Climate Rage is Sexy

Plus Amy’s other climate crush, Mary’s proposal for the AMNH, and why Jesmyn Ward is a climate writer

Rage On, Friends

By Amy Westervelt

I've been covering climate for more than 20 years now. For the first 10, I waffled between optimism about tech solutions and depression about the state of things. For the last 12 years, my emotional response has mostly been righteous anger. And during that entire time, the very serious men who have nominated themselves the climate movement's spokespeople and tone policemen have been telling me to calm down. Anger doesn't solve anything, they say. The blame game has no winners. We're all at fault. 

Obviously that advice hasn't stopped me from raging on, but this week social scientists vindicated that rage. In a study entitled "From anger to action: Differential impacts of eco-anxiety, eco-depression, and eco-anger on climate action and wellbeing," Australian researchers Samantha Stanley, Teaghan Hogg, Zoe Leviston, and Iain Walker found that in fact anger is the most useful emotion we can have when it comes to climate. "We found that experiencing eco-anger predicted better mental health outcomes, as well as greater engagement in pro-climate activism and personal behaviours," the researchers wrote. They found eco-anger to be highly motivating for collective action, too. 

Which is not at all to say that whatever you're feeling isn't perfectly fine. I get depressed as hell about climate sometimes, and am gripped with anxiety at other points. But it was nice to have the anger I often feel, and that I find to be a pretty productive force in my work, validated. In fact, a key finding of this study is that anger, depression, and anxiety about climate go together, and it's important to understand the role of each in spurring action. "We show that eco-anger co-occurs with eco-depression and eco-anxiety, and each eco-emotion has a unique role in (de)motivating collective action behaviour," the study authors wrote. "Our research suggests eco-anger may be uniquely protective of both the environment and personal wellbeing, and that ignoring the overlap between the eco-emotions could lead to the conclusion that eco-anxiety and eco-depression are similarly potent."


Jesmyn Ward is a Climate Writer 

By Mary Annaïse Heglar 

There’s a strange thing in the world of fiction writing where if you write about climate change, your work is immediately declared niche and slapped with labels likewith “speculative” or “science fiction” or even the more dreaded “climate fiction” or “cli-fi.” Not that there’s anything wrong with those genres out of hand, but the immediate siloing of anything that deals with climate change not only disincentivizes writers from writing about it, it also distorts the clear and present reality of the climate crisis. Writers write about the world around them. For writers today, to write about that world without including the biggest threat to it is heresy.

Enter: Jesmyn Ward.

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A Jamie Raskin Valentine

By Amy Westervelt

The country was properly introduced to Congressman Jamie Raskin (D-MD) this week as he played the part of lead prosecutor (aka impeachment manager) in Trump's second impeachment trial. Raskin has been one of the toughest fighters for climate action in Congress for years now, particularly when it comes to holding oil companies legally responsible for their role in delaying climate action. As the head of the Civil Rights & Civil Liberties committee, Raskin held a congressional hearing on climate denial in 2019, because yeah, my dude understands climate change as a social justice issue. In his opening statement for that hearing, Raskin said, "Climate change is one of the preeminent civil rights issues of our time." Damn straight, Raskin! 

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An Unnatural Proposal for the Museum of Natural History 

By Mary Annaise Heglar 

I haven’t been to the museum in years, definitely not since I’ve become so deeply consumed by climate work, circa 2018. As I strolled through the exhibits about the Indigenous peoples of Africa and Asia and the Americas and through the halls of animals extinct and alive, I couldn’t help but feel like something was missing.

And then it hit me: the museum does not explain the very, very unnatural thing that upended all of these ecosystems and ways of life.

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Mary and Amy Around the Internet 

In case you haven’t noticed, we’ve kinda been all over the interwebs. Here’s a few places where you can catch up with us when we’re not doing Hot Take: 

  • This Thursday at 7 pm EST, we’ll be doing a livestream with Emily Atkin from Heated and Brian Kahn from Earther to read a terrible, horrible, no-good book about how Donald Tr*mp is an environmentalist. Join us

  • Earlier on Thursday, at 1 pm EST, Mary will be doing a live reading of her essay in Letters to the Earth. (Yes, we’re in more than one book! Amy even wrote a whole book herself!)

  • Toward the end of last year, podcast reviewer extraordinaire Nick Quah interviewed Amy about climate podcasts on Servant of the Pod

  • Last week, Mary went on Our Body Politic to talk about climate change and why all climate action isn’t created equal. 

  • Way down the line, in April, we’ll be headlining the 2021 Power Shift Convergence!  


Digest

Rising Temperatures, Rising Seas

Climate crisis pushing great white sharks into new waters by Damian Carrington for the Guardian

Mountains, Ice and Climate Change: A Recipe for Disasters by Henry Fountain for The New York Times

Achoo! Climate Change Lengthening Pollen Season in U.S., Study Shows by John Schwartz for The New York Times

Climate Change Is Creating a Nightmare for Allergy Sufferers by Ed Cara for Earther

Limiting warming to 2 degrees Celsius will require far-reaching emissions cuts in coming years, find University of Washington researchers by Brady Dennis for The Washington Post

Earthquakes and climate change threaten California dams by Louis Sahagún for The Los Angeles Times

The Siberian Tundra Is Doing That Exploding Thing Again by Dharna Noor for Earther

California's rainfall is at historic lows. That spells trouble for wildfires and farms by Katharine Gammon for the Guardian

We're on a collision course with the planet. But with public support, that can change by Larry Elliott for the Guardian

Glacier Breaks, Unleashing a Monster Flash Flood in Himalayas, by Molly Taft for Earther 

Tracking Biden’s environmental actions, by Juliet Eilperin, Brady Dennis and John Muyskens

The Climate Presidency

Joe Biden’s immigration proposal leaves these refugees behind, by Adam Mahoney for Grist

Biden's Civilian Climate Corps comes straight out of the New Deal by Kate Yoder for Grist

The mess that Biden’s EPA nominee Michael Regan will inherit, explained by Umair Irfan for Vox

Biden won't revive Obama's Clean Power Plan. So now what? by Jean Chemnick for E&E News

Mary Nichols Was the Early Favorite to Run Biden’s EPA, Before She Became a ‘Casualty’ by Katie Surma for InsideClimate News

OPINION: We can build the economy while addressing the climate crisis and environmental injustice by Reps. A. Donald Mceachin (D-va.), Nanette Barragan (D-calif.) And Pramila Jayapal (D-wash.) for The Hill

Republicans want to plant 1 trillion trees -- and then log them, by Cameron Ogelsby for Grist

Canada will be Biden’s ally in tackling the climate crisis, by Jonathan Wilkinson for Grist

EPA to jettison major Obama climate rule, as Biden eyes bigger push, by Brady Dennis and Juliet Eilperin for The Washington Post

Biden’s Climate Task Force Opens for Business, Aiming to Restore ‘Credibility,’ by Lisa Friedman for The New York Times

The mess that Biden’s EPA nominee Michael Regan will inherit, explained, by Umair Irfan for Vox

The UK ended deep coal production in 2016. So why is it opening a new coal mine in 2021? By Jariel Arvin for Vox

Climate Accountability 

Why France's new 'repairability index' is a big deal by Maddie Stone for Grist

The 'environmental crime of the century' solved by Nathanael Johnson for Grist

Oil companies don’t want to be known for oil anymore, by Emily Pontecorvo for Grist

California Just Can’t Quit Fracking, by Dharna Noor for Earther

Texas Legislature May Introduce Bill to Blacklist Businesses That Don’t Love Fossil Fuels, by Molly Taft for Earther

Shell Says It Has Reached Peak Oil Production, by Dharna Noor for Earther

Countries must ramp up climate pledges by 80 percent to hit key Paris target, study finds, by Brady Dennis for The Washington Post

Why oil giants are swapping oil rigs for offshore windfarms, by Jillian Ambrose for The Guardian

Justice is Justice is Justice 

How a Coal Mine in Montana Could Screw the Navajo Nation by Molly Taft for Earther

How one tiny country is beating the pandemic and climate change, by Kate Yoder for Grist

The fight for an equitably energy economy for the Navajo Nation, by Jessica Kutz for Grist

‘Our Biggest Fear Came True’: Warnings by Locals Near the Deadly Glacier Burst Were Ignored, by Shamani Joshi for Vice

Flooding from Climate-Driven Glacier Collapse Kills Dozens in India, by Becky Ferriera for Vice

In Photos: The Devastation After a Himalayan Glacier Burst a Dam in India, by Snigdha Bansal, Shamani Joshi 

Bolder climate action could save millions of lives each year by 2040, by Jack Graham for Reuters

Move into government, U.N. official urges young climate activists, by Laurie Goering for Reuters

‘Global Vaccine Apartheid’ Is Also a Climate Warning, by Brian Kahn for Earther

Glimmers of Hope

China’s Emissions of Ozone-Harming Gas Are Declining, Studies Find by Chris Buckley and Henry Fountain for The New York Times

After Years of Rising, Emissions of an Ozone-Depleting Chemical Are Falling Again, by Dharna Noor for Earther

Kenya launches $34 million project to tackle effects of climate change, by Reuters Staff

Climate action could save ‘millions of lives’ through clean air, diet, and exercise, by PA Media for The Guardian

Climate in Culture

GM is all-in for electric vehicles in this new Super Bowl ad. What changed? By Lili Pike for Vox

Build Nothing New That Ultimately Leads to a Flame by Bill McKibben from The New Yorker

The generational rift over 'intersectional environmentalism' by Cameron Oglesby for Grist

Mark Bittman on Why the Next Century of Food Will Be Radically Different by Pearse Anderson for Earther

California is still oil country. This county wants to keep it that way, by Alexandria Herr for Grist

Thieves Nationwide Are Slithering Under Cars, Swiping Catalytic Converters, by Hiroko Tabuchi for The New York Times

Scientists warn over misuse of climate models in financial markets, by Matthew Green for Reuters

COVID-19 pandemic creates a headache for U.N. climate summit logistics, by Megan Rowling for Reuters

The Weather Station: how climate grief inspired Tamara Lindeman’s pop rebirth, by Laura Snapes for The Guardian

Plus More

Beauty, Serenity, Stillness: An Ode to the Final Miles of the Mississippi River by Matthew D. White for The New York Times

There's a lot more than Elon Musk's $100 million riding on carbon removal by Emily Pontecorvo for Grist

UK government's own climate laws may halt roadbuilding plans by Fiona Harvey for The Guardian

The Murky Connection Between the Coronavirus and Climate Change, by Molly Taft for Earther

They’re Arctic Survivors. How Will They Adapt to Climate Change? By Henry Fountain for The New York Times

Global regulators back plan for climate risk disclosures body, by Huw Jones for Reuters