Sigh of relief
+ An astonishing map, good reasons to quit and a decent dose of optimism (#418)
There are now, apparently, 8 billion people living on this planet. Rounded by a couple million that's certainly correct, though I found it rather silly to pin it down to a specific day so that everyone could publish their prewritten stories. It should be clear that the data is nowhere near precise enough such that we could tell the exact day we went from 7 billion something to 8 billion something. Also, if it weren't for people's obsession with round numbers, what's the significance?
Anyway, that's the kind of thing that gets me worked up on an average week 🙂 There was one take on this whole 8 billion milestone that I liked, from Kelsey Piper. «I think humanity is really cool and special and I am glad there are so many of us, even though we are falling short of building a world where they can all grow up in safety and abundance.»
Two more quick notes before we get to this week's recommendations:
- I have created a new section for my digital bookshelf, with books that shaped my understanding of the climate crisis and continue to inform my thinking and my actions. Maybe you find this useful, maybe you'd like to recommend a book to me that I should read next?
- If you happen to be on Mastodon, say hi.
1. Who fired the missile into Poland?
This week seemed like a good week to check back in with my most trusted source of information on the war in Ukraine. On Tuesday, two people were killed in Poland by what appeared to be a missile strike. A NATO member state under attack, maybe by accident? Time to hold your breath. Ukrainecast, as usual, helped me make sense of it, with expert clarification on what actually happens when a NATO country is attacked, or believes it is attacked.
2. Emissions Map by Climate Trace
It's a saddening map to look at, but what it shows and how it comes to be is astonishing. Climate Trace tracks carbon emissions down to the level of individual polluting facilities — coal plants, oils fields, cement factories, even cattle feedlots — using satellite data. More than 79 000 emitters all over the globe, tracked in near real time, creating what the New York Times called a «hyperlocal atlas of the human activities that are altering the planet’s chemistry».
3. How Quitting Can be Your Competitive Advantage
Remember when Liz Truss proclaimed «I'm a fighter, not a quitter» (only to resign a couple hours later)? Quitting usually gets a bad rap, people who quit are seen as weak, lacking resolve and perseverance. In a new book (and here in an interview), Annie Duke makes the case for how knowing when to quit is a superpower. (Though, I should advise, this doesn't mean that being Liz Truss is a superpower.)