Sunscreen and coral bleaching, climate town hall, the ugly side of flowers

I’ve had a really busy summer, and there is no sign of work slowing down in September, so this is a brief post highlighting some of the my favorite things that I read and listened in July + August 2019.

Yup – I’m recommending an entire website. Like, I LOVE literally everything Polly writes. If you haven’t heard of her, Polly is – in her words – “here to break down the big, overwhelming ideas of zero waste and living sustainably into smaller, more actionable pieces.” She is thoughtful, always focuses on the big picture, and is such an awesome educator all around.

From her, I’ve learned about the intersectionality between environmentalism and racism, oppression and inequalities, and why I should care; I’ve learned that it IS possible to have nuance on social media; and I’ve learned the importance of actually getting out in the community instead of shouting in our little Internet bubbles.

If you are on Instagram, go follow her, right now – she is currently running a fantastic series called “20 Days of Everyday Activism” leading up to the Sept 20 global climate strikes.

On the Media: Whose streets? (podcast)

Speaking of intersectionality, here is an excellent example of the link between public transit and systematic racism, disability rights, and why the heartwarming “walking-to-work” news stories are missing the point.

Image credit: Jed Dela Cruz via Unsplash

Vox: I work in the environmental movement. I don’t care if you recycle

And speaking of “focusing on the big picture”, THIS.

Grist: For 7 hours, Democratic presidential candidates talked climate crisis — and it was great

Climate policy finally got the air time it deserves on the US presidential debate stage! Ok, it wasn’t really a debate debate – but regardless, major brownie points to CNN for interviewing the democratic presidential candidates for its Climate Crisis Town Hall. If you did not watch the full 7 (!) hours of it, this Grist piece is a great recap, so is this 20 minute podcast episode on Today Explained.

Lab Muffin: Is your sunscreen killing coral reefs?

Oh how I wish I’d discovered Michelle’s blog earlier! This is a great example of the informative and evidence-backed posts and videos you’ll find on Lab Muffin. Even though Michelle has a PhD in chemistry, her writing’s got none of the jargons, paragraph-long sentences, and nonsensical methods you find in peer-reviewed journals. If you are curious about the your beauty products, the environmental impacts, what’s worth buying/not – all explained simply and scientifically – Michelle is your gal!

Image credit: Leonardo Wong via Unsplash

Scientific American: Blooms away, the real price of flowers

An oldie but a goodie. Until fairly recently, I had no idea just how ugly the cut flower industry is: the unthinkable amount of pesticides, fertilizers, and water, the abuses and suffering forced upon the workers, and the huge environmental footprint from refrigerating, driving and flying flowers across the globe…just so we could display them for a week before tossing them in the trash!

If you want to learn more about the environmental impact of this industry, this article is a great start. But if you are on Instagram, I’m posting tips this week all about how to become a more responsible flower lover.

Planet Money: A mob boss, a garbage boat and why we recycle (podcast)

Are you sick of me talking about recycling yet? I hope not – because here are two more great podcasts on recycling from NPR’s Planet Money team. I’ll just tease you by saying: America sort of owes recycling to a mob boss. (This is a two-part series, part 2 is here).

The Wrong Kind of Green: The manufacturing of Greta Thunberg

This is a fascinating (and long) read. Or “reads” I should say, since this is one of a deeply investigated five-part series. Though I disagree with much of the conclusion drawn from this series, I do very much appreciate the work being done at the Wrong Kind of Green – a group aiming to keep prominent environmental organizations (or what they call the “non-profit industrial complex”) accountable.

(Site note: not convinced that non-profits and charitable foundations can do harm? The second season of Future Perfect is all about the ways that philanthropy can be a bad thing.)

Melanie Joy: Why we love dogs, eat pigs, and wear cows, an introduction to carnism

Real talk: it took me an entire month to get through this short book. Even as someone who was well aware of the abuses in the animal agriculture industry, this book hit me pretty hard; however, it’s also made me think about eating animals in ways I never have before. If you are someone who regularly consumes meat out of choice, I encourage you to take on this book even though it’ll likely be a challenging read.

I’m currently reading The Devil in the White City and The Lady in the Lake, but as soon as I finish those, I’m hoping to get to two action-oriented books on lowering one’s carbon footprint: Being the Change and Cooler, Smarter. If you have a book recommendation, please let me know!