The simplest way to learn about climate change. First principles, once-ish a week.

The start of a journey to suck less at climate change

Like most people, this was the extent of my conservation efforts.  I thought I was doing all the right things. I recycled, I turned off the lights, I opted for sweaters over heaters, I cared. While helpful, these small actions are also an easy distraction from the catastrophe that lies just beneath the surface. 

Dipping my toes into the consequences of climate change (e.g. food insecurity, climate migration, ocean acidification) drowned me in the magnitude of the problem. Overwhelmed, I quietly stepped back and kept recycling metaphorical Amazon boxes.

For better or worse, this is a normal human reaction. Like procrastinating starting a savings account, climate change is a bad future thing hiding in plain sight. I’ve been blissfully living on borrowed time, willfully unaware of the urgency or severity of inaction. This privilege surrounds much of the developed world that has benefited from carbon-backed growth, yet has paid only pennies on the dollar for its destructive cost. The real cost has hit (and will continue to hit) the poorest and most vulnerable people.

Continuing to shove my head in the quickly-receding sand means I was signing everyone up for1:

  1. The economic cost (it’s bad, like -20% GDP/capita)

  2. The biodiversity cost (it’s very bad, like 90% of the reefs & 25% of the fish)

  3. The human cost (it’s very very bad, like 200M climate refuges)

The more I leaned in, the more I realized I couldn’t stand idly on the sidelines anymore cheering for the good guys. The IPCC estimates that we have 10 years to course correct. For reference, Avatar came out ~11 years ago (sweating yet?).

That’s why I decided to leave my job as a PM at Linkedin - to go deep on the problems and deeper on the solutions (fun fact: today is actually my last day 🎉).

The truth is that the science of climate change is complex, and the solutions are hard; but nothing worth doing is easy. Slamming the brakes on climate change will require changing how we do everything (don’t freak out, just keep reading). Changing how we do everything will require everyone.

That’s why I’m starting this newsletter, to share what I learn as I go from “I should do something” to “I am doing something” by distilling complicated concepts into straightforward steps. The good news is you don’t need a PhD in physics to develop working knowledge on greenhouse gases or an MBA to understand what solutions need to scale. 

We’ll start from first principles (like why earth is so nice for humans & how incinerated dinosaur juice is messing it up), build up to solution frameworks (i.e. reducing emissions + removing emissions), and finally construct a roster to highlight who is working on what & how you can contribute (among other things). The end result is a clear bridge from knowing you should do something to actually doing something.

Changing something that affects everything will require everyone.

I hope you’ll join me.

Logan

Next Week: Why is Earth not a scorching/frigid rock like the moon?

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Follow me on twitter for notes along the way!


Oh, almost forgot the usual disclaimers: I’m not an expert and will never claim to be. I’ll probably be lacking context, too vague, or flat-out wrong frequently & I hope folks will hold me accountable. After all, the fastest way to find the right answer is to post the wrong answer visibly on the Internet. Lastly, there is a ton of great information online already (e.g. Drawdown, Breakthrough Energy playbooks). I will synthesize and cite as I go.

In the meantime, tell your friends!

1

These numbers represent predictions for varying points in time (e.g. 2040, 2100). As we dig deeper, I’ll be more explicit about the specific time ranges.