Yann G’s “It’s All About Climate”, plus Scientists 4 Future. In green biotech–Energy Vault, and George Marshall’s “Don’t Even Think About It!”
Yann G’s “It’s All About Climate”, Scientists 4 Future, In Green Biotech–Energy Vault, George Marshall’s “Don’t Even Think About It”
YANN G IS ALL ABOUT CLIMATE
Hey, everybody—it’s all about the climate, isn’t it? And by it’s all about the climate, I mean the website, itsallaboutclimate.wordpress.com.
The site, operated by Yann Gager, a self-described biologist with a special interest in climate change and bats. When Yann’s not working, Yann is a climate activist, namely with Scientists For Future. Scientists for Future (S4F) International supports the global climate movement by providing facts and materials based on reliable and accepted scientific data to activists, politicians, decision makers, educators and the general public.
It’s all about climate features a blog, book reviews, links and a particular focus is on positivity. As he says in one of his blog posts, “In our everyday lives, we are constantly bombarded with negative news about multiple crises such as the COVID crisis. And our future looks very uncertain with the combined climate and ecological crisis.”
He points out that there are many ways to react to this unknown future. Humans are prone to indulge in fanaticism, avoidance and normalization, conscious ignorance and distraction, fatigue and denial, fatalism and hedonism. He also recommends folks who surf to his site read, “A Treatise on Possibility,“ by Rou Reynolds.
Why does Yann Gager and It’s All About Climate matter to us? Here’s somebody puttin’ it all out there; being vulnerable and sharing their thoughts and research in the pursuit of moving the needle and inspiring climate action by the rest of us ordinary human beings.
SCIENTISTS 4 FUTURE
Scientists 4 Future is an independent and voluntary collective of scientists, researchers and academics from all kinds of disciplines, united by their deep concern for our shared future. It’s a self-organizing grassroots movement informed by scientific evidence and motivated by our human conscience.
S4F was formed in March 2019, when more than 28,000 scientists, in German-speaking countries, signed a statement declaring that the concerns of the protesting students organized as Fridays For Future “are justified and supported by the best available science”.
More supporting statements from scientists in a number of other countries were written, for ex: in Canada, where the statement can be signed, and a similar effort, Evidence for Democracy raised 901 signatures; in the Netherlands where more than 2000 signatures were collected, and internationally, as an international statement has been signed by more than 7,000 scientists worldwide.
According to the website, the community of S4F is a growing movement with local and regional groups forming spontaneously and democratically. Scientists from all disciplines are actively participating and encouraged to engage in S4F, to contribute expert knowledge spanning the natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities.
Wanna join? S4F provides basic support for all international S4F groups.
- Participation is open to all trained scientists and scholars who are committed to the organization’s Charter and the objectives of the original S4F statement. Requirements are academic titles (PhD, Dr., Prof. etc.), a graduate degree (Master, Diploma etc.) or professional contributions as (co-)author in a peer-reviewed scientific publication.
- Interested students and other persons who are not trained academics as defined above may be admitted to regional/local groups with the status “supporter”.
- The group strives for representation from all countries and all nationalities/ethnicities/genders.
DEEPER DIVE: S4F
GREEN BIOTECH–ENERGY VAULT
Bill Gross, founder of Energy Vault, has profound memories of the 1970s, and the gas rationing his parents endured during that era’s energy crisis. As an adult, Gross set out to solve one of the greatest challenges to ending our reliance on fossil fuels. That challenge is how to store renewable energy in an economical, durable, and sustainable way.
That’s why he founded Energy Vault in late 2018. According to the website, Energy Vault successfully built a system that stores energy in 35-ton blocks that are stacked in a tower; the blocks are made of dirt and waste materials, rendering it safer, cheaper and longer-lasting than other energy storage systems.
By utilizing a circular approach that repurposes local waste materials, often otherwise destined for landfill, to build our products, Energy Vault achieves the company’s goal of supporting the environmental transformation of the world’s energy sector worldwide. Waste remediation for beneficial reuse helps advance the global transition to a clean energy future through energy storage innovation.
As Bernard Meyerson, chief innovation officer at IBM notes, “There is no carbon footprint to speak of and the technology is based on absurdly simple science with some very cool engineering thrown in.” This past January, Korea Zinc agreed to invest $50 million in Energy Vault and use its technology to help decarbonize operations at its zinc refinery in Australia.
Energy giant BHP also signed a deal with the company. BHP has a goal to reduce its carbon footprint by 30% by 2030 and be fully carbon neutral by 2050. Why does Energy Vault matter to us? Two reasons—circular economy fundamentals are built into its business model, making it a model for other scalable technologies. And for operations that require 24/7 access to energy, like the mining industry Energy Vault provides a technology with a longer duration than traditional battery storage and that also doesn’t degrade over time.”
DON’T EVEN THINK ABOUT IT!
The recent Leonardo DiCaprio/Jennifer Lawrence film, “Don’t Look Up!” is partially based on the premise that it’s human nature to ignore problems the size of climate change. Hilarious premise. Sad reality. Why IS it human nature, though?
George Marshall attempts to explain in, Don’t Even Think About It: Why Our Brains are Wired to Ignore Climate Change. Marshall, a twenty-five year veteran of the environmental movement, founded the Climate Outreach Information Network. He’s held senior positions for Greenpeace USA and the Rainforest Foundation. He’s a leading European expert in climate change communications, and is a lead advisor to the Welsh government.
First published in 2015, Don’t Even Think About It is just as relevant today as it was then because despite the Paris Climate Agreement of 2015, and the mountain range of scientific and real-world evidence researched, published and witnessed in the last seven years, climate change remains a contentious issue. So why is that?
Marshall argues it’s two-fold. First, our shared common psychology, our collective perception of risk combined with our deepest instincts to defend our family/tribe. Second, like death, climate change instinctively appears insurmountable, which makes it taboo, which the best and most deeply valued way to deal with taboo in western culture is to avoid talking about it.
Why does Don’t Even Think About It matter to us? As the Boston Globe put it, “[Marshall] offers advice on confronting climate change head on, stepping away from Green Guilt, and putting potentially world-saving policies into action.”
The London Review of Books said Don’t Even Think About It is “Intriguing…Offers many answers. And The Independent said of the book, “Articulate, well-researched…Low on jargon and high on story…Read [this book] even if the words ‘climate change’ make you fall asleep.”
Click on the links in the Deeper Dive section of this story at theclimate.org/episodes to find out more about the fascinating Mr. Marshall.