Thinking

  1. Doing
  2. Lifestyle
  3. People
  4. Thinking

The scoop: I just drove from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean. I learned a lot about America along the way.

Some key highlights from rural America:

  • Galena has hundreds of storefronts in the middle of rural Western Illinois
  • Badlands National Park is in South Dakota but looks like a white Mars
  • There are job shortages for hourly workers from coast to coast. It is tangible.
  • Counties are more significant than states. Remove all stereotypes.
  • Ethical and sustainable agriculture is the most important thing in the world.

Dig deeper → 5 min

  1. Lifestyle
  2. People
  3. Thinking
In this post, we break down some key terms and definitions in the sustainability space for beginners. This is a basic guide for confusing jargon and hot buzzwords, shaped into easy, digestible talking points. If you have any recommendations for new terms in Sustainability 101, contact us or comment.
  1. Animals
  2. Lifestyle
  3. People
  4. Thinking
Busy? Try the speed read.

The report: A 2016 study of over 8,000 threatened or near-threatened species found that over-exploitation and agricultural activity posed a much greater threat to biodiversity than climate change.

Why it matters: Climate change is long-term and abstract. But it also gets all the breaking news coverage. In reality, harsh trends like deforestation and poaching pose immediate threats to wildlife. They need urgent attention, too.

These tangible problems deserve similar attention to carbon emissions. Most ESG funds pour cash into (trendy) clean energy while critical species face extinction from other causes.

Sustainable suggestion: Environmental solutions should be more well-rounded. How can we work more cooperatively with intersecting threats like wildfire risk mitigation and ecological restoration, for example.

A forestry organization may want to clean-up deadwood to prevent harsher wildfires, but a conservation group will sue them for cutting down a sacred forest. A conservation group may want to support hunting an invasive species , but an animal rights group will publicly condemn them.

Organizations with differing philosophies should work more closely through coalitions and associations to understand their perspectives.

Bottom line: Climate change is important, and intersects with basically every ecological issue. Not arguing we should take it less seriously. But that behemoth threat will be much easier to manage if we knock off smaller issues that we see, touch and feel.

We need smarter farming, more responsible animal agriculture, accountability for commercial hunting, fishing and logging. We need more stringent land protection in sensitive areas of the developing world. It's as important as climate change.

Dig deeper → 3 min

  1. Lifestyle
  2. People
  3. Thinking

Cue the Billy Joel music... I'm movin' out. The limits of urban confinement are undeniable. The Suez Canal crisis is the latest excuse to leave big cities and invest in flyover country.

I've spent the past year exposing unsustainable lifestyles in major US cities. Urban efficiency in energy and transportation is now overshadowed by the literal garbage required to live in unnatural environments. Fewer people are commuting to cities. Can't make that argument anymore.

Plus, sustainable energy, agriculture, and transportation are more affordable than ever.

Dig deeper → 2 min

  1. Better Business
  2. Business
  3. Profit
  4. Science
  5. Thinking

The scoop: Bill Gates published a new book about climate change. Why are we praising a tech entrepreneur pretending to be a scientist and public health official?

Why it matters: I think people like Bill Gates make everyday people more suspicious of actual science. Gates should step aside and let real scientists do the talking. Because as it turns out, he isn't always right.

My proposal: Let's praise and highlight actual climatologists dedicated to the field. He's not even a professional writer.

We need to build communication platforms for researchers, doctors, and scientists to bridge the gap between complex subject matter and public skepticism. Businessmen like Bill Gates only widen the gap (imo).

Bottom line: Let's hear the talking points not from some obscure monolithic gospel, but science-backed, distinguished talking points from recognizable human faces.

Dig deeper → 3 min

  1. Lifestyle
  2. People
  3. Politics and Policy
  4. Thinking
Busy? Try the speed read.

The scoop: Sustainability in 2020 was about transition. Let's make this decade about change (not the World Economic Forum kind... the ordinary people kind).

Top sustainability trends in 2020:

  1. Economics merge with environment
    • Rise of ESG superfunds
    • Corporate-social sustainability skyrockets
    • Individual sustainable investing spikes
  2. Climate awareness goes mainstream
    • Data showed most Americans now concerned about environmental issues.
    • Climate entered national politics.
    • Animals gained more rights - backed by science as much as emotion.
  3. Climate community can't stop fighting with itself. Here are different type of activists:
    • The optimist "Don't worry, science & tech will get us out of this mess!"
    • The concerned consumer "How can we blame corporations if we keep buying their products??"
    • The concerned citizen "The problem isn't with consumers, it's with citizens. You need to vote to make real change!"
    • The institutionalist "It doesn't matter what individuals do, it's governments and corporations that are to blame."
    • The doomsday-er "We are screwed no matter what, Kathy. Start preparing for the next Ice Age."
    • The compromiser "I think Biden made good cabinet choices for climate."
    • The radicalist "If you drive a gas car, I realistically can't spend Thanksgiving with you."

Bottom line: 2020 was a mixed year for sustainability, but we are bullish long-term.

Dig deeper → 7 min

  1. Doing
  2. Lifestyle
  3. People
  4. Thinking
Busy? Try the speed read.

The scoop: Individuals need basic survival skills to lead a more sustainable lifestyle.

Ways to be more independent + sustainable:

  • Grow your own food
  • Make something from scratch (DIY)
  • Learn one new hard skill every "x" (42 examples with how-to videos below)
  • Rescue an animal
  • Make your property inclusive to wildlife
  • Stop buying random shit
  • Choose fresh air over screen time (at least once a day)

Bottom line: If you understand how to be independent, you can seamlessly be your best sustainable self. If you are dependent on institutions in your everyday life, you are not a sustainable human. Sorry, not sorry.

Dig deeper → 5 min

  1. Cities and Communities
  2. Federal
  3. People
  4. Politics and Policy
  5. Thinking
Busy? Try the speed read.

The scoop: The World Bank projects extreme poverty to rise for the first time since the 1990s, while 270 million people are at risk of starvation (2x higher than 2019).

Lockdowns and inequality: 20+ million Americans are still unemployed. 160,000 US business have closed. Despite that, Amazon, Wal-Mart and Costco (for example) are posting record high online sales.

What can we do? Go beyond SBA loans and stimulus checks. We should like, actually be doing everything we can to keep small business owners afloat.

Local coffee shops > Starbucks, Thrift > Marshall's, Art galleries for Home Decor > Amazon.

Bottom line: We can clean up this institutional mess by creating a new structure around congressional term limits, monopoly break-ups, whistleblower support, and free speech... or we can allow the same actors to weave the world we've grown to love and hate.

Dig deeper → 3 min

  1. Federal
  2. People
  3. Politics and Policy
  4. Thinking
Busy? Try the speed read.

What to know: For the first three US presidential elections, the runner-up became VP. The 12th amendment rewrote the rules in 1804 so that candidates ran with a running mate. Electors are required to submit one electoral vote for a candidate, and one electoral vote for a candidate's running mate.

Picture this: A climate-focused Gore sitting in during the Bush years, or a foreign-savvy Clinton sitting at the table during the Trump circus. What could Trump do to help Biden's economic recovery bid?

One more point: Imagine if a climate-focused Gore was sitting in during the Bush years, or a foreign-savvy Clinton was sitting at the table during the Trump circus. What could Trump do to help Biden during his economic recovery bid?

Bottom line: We all know the American republic is under scrutiny. Our divisive two-party system, though highly profitable for Big tech and media, is at its breaking point. In a close race, allowing a runner-up candidate to serve as veep could help quell the American political fire.

Dig deeper 🠒 2 min

  1. Better Markets
  2. Lifestyle
  3. People
  4. Thinking
Busy? Try the speed read.

Big picture: Every influential organization and leader around the world (besides Trump) is telling us to Build Back Better. What are we trying to fix?

A little context: History shows how major global resets can fail poorer nations. Bretton Woods perpetuated inequality behind the veil of humanitarian activism. If the status quo changes the status quo, did the status quo really change?

Some talking points:

  1. Governments caused the COVID debacle, not the people. Yet, the people face the consequences.
  2. Governments (and international organizations), perpetrators of the broken system, want to fix it.
  3. Suggestions from big orgs are abstract and ambiguous, rather than tangible like term limits.

Bottom line: As we watch world leaders discuss recovery options, let’s prioritize tangible change rather than utopian fantasies.

Dig deeper → 2 min

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