Ukraine, war and our world

Waking up to a world at war

It is hard to think about the environment when lives are being torn asunder by war.


I woke up this morning yearning for peace, mourning the harm and loss Ukrainians are experiencing, and hoping for better collective wisdom to guide us through this insanity.

At the top of my inbox this morning was a note from Katelyn Jetelina, a University of Texas epidemiologist who publishes the newsletter "Your Local Epidemiologist."

Posting on a global pandemic feels "insensitive without addressing a different kind of pain and suffering and tragedy that millions will soon face," she said. I concur.

Her wisdom is worth sharing:

"Just like the pandemic, many will also fall victim to mis and disinformation—a new tool that enemies have found to work swimmingly well in a time of anxiety and confusion. Please be sure to find (and share) only solid sources; preferably ones with a reporter on the ground in Ukraine. There are such things as disaster epidemiologists, so I hope they come to the forefront, too, ... to share the public health perspective of war or, more accurately, the devastating interaction between war and pandemic."

War and energy

With Russia serving as Europe's largest energy producer, early reporting has focused on how the global response is hindered by the EU's need for Russian natural gas.

But Russia is also a major provider of nickel, copper, cobalt – all necessary materials for alternative energy sources necessary in the transition away from fossil fuels.

Two stories of note:

Could Russian sanctions hobble U.S. clean energy push?

Norilsk Nickel Russia

Hans Olav Lien/Wikimedia Commons

Politico's Jael Holzman explores the metals market—and how reliant clean energy technologies are on exports from autocratic countries like Russia and China.

Key quote:

“Our concern is that our energy markets are so tied up with nations that do not share our values.”

Worth your time...

The Coming Energy Shock

Gasoline shortage florida 2021

CWMc/flickr

The Atlantic looks at the global energy market, Russia's immunity from foreign sanctions, and the havoc Russia could inflict on world markets.

"Any Russian retreat from world oil markets will jolt prices in ways that will be felt at gas pumps around the world."

Keep reading...

Some good news

In dark times I often turn back to Gary Snyder's short poem, "For the Children."

I need this today, and his advice at the end is worth carrying forward:

stay together
learn the flowers
go light

I'm grateful to our researcher, Autumn Spanne, who found this morsel of good news on the website Reasons to be Cheerful:

More women than ever are contributing to the next IPCC climate report

Women's Science March San Francisco

Matthew Roth/flickr

“Things are changing,” Miriam Gay-Antaki, an assistant professor of geography & environmental studies told reporter Jessica Kutz.

“People are realizing that attending to gender is not a nuisance but something that a lot of people actually want.”

Read the good news...

Guilbeault lays out steps Canada must take to adapt to climate change

Dozens of experts advising the government on adapting to climate change say Canada needs to do more to prepare infrastructure for the threats of extreme weather and get faster at helping Canadians recover from floods, fires and major storms.
Sunrise in the woods

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Persistent drought in Ethiopia an example of climate change, experts say

Drought is not new to the Horn of Africa, but experts say the record one killing crops and cattle across Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia has underscored the increasing frequency of drought due to climate change.

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Arizona activists push for passage of environmental justice bill

Historically disenfranchised communities negatively affected by pollution and climate change are seeking environmental justice.

The struggle for clean air and water in Benicia

Environmental watchdog group Baykeeper filed a lawsuit in federal court against Amports, which owns the Port of Benicia, and Valero for allegedly mishandling petroleum coke, a refinery product that can damage the heart and lungs.
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Summer Lee was considered a longshot when she ousted a 20-year incumbent Democrat in Pennsylvania’s House of Representatives back in 2018.

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In a damning and lucidly-written report, the Human Rights Commission found that the world’s largest fossil fuel companies had “engaged in willful obfuscation and obstruction to prevent meaningful climate action.”

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