The scoop: Two billionaires flew into space this week, neither of which contributed to scientific research. We want to know... how much carbon does a space plane emit?
Key talking points:
- traditional rocket fuel depletes the ozone, but bezos used a liquid form of hydrogen and oxygen that is more sustainable.
- one atmospheric scientist reported that bezos's rocket emitted nothing more than "water and some combustion products".
Bottom line on billionaires in space: It's not necessarily a climate problem, but the world is in no shape to spend that much money on vanity projects.
Dig deeper → 1 min
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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
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The short answer: 5G is bad for the environment. Or at least it's not good for it.The rollout of the 5G cellular network requires A LOT of energy and infrastructure. In the United States, much of that energy comes from natural gas and fossil fuels. Higher (and more frequent) demand for energy = more gas & oil = tougher environmental challenges.
What we know: 5G emits high-frequency (millimeter waves) between 30Ghz and 300Ghz. That requires antennas to be in close proximity. Due to the lack of far-reaching signals, 5G will not replace 4G LTE completely. 5G, for now at least, will serve as a complementary tool to its predecessor. This means more radiation in the air and atmosphere.
Big picture: 5G requires exponentially more towers and more energy than 4G in order to function properly. This means more radiation, that we don’t understand the long-term consequences of, and more gas and oil consumption, which we do understand the consequences of.
Why it matters: Determining whether 5g is bad for the environment boils down to four words: personal health + environmental impact. Research varies widely on the subject from A-Okay to Doomsday.
Some experts point out how 5G EMF radiation is non-iodizing, meaning it does not carry enough energy to iodize atoms or molecules. However, the International Agency for Research on Cancer recently stated there is still a potential risk to humans for this kind of exposure.
While it is uncertain how severely 5G radiation impacts health, we know it has an effect. Just look up the About>Legal>RF Exposure disclaimer on your iPhone. Plus, we know many natural resources are needed to power this close-proximity network. We should be hesitant to make our homes, businesses and cities ‘smart’ at the cost of environmentally-invasive infrastructure.
If you are concerned about 5G exposure, consider the following steps:
- Protect yourself by limiting exposure to 5G-enabled devices when possible.
- Sign a petition to delay the deployment of the 5G wireless network until institutions understand and enact regulations in accordance with the potential health hazards and environmental impact (link at the bottom of the article)
Dig deeper → 7 min
Big picture EF Schumacher warned us that Small is Beautiful. We ignored his message. Schumacher was a German-British Statistician and Economist who believed in a human-scale, decentralized approach to technological development.
In his book, Schumacher discusses the principles of Buddhist economics and addresses how modern economic thinking causes much of the emotional distress we experience in our 21st-century lives. Yes, the book published in 1973, but it is more relevant today than it was in its time.
Why it matters Our wealth has increased across the board, but we are no happier as a species. Positive human relationships, shared emotion, fulfilling purpose — these are the tenants of a progressive society.
Drones, phones, face ID, and VR are band-aid solutions for a dispirited population. Schumacher was a visionary. He saw the society's downward path and tried putting it to a halt.
Bottom line Let’s learn the lessons of our past and present through Small is Beautiful. We can start building cities with that appreciation for nature in mind. Not for some Romantic hippie-induced utopia, but for the sake of the rational economic mind.
Dig deeper → 7 min