The thirst for power and possessions knows no limits. In this system, which tends to devour everything which stands in the way of increased profits, whatever is fragile, like the environment, is defenseless before the interests of a deified market, which become the only rule.” - Pope Francis

It seems that every week comes with its share of global warming news forecasting worldwide catastrophes. This week, frozen virus in far reaching locations may warm up and with a sleight of luck, basically infect the world. It sounds like a far stretched scenario and ranks far below more immediate threats such as water availability and crops management. But global warming threats have been so internalized that they don’t affect our emotions anymore. We’re resigned in front of the seemingly inescapable.

But we shouldn’t. Even if the Earth warms and wreaks havoc worldwide, there are positive steps that will mitigate its impact. There are easy solutions that can improve, at least locally, your impact on global warming. These steps require a change of consumption modes, but they are necessary. If we don’t evaluate our own habits and change them in ways that reduce our overall environmental footprint (including water consumption, shift to a more plant based diet, reduce food waste and heating bill…) then we are accomplice of the coming (or current) great extinction event.

Of course humans will survive. The question is under what conditions and what it means in terms of social organizations. As the climate changes at an increasing speed and moves toward a point of no return (self sustaining global warming), challenges will grow ever bigger, with the potential to overwhelm current forms of government and lead to instability, chaos, war and migration.

Science, General Knowledge & Environment

There are diseases hidden in ice, and they are waking up – “The cave never sees sunlight, and it is so isolated that it takes about 10,000 years for water from the surface to get into the cave. Despite this, the bacteria have somehow become resistant to 18 types of antibiotics, including drugs considered to be a “last resort” for fighting infections.

The 100 best solutions to reverse climate change, ranked – “As a planet, we should be hitting those top 7 solutions hard, particularly when it comes to food. If you look at the top 30 items on the list, 40% of them are related to food. If, somehow, we could get to a place where we are talking about dealing with climate change not as “saving the planet” (which it isn’t) but as “improving humanity” (which it is), we might actually be able to accomplish something.

How beloved pets become invasive predators – “We analyzed the mortality rates associated with direct anthropogenic or human-created threats to birds—including building or window collisions, cars, wind turbines, and cats—on a yearly basis. Cats are by far the leading cause of mortality, with around 2.4 billion birds killed per year. Collisions with buildings or windows kill as many as 599 million birds, automobiles kill up to 200 million, and so on.

Spatial Orientation and the Brain: The Effects of Map Reading and Navigation – From 2013, still relevant “The use of map reading and navigating skills to explore the spatial environment can benefit the brain and cause certain areas to grow while the use of modern technology for navigation seems to only hinder the brain. No matter which strategy men and women use for navigation, it is important to practice those skills and tune into the environment. While technology is a useful tool, in the end the human brain remains the most sophisticated map reader.

History & Geopolitics

Leaked NSA Report Is Short on Facts, Proves Little in ‘Russiagate’ Case – “These assertions have been repeated without attribution and reinforced by well-timed leaks of unverified information by anonymous sources to an unquestioning media until they have been endorsed as unquestioned fact. […] In many ways, the rush to blame Russia for attempting to undermine American democracy by meddling in our election system has become a self-fulfilling prophesy. The damage done to the credibility of our democratic institutions as a result of the politicized congressional proceedings has been incalculable, and by all accounts the worst is yet to come.

Donald Trump is the gift that keeps giving China a centre stage role in the new world order – “For China, the global warming initiative seems a perfect platform. Less motivated by Europe’s anxieties to save the earth than a very direct domestic crisis over appalling environmental degradation, it nevertheless has a strong common interest in attacking the global warming crisis. It is also in the process of capturing the opportunity to dominate the globally dynamic renewable-energy industry. China is today by far the world’s biggest manufacturer of clean-energy technologies ranging from solar and wind to nuclear.

The truth about US involvement in Syria is far more complicated than Donald Trump wants you to think – “Even when they arrive in the region to chat to their “moderate” friends, the Sunni Muslim head-choppers, dictators and torturers who are now enlisting a mad American President in their alliance against Shia Muslims, the Western visitors do no more than mouth their propaganda and agree with Sunni Gulf plans to annihilate Iran.

Finance & Economics

How Global Audit Firms Are Using Their Lobbying Clout to Dilute Sarbanes-Oxley Reforms – “The Big 4 firms are up to their necks in independence violations that haven’t yet been investigated by the regulators, and are keen to change the rules before the latter come knocking on their doors.

Picture of the week: The Graduates, 2017

About Carlito Riego

"Great perfection may appear imperfect, but its usefulness is inexhaustible. Great abundance may appear empty, but its usefulness cannot be exhausted. Great correctness may appear twisted, great skills appear crude, great eloquence appear awkward. Activity conquers cold; inactivity conquers heat. Clear serenity governs the world." - Lao Zi