I know I keep saying that kottke.org is the best web site on Earth, but seriously, reading the pandemic stories that readers sent in is inspiring and soothing and human. There is love and grace and eloquence in the world, if you only stay away from the news.
I think this title is telling. America doesn’t have a health care system. I’d complete it with: “it has a healthcare business”.
So apparently the climate crisis is not important enough to host COP26 online. Let’s wait until we can fly again instead!
If you’re new to remote work in these difficult times, Scott Berkun has made his book The Year Without Pants a free download. It’s both an interesting and entertaining look at his time working at Automattic, the fully remote company that makes WordPress.
As a longtime remote worker, I read it years ago and found myself nodding half the time.
Climate grief is something I have been going in and out of. At times I get really sad about the struggles we’re facing and I cry reading the latest news. But then sometimes I’m amazed and encouraged that it’s gone mainstream. Let’s hope for more. Choose life and love over business and money.
A recruiter from Facebook reached out to me once and I made it clear I could not work for a company that I did not respect and that stood against many of my values. In response, she said that’s exactly why they need people like me. I ignored. A lack of corporate morals is not an engineering problem.
Mike Monteiro to Facebook employees on ethical work:
And yet you sell your labor to a company that caters to a psychopath who’s doing everything possible to destroy that planet.
I make career decisions largely based on whether it makes the world a better place. I say it to everybody I talk to. I also ask other developers if they would turn away an opportunity based on values and morals. Too often, I get a quizzical look. But then there’s this:
We’re dying by fire, and the Google Cloud oil and gas sales vertical is pouring on the gasoline.
So I was doing the math this morning. The Government of Canada wants to plant 2b trees in the next 10 years. Assuming continuous planting 365 days/year, that’s a staggering ~547,000 trees to be planted each and every day.
I mean, I want them to plan those trees, I really DO. But how do you procure and plant half a million trees per day?
I kinda love that FridaysForFuture Canada put up a posting on GoodWork.ca, which is a green job site.
I’m a big fan of Mike Monteiro’s Dear Designer blog. I enjoy how he calls it the way he sees it. This one is about the shame Facebook employees should feel:
And if they don’t have the sense to feel that shame internally, I am happy to provide it for them. Being Catholic alumni, I am more than qualified to do this.
He’s certainly polarizing but he fully owns it:
I’m not here for a seat at the table; I’m here to use the table for kindling.
I mean, I want shit to hit the climate fan in 2020.
We need politicians to take over who are willing to act.
We need fossil fuel companies to see their demise coming.
We need investors to be forced to divest.
We need capitalism to be challenged.
We need people to take to the streets and declare unequivocally that we will not stand for inaction anymore.
With the unprecedented fires in Australia and statements like this one from US Youth Climate Strike, I’m getting the feeling that 2020 is the year that shit will hit the proverbial fan:
[Politics] serve to protect profits over people, donors over voters. They need to be defeated, not convinced.
I noticed today that I got over meat alternatives like the Impossible Burger and Beyond Meat really quickly. Now I much prefer food that embraces its plant-baseness and that opens up so many more possibilities. There are a number of restaurants in my area that have great options, and some like Boon Burger that sell their patties made fresh daily and taste fantastic.
I’ve seen a couple stories this week about the declining price of smart TVs and they’re exactly right. Shop around for a dumb TV, and you’ll have to pay much more. It’s not your money they’re after, it’s your data.
Gizmodo yesterday, on the hypocrisy of oil companies sponsoring COP 25 and the world not doing nearly enough to avoid a climate disaster:
[L]eaders appear to take sufficient action on climate change when they are not. Plain and simple. Carbon emissions continue to rise. Wildfires continue to burn. People continue to die. And all world leaders have done is talk about their ideas without putting any sufficient ones into motion.
There is a reason it’s called black Friday. It’s not a good thing.
On a weekly basis I’m blown away by how much we let companies like Google and Facebook get away with. Two speeches I heard this week highlight my views on this.
- Aral Balkan speaking at the European Parliament. A heartfelt and true plea to push Internet technology in the right direction.
- Sacha Baron Cohen speaking at the Anti-Defamation League Summit. I didn’t know he could be such an eloquent speaker.
The Internet can be a better place than this. It must be.
I just donated $20 to TeamTrees.org. Each dollar means one tree. The goal is to plant 20 million trees worldwide by the end of this year.
The Guardian is putting a lot of emphasis on the climate crisis in their coverage and they are vocal about the urgency of the moment. More like this please. CBC, I’m looking at you, ahem.
Greg Jericho, in a piece entitled Parliamentarians deserve our wrath for 30 years of inaction, not climate protesters:
At some point we need to get angry, but if your anger is directed at those protesting rather than at parliamentarians then I suspect you have consigned yourself to expecting nothing to change.
That’s fine, but own it. Realise if you are annoyed by them it’s because you have become more annoyed by protest than a lack of action.
Good to see The Guardian’s editorial on Friday that made clear they are siding against polluters in the ongoing discussions around the climate crisis. They call it “days of reckoning” and I love this kind of tone. It’s coming up more and more lately. I’m also thinking of Greta Thunberg’s “Right here, right now is where we draw the line.”
If your favorite news source has not kept you up-to-date on all the actions organized this week by the many Extinction Rebellion chapters around the world, fear not. Today they posted a great photo montage of what’s happened so far.
I follow the Extinction Rebellion site through Feedly and I’m impressed so far with the tone and candeur with which they drive their message.
My wife is reading Silence, a romance from the 13th century, and this passage seems prescient:
Assets are worth much less than manure:
at least dung enriches the soil,
but the wealth that is locked away
is a disgrace to the man who hoards it.
We should remember that, in the light of a changing Earth, as humanity needs to get away from capitalism and back to the root of what sustains it.
I don’t know if I would be willing to be arrested to make a stand for the climate crisis, so I have a lot of respect for those in Extinction Rebellion who do.
Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are just one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves.
Opinion piece by Erin Gray and Calvin Sandborn in the Narwhal, claiming that fossil fuel subsidies cost $1,650 per Canadian in 2015:
[C]laiming to fight climate change while subsidizing fossil fuels is as crazy as brushing your teeth while eating Oreos.
Thoughtful words from Michael Chabon, who is stepping down as Chairman of the Board of the MacDowell Colony, about the place of art in today’s world. Surprise, it’s not to make the world a better place. Click through for the full account.
These feel like such dire times, times of violence and dislocation, schism, paranoia, and the earth-scorching politics of fear. Babies have iPads, the ice caps are melting, and your smart refrigerator is eavesdropping on your lovemaking.
Lovely video by Extinction Rebellion in preparation for the civil disobedience events coming in early October.
Today was an incredible day of action in Canada with Montreal leading the way and Toronto showing a huge energetic crowd.
Now I dare hope that this show of resolve will convince at least some voters to make climate the number one electoral issue, if not the candidates that they cannot get elected without strong climate plans.
Tomorrow Friday the 27th I will be at the climate strike in Toronto. Hoping for a big turnout!