Note: Data for 2020 is from June 2020 through May 2021; for 2021, it is from June 2021 through May 2022.
Overfishing and potential solutions have received lots of attention in our pages over the years. It is not a new problem. And yet, we now have better metrics for how serious the problem is and who is responsible, currently, for making the problem worse. The screenshot to the left does not capture the full value of the dynamic illustration accompanying this article. Click the image to go to the source:
A Chinese ship fishing for squid off the west coast of South America in July 2021. Isaac Haslam/Sea Shepherd via Associated Press
With its own coastal waters depleted, China has built a global fishing operation unmatched by any other country.
Rich and ecologically diverse, the waters around the Galápagos Islands have attracted local fishermen for centuries. Now, these waters face a much larger, more rapacious hunter: China. Continue reading →
We knew there were still agents of climate skepticism, and even deniers, in important positions of influence. But the person trusted to lead the World Bank is among the last we would expect to be one of them. Really. Read about it in Bill McKibben’s newsletter:
Patagonia has become more politically active, going so far as to sue the Trump administration in a bid to protect the Bears Ears National Monument. Laure Joliet for The New York Times
We have mentioned this company multiple times in our pages over the years, because we take inspiration from it, the same way we have taken inspiration from the example set by Chuck Feeney. It is worth noting that I also value everything I have ever bought from Patagonia. The day of this blizzard in New York I took an old beat up backpack in to see if they could repair it in the nearby shop; instead, they gave me a new one.
Good quality products, combined with good service, make the good environmental values of the company all the better:
“Hopefully this will influence a new form of capitalism that doesn’t end up with a few rich people and a bunch of poor people,” said Mr. Chouinard. Meridith Kohut for The New York Times
Mr. Chouinard filmed an announcement for his employees at home in Wyoming. By giving away the bulk of their assets during their lifetime, the Chouinards have established themselves as among the most charitable families in the country. Natalie Behring for The New York Times
A half century after founding the outdoor apparel maker Patagonia, Yvon Chouinard, the eccentric rock climber who became a reluctant billionaire with his unconventional spin on capitalism, has given the company away.
Rather than selling the company or taking it public, Mr. Chouinard, his wife and two adult children have transferred their ownership of Patagonia, valued at about $3 billion, to a specially designed trust and a nonprofit organization. They were created to preserve the company’s independence and ensure that all of its profits — some $100 million a year — are used to combat climate change and protect undeveloped land around the globe. Continue reading →
Solar panels installed near the Heart-Butte schools in Montana. Janie Osborne for The New York Times
Students at Heart-Butte School exploring their area of the world on a map in the “Blackfeet Immersion” classroom. Janie Osborne for The New York Times
In the USA it has become normal to think that partisan divisions prevent collaboration on issues of common interest. The partisan divisions are real, and then some; but there are silver linings here and there. Cara Buckley, a climate reporter, continues to demonstrate a talent for finding cases where communities benefit from collective action in the act of taking better care of the environment:
Goats cared for by Batesville High School’s 4-H students, next to the school’s solar panels. “If you’re conservative, we didn’t ask you for more taxes, if you’re liberal, you love the green concept,” Dr. Hester said. Terra Fondriest for The New York Times
Public schools are increasingly using savings from solar energy to upgrade facilities, help their communities, and give teachers raises — often with no cost to taxpayers.
One school district was able to give pay raises to its teachers as big as 30 percent. Another bought new heating and ventilation systems, all the better to help students and educators breathe easier in these times. The improvements didn’t cost taxpayers a cent, and were paid for by an endlessly renewable source — the sun.
Mike Tatsey, superintendent of schools in Heart-Butte, believes that freeing up extra money for staples like groceries and shoes could have a ripple effect in classrooms. Janie Osborne for The New York Times
As solar energy gains traction across the country, one beneficiary have been schools, particularly those in cash-strapped districts contending with dwindling tax bases.
From New Jersey to California, nearly one in 10 K-12 public and private schools across the country were using solar energy by early 2022, according to data released Thursday by Generation180, a nonprofit that promotes and tracks clean energy. That’s twice as many as existed in 2015. Continue reading →
My thoughts today start with the people who farm olives in this location deprived of the water needed to sustain their livelihoods. Because my mother was born on an olive-producing farm in an olive-privileged region of Greece, my eye is always drawn to stories about olive farmers.
Jaén, a province of Andalusia, has over 67 million olive trees. Emilio Parra Doiztua for The New York Times
When there are photos of olive trees, I am in for the whole story. My strongest, earliest memories are of the olive trees surrounding the terrace of the farmhouse my mother grew up in. Stories about olive farmers challenged by climate change are more difficult to read without sympathy pain, but I do so knowing that olive trees are survivors.
Panacite, a store in Ubeda, sells a range of variants of oil production from the region. Emilio Parra Doiztua for The New York Times
David Segal and José Bautista have reported this story with compassion and clarity:
Spain’s Jaén Province, home to one fifth of the world’s supply of “green gold,” copes with climate change and threats to its way of life.
The branch, plucked from one of thousands of trees in this densely packed olive grove, has browning leaves and a few tiny, desiccated buds that are bunched near the end. To Agustín Bautista, the branch tells a story and the story is about a harvest that is doomed. Continue reading →
With all the problems created by the status quo business practices and economic models, alternatives for organizing business are worthy of our consideration. Nick Romeo offers a look into the challenges facing the most important worker-owned company in the world:
In Spain, an industrial-sized conglomerate owned by its workers suggests an alternative future for capitalism.
Jorge Vega Hernández, a mechanical engineer working in northwestern Spain, returned from a business trip and started to feel sick. It was March, 2020—the beginning of the pandemic—and so he called a government help line. Continue reading →
The porous rock beneath the Gulf Coast launched the petroleum age. Now entrepreneurs want to turn it into a gigantic sponge for storing CO2.
SOMETIME AFTER THE dinosaurs died, sediment started pouring into the Gulf of Mexico. Hour after hour the rivers brought it in—sand from the infant Rockies, the mucky stuff of ecosystems. Year after year the layers of sand hardened into strata of sandstone, pushed down ever deeper into the terrestrial pressure cooker. Continue reading →
Solar farm in Wroughton, England. Planning permission for 23 solar farms has been refused across England, Wales and Scotland between January 2021 and July 2022. Photograph: Chris Gorman/Getty Images
Nature gets disrupted even by the most sensitively planned green solutions. Here is a parallel story to yesterday’s, with solar replacing wind and England replacing Western USA, illustrating the challenges facing renewable energy:
For the developing world, refrigeration is growth. In Rwanda, it could spark an economic transformation.
At one in the morning, several hours before fishing boats launch, François Habiyambere, a wholesale fish dealer in Rubavu, in northwest Rwanda, sets out to harvest ice. In the whole country, there is just one machine that makes the kind of light, snowy flakes of ice needed to cool the tilapia that, at this hour, are still swimming through the dreams of the fish farmers who supply Habiyambere’s business. Flake ice, with its soft edges and fluffy texture, swaddles seafood like a blanket, hugging, without crushing, its delicate flesh. Continue reading →
Focus on market has led to climate crises, with spiritual, cultural and emotional benefits of nature ignored
Taking into account all the benefits nature provides to humans and redefining what it means to have a “good quality of life” is key to living sustainably on Earth, a four-year assessment by 82 leading scientists has found. Continue reading →
Companies like BlueWave are betting on it. But the technology has its critics.
Mr. Knowlton preparing the soil between the panels before he plants butternut squash and lettuce. Tony Cenicola/The New York Times
In its 150-year history, Paul Knowlton’s farm in Grafton, Mass., has produced vegetables, dairy products and, most recently, hay. The evolution of the farm’s use turned on changing markets and a variable climate. Recently, however, Mr. Knowlton added a new type of cash crop: solar power. Continue reading →
While working on my doctoral dissertation in the early 1990s I had a clear view into how big businesses, and industry associations, influence the creation of knowledge in research universities. The big science problem (not to be confused with the Big Science album) was clearly there, we all can see now. But I did not find it so problematic at the time. Bibi van der Zee‘s review in the Guardian makes clear why we should be more concerned about who funds the creation of knowledge, and what strings may be attached:
Until reading about them in this newsletter I read each week, Blair Palese, Peter McKillop and the Climate & Capital Media team were not on my radar. Now they are, and I enjoyed reading what they have written to Jeff Bezos about changing the game:
Following a stunning shareholder coup, Australian software billionaire Mike Cannon-Brookes becomes the world’s first corporate raider with a mission to radically reduce Australia’s carbon footprint.
Cannon-Brookes made billions in software, but he is not retiring from the game in order to “give back” in the gentlemanly pursuit of charity.
His victorious raid demonstrates that real climate action requires more than just writing checks.
Instead Cannon-Brookes channeled corporate raider Carl Icahn, investor Henry Kravis, feminist organizer Gloria Steinem, Cajun political strategist James Carville and to do what no person has ever done: Merge political, financial, shareholder, and climate action into a single, ground-breaking capitalist moment to take on global warming.
We thought Jeff Bezos should know Mike.
Dear Jeff Bezos,
Greetings from Climate & Capital Media. We tried to send you a message on LinkedIn, but there are like at least two dozen Jeff Bezoses and you are not one of them. We applaud your commitment to climate action and setting up the $10 Billion charitable Earth Fund.
But word in New York is you are a tad frustrated with the fund’s impact. Continue reading →
We’ve supersized our capacity to ship stuff across the seas. As our global supply chains grow, what can we gather from the junk that washes up on shore?
There is a stretch of coastline in southern Cornwall known for its dragons. The black ones are rare, the green ones rarer; even a dedicated dragon hunter can go a lifetime without coming across a single one. Continue reading →
If you’ve got $125k in the financial system, it’s doing as much damage as your cooking and your heating and your flying. These are the most important new climate numbers for many years
Earlier today I published a big story in the New Yorker about how banks are driving the climate crisis. A report from a consortium of environmental groups made clear that for the biggest, richest companies on earth, the cash they keep in the banking system (which gets lent out for pipelines and the like) produces more carbon than their actual, you know, business. Google emits more carbon from its money than its phones, and Netflix from its streaming, and so on. Continue reading →
When I read about a promising new technology related to carbon sequestration, I am ambivalent based on the experience of many past false hopes. Carbon is a very large problem. Finding new methods of sequestration is a very challenging puzzle.
The only other newsletter I read regularly is Robinson Meyer’s newsletter for the Atlantic, called The Weekly Planet. Here is one of his worth reading for a bit of encouragement (when you click the hyperlink it will go to the current newsletter, which until April 20 is this one; after April 20 scroll to find this edition):
The world’s biggest tech companies are getting serious about carbon removal, the still-nascent technology wherein humanity can pull heat-trapping carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere. Yesterday, an alliance of prominent Silicon Valley companies—including Google, Meta, Shopify, and the payment company Stripe—announced that it is purchasing $925 million in carbon removal over the next eight years. In a world awash in overhyped corporate climate commitments, this is actually a big deal. Continue reading →
The Secretary General of the UN models how to think about climate change
I can remember when some of us organized what may have been the planet’s first truly huge climate march, with 400,000 people descending on New York in 2014. Then UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon came to walk with us for a few blocks, and it was considered remarkable: the world’s top diplomat had previously been too diplomatic to join in protests challenging the policies of his member nations. Continue reading →
Waste pickers searching for plastics at the main dump in Dakar, Senegal.
The article below, written by Ruth Maclean and accompanied with photographs by Finbarr O’Reilly, is a portrait in developing world green opportunism. It is not a pretty picture, per se, but it is a sight to behold after the market for recycled plastic seemed to implode in recent years. The photo above shows the gritty reality of the work. The photos below show some of the prettier, and more entrepreneurial downstream opportunities from that work:
Workers stripping reusable plastic from mats at the Sosenap factory, which recycles plastic to make mats and carpets in Diamniadio, on the outskirts of Dakar.
Plagued by plastic pollution, Senegal wants to replace pickers at the garbage dump with a formal recycling system that takes advantage of the new market for plastics.
The main event at the outdoor venue for Dakar Fashion Week in December, which had a theme of sustainability.
DAKAR, Senegal — A crowd of people holding curved metal spikes jumped on trash spilling out of a dump truck in Senegal’s biggest landfill, hacking at the garbage to find valuable plastic. Continue reading →
Having won rights to develop wind farms off the coast of Scotland, Shell, Total, and BP are set to invest more in wind power than in oil and gas drilling in the North Sea in the years ahead, the latest evidence of oil majors changing tack on renewables to better navigate the energy transition. Continue reading →