3 quotes, 2 books and 1 documentary on climate to inspire you (featuring Childish Gambino, Braiding Sweetgrass, & HOME)

The newsletter for people "work" on carbon and climate.

(source: Alternative Energy HQ)

Issue No. 61

Welcome to the latest issue of Carbon Creed - a curated newsletter for people “woke” on carbon and climate. 

Final countdown to the Biden-Harris administration.

While all eyes will be focused on the inauguration events this week (and to a lesser extent, the Senate impeachment hearings), we are taking a different turn.

IN THIS ISSUE, I decided to take a break from the policy, markets and government noise, to focus on the more sublime elements of carbon and climate - our mindfulness. Sometimes we need to shut off the media echo chamber, and treat our minds to something more reflective. That’s what this issue of carbon creed seeks to do. Let me know what you think - if you prefer this format or a hybrid model of commentary + mindfulness.

If you have an opinion on any topic covered in this newsletter, please feel free to send me an email at mcleodwl@carboncreed.com. 

Thank you for your viewpoint and the value of your time.

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3 quotes to inspire you

1. “There are no passengers on Spaceship Earth. We are all crew.” – Marshall McLuhan

This short but powerful quote comes from the influential Canadian philosopher, Marshall McLuhan. The idea of “Spaceship Earth” is that our planet is like a spaceship, hurtling around the sun in space. Because we are all stuck on it together, we must do what we can to protect it.

McLuhan hammers home this point by saying Spaceship Earth is not like a luxury cruise ship, where passengers get to relax while the crew toils away. Rather, we are all crew because we all must work to ensure the ship survives.

2. “Talk of ‘saving the planet’ is overstated… Earth will be fine, no matter what; so will life. It is humans who are in trouble.” – Stewart Brand

“Save the planet” is such a common refrain that we often overlook an obvious point: our planet will continue to exist, even in the face of catastrophic climate change. And while it’s true that species are dying off as a result of our actions, life itself will also continue to exist. We saw this across the planet during the covid shutdowns, when wildlife reemerged in cities and nature reverted grey skies to blue.

The writer Stewart Brand, reminds us with this quote that the world is bigger than just us, that it will be fine without us, and that humanity itself is the main entity that needs to be rescued before the effects of global warming negatively impact our livelihood.

3. “Every day gets hotter than the one before / Running out of water, it's about to go down / Go down / Air that kill the bees that we depend upon / Birds were made for singing / Waking up to no sound.” – Childish Gambino

Childish Gambino - the prolific actor, director, producer, and musician - reveals his climate wokeness in this brilliant work of art. Feels Like Summer, with its seasonal sensibilities that remind us of the soulful sounds of the 1970s, brings the present into stark relief with its climate change focused lyrics. Its animated music video features a roster of celebrity cameos including Michelle Obama, Will Smith, Zendaya, Kanye West and Beyoncé, and appear to be a subtle commentary on the ways in which celebrity culture distracts us from the effects of climate change.


Braiding Sweetgrass

Written by Robin Wall Kimmerer

Written from a native American point of view, Braiding Sweetgrass is one of the most beautifully written books about climate and nature I have read. The author, an acclaimed plant scientist born and raised in the U.S., has been conditioned by a Western education and its culture. But her native heritage, and the teachings she has received as a conscious student of that heritage, have given her a perspective so far removed from the Western world view that it transforms her experience, and her perception, of the natural world.

A great example of the “wokeness” expressed throughout the book, is the chapter titled “Witness to the Rain.” Rather than being historical, it is descriptive and meditative. The author spends several hours in the rain one day. She isn’t going for a walk or gathering kindling or looking for herbs; she’s just paying attention. First, she’s attracted by the way the drops vary in size, shape, and the swiftness of their fall, depending on whether they hang from a twig, the needles of a tree, drooping moss, or her own bangs.  Then she listens. Against the background hiss of rain, she distinguishes the sounds drops make when they fall on different surfaces, a large leaf, a rock, a small pool of water, or moss.

Creed Comments: If you don’t read anything else in 2021, read this book. The author has a poetic style that will enchant the reader - note from the same chapter on Rain:

“If there is meaning in the past and in the imagined future, it is captured in the moment. When you have all the time in the world, you can spend it, not on going somewhere, but on being where you are. So I stretch out, close my eyes, and listen to the rain.”  

The Soil Will Save Us

Written by Kristin Ohlson

Journalist and bestselling author Kristin Ohlson makes an elegantly argued, passionate case for “our great green hope”—a way in which we can not only heal the land but also turn atmospheric carbon into beneficial soil carbon—and potentially reverse global warming.

Thousands of years of poor farming and ranching practices—and, especially, modern industrial agriculture—have led to the loss of up to 80 percent of carbon from the world’s soils. That carbon is now floating in the atmosphere, and even if we stopped using fossil fuels today, it would continue warming the planet. 

As the granddaughter of farmers and the daughter of avid gardeners, Ohlson has long had an appreciation for the soil. A chance conversation with a local chef led her to the crossroads of science, farming, food, and environmentalism and the discovery of the only significant way to remove carbon dioxide from the air—an ecological approach that tends not only to plants and animals but also to the vast population of underground microorganisms that fix carbon in the soil. Ohlson introduces the visionaries—scientists, farmers, ranchers, and landscapers—who are figuring out in the lab and on the ground how to build healthy soil, which solves myriad problems: drought, erosion, air and water pollution, and food quality, as well as climate change. Her discoveries and vivid storytelling will revolutionize the way we think about our food, our landscapes, 

Creed Comments: Another hopeful climate book that combines scientific data with great narrative. Besides the great writing, I’m a closet foodie so it checks multiple boxes for me.



Directed By Yann Arthus-Bertrand

If you consider yourself a visual learner, or if you just want to see some jaw-droppingly beautiful images of our world, “Home” is the documentary for you. Composed almost entirely of aerial footage, the film takes you on a journey that shows you what’s at stake in the fight against climate change. The video was taken while flying over 54 different countries, and the diversity of natural habitats shown is simply astonishing. You’ll see vast savannahs, glowing volcanos, frozen tundras, and lush rainforests, with dramatic shots of all kinds of wildlife throughout.

The narration, by acclaimed actress Glenn Close, gives the viewer a serious perspective: she reminds us that Homo sapiens have only been around for 200,000 years, a blip of time when compared to the four billion years since life on Earth first arose. In an even shorter blip of time, we’ve managed to alter the planet dramatically due to our greed and lack of foresight. This beautiful film widens our perspective, both literally with its dramatic aerial footage and figuratively with its reminder of how we fit into the history of Earth.

Creed Comments: The covid-induced hibernation has boosted people’s video streaming consumption - so why not add more climate-themed titles to your menu? Midweek evenings is our favorite time to view an eco-themed flick.


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