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...

Senator Whitehouse & climate change

Senator Whitehouse puts climate change on budget committee’s agenda

For more than a decade, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse gave daily warnings about the mounting threat of climate change. Now he has a powerful new perch.

Global water crisis could 'spiral out of control' due to overconsumption and climate change, UN report warns

By 2050, the number of people in cities facing water scarcity is projected to nearly double from 930 million people in 2016 to up to 2.4 billion, the report found. Urban water demand is expected to increase by 80% by 2050.

UN warns of ‘draining humanity’s lifeblood’ amid worsening water scarcity

Secretary general urges countries to tackle ‘vampiric overconsumption’, water guzzling industries and climate crisis.

Trump appointees interfered to weaken EPA assessment of toxic chemical
Lorie Shaull/Flickr

Trump appointees interfered to weaken EPA assessment of toxic chemical

Watchdog finds PFBS toxicity value was altered in 2021 report, as scientists say episode part of ‘larger rot at the agency.’

Xi’s delay of Siberia pipeline signals limits to his embrace of Putin

The Chinese leader's state visit showed Moscow and Beijing united against the West, but failure to agree on the Siberia Power 2 pipeline suggested that economic ties have limits.

Women are less likely to buy electric vehicles than men. Here’s what’s holding them back

The United States is pouring more money into electric vehicle infrastructure and rebates, but safety and affordability could be behind the gender gap between men and women owners.

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