🌎 #290: Life at 1.2°C

Quinn Emmett
September 2, 2022
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Welcome back, Shit Givers.

If you're out West, I hope you've found a way to stay cool over the next few days. If you have, considering extending it to someone who might not.

Your favorite Action Step last week was joining psilocybin clinical trials. Take care, friends.

You can read this issue on the website, or you can 🎧 listen to it (Spotify, Apple Podcasts).

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Solar panels

Here we go

The news: I said passing Ira was the end of the beginning, a new day for sexy industrial policy, green diplomacy, and the fight to slow the climate crisis.

The US is suddenly a nation with a new glimmer of climate credibility:

  • Solar: The country's largest shop, First Solar, is investing $1.2 billion into a new factory in the Southeast
  • Cars: Honda & LG announced a $4.4 billion EV factory in Ohio
  • Batteries: Panasonic announced a $4 billion battery cell factory in Kansas, and maybe Oklahoma, too, while Toyota threw in $2.5 billion more for its North Carolina plant
  • Rheem dropped a 120 volt heat pump water heater and folks that's a BFD
  • California passed $54 billion in new climate $ (and established oil well buffers and kept Diablo Canyon open)
  • The momentum is building (sorry) to electrify every building, to use AI to power a smarter grid, to cover shrinking canals with solar panels


  • Delhi will spend $600 million to electrify its public transport and clean up the world's nastiest air
  • In China, EV's are now 26% of all car sales, up from 3.5%!
  • In Sweden, a graphite mine is still delayed as environmental permits fail to materialize
  • A $9 billion offshore wind hub in the Baltic Sea could replace a decent chunk of Russian gas
  • Sunny Australia could do 100% renewables, but keeps approving coal mines and I'm like, GUYS

All of these will require vastly more clean economy specific minerals and metals. And that's complicated.

  • Copper, "the wiring that connects the present to the future", might see a 50% increased in demand over the next 20 years
  • And America's sitting on a huge nickel deposit, but those mines have brutal environmental records (from the NYT: "In 2020 (one company blew) up a 46,000-year-old system of Aboriginal caves in Australia in a search for iron ore.")

Copy and paste this re: the ocean, consider the status quo, and we've got some hard questions to ask and answer about how to build the future. Let's go!

⚡️What We Can Do: Read Rewiring America's home electrification guide, and then share it with your apartment/HOA/city council. Let's get to work.


COVID test kit
Vaccine equity update 9-2

There's no free lunch vaccines

The news: Read this sentence and then click the link after it because today's the last day it'll work.

Order free COVID tests from COVID.gov.

Great, now that you've done that, understand that two fundamental tenets of our COVID life are about to change:

  1. The FDA and CDC approved updated booster shots for the first time ever. While the virus will keep on keepin' on, these new shots will target Omicron variants, which is something (get yours at least three months after your last shot or infection).
  2. Those tests you just ordered, and these boosters, have been free to you (well, your tax money paid for them, but you didn't pay directly out of pocket for them. Well, at least, for these tests. The ones you bought at CVS or whatever cost you money, unless you submitted them to your insurance). You get the point.

The point is this: Despite horrific messaging throughout, big government has footed the bill for most of our mitigation strategies over the past couple years.

Without further funding from Congress, that time is coming to an end (*you can still submit tests to your insurance), just as the true costs continue to be made clear. Any further efforts to stem the tide are on you, and your wallet — unless we decide to do this together.

⚡️What We Can Do: Get BioBot. Go here to get your county's wastewater treatment plant and community access to free Covid-19 wastewater and variant testing — so you see what's coming.


Jackson Mississippi state house

How to poison a city

The news: It's 2022, and the capital city of an American state is without potable (or firefighting) water for the foreseeable future, and recent floods withstanding, it's a long time coming.

Jackson, Mississippi's been on a boil advisory for months, got sued by its own children over widespread lead poisoning, and been working with the EPA to remove bacteria from the a 100 year old, 1500 mile network of pipes (Mississipi is also in deep shit for mismanaging federal welfare funds, which would be helpful right now).

From Grist:

"Local advocates say that the city’s water problems are rooted in a history of racism and neglect. The city suffers from old infrastructure that was designed to support a larger population.

After the civil rights movement led to the integration of schools and other public facilities in the 1960s, white people fled the city by the thousands.

According to the Jackson Free Press, nearly 20,000 white people left the city between 2000 and 2010. When white people left, the city lost both tax revenue and institutional support.

Today, the city is roughly 80 percent Black. Similar circumstances have led to water crises in Flint, Detroit, and other cities."

It's not the past at stake in Jackson. This isn't LOOPER. It's the present and future of its businesses, adults, and of course, its children. We can Do Better Better right now.

⚡️What We Can Do: Help now with donations to Cooperation Jackson, a local cooperative working to ensure water access for the homeless, elderly, and those with limited access to transportation.


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Childhood cancer patient

Cancer (and cancer treatment) sucks

The news: For all the progress we've made in treating cancer, the side effects can still be absolutely brutal.

And I'm not even talking about chemotherapy. 

From Science:

"About 10% of those who get checkpoint inhibitors are hospitalized with immune toxicities. As many as 1% die.

A 2021 study suggested that...about 40% of those taking checkpoint drugs develop chronic complications, often arthritis or endocrine dysfunction.

“When people have 4 months to live, the risk makes sense,” Kerry Reynolds, an oncologist at Massachusetts General Hospital says.

For less advanced cancers, “the risk profile changes” and doctors crave more information about who stands to benefit."

The market for these immunotherapy treatments — measured in eligible patients and thus, revenue potential -- is growing, big-time.

To minimize side effects and still unleash the power of the drugs, Dr. Reynolds and friends at MGH and Duke have pioneered algorithms and trials to understand "which cell populations and signaling pathways are behind the complications in different patients."

I'm cheering for them.

⚡️What We Can Do: September heralds the "10th Annual Million Mile" from The Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation, a month-long movement challenge that funds researchers so they can find better treatments and more cures for childhood cancer, because fuck kids cancer, folks. Truly. 

So! I've started a fundraising team and committed to 1) 100 miles and 2) $10,000 raised. You can join Team Important, Not Important right here!


Map with pins

A day in the life, tracked

The news: You've never heard of Fog Data Science LLC, but they've heard of you, and have given your location data to local law enforcement agencies across the country -- and without warrants.

From the AP:

"The company was developed by two former high-ranking Department of Homeland Security officials under former President George W. Bush.

It relies on advertising identification numbers, which Fog officials say are culled from popular cellphone apps such as Waze, Starbucks and hundreds of others that target ads based on a person’s movements and interests, according to police emails.

That information is then sold to companies like Fog.

“It’s sort of a mass surveillance program on a budget,” said Bennett Cyphers, a special adviser at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a digital privacy rights advocacy group."

Do the few details about the company and its practices -- having sold billions of data points about 250 million devices, painting a picture of your daily life, again, often without warrants -- help skirt the Fourth Amendment? Maybe

The good news: The FTC is finally going after data brokers. Last week they sued Kochava, a similar company, because the bartering of "such identification data 'is likely to injure consumers through exposure to stigma, discrimination, physical violence, emotional distress, and other harms.'"

I am fundamentally against the unregulated intrusion of surveillance into our every day lives, and glad to see — in light of Dobbs — more pressure to rein these practices in.

⚡️What We Can Do: Read the WIRED coverage of data brokers (5m) and then throw a donation to the EFF.

🗣 Got feedback or thoughts on this issue? Members can comment here. Not a Member yet? You're just $5 away from joining up.


  1. Calm's credentialed "head of science" bailed. Why?
  2. YouTube is gonna go ahead and label election videos and search results
  3. An incredible investigation of deaths at the border from Yessenia Funes
  4. Asphalt school playgrounds in LA are 145 degrees this week
  5. It's time to paint your roof white
  6. Update: Google Maps will start labeling abortion providers (great work everyone)
  7. Can we grow new organs -- inside people?
  8. Germany's cheap train tickets saved almost 2 million tons of emissions
  9. These enzymes could eat and recycle your shoes
  10. France became the first country to ban fossil fuel ads
  11. EXTRA: The flooding in Pakistan is an absolute nightmare (look at these satellite photos). Donate to our friends at World Central Kitchen to help.

Thanks for reading, and thanks for giving a shit. Have a great weekend.

-- Quinn

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