Day: September 3, 2021

How government decisions left Tennessee exposed to deadly flooding

Read the full story in the New York Times.

Choices about building rules, insurance programs, flood maps and more put residents at higher risk, according to climate and disaster experts.

Beavers to make ‘cautious’ return to England with legal protection

Read the full story in The Guardian.

The government is launching a consultation on more reintroductions to the wild after a successful trial in Devon.

5 ways the infrastructure bill would improve America’s flood resilience

Read the full story from Pew.

The $1 trillion-dollar infrastructure bill passed Aug. 10 by the Senate contains disaster and flood-resilience provisions of historic proportions. The once-in-a-generation investment would include billions of dollars in resilience measures that would help protect communities from flooding and other disasters at a time when people across the country, and around the world, are struggling to combat the increasing severity of deadly storms and rising seas. The bill’s emphasis on getting communities flood-ready shows that, to Congress and the White House, resilience is no longer an afterthought but a national priority. Here are five key ways the bill would help lower the risks and costs of flooding and other disasters across the U.S.:

Can California reduce dairy methane emissions equitably?

Read the full story at Inside Climate News.

State officials say dairy digesters can reduce greenhouse gas and toxic air emissions from large dairies. Why community activists don’t believe them.

Millions of electric car batteries will retire in the next decade. What happens to them?

Read the full story in The Guardian.

The quest to prevent batteries – rich in raw materials such as cobalt, lithium and nickel – ending up as a mountain of waste.

Ordinary people, extraordinary change: addressing the climate emergency through ‘quiet activism’

Shutterstock

by Wendy Steele, RMIT University; Diana MacCallum, Curtin University; Donna Houston, Macquarie University; Jason Byrne, University of Tasmania, and Jean Hillier, RMIT University

Across the world, people worried about the impacts of climate change are seeking creative and meaningful ways to transform their urban environments. One such approach is known as “quiet activism”.

“Quiet activism” refers to the extraordinary measures taken by ordinary people as part of their everyday lives, to address the climate emergency at the local level.

In the absence of national leadership, local communities are forging new responses to the climate crisis in places where they live, work and play.

As we outline in a book released this month, these responses work best when they are collaborative, ongoing and tailored to local circumstances.

Here are three examples that show how it can be done.

Climate for Change: a Tupperware party but make it climate

Climate for Change is a democratic project in citizen-led climate education and participation.

This group has engaged thousands of Australians about the need for climate action — not through public lectures or rallies, but via kitchen table-style local gatherings with family and friends.

As they put it:

We’ve taken the party-plan model made famous by Tupperware and adapted it to allow meaningful discussions about climate change to happen at scale.

Their website quotes “Jarrod”, who hosted one such party, saying:

I’ve been truly surprised by the lasting impact of my conversation amongst friends who were previously silent on the issue – we are still talking about it nine months on.

Climate for Change has published a “climate conversation guide” to help people tackle tricky talks with friends and family about climate change.

It has also produced a resource on how to engage your local MP on climate change.

EnviroHouse: hands-on community education

EnviroHouse is a not-for-profit organisation based in Western Australia committed to local-scale climate action through hands-on community education and engagement projects, such as:

  • facilitating workshops on energy efficiency
  • visiting schools on request to provide sustainability services
  • collecting seeds to grow thousands of she-oaks, paperbarks and rushes along the eroded Maylands foreshore in Perth
  • teaching workshops on composting, worm farming and bokashi techniques to community members
  • giving talks on sustainable living
  • running a home and workplace energy and water auditing program.

Climarte: arts for a safe climate

Climarte is a group that

collaborates with a wide range of artists, art professionals, and scientists to produce compelling programs for change. Through festivals, events and interventions, we invite those who live, work and play in the arts to join us.

This group aims to create a space which brings together artists and the public to work, think and talk through the implications of climate change.

Why quiet?

Quiet activism raises questions around what it means to be an activist, or to “do activism”.

While loud, attention-grabbing and disruptive protests are important, local-scale activities are also challenging the “business as usual” model. These quiet approaches highlight how ordinary citizens can take action every day to generate transformative change.

There is a tendency within climate activism to dismiss “quiet” activities as merely a precursor to bigger, more effective (that is, “louder”) political action.

Everyday local-scale activities are sometimes seen as disempowering or conservative; they’re sometimes cast as privileging individual roles and responsibility over collective action.

However, a growing range of voices draws attention to the transformative potential of small, purposeful everyday action.

UK-based researcher Laura Pottinger emphasises that these everyday practices are acts of care and kindness to community — both human and non-human.

Her interest is a “dirt under the fingernails” kind of activism, which gains strength from a quiet commitment to practical action.

A wetlands restoration project is in progress.
Researcher Laura Pottinger argues that a kind of ‘dirt under the fingernails’ activism gains strength from a quiet commitment to practical action. Shutterstock

Climate action, here and how

The climate crisis has arrived and urgent action is required.

By creatively participating in local climate action, we can collectively reimagine our experience of, and responses to, the climate emergency.

In doing so, we lay the foundation for new possibilities.

Quiet activism is not a panacea. Like any other form of activism, it can be ineffective or, worse, damaging. Without an ethical framework, it risks enabling only short-lived action, or leading to only small pockets of localised activity.

But when done ethically and sustainably — with long-term impact in mind — quiet activism can make a profound difference to lives and communities.

Wendy Steele, Associate Professor, Centre for Urban Research, RMIT University; Diana MacCallum, Adjunct research academic, Curtin University; Donna Houston, Associate Professor, School of Social Sciences, Macquarie University; Jason Byrne, Professor of Human Geography and Planning, University of Tasmania, and Jean Hillier, Professor Emerita, RMIT University

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Plants, heavy metals, and the lingering scars of World War I

Read the full story at Atlas Obscura.

A closer look at the hardy residents of some of our most damaged landscapes.

Parts of the web are disappearing every day. Here’s how to save Internet history

Read the full story from Fast Company.

The websites of today are the historical evidence of tomorrow—but only if they are archived.

From 1m trees to a tree graveyard: how Dubai’s conservation plans went awry

Read the full story in The Guardian.

Hundreds of thousands of trees have died after costly real estate projects thwarted attempts to halt desertification.

‘Unrealistic’ experimental designs obscured effects of nitrogen pollution: Study

Read the full story at The Hill.

Flaws in the design of experiments studying the effects of nitrogen pollution have obscured its true impact, according to research published Wednesday by the University of Exeter.

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