Less of everything

Dog days

Never in the five years that I’ve written this newsletter have I really taken active pauses that weren’t vacation-related, but records are meant to be broken! But links are piling up and regardless of my mood I still file every day, so there’s work to share. And here it all is to fill the interim spaces where it is very hot and hopeless, which is how August usually feels to me.


Green Scene

Me: Even at levels considered safe, U.S. air pollution is killing tens of thousands according to new research. House Democrats have established 2050 as the new minimum bar for zeroing out emissions. A coal CEO hosted a fundraiser for Trump while Appalachian miners sick with black lung desperately lobbied Congress for help.

We talk a lot about climate change and presidential debates — but we forget to mention water. Climate united and divided during the Democratic debates. Democrats are ramping up scrutiny of the companies behind PFAS. Democratic 2020 contenders, meanwhile, will have not one but two climate forums to attend in September. Coal miners, abandoned by executives, took over a railroad track.

The Trump administration’s war with California over vehicle emissions standards could cost the U.S. up to $400 billion by mid-century, per new research. The IPCC land report is here: time to start talking about how we might need both collective and individual action.

Elsewhere: An Icelandic plaque offers a warning. A death spiral for Arctic research. What Boris Johnson means for science. What it feels like to die from heat stroke. The legacy of the Blob. This piece — on immigration woes and borders, environmental degradation, climate change, species, and my pet place of interest, Svalbard — has it all.

PFAS chemicals haunt compostables, in case you needed more nightmares. A great heat island visualization looks at cities like D.C., Baltimore, and Richmond. Opinion: farmers don’t need to read the science, because they are living it. Planting trees is good but stopping deforestation is better.

Blues Buzz

The Crane Wife. Shtetl in the Sun — portraits of aging Jewish communities in South Beach. Every Megan Rapinoe interview is good but this one is especially good. Traister on Elizabeth Warren: the ultimate teacher. Bad Summer.

Spoken & Written

CJ Hauser on divorce, biology, friendship, and cranes: “There are worse things than not receiving love. There are sadder stories than this. There are species going extinct, and a planet warming. I told myself: who are you to complain, you with these frivolous extracurricular needs?”

More Pinoe: “You want us to be role models for your kids. You want us to endorse your products. You parade us around. It’s like, we’re not just here to sit in the glass case for you to look at. That’s not how this is going to go.”

Helena Fitzgerald on summer: “Things keep falling from the sky. Heatwaves follow heatwaves; temperatures scorch one city and then another; the air is a misery. We give ourselves outsize permission to complain, to blame the weather. The planet flirts with being unlivable. We all flirt with the disaster of the future, all strapped in together in a car driving toward a wall. Bad news arrives over and over. Friends get sick, are sick. There is nothing for me to do.”


  • Self care, whatever that looks like for you.

  • It is absolute nightmare fuel, but the book Women Talking is pretty extraordinary.