🧠 Top of Mind: Consider Puddles
What I'm thinking about right now
The post below is usually intended for INI members, so most weeks I’d say: please don't share it, forward the email to friends or enemies, or print it out and decorate your basement with it (again, I can’t say this clearly enough — we’re looking at you, Gary).
But today we’re sharing it widely so you can get a taste of what Members get every week in addition to the regular newsletter. Enjoy!
🧠 Top of Mind
Top of Mind brings you my more informal thoughts, questions, research, and INI-specific tools, as I'm living with them.
The Supreme Court fucked us — and the planet — again.
This decision seemed inevitable (it’s been traversing the legal system for over 10 years), and so it was.
Yesterday, the nine unelected justices with lifetime appointments ruled (per The New York Times) that "the Clean Water Act does not allow the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate discharges into some wetlands near bodies of water” because (according to Justice Alito) “that law covers only wetlands ‘with a continuous surface connection’ to those waters.”
As friend of the pod and pioneering investigative journalist Amy Westervelt put it: the decision — to basically unprotect 90 million acres of formerly protected wetlands — is like “saying there’s no connection between air pollution and the atmosphere.”
I’m fucking mad, no doubt, but for my purposes and yours — I think we need to take a deep breath and confront moments like these by examining what we can control, and what we cannot.
We can’t, for example, reverse the decision somehow, or vote Supreme Court justices out, no matter how brazenly corrupt. We can’t force any one or more of them to suddenly retire.
The list goes on and on, and it’s important, because recognizing what is out of our control releases us to focus on what we can.
We can campaign and vote for local and state candidates who give a shit — and even in some states, judges themselves — who will nominate or confirm local and state judges who don’t have it out for nature (or kids, or uteruses). Those races are often the most affordable to contribute to, and where you’ll see the most significant co-benefits.
Further up the chain, you can campaign and vote for winnable Congressional races so we don’t have such slim margins that protecting our precious ecosystems isn’t left up to a bunch of unelected all-powerful asshats. You can also contribute to myriad organizations like Earthjustice who make it their business to be earth’s lawyer.
It’s easy to be furious and feel impotent about shit like this. Coming back to what the hell we can actually do about it is how we fight another day.
🤔 Questions to Chew On
Many of you spearhead organizations large and small. Taking a look at how your org uses resources today and how you can reduce your impact tomorrow can go a long way.
What processes can you identify in your operations that directly or indirectly contribute to water pollution? What changes can you make?
How can you improve water efficiency? Are there proven strategies or new tech that can help?
How are you managing and tracking wastewater? Can you recycle it?
What are your products made of? Are there materials in your supply chain harvested from or that directly impact wetlands?
🔨 Tools to Bookmark
Ember’s Electricity Data Explorer. Extremely handy to understand global generation by country and by source, and at a glance
Purple Air’s open-source air quality map. Self-explanatory/
Our World in Data’s “Technology Over The Long Run” tool. Another piece of vital context for how the world is speeding up.
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🙋♀️ Today’s Poll
Do you know how your business affects ecosystems?
(it's ok if you don't -- yet)
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Have a great holiday weekend.