause, full stop. The series has a 100% Rotten Tomatoes score, and is available on blu-ray and digital. If you have an opportunity to watch this series in 4K UHD resolution – I highly recommend it as the colors and cinematography are all the more incredible.

Next, please visit the U.N.’s brand new DontChooseExtinction.com website – and its thought-provoking opening video. Well done, U.N.! 

Additional links, both hopeful and sobering, to share:

Where do we stand?

COP26

*Kenyon friends, note the shout out from Obama to Colette Pichon-Battle ’97!

Innovation

Additional Commentary

  • Bill Maher’s recent New Rules segment gets at an interesting point. Beyond generational finger-pointing, every generation is guilty of punting the climate problem to the next – our youngest adult generation’s fascination with cryptocurrency despite its enormous environmental impact, being the latest example.
  • Greta Thunberg is not impressed: ‘COP26 is a failure’

Notable Podcasts

  • The Argument (Nov. 10, 2021) Got Climate Doom? Here’s What You Can Do to Actually Make a Difference: Genevieve Guenther and David Wallace-Wells on what matters and doesn’t in your personal fight against climate change. (written transcript also available)
  • How We Survive: Molly Wood explores the technology that could provide global warming solutions, the business of acclimatizing to an increasingly inhospitable planet, and the way people have to change if we’re going to make it in an altered world.
  • Facing It with Jennifer Atkinson: The age of climate crisis is upon us, and grief and anxiety are on the rise. This series explores the emotional burden of climate change, and why despair leaves so many people unable to respond to our existential threat. Overcoming that paralysis is the first step in moving to action, and yet official climate strategies rarely address the emotional toll of climate grief and eco anxiety.
  • America Adapts: The Climate Change Podcast. A changing climate presents humanity with only one option: adapt. Doug Parsons sits down with scientists, activists, policymakers, and journalists to discuss the tough questions facing this country and the world as we confront humanity’s greatest challenge. Question your assumptions, refresh your perspective, and become part of the climate movement that will determine our planet’s future.

And finally, the best of Late Night’s Climate Change Intervention, Sept. 22, 2021

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