What topics are we not covering, what do you want more of?
Big stuff: Infrastructure, international climate policy bright spots, mass movements, civil/LGBTQ/disability rights, governance, emerging tech
Organizing: Social impact, affordable housing, jobs in clean energy, rewilding, educational inequality, local political impact, poverty and racism
Personal: Sustainability tips, neurological coverage, health tech, food tips, eco-fashion options, horses (?), cost of living as a factor for the subjects covered, mental health, parenting, sleep
But also: Single out people that help others, report on the newsletter’s impact, more personal experiences
My thoughts: You obviously said much more, but I really love the way this all breaks down. We can’t be everything to everyone all of the time, but it’s all appealing to me — we’d always love to do more, to help more, to cater more specifically to each of you.
At the moment, we are extremely strapped in two ways: bandwidth/resources and space on the page.
Obviously the currently newsletter (Action Steps + essay + news) is pretty long as is, but I’m not sure how to break it up without overloading people’s inboxes every week.
For example, I’d love to offer more global coverage, but to do that well we need to hire someone more representative of whatever part of the world we’re seeking to cover. Hiring people costs money, and we need many more of you to become paid Members to even consider bringing on additional staff.
I’d love to focus more on the personal-level, but I really think that’s probably a secondary newsletter. Or podcast. Or both? Same with parenting. That’s top of my list. Not because I’m the world’s best climate-era parent, but because I fail at most things most of the time, and I feel like I can share those pretty earnestly and constructively.
Either way, because we think gatekeeping is bullshit, we are constantly trying to balance providing Action Steps that are traditionally defined as “systemic” and “personal”. Both are vitally important, and actually work together to create what I call Compound Action. The right personal Action Steps scale across time and people to create mass movements, to change markets, to influence policy. The right systemic Action Steps can unlock archaic systems to enable more far more individuals to build safety nets, and then build health and wealth on top of them.
Lastly, I’d love to talk more about horses but I feel like Ken said enough for all of us.
Which of the following best describes your current industry?
Not to ignore 90% of you, but I was surprised and delighted to see that almost 10% of you are in education in some way.
I love teachers of every stripe, from kindergarten to trade schools to swim lessons, and want to do much (much) more to support you.
Besides generally providing ways for non-educators to get educated on our various topics, I’d like to start producing more resources for educators.
🚨 Please (please) respond to this email and let us know who and 🤝what you teach, and how we can be most helpful.
What do you want less of?
My thoughts: Like I said, we can’t be everything to everyone all the time. We don’t have the bandwidth to expand beyond North America right now (and we barely cover Mexico).
There’s no way to separate politics from what we do here. We're biased, but we do not categorically support any particular party, person, or company.
Instead, we often and specifically call out both good actors and bad actors who are measurably working towards or preventing progress at every level of power. It’s why we promote Action Steps for elections, and especially at the local level. Recruiting, campaigning for, and electing young people who give a shit is among the most measurable ways to build the foundation of a safety net for everyone.
Understanding who, what money, and what policies are driving progress — or standing in the way — are key to bending the arc further and faster.
And that’s the goal here — action.
Sometimes that calls for some light profanity. Is it necessary? Of course not. But 1) It’s my newsletter and 2) It’s the turn of the tide, and we’re acting like it. If a few curse words every Friday is too much for you, there’s plenty of other, significantly more talented writers describing these times with a more gentle eloquence.
I call attention to how hot it is to share my personal experience (a privileged one with a lot of A/C), to foster community (it’s hot basically everywhere), and because we have to talk about the practical implications of what’s happening — not just link to cool new tech.
There is a beautiful, radically more equitable future ahead of us, but in the meantime, people and ecosystems are suffering.
I actually don’t share my personal experiences in depth and at length very often here — “Why I don’t eat animals” aside — but a lot of people really responded to that one, so. I’m torn. I still really struggle with putting my actual self out there because I’m pretty private and because who cares. But I’ll do whatever moves the needle.
That said, if you’d like even less of my story, I highly recommend our podcast! Long-form conversations with incredible people working on the frontlines of the future. Overall, 60% of our guests self-identify as women, and almost 50% identify as people of color. I am neither of those.
…which means I’m far less likely to have been affected by the AI and other tech that have — for at least a decade now — been denying people of color mortgages, insurance, healthcare, jobs, and more.
I understand those things feel less immediate and pressing, and I have no idea what the future of AI and tech will be — none of us really do — but while there will be amazingly cool stuff to come, I’m very aware of how bad actors use them to reinforce historical prejudices every single day. I am aware of the data burden that fueled the rise of huge tech conglomerates and increasing inequality, and how that same non-encrypted data is now being used against you in court when you want to get an abortion.
If you don’t think AI and tech are a necessary part of the conversation, I encourage you to choose the red pill Birkenstock and subscribe to our friends at The Markup.
All that said, I’m going to continue to do everything I can to call attention to that bullshit before it gets even further out of hand.
And yeah, I’d also like to talk a lot less about electric vehicles and other expensive electrification options. The issue here is transportation is 30% of US emissions, and I can’t ignore that.
While we fully support local and federal efforts to electrify heavy trucks and buses, electrifying your car — or better yet, getting rid of it entirely — is a big (and social) swing for chipping away at those emissions. So is a home heat pump, followed by getting some form of solar, an induction stove, etc. There’s no one answer, which is why the Action Steps mostly change every week (but are, in sum, weighted towards what is going to have the most measurable impact).
All of that shit is really expensive — which is why it’s great the IRA is subsidizing many of them — but either way, there’s no getting around how residential and commercial emissions are another 13-20% of our overall total. That’s a lot, and we need to reduce it to Real Zero ASAP.
But I promise, we hear you, and we’ll try to do much more to provide Action Steps that don’t cost very much (if anything at all, money-wise, at least).