Tag: climate change (page 1 of 13)

What’s good for us is also good for the planet

I came across this via Dense Discovery, which is one of a number of additional newsletters to which I would recommend Thought Shrapnel readers subscribe.

In this article, Erin Remblance shows how modern lifestyles, particularly in wealthy nations, have led to a loss of human connection and an increase in mental health issues. She suggests that the shift from community-oriented activities to individualistic, consumer-driven behaviour has not only harmed our well-being but also contributed to the climate emergency.

The solution? Returning to simpler, more sustainable ways of living that focus on human connection and creativity. By becoming creators rather than mere consumers we can improve our mental health and simultaneously benefit the planet.

One of the top 5 regrets of the dying is that they wished that they hadn’t worked so hard. Another is that they wished they’d been brave enough to pursue the life they’d really dreamed of, without worrying about what others thought; that they’d had the courage to do the things that made them truly happy. Which is ironic, really, because according to the 18th century economist and philosopher, Adam Smith, wealth is something that is “desired, not for the material satisfaction that it brings, but because it is desired by others”. People are getting to the end of their lives regretting that they worked so hard – often to accumulate wealth so that others could envy it – wishing that instead they had pursued things that truly made them happy regardless of what people thought. What a lesson we could learn from these people’s dying realisations.


Reducing our consumption is of course important for the health of the planet, but what if one way to do this is by becoming producers, or creators, ourselves? Rediscovering what our human-energy – an abundantly available energy we seem to be using increasingly less of – can achieve, something we once innately drew upon, now buried deep within us as fossil-fuelled energy has overtaken our lives. There’s a clear link here to actions that will mitigate climate change: walking, cycling, growing our own food, and other low-tech solutions such as repairing and fostering community that encourages “social connections … rather than fostering the hyper-individualism encouraged by resource-hungry digital devices.”


We are not supposed to live like this, and it shows. We can see it in the deterioration of mental and physical health of people in so called ‘wealthy’ nations, in the exploitation of people in the Global South, and we can see it in the planetary-wide ecological crisis we face. What if, in trying to heal ourselves, we also begin to heal the planet? Because, in a wonderful turn of events, it would seem that what is good for us, is good for the planet too.

Source: We are not supposed to live like this | Erin Remblance

Cooling down is hotting up

As the world heats up, humans are going to need to cool down. The use of air conditioning already accounts for nearly 20% of electricity used in buildings worldwide, so this report highlights the urgent need for higher efficiency standards in cooling technologies to mitigate the strain on energy systems and reduce emissions.

Apparently, effective policies could halve future energy demand and cut costs by $3 trillion by 2050. More importantly than the financial impact, I guess, more efficient air conditioning means that less hot air is dumped into urban environment, which tends to create heat islands (and affects weather patterns).

Chart showing projected rise in demand for air conditioning

Cooling down is catching on. As incomes rise and populations grow, especially in the world’s hotter regions, the use of air conditioners is becoming increasingly common. In fact, the use of air conditioners and electric fans already accounts for about a fifth of the total electricity in buildings around the world – or 10% of all global electricity consumption.

Over the next three decades, the use of ACs is set to soar, becoming one of the top drivers of global electricity demand. A new analysis by the International Energy Agency shows how new standards can help the world avoid facing such a “cold crunch” by helping improve efficiency while also staying cool.

Source: The Future of Cooling | IEA

Money does not solve disasters like this

The Burning Man Festival started in 1986 as a small event on a beach. It was originally an event for hippies, bohemians, and those who lived outside of mainstream culture. It’s an art event.

As with most things like this, it became cool, and so people with money started going. Now, less than 40 years later, it’s dominated by the Silicon Valley elite, celebrities, and grifters.

While one person has died this year due to extreme weather events, which is a tragedy, I can’t help but feel some schadenfreude at rich people being stuck in a situation they can’t buy their way out of.

Tens of thousands of “burners” at the Burning Man festival have been told to stay in the camps, conserve food and water and are being blocked from leaving Nevada’s Black Rock desert after a slow-moving rainstorm turned the event into a mud bath.


As of noon Saturday, Nevada’s Bureau of Land Management declared the entrance to Burning Man shut down for good. “Rain over the last 24 hours has created a situation that required a full stop of vehicle movement on the playa. More rain is expected over the next few days and conditions are not expected to improve enough to allow vehicles to enter the playa,” read a BLM statement.


The festival this year was already taking place under unusual circumstances with the desert floor flooded by the remnants of Hurricane Hilary as the event was being set up.

Tara Saylor, an attendee from Ojai, California, faced the threat of the hurricane as well as a 5.1-magnitude earthquake that shook her city before she left, reported the Los Angeles Times. Saylor told the newspaper she’s seen the founders of two different companies at Burning Man this year, but added, “it doesn’t matter how much money you have, nobody can do anything about it. There’s no planes, there’s no buses.”

“Money does not solve disasters like this.”

Source: Burning Man festival-goers trapped in desert as rain turns site to mud | The Guardian