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The scoop: Overpopulation is a myth... because Jack Ma and Elon Musk said so. On a more serious note, a population collapse is more likely than an overpopulated planet.
Some talking points for the dinner table:
- Overcrowded cities ≠ overcrowded planet. The entire world population can fit in the state of Texas with the same population density as Manhattan.
- Lopsided populations will inevitably occur in modern advanced nations. That means young workers will be unable to support aging populations, causing natural population declines.
- 'Malthusian traps' refer to inevitable food shortages as populations grow. Either Malthus was right and some of us go hungry (as in we don't need to artificially halt population growth), or he's wrong and the population keeps growing sustainably through innovation.
Bottom line: The Earth has plenty to offer for 9 billion mouths. And a sustained population decline due to lower fertility rates is already becoming a realistic outcome. We just need to spread out more.
Dig deeper → 2 min
The scoop: New construction needs to prioritize sustainable practices to prevent an energy crisis in the future. Real estate investors are starting to take notice.
Facts and figures:
- The World Economic Forum reports that over 37% of global emissions in 2020 came from buildings. And not just new construction: 69% of those emissions stemmed from operating existing buildings.
- Investment in the energy efficiency of buildings continues to climb. It reached more than $180 billion in 2020, up 11% from the previous year.
- New sustainable buildings alone will present a $24.7 trillion investment opportunity in emerging markets by 2030.
Bottom line: Investors are and will always be driven by returns. But the private sector is starting to realize the necessary risk assessment and tax burdens associated with energy-sucking real estate. Green building is the future.
Dig deeper → 3 min
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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:
- Governments caused the COVID debacle, not the people. Yet, the people face the consequences.
- Governments (and international organizations), perpetrators of the broken system, want to fix it.
- 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
The scoop: the IMF published a statement calling the pandemic recovery plan a ‘new Bretton Woods moment’.
What is Bretton Woods? Bretton Woods was an international conference that took place in 1944 with the goal of preventing another World War by establishing a new international monetary framework.
The legacy of Bretton Woods: Although the agreement no longer serves a purpose in the modern world, its effects are still being felt; there is more negotiation between nations both economically and politically and the global market is more interconnected than ever before.
Lessons for coronavirus, globalization:
1. Make politics people-oriented
Leaders and policy-makers of international organizations are motivated by self-interest and private sector pressure. Likewise, they propose policies that favor private interest and hurt the average worker.
2. Make international finance fair and equal
Loan conditionalities from the IMF are often attached without serious consideration for the interest of the borrowing nation or its citizens. Recommendations by the World Bank and IMF don't always resolve economic hardships for developing nations.
Bottom line: If this is a new Bretton Woods moment, perhaps we can learn a thing or two about our convoluted past of international do-good. Rather than just hit the reset button, we should consider how poverty alleviation requires more than a paycheck.
Dig deeper → 8 min
The scoop A new stock exchange was approved by the SEC in 2019. It focuses on long-term sustainability. We thought it demanded more PR.
Things to know
- 87% of executives and directors feel most pressured to demonstrate strong financial performance within two years.
- If all US companies had employed long-term strategies, they would have added
- $1 trillion to U.S. GDP
- Five million jobs between 2001 and 2015
- Economic earnings for long-term firms grew on average 81% more than other firms.
Long Term Stock Exchange was founded by Eric Ries after an international tour for his NYT best-seller Lean Startup. The stock exchange uses principles-based listing standards for new companies.
Bottom line In a time in which we face unprecedented and urgent long-term problems such as climate change, racial injustice, and the threat of epidemics, it is crucial that our infrastructure supports the long-term solutions needed to tackle such complex problems.
Dig deeper → 4 min
What to know American aluminum can suppliers are experiencing a shortage. Unpredictable consumer behavior and increased demand led suppliers to miss production levels and now beverage brands must scramble to compete for what's left.
Why it matters The overall shift from single-use plastics has also led major drink makers to shift from plastic bottles to aluminum cans. And while aluminum cans don't last in the atmosphere forever, they still can have damning effects on waste management. We are living in a world where China doesn't want our trash anymore, and recyclable aluminum cans are more of a band-aid solution of a larger problem.
The silver lining Consider it a stress test. With real-world examples about the fragility of our global system in place, we can now create applicable solutions outside the classroom.
Key recommendations for the shortage
- Brands can adapt by providing bulk alternatives to the traditional 12 oz can.
- Brands can also educate consumers on the label about the importance of maintaining a can's shape for recycling purposes. I was a beer can crusher in college, and I had no clue that crushing a beer can would make it near impossible to recycle.
- To consumer, do you love beer? Me too. Go to your local brewery, and fill up a growler. You can fill up a lot of beer for a great price, straight from the tap. You can support a local business, and the beer tastes fantastic if you pick the right brewer. There are more quality independent breweries out there today than ever before.
Dig deeper → 1 min