Climate Justice as a Solution for the Detroit City Flooding Crisis: A Narrative Strategy for the The Solutions Project (Rethinking Climate Justice for Neighborhoods)
The city of Highland Park, Michigan, had 1200 streetlights removed by the company in 2011. Highland Park, a black working-class suburb of Detroit that was once a boom town for the automotive industry, was on the verge of bankruptcy. The city went dark due to it not being able to pay its debts.
The vice president of narrative strategies at The Solutions Project, Sarah Hope, spoke about how important stories are to the present and how the need for more of them is critical.
Hope said that people closest to the problems were also the first to the solutions. “In our country and the world, when you think about compounding crises—and the consequences of racialized capitalism—you’re solving multiple problems at once. Solar panels and renewable energy are used as a climate solution in order to bring about more positive health in the community. We can see multi-solving at the forefront of the crisis.
A big part of what The Solutions Project works toward is the reframing of stories around climate justice. The organization helps get eyes on the work grassroots change-makers are accomplishing in frontline communities, in neighborhoods like Richmond and Brooklyn, where Black and Latinx residents often feel the brunt of climate inequity.
Hope explained that the Justice 40 Initiative and the Reduction Act, both of which seek to reduce environmental harm, are examples of how problem-solving at the neighborhood level creates pathways to power and change.
The story of Soulardarity is not an outlier. There are many like it. Still, that doesn’t stop the spread of falsehoods. The climate movement has a misconception that communities wait for others to come, Hope said. “But that is not the case.” She said the work was already done.
At the close of the Re:WIRED GREEN event on addressing climate change, the weather showed the severity of the problem.
Climate activist and lawyer Colette Pichon Battle spoke from a stage in San Francisco, while Hurricane Ian continued in its destructive path across southwest Florida. “I just want to make sure that you’re paying attention to what’s happening in the Gulf of Mexico right now,” Pichon Battle said. She encouraged the audience to keep an eye on the climate events that are occurring around the world, like the rain in Baton Rouge and Houston.
With tears in her eyes, Pichon Battle challenged the audience in San Francisco to be honest with themselves about the actions they should take to fight for a hospitable planet for all—actions that must go far beyond throwing a plastic cup into a recycling bin or buying an electric car. “It’s my job today to bring the truth,” she said. “Even if it’s not what you want to hear.”
Mediums like TikTok are great for organizing people but they are also good for spreading information so that people can easily ingest it. In the old media, it was a scientist or a politician who had to get on the news and discuss the latest research. Kianni said that in today’s media, people can get in front of a camera and give a 5-second statement. That is a different trait between the climate activists of Earle’s generation and hers.
Four and a half years ago, she began “striking” outside of Swedish parliament — a single teenager with a single sign. She was old enough to drink. In just a few months, she had made her mark at the United Nations climate conference in Poland: “You are not mature enough to tell it like it is,” she told the assembled diplomats and negotiators, “even that burden you leave to us children.”
What can social media tell us about the environment? Commentary of Jennifer Kianni, the Climate Cardinals, and John D. Sutter, a CNN contributor
“I’d like to know from you,” Earle said, “how to strengthen that bridge between the knowledge that is there and communicating it in a way that people listen.”
Kianni finds social media to be a bridge. In 2020 she founded the Climate Cardinals, a nonprofit dedicated to translating information about the environment into as many languages as possible. She had seen the effects of pollution in Iran, so she decided to do something about it with her family. Kianni said that his nonprofit has over 9000 volunteers because of TikTok, which reaches hundreds of thousands of people through short-form video.
The Livingston Award, the IRE Award and others have been won by the work of John D. Sutter, a CNN contributor. He recently was appointed the Ted Turner Professor of Environmental Media at The George Washington University. The opinions expressed in this commentary are his own. You can also have your opinion at CNN.
Wealthier nations, headed by the US, have emitted vastly more greenhouse gas emissions historically. So the argument is that they should cough up some of the cash to pay for the consequences. Some delegates from some of the most vulnerable countries want a funding mechanism for this kind of loss. And while wealthier nations have poo-pooed this idea over and over again in previous COPs, they’re faced with an upswell of support for loss and damage financing from developing countries as climate change takes an ever greater toll.
The idea that polluters should pay for the costs of pollution was put forward by an alliance of small-island states.
Climate Change in Africa: What the world can do about the future? The problem of climate change, the emergence of energy security, the collapse of fossil fuels and climate change mitigation
This climate conference has added to skepticism of what might be accomplished, particularly if local voices aren’t heard. This year’s conference is called Africa’sCOP. Africa is responsible for around 3% of global Greenhouse gas emissions. But many countries within the region are facing outsized climate impacts. The Horn of Africa, for example, is in the midst of its longest drought in decades as climate change heightens the risk of drought. More than 50 million people in seven countries are at risk of having no food this year because of a long dry season. The stark differences are used as a factor that makes adaptation and loss and damage priorities.
It is time for high-polluting countries to take this question seriously. It is clear that those who violate the law should be held accountable for their actions.
Yes, it is also absolutely critical that the world abandons fossil fuels as quickly as possible. That is another central discussion point at COP27, and the world is well behind on its goal of holding warming to 1.5 or at most 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial averages. (We’re on track for about 2.7 degrees of warming, based on current policies; recent climate bills passed by the US Congress are a step forward, but are not enough).
The less carbon we put into the atmosphere, the less risk we put into the climate system — with important consequences for sea levels, storms, drought, biodiversity and so-on.
Over the decades, many arguments against action have been made. The most laughable, in retrospect, is that this was a problem for the future rather than the present.
Climate change, droughts, wildfires, and storms: the case for international courts of law in Antigua and Barbuda
The onslaught of ever-worsening heat waves, droughts, wildfires and storms can feel both urgent and numbing. The truth is that as long as humans have been burning fossil fuels, we’ve been making the planet more dangerous.
That may feel new but it has been happening for decades. There was a deadly heat wave in Europe in 2003 that was linked to human caused warming. 20,000 people were killed in that heat wave.
I call on all developed economies to tax windfall profits of fossil fuel companies. Those funds should be re – directed in two ways: to countries suffering loss and damage caused by the climate crisis; and to people struggling with rising food and energy prices,” he added.
Short of international funds, individuals and countries are turning to the courts. A German fossil fuel company is being sued by a farmer in L.A., over the threat of a glacier that threatens his farm. The suit, filed in 2015, according to news reports, claims the German company, RWE, should be liable for its proportion of the damages, in line with the proportion of global fossil fuel pollution it has created. RWE is arguing that it shouldn’t be held responsible for the damage.
And in 2021, Tuvalu and other countries formed the Commission of Small Island States on Climate Change and International Law. The aim is to find out what can be done in international courts.
The Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda told The New York Times that litigation was the only way to be taken seriously. We want them to be punished in a court of law.
Climate Change in Egypt: the elephant in the room at the COP27 climate conference, Cairo, October 13 – 22 April 2009 (extended abstract)
Sharm el-Sheikh is where the conference is taking place. As a result, there’s one more elephant in the room at this year’s UN Climate Conference: dissent voices more broadly in Egypt, and the suppression of climate protests. Dozens of people have been arrested in the days before the climate conference in Egypt in order to quell demonstrations, which are thought to have led to the imprisonment of tens of thousands of political prisoners.
This is a raging debate, even within the conference. “As it is, The COPs are not really working,” youth climate activist Greta Thunberg, who was a media sensation at last year’s conference, said during an event in London this week after announcing that she will not attend COP27 this year. Some people in power use the COPs as an opportunity to greenwash and get attention, according to Thunberg.
Picture the world 4.4°C hotter than preindustrial levels by the end of this century. One of the assessment report predictions was that emissions will rise or there will be climate action. It is not likely that you can see this outcome and imagine the severity of what is to come, unless you have looked over climate models and understand the complexity of tipping points.
All of this will help to decarbonize the economy and boost the adaptation to climate change, as US buildings account for 25% of total emissions. As temperatures get more extreme, better-insulated homes will use less energy, and keep people more comfortable. $400 billion coming from the Feds is just the beginning of more money coming from state governments. There is going to be a lot of private investment that is going to come from the policy, and it is going to invest hundreds of billions of dollars. “We’re already seeing private companies put forward billions of dollars for everything from battery manufacturing in the United States to electric vehicles, and hopefully soon heat pumps. That investment is going to make a big difference.
There have been some bright spots. The cut was doubled to 43 percent below 2005 levels by Australia, which is led by a newly progressive government. A handful of other countries, including Chile, which is working to enshrine the rights of nature into its constitution, have already promised more cuts or say they will soon. Most of the updates are from small pollutionrs like Australia, who are trying to catch up after failing to submit the goals that they should have. A lot of the fruit is already picked.
I lambasted the politicians last year for not taking action to combat climate change. Recovering from the H1N1, the US could have done more to prepare for climate change and reduce emissions. Yet even though the Democrats controlled the whole federal government … crickets. The winter of early 2022 passed, and then the spring. But July brought a legislative miracle, as President Joe Biden announced a surprise deal on the Inflation Reduction Act, the nation’s biggest-ever investment in climate mitigation.
Fransen is one of the people in the business of keeping track of all those emissions plans and whether countries are sticking to them. It is not easy to take stock. For one thing, it means actually measuring how much carbon nations emit. It also requires showing how greenhouse gasses will change the climate over time.
It is difficult to determine how much CO2 is produced by humans, or prove that nations are holding to their pledges. That’s because the gas is all over the atmosphere, muddying the origin of each signal. Natural processes like decaying vegetation and thaw permafrost further complicate matters. Think of it like trying to find a water leak in a swimming pool. Researchers have tried pointing satellites at the Earth to track CO2 emissions, but “if you see CO2 from space, it is not always guaranteed that it came from the nearest human emissions,” says Gavin McCormick, cofounder of Climate Trace, which tracks greenhouse gas emissions. That is the reason why more sophisticated methods are needed. Climate trace can teach itself to tell if a power plant islching emissions by the steam billowing from it. The scientists are using weather stations to look at local emissions.
International climate negotiations got underway today with dire warnings about climate-driven disasters, pleas to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and a plan for a new global weather early warning system.
Antonio Guterres didn’t hold back in his opening remarks. “We are on a highway to climate hell with our foot on the accelerator,” he warned.
He also referenced the fact that the global population is expected to officially hit 8 billion people during this climate meeting. “How will we answer when baby 8-billion is old enough to ask ‘What did you do for our world, and for our planet, when you had the chance?'” Guterres asked a room full of world leaders.
There is a plan by the United Nations to warn people about the risks of climate related events. It’s called Early Warning for All.
The new plan calls for $3.1 billion to be spent over the next five years in places that don’t currently have early-warning systems. More money is needed to maintain the warning systems.
Prime Minister of Barbados, Mia Amor Mottley, Launches Climate Change Action at the United Nations, and a Call for Action for President Biden
The Prime Minister of Barbados, Mia Amor Mottley, went one step further in her opening speech to fellow leaders. She said that corporations that profit from the fossil-fuel intensive economy include oil and gas companies.
She proposed that corporations should pay for some costs associated with climate change, including sea level rise, hurricanes and heat waves, and in places such as her nation that are extremely vulnerable to climate change because they can’t afford it.
“We would like to see where organizations are vulnerable to climate change and how they can become resilient,” Lake said in the news release.
Initially, the Climate Risk and Resilience Portal will provide information about some of the weather conditions. In the coming months additional risks such as wildfire and flooding will be added.
More than two dozen countries say they’ll work together to stop and reverse deforestation and land degradation by 2030 in order to fight climate change.
More than one-third of the world’s forests comes from 26 countries and the EU, which are part of the Forest and Climate leaders’ partnership.
More than 140 countries agreed at COP26 last year in Glasgow to conserve forests and other ecosystems. The U.N. said on Monday that not enough money is being spent to preserve forests.
SHARM EL SHEIKH, Egypt — President Biden arrived at the United Nations climate talks on Friday with environmental bona fides that few other American presidents can claim. He muscled through a landmark climate law that is pouring $370 billion into the effort to speed the American economy away from fossil fuels. He has seeded climate policy across the federal government. His administration plans to enact the strongest regulation to date to reduce methane, a potent greenhouse gas.
Mr. Biden is also buoyed by a surprisingly strong showing of his party in Tuesday’s midterm elections, a performance that bucked historical trends and may allow the Democrats to retain control of Congress.
“There’s money. There’s a crisis in empathy,” said Mr. Biden at the U.N. Climate Summit on Friday
Wanjira Mathai, who is an environmentalist and activist from Nigeria, said that there was more than enough money in the economy. When Covid happened, $17 trillion showed up, and economies need to be shored up. There is money. We have a crisis in empathy.”
Paul Bledsoe was a climate adviser under Bill Clinton and he said that the idea of loss and damage payments would not be accepted by Mr. Biden.
He said that America is incapable of meaningful reparations. “Having not made them to Native Americans or African Americans, there is little to no chance they will be seriously considered regarding climate impacts to foreign nations. It is not a serious contender in our domestic politics.
John Kerry proposed to let corporations invest in renewable-energy projects in developing country that would allow them to claim the resulting cuts in greenhouse gasses against their own climate goals. Those so-called carbon offset initiatives are viewed skeptically by many climate scientists and activists, who see them as simply allowing companies to continue polluting.
Mr. Biden is going to have a meeting with the Egyptian president in order to raise the issue of a dissident hunger striking in prison. Mr. Abd El Fattah had said he would stop drinking water last Sunday, at the start of the COP27 summit. The representatives have said they will walk out of the conference if he dies.
The demonstrators who are at the U.N. climate summits have been discouraged from coming because of tight restrictions imposed by Mr. Sisi’s government. The Friday for Future, a youth-led and organized climate movement, as well as protesters urging a vegan diet, and activists opposed to oil and gasdrilling in Africa, gathered inside the area at the summit that is under the control of the United States on Friday.
“It’s fundamentally about who is most responsible,” said Fatima Denton, a Gambian scholar, longtime U.N. official and member of the Climate Crisis Advisory Group. As the crisis grows, there will be a solidarity issue that becomes bigger. It is necessary that we support that idea.
The United States is acting. Everyone has to act,” Mr. Biden said. “It’s a duty and responsibility of global leadership. Developing countries can make decisions on climate change if countries in a position to help are supported.
He still wants to fulfill his pledge to give $11.4 billion annually in the next four years to help develop countries transition to renewable energy. That money, which is different from a loss and damage fund, was promised by wealthy nations under the 2015 Paris agreement. Last year, just $1 billion was secured by Mr. Biden.
Climate Change Storytelling: Stopping Methane from Evaporating into the Atmosphere and Slowing Global Warming by Using Domestic Oil and Gas Producers
For the first time, Mr. Biden announced, the U.S. government will require domestic oil and gas producers to detect and fix leaks of methane, a greenhouse gas that traps about 80 times as much heat as carbon dioxide does in the short run. The fossil fuel industry is the biggest industrial source of methane emissions in the United States; the colorless, odorless gas leaks from pipelines and is often intentionally vented by gas producers. Stopping methane from escaping into the atmosphere is critical to slowing global warming, scientists say.
When Notre Dame was On Fire, Your Neural Networks Were There to Help You Resolve Your Home? Telling Your Story to Make Sense of the World
Now picture Timothy, who lives with his grandchildren in Walande Island, a small dot of land off the east coast of South Malaita Island, part of the Solomon Islands. More than a thousand people have moved away from the island and abandoned their homes since 2002. Only one house remains: Timothy’s. Their former neighbors are not asked about Timothy’s motives. One person says that he is stubborn. “He won’t listen to us,” says another. Every morning his four young grandkids take the canoe to the mainland and Timothy spends his day trying to hold off the water for a bit. I can’t see anything if I move to the mainland. I will not be able to see the water. I want to be able to see around me. He says that he is part of the place. 1.1 degrees of warming already causes loneliness and loss, so his story powerfully conveys that.
Unlike numbers or facts, stories can trigger an emotional response, harnessing the power of motivation, imagination, and personal values, which drive the most powerful and permanent forms of social change. In the year 2019, we all saw the fire erupt in the Notre Dame cathedral. Three minutes after the fire began, images of the incident were being broadcast globally, eliciting an immediate response from world leaders. That same year, the Amazon forest also burned, spewing smoke that spread over 2,000 miles and burning over one and a half football fields of rain forest every minute of every day—it took three weeks for the mainstream media to report that story. Why did the burning of Notre Dame warrant such rapid responses globally, when the Amazon fires did not? We attach personal significance to Notre Dame because it has a story that we know and can relate to, even though it is just a beautiful assortment of limestone, lead, and wood. The fact that the Amazon was on fire did not impress people, but that propelled them to react to it.
Storytelling allows us to make sense of the world. Human neural maps have been found to match story structures. What do a mother breastfeeding, a hug from a friend, and a story all have in common? They all have a drug known as the love drug. And it’s powerful: In a study by neuroscientist Paul Zak, participants who were given synthetic oxytocin donated 57 percent more to charity, and donated 56 percent more money than participants given a placebo. Similarly, hearing information in narrative form results in a higher likelihood of pro-social behavior.
The power of stories can be harnessed for good. For instance, in 2005, the International Rice Research Institute used a radio soap opera called Homeland Story to persuade millions of rice farmers in Vietnam to stop spraying their crops with harmful insecticides. Farmers who listened to the series were 31 percent less likely to spray their crops than those simply told not to.
Climate Change and the Dark Arts: What the Powers Really Need to Know about Education, Politics, and the World’s Most Popular Climate Activist
The city of Seattle, Washington, British prime minister Theresa May, airlines and Starbucks pledged to eliminate plastic straws after a video of a sea turtle with a plastic straw lodged in its nose went viral.
In the year 2023, increased global communication will help spread stories of people and animals on the frontier of the environmental crisis. Through various forms of art and media, it will be these stories that finally convince us that the climate emergency is not some intangible crisis affecting future generations, but a problem we must all, individually and collectively, act on now.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change was founded in 1988 after scientists had spent decades raising the alarm about global warming. Thirty-five years later, there is effectively zero binding international policy to address climate change. In the United States, the largest historical emitter of greenhouse gasses and second-largest polluter today, there have been repeated legislative failures, including the recent Supreme Court ruling limiting the government’s authority to regulate power plant emissions.
Agnotologists will look at the dark arts of denial and disinformation and teach how big data, graphs and figures can be used to subvert scientific research findings. Students will learn how various tools such as academic experts, public relations firms, and lawyers are utilized across industries such as pharmaceutical, tobacco, and fossil fuel companies. When these students encounter a pro-genetic modification “grassroots group,” they may recall how since the ’90s, major pesticide and herbicide manufacturers have paid public relations firms to create these groups, and what appears to be grassroots might actually be astroturf—when the world’s most popular climate activist is a teenager from Sweden, a German teen can easily be fashioned into an “Anti-Greta” and push against “climate alarmism.”
The pros and cons of government secrecy are explored in class by students of agnotology. They will examine the history of the Evangelical church’s objection to evolution being taught in schools. The meat and dairy industry downplays the contribution of cows to climate change, as well as a claim that has spread in France that smoking could prevent Covid-19.
As knowledge remains our best hope to save the planet and ourselves, in 2023 a deeper understanding of ignorance will help us learn what the powerful do not want us to know.
If 2021 was a huge missed opportunity, 2022 was a huge turnaround. The executive director of the nonprofit Project Drawdown says that he feels more sympathetic about climate change now than he has before. “We’re a lot less screwed than we would have been. I’ll take that as encouragement, and a little more wind in the sails. Like, Hey, wait a minute, things are really starting to pivot.”
My fellow Americans, meet the new approach to climate action in the US: the carrot. The Inflation Reduction Act rewards taxpayers for making greener choices, instead of a stick like tax on carbon emissions. It gives hundreds of billions of dollars in tax breaks for people to buy electric vehicles or install heat pumps in their homes. According to the author, if you elected to live, you could save over $1,000 a year on your energy bills. “That’s really the promise here, to get people onto clean, efficient, and affordable electric machines.”
Updating insulation requires plugging leaks that let in outdoor air, spraying expanding foam or pulverized newspaper into walls and attic surfaces, and then washing them with soap and water. In the summer, a heat pump extracts heat from air to warm a home, then it reverses in the winter. The appliance runs on electricity, not gas, so it can be powered with renewable energy like rooftop solar. They are so efficient that even if you had to run them on energy generated with fossil fuels, you’d still be way better off emissions-wise than with a traditional furnace.)
Changing the World by acting like if the house is on fire, or I’m sorry, but I am glad you did, I know you are still here
By the time she spoke at Davos that January, excoriating the world — “I want you to act as if the house is on fire, because it is” — she had become the face of the global climate movement, giving it an entirely new generational life and scale. She led weekly marches across the globe that drew millions of people through 2019 and helped force the world’s most powerful people to at least pay lip service to what they now called a climate crisis.