🌎 A Seat At The Table

Plus: scaling CRISPR, AI safeguards, and bird flu questions

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Welcome to the week.

Before we get to the news, we have a new podcast episode out with Jacqui Patterson, founder and Executive Director of the Chisholm Legacy Project, a climate justice organization. Jacqui is brilliant and inspiring, don’t miss it (more details below).

Ok, let’s go.

This week:

  • 🌲The reforestation gap

  • 💊No MDMA for PTSD

  • 🦠A plastic-eating fungus

  •  🤖AI whistleblowers

  • And more

Stay cool,

— Willow

This is science for people who give a shit.

Every week, we help 35,000+ humans understand and unfuck the rapidly changing world around us. It feels great, and we’d love for you to join us.

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Last week, we asked: Do you feel like you are up to speed with the current situation around the H5N1 Bird Flu outbreaks in the US?

You said:

🟨🟨🟨⬜️⬜️⬜️ Yes (31%)

“Yes, I feel up to speed, but not thanks to local or national news. I follow an epidemiologist and some others who provide the detail the news and government don't.”

🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩 No (55%)

“I have zero understanding about where things are at, what is a reputable source for the current state of things, and how-whether this is different than the bird flu from 20 years ago.”

🟨⬜️⬜️⬜️⬜️⬜️ I don't know (14%)

“I know that bird flu is affecting agricultural interests (chickens and cattle).. not a good thing at all, but am unsure how this is affecting human beings and what the dangers of bird flu are.”

New Shit Giver Shawn wants to help solve “education quality decline, climate crisis, ethics in politics, extreme political polarization.“

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⚡️ Climate change:

🦠 Health & Bio:

  • Advisers to the FDA overwhelmingly rejected the evidence supporting MDMA as an effective treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder, citing shortcomings and missteps in the research

  • The American Cancer Society is enrolling 100,000 Black women in a long term, long overdue study to determine the causes of higher case and death rates

  • CRISPR has the potential to unleash a new era of medicine. We just need to overcome some key roadblocks to scale it, from regulatory hurdles to economic incentives to manufacturing challenges.

  • 🌎️ Two new malaria vaccines have been approved by the WHO, but rolling them out in Africa, where they are desperately needed, is being slowed by limited production capacity, funding gaps, logistical hurdles, and the need to increase domestic manufacturing capabilities

💦 Food & Water:

  • 🌎️ Marine microbiologists have discovered an ocean fungus that is capable of breaking down plastic polytethylene. Nature is healing?

  • 🌎️ To cut plastic waste before in enters the ocean in the first place, experts have developed a Global Plastics AI Policy Tool to help policymakers reduce waste in the food system

  • 🌎️ Local groups in Chile are trying to stop Big Tech from building data centers there, fearing environmental devastation, especially as the country faces a national drought.

  • The West relies on the US Drought Monitor, but the map may not be able to keep up with climate change to address long-term drying trends.

👩‍💻 Beep Boop:

🌎️ = Global news

Where we’re at with the bird flu outbreak 👇️ 

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Last week’s most popular Action Step was finding (or starting!) a local Beyond Plastics group to reduce plastic pollution in your community.

  • Donate to The Just Transition Alliance to help shift frontline communities toward a sustainable economy that doesn’t compromise people and their environment.

  • Volunteer with Mothers Out Front to fight for our children’s future and come together for climate, racial, and social justice.

  • 🌎️ Get educated about ways to decolonize climate research and reframe the issue as not just a scientific problem, but a social one too.

  • Be heard about supporting Black climate justice leadership and check out Policies for the People from the Chisholm Legacy Project.

  • 🌍️ Invest in building solar energy across India and Africa with Renewables.org.

🌎️ = Global Action Step

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How do we tackle huge systemic intersectional environmental justice issues at the local level?

That's today's big question, and my guest is Jacqui Patterson.

Jacqui is the Founder and Executive Director of the Chisholm Legacy Project, which helps connect Black communities that are being disproportionately impacted by the climate crisis with the resources they need to create systemic change across connected challenges.

Jacqui was recently named to Time Magazine's 2024 list of Women of the Year, and she took home the Earth Award for her work. Jacqui was previously the Senior Director of the NAACP Environmental and Climate Justice Program. Since 2007, she has served as Coordinator and Co-founder of Women of Color United.

📖 Prefer to read? Get the transcript here.

▶️ Or watch the full episode on YouTube.

Listen on Apple Podcasts
Listen on Overcast
Listen on Spotify

What does a great cup of coffee taste like? Delightful.

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