Greta Thunberg attributes her ability to focus on climate change to her Asperger's

Greta Thunberg is the Swedish teenager whose climate change school-strike spread around the world, leading to her addressing the COP24 conference, the World Economic Forum, and many other forums where she has distinguished herself with her brilliant oratory and leadership. In an interview with Great Big Planet, Thunberg attributes her ability to focus on climate change despite the crushing terror and the enormous forces arrayed against her on her autism, saying, "I think if I wouldn’t have had Asperger's I don’t think I would have started the school strike, I don’t think I would’ve cared about the climate at all… That allowed me to focus on one thing for a very long time." (Image: Anders Hellberg, CC-BY) (via Kottke) Read the rest

"A Message From the Future": short film about the "Green New Deal Decade," narrated by AOC, drawn by Molly Crabapple, presented by Naomi Klein

The Intercept has just released "A Message From the Future," a short science fiction movie narrated by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and drawn by Molly Crabapple, describing the coming "Green New Deal Decade," when Americans pulled together and found prosperity, stability, solidarity and full employment through a massive, nationwide effort to refit the country to be resilient to climate shocks and stem the tide of global climate change. Read the rest

London cops switch off wifi in the tube to make it harder for climate protesters to organise

This morning, the British Transport Police has ordered Virgin Media to switch off the wifi to some undisclosed London Underground stations in a bid to make it harder for climate protesters to organise their activities. Read the rest

The #ShellPapers: crowdsourcing analysis of all correspondence between Shell and the Dutch government

The Dutch activist/journalists Follow the Money and Platform Authentieke Journalistiek -- last seen revealing the dark money funding thinktanks that backed the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership -- have a new project: the #ShellPapers, a deep, crowdsourced investigation into Shell oil, its sweetheart relationship to the Dutch government, its corruption and violence throughout the world, its role in climate change and environmental devastation. Read the rest

Organic cotton shopping bags have to be used 20,000 times before they're better for the Earth than plastic disposables

In February 2018, Denmark's Ministry of Environment and Food published its Life Cycle Assessment of grocery carrier bags, which looked at the overall embodied energy, materials and labor in different grocery bags, and also evaluated the environmental impacts of different kinds of plastic bags. Read the rest

Peak Indifference: are we reaching climate's denial/nihilism tipping point?

I use the idea of peak indifference to describe the moment when activists no longer have to try to convince people that a problem is real (the problem does that itself, by ruining ever-more-people's lives), and then the job switched to convincing people that it's not too late to do something about it (if the day you finally decide to take rhino population declines seriously is the day they announce there's only one rhino left, there's a powerful temptation to shoot that rhino and find out what it tastes like). Read the rest

New Zealand's domestic spies, obsessed with illegally surveilling environmental activists, missed a heavily armed right-wing terrorist

New Zealand is one of the Five Eyes countries (UK, USA, Canada, Australia, NZ) who collaborate on mass surveillance, and it has a notoriously off-leash, invasive surveillance apparatus that has been caught spying on NZ Greenpeace, the NZ Green Party, the Mana Movements and anti-TPP activists; the state was also caught giving private corporate spies access to its national surveillance data to help them hunt down and neutralize activists; unsurprisingly, the NZ police also abused these records, accessing them without a warrant on thousands of occasions (NZ also recruited the NSA to spy on kiwi activists). Read the rest

Former Archbishop of Canterbury cheers on students who are walking out to demand action on climate change

Months of student strikes have roiled the UK as pupils across the country have refused to go to class while demanding action on climate change, inspired by Swedish student Greta Thunberg's one-person strike at the Swedish Parliament. Read the rest

Iowa's electricity monopolist Midamerican Energy has written a bill to let it "monopolize the sun"

Iowa State Representative Gary Carlson [R-91/gary.carlson@legis.iowa.gov] introduced House Study Bill 185, co-drafted by lobbyists for Midamerican Energy, one of Iowa's regional energy monopolists, with a long history of trying to subvert the "net metering" rules that allow Iowans to put solar panels on their roofs and sell power back into the grid when they are generating more than they are using. Read the rest

Public records requests reveal the elaborate shell-company secrecy that Google uses when seeking subsidies for data-centers

It's not just Amazon and Apple that expect massive taxpayer subsidies in exchange for locating physical plant in your town: when Google builds a new data-center, it does so on condition of multimillion-dollar "incentives" from local governments -- but Google also demands extraordinary secrecy from local officials regarding these deals, secrecy so complete that city attorneys have instructed town councillors to refuse to answer questions about it during public meetings. Read the rest

India's e-waste recycling "markets" are toxic nightmares filled with child laborers

Millions of tons of e-waste -- much of it from rich countries like Australia -- are recycled in India, in "markets" with terrible, dangerous working conditions and equally awful environmental controls. Read the rest

Barefoot Engineers: rural women from Malawi, trained as solar engineers, who are electrifying their remote villages

Malawi's "barefoot engineers" are a group of eight local women who received solar engineering training in the Barefoot College in Rajasthan, India and returned home to install solar systems for poor and/or rural women. Read the rest

How to think about climate change and "cost-benefit analysis"

Some climate deniers go beyond arguing that climate change isn't real; rather, they argue that adapting to climate change is cheaper than preventing it, and it's a fool's errand to spend money on a Green New Deal, when we could continue to burn fossil fuels and simply relocate everyone who gets flooded out, figure out how to grow crops in new places, come up with medicines to treat new epidemics, etc. Read the rest

Manhattan-sized hole opens up under Antarctic glacier

A massive cavity so large you could fit New York City inside of it has opened up under Thwaites glacier in Antarctica. Scientists say if it collapses, as it's likely to do within the next 50 to 100 years, it could cause a catastrophic rise in sea levels capable of flood coastal cities around the world. Read the rest

Any sincere theory of property rights would bankrupt the energy sector

If you believe in the sanctity of property rights, you believe that the law should entitle you to compensation if someone damages your property; the energy sector has knowingly, willfully destroyed some of the most valuable property on earth, in large coastal cities, and if libertarians and right-wingers were sincere in their belief in private property (as opposed to mere oligarchic consolidation of wealth and power), they would be baying for the liquidation of every energy company's fortunes to compensate the owners of all that property. After all, only 25 companies are responsible for more than half of the planet's emissions. Read the rest

A free book of science fiction from around the world about climate change, introduced by Kim Stanley Robinson

[Editor's note: I'm a volunteer advisor to Arizona State University's Center for Science and the Imagination, and Joey Eschrich is a colleague of mine there; I invited him to write up his latest project, an anthology of science fiction about climate change.] Read the rest

Peak indifference: "extreme weather events" drive record US acceptance of climate change as an immediate problem

Peak indifference is the moment at which a far-off problem becomes so obvious that the number of people alarmed about it begins to grow of its own accord; a new Yale Program on Climate Change Communication and the George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication survey finds that 46% of Americans believe that they are living through adverse effects from climate change right now (up 9% in a year) and 72% of Americans say climate change is '"extremely," "very," or "somewhat" important to them personally' (the highest figure ever recorded); 57% acknowledge the scientific consensus on anthropogenic climate change (also the highest level ever). Read the rest

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