🌍 The Great Recycling Ruse

Plus: grid resiliency, a planetary health diet, and milk without the cow

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Welcome to the week.

If you haven’t yet, don’t forget to listen to our latest episode with Jacqui Patterson, founder of The Chisholm Legacy Project — it’s all about tackling systemic environmental justice issues at the local level and it’s a 10/10 listen.

Now, to the news.

This week:

  • 🚗 EV tariffs

  • 📞Telehealth disruptions

  • 🍎A federal food waste strategy

  • 🤖 AI safety testing & liability

  • And more

Have a great week,

— 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.

New Shit Giver Victoria wants to help solve “environmental sustainability, food justice, economic equity“.

All things that go hand in hand. Let’s get to it!


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From My Notebook header

⚡️ Climate change:

🦠 Health & Bio:

  • The EPA says that municipal water systems must remove cancer-causing PFAS (forever chemicals)…aaaand now chemical and manufacturing groups are suing them because they don’t want to do that for some reason (ahem, $$$)

  • 23 million low-income households have been dropped from a federal internet subsidy program to help them get online, which isn’t great for a lot of reasons, but especially because a lack of internet means a lack of connection to telehealth services (something that has been essential to filling the healthcare gap in rural communities)

  • Finally a diet that’s good for the planet and helps you live longer — at least according to a recent study that tested the “Planetary Health Diet” and found that it reduced risk in “every major cause of mortality” from heart disease to Alzheimer’s to cancer

  • CVS recalls their generic drugs two times more often than their competitors (including medication for children made using contaminated water or from the same machines that produce pesticides, for the love of God) due to sourcing from poor quality factories

  • Black Americans are 4x more likely to suffer from kidney disease. The successful transplant of a genetically modified pig kidney is a promising milestone to increase timely access to kidney transplants by expanding the pool of available organs

💦 Food & Water:

  • The federal government has taken a first step to reduce food waste with a new strategy that involved efforts to change individual and business behaviors, funding research into extending shelf life, and turning food waste into useable commodities

  • 🌏️ A wetter than expected dry season combined with successful water management has allowed the Panama Canal to avoid a shipping crisis

  • The misuse of antibiotics in animal agriculture has led to a crisis in antibiotic resistant infections, but some farmers are still using antibiotics for “growth promotion” in pigs

  • 🌍️ Many people are starting to transition to a “flexitarian” diet to lower their carbon footprint (ie choosing to eat chicken instead of beef). But unfortunately, that comes with trade-offs for animal welfare

  • Genetic engineers are trying to make milk without the cow, by introducing bovine genes into yeasts and plants so that they can make milk proteins

👩‍💻 Beep Boop:

  • California is working on a bill that mandates large AI companies to do safety testing, or be liable for any damages or mass casualties caused by their tool (Big Tech’s not happy about it)

  • Apple and Google have announced plans to revamp our phones with AI, including better voice assistants, image generation, web article summaries, and crafting text/email responses

  • A scam call center is using AI designed to streamline customer service to power its operation

  • Tech companies are integrating AI at an alarming pace, but the hype may be outpacing the actual utility and oversight of the tools being released, and this overhauling of the online ecosystem has long-term impacts that are ambiguous and uncertain

  • 🌍️ Human rights activists are raising the alarm on an AI training dataset that may be training on images of children without their knowledge or consent

🌎️ = Global news

A circle of deceit!

🙋‍♀️ Vote!

How important is it for you to reduce plastic in your home?

Login or Subscribe to participate in polls.

Last week, we asked: What do you want to hear more about?

You said:

🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩 Climate change (clean energy, adaptation, mitigation, solutions, etc) (28%)

“Inevitably Climate change will impact the rest of the responses in a significant way. It seems to me to be the number one issue facing all of humanity. ”

🟨⬜️⬜️⬜️⬜️⬜️ Public health (9%)

“Just that I don't see lots about it these days and would like to keep up with the changes.”

🟨🟨⬜️⬜️⬜️⬜️ Food (11%)

🟨⬜️⬜️⬜️⬜️⬜️ Biotech (7%)

“Anything related to technology and the future, I’m interested about that.”

🟨⬜️⬜️⬜️⬜️⬜️ Water (9%)

“Wars are already being fought over the stuff, and nobody seems to be addressing the effect drought and famine have had on worsening the immigration crisis here in the states.”

🟨⬜️⬜️⬜️⬜️⬜️ Tech (7%)

🟨⬜️⬜️⬜️⬜️⬜️ Medicine (7%)

🟨🟨⬜️⬜️⬜️⬜️ AI (13%)

“It's moving super fast and many lay people don't get it one bit and probably skip over it. It will change everything and quickly.”

🟨⬜️⬜️⬜️⬜️⬜️ Other (send us your ideas!) (9%)

“Inequality and the hoarding of fiat currency.”

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Last week’s most popular Action Step was joining Mothers Out Front to fight for climate, racial, and social justice.

  • Donate to the National Education Equity Lab to help advance economic and social mobility opportunities for underserved, highly-talented students.

  • Volunteer to join the BlueGreen Alliance to help unite labor unions and environmental organizations so we can create quality jobs in a clean and equitable economy.

  • 🌎️ Get educated about the impact of parking policy on your community, and check out this map from the Parking Reform Network to explore parking reform (which can impact climate, equity, housing, traffic, etc.) in over 1400 cities.

  • 🌎️ Be heard about using the food system to combat climate change at the local level, and share the From Plate to Planet report with your local officials.

  • Invest in regenerative agriculture that improves food security and benefits the natural ecosystem with Farm.

🌎️ = Global Action Step

Together With Bookshop

Want to read what the people working on the frontlines of the future are reading?

Every week, I ask our podcast guest, "What’s a book you’ve read this year that’s opened your mind to a topic you haven’t considered before, or that’s changed your thinking in some way?"

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