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.
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!
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
The Climate Presidency
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
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
Justice is Justice is Justice
How a Coal Mine in Montana Could Screw the Navajo Nation by Molly Taft 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
Climate in Culture
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
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