Weekly e-Newsletter 4/8/2022

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Art of the Week

We’re all desperate to get back to normal. But should we?

by Kumi Naidoo South African human rights and environmental activist

Normal.
 
What an average word
So uninspired… It’s actually absurd.
In a time when we have been forced to change our ways
To pause and isolate and dream of better days
That we’d ever yearn for the world of yesteryear
A world so divided
So fragmented by fear
 
It’s mind-boggling at best
That we might just blow Mother Nature’s test
Longing for the same madness
That put us in this global sadness
Of me first and screw you
And buy-four-for-the-price-of-two.
Surely getting back to normal can’t be our aim
After all of the sacrifices, death and pain.

Kumi Naidoo was Executive Director of Greenpeace International (2009-2016) and former Secretary-General of Amnesty International (2018-2020). He is Global Ambassador for Africans Rising for Justice, Peace and Dignity.

Calendar

Inspiration: Embracing our Differences

Credit: Embracing our Differences

Watch the PBS video to see how this public outdoor art show by Embracing Our Differences addresses mental health and DEI in which grade school students go on a tour led by high school students. 

“In Sarasota, Florida large-scale artworks are being used to teach students about diversity, inclusion and mental health. This comes at a time when there is growing controversy in the state, and school districts across the country, over how and whether to teach about racism in America.” 

Take Action: Speak Out to Address the Climate Crisis

The latest UN IPCC report shows that there still is hope in averting a climate catastrophe. According to the report, renewable energy is an economically viable alternative to fossil fuels.

However, a toxic mix of science-averse politicians and special interest groups invested in fossil fuels have stalled policies meant to curb climate change. 

We don’t have time for more inaction on the part of elected officials, as highlighted by the previous installment of the IPCC report.

Please join the Alliance and the NRDC and urge President Biden to push for effective climate change action now.

Take Action Success!

Thanks to you and so many others, we are celebrating three major successes:

1. New Supreme Court Justice Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson

2. The extended moratorium on student loans

3. The passage of the Emmett Till Anti-Lynching Act

Sustainability Fact: 99% of World Breathes Unhealthy Air

Credit: Getty Images
According to the World Health Organization, “Almost the entire global population (99%) breathes air that exceeds WHO air quality limits, and threatens their health.”
 
A record number of over 6000 cities in 117 countries are now monitoring air quality, but the people living in them are still breathing unhealthy levels of fine particulate matter and nitrogen dioxide, with people in low and middle-income countries suffering the highest exposures.
 
“The findings have prompted WHO to highlight the importance of curbing fossil fuel use and taking other tangible steps to reduce air pollution levels,” according to a WHO news release

Weekly e-Newsletter

April 8, 2022
Editors: Amy Durr, Rae’Jean Alford
& Terry Gips

Credit: Mark Stivers: Saturday Cartoons

At the Alliance

Welcome to Earth Month! We hope you are inspired to take collaborative action to protect our home. 
 
If you’d like to help engage more people, please consider having a SHE Kindness (Sustainability, Health, Equity and Kindness) presentation.
 
And if you’re an educator or involved in a middle or high school (especially in an under-served community) who might be interested in our SHE Kindness School Program, please contact us.
 
We are hoping to get our newsletter back on schedule and are sending our editor Amy Durr healing energy.

Bad News: Climate Anxiety Impacts Young People Globally

Photo by Joice Kelly on Unsplash

59% of young people aged 16-25 are very or extremely worried about climate change (84% were at least moderately worried) and more than 50% reported each of the following emotions: sad, anxious, angry, powerless, helpless, and guilty, according to the first large scale global study of young people in 10 countries (including the US), which was published in the December 2021 Lancet.

The study points out that “climate anxiety and eco-anxiety (distress relating to the climate and ecological crises)” actually “is rational and does not imply mental illness. Anxiety is an emotion that alerts us to danger, which can cause us to search for more information about the situation and find potential solutions.”

More than 45% of respondents said their feelings about climate change negatively affected their daily life and functioning, and many reported a high number of negative thoughts about climate change, with 75% saying that they think the future is frightening and 83% that they think people have failed to take care of the planet. Young people have been let down by the lack of government climate action.

Good News: New UN Climate Report Says We Still Have Time to Act BUT Must Do it NOW

A new report from the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) shows that the world has economically viable solutions to transition away from fossil fuels.
The third and final installment of the sixth UN IPCC report shows that while the climate crisis is dire, “we already have the solutions — the only thing preventing us from taking advantage of them is political will and status-quo interests in fossil fuels,” according to CNN.
 
It shows how renewable energy like solar and wind “are now economically viable and becoming cheaper by the day.” CNN continues, “But while the focus on solutions give the report an optimistic tone, it also serves as a reminder of how policies lag far behind science, technology and even economics.” This was underscored by UN Secretary General António Guterres called the report “a litany of broken promises” and “a file of shame, cataloguing the empty pledges that put us firmly on track towards an unlivable world.”
 
Here are six key takeaways:
 
1. Wind and solar are now economically viable replacements for fossil fuels – “The cost of wind and solar energy have dropped dramatically in the past decade and are now competitive with coal and gas for electricity, the report shows. In some contexts, these renewable sources of energy are even cheaper than fossil fuels. Read the remaining five takeaways.

Song of the Week: John Legend and Ukrainian Artists Call for a ‘Free’ Country at Grammys

At the Grammys Sunday evening, 12-time Grammy winner John Legend debuted his powerful and poignant new song “Free”, which honors Ukraine and calls for it to be free. Following a stirring appeal from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky from a bunker, Legend sang at the piano and was joined by three Ukrainian women artists: bandura player Siuzanna Iglidan, singer Mika Newtown, and poet Lyuba Yakimchuk, who had just escaped her war-torn homeland. 

We were pleased that Jon Batiste won Album of the Year for “We Are”, which contains one of our previous Songs of the Week, “Freedom.
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