Friday, July 9 2021

Quote of the Day

You talk so well, the Sibling said. So frustratingly well. You humans always sound so reasonable. It’s only later, after the pain, that the truth comes out.

Brandon Sanderson, Rhythm of War

Making a difference through modeling, not making a difference

I’m not a member of the Vlogbrothers tribe, but I do enjoy watching their video letters to each other every once in a while. Today’s entry by Hank really has me thinking.

Wrong on the Internet

He’s talking about conclusions on the internet that are very logically persuasive, but without the backing of some references or even anecdotal evidence, that’s not necessarily a true thing. His example is particularly germane to thoughts I’ve been having recently about personal vs collective action. Personal action against climate change feels honestly ridiculous. If there are 100 companies responsible for 70% of the greenhouse gases ruining our environment, me buying a metal straw isn’t going to move that needle in an appreciable way.

That’s the logical assumption, but Hank did some research and found out that individual action really does lead to collective action. Which I find FASCINATING. Here are his sources:

Reducing Your Carbon Footprint Still Matters

We do so because people taking action in their personal lives is actually one of the best ways to get to a society that implements the policy-level change that is truly needed. Research on social behavior suggests lifestyle change can build momentum for systemic change. Humans are social animals, and we use social cues to recognize emergencies. People don’t spring into action just because they see smoke; they spring into action because they see others rushing in with water. The same principle applies to personal actions on climate change.


Ah ha! I could never figure this part out, how marching in the street leads to policy change. This article is really great at explaining how social bonds work–that it’s not individual contributions stacking up (necessarily), it’s individual action repeated enough times by enough people to become a new social norm.

Moderating spillover: Focusing on personal sustainable behavior rarely hinders and can boost climate policy support


Hampster Hotel

I love me some Dorian Gray

How Marginalized Authors Are Transforming Gothic Fiction

I haven’t read gothic fiction heavily since my college days, but what I have read I loved, so here’s some new works to check out.

I know this, but a good reminder

Unequal Impact: The Deep Links Between Racism and Climate Change

All of that is connected, and I don’t know how people don’t see the connection between the extraction and how black and indigenous people suffered as a result of that and continue to suffer, because all of those decisions were made along that historical continuum, all those decisions also came with Jim Crow. They came with literally doing everything necessary to control and squash black people from having any kind of power. 

You need to understand the economics. If you understand that, then you know that climate change is the child of all that destruction, of all of that extraction, of all of those decisions that were made and how those ended up, not just in terms of our freedom and taking away freedom from black people, but hurting us along the way.

It’s all related. You can’t say that with Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico and Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans the loss of lives was simply because there was an extreme weather event. The loss of life comes out of a legacy of neglect and racism. And that’s evident even in the rebuilding. It’s really interesting to see what happens to the land after people have been displaced, how land speculation and land grabs and investments are made in communities that, when there were black people living there, had endured not having the things people need to have livable good lives. 

These things, to me, are connected. It’s comfortable for people to separate them, because remember that the environmental movement, the conservation movement, a lot of those institutions were built by people who cared about conservation, who cared about wildlife, who cared about trees and open space and wanted those privileges while also living in the city, but didn’t care about black people. There is a long history of racism in those movements.

Elizabeth Yeampierre