The Digital Conversationalist

Weekend Reads

#102 Weekend reads – we have passed the 6th of the nine planetary boundaries

We started the week with the news that Wynn Bruce set himself on fire outside the US Supreme Court. He did this as an act of compassion to raise awareness about the climate crisis. The media – if they did cover it – were very unclear about his why, but his friends stepped in and cleared it up. This will not be the last case of self-immolation, as the deep anxiety around what we are doing to ourselves becomes untenable for so many.

The other piece of BIG news this week (and there were many more stories), is the fact we have now passed the 6th of nine planetary boundaries. Look out for:

Freshwater boundary exceeds safe limits – Stockholm Resilience Centre

Nature Today | Planetary boundaries update: freshwater change exceeds safe limits

This news is about dramatic changes to the global water cycle, with parts of the Amazon drying out. Green water is an addition to the planetary boundaries, as scientific research continues to improve and more data becomes available.

The story highlights

  1. Reassessed planetary boundary for freshwater includes “green water” – rainfall, soil moisture and evaporation. Essentially, green water is the water available to plants
  2. Green water is considered to be outside safe zone of Holocene-like conditions based on global changes to soil moisture
  3. Green water links the freshwater boundary tightly to other planetary boundaries such as land use, biodiversity and climate
“Water is the bloodstream of the biosphere. But we are profoundly changing the water cycle. This is now affecting the health of the entire planet.” Lan Wang-Erlandsson, lead author

To provide some history, the planetary boundaries framework was published in 2009, and it demarcates a safe operating space for humanity. Water is one of the nine regulators of the state of the Earth system, and is the sixth boundary that scientists have assessed as being transgressed.

The other transgressed boundaries include: climate change, biosphere integrity, biogeochemical cycles, land system change and, in 2022, novel entities, which includes plastic and other manmade chemicals.

“The Amazon rainforest depends on soil moisture for its survival. But there is evidence that parts of the Amazon are drying out. The forest is losing soil moisture as a result of climate change and deforestation,” says Arne Tobian, second author and PhD candidate at the Stockholm Resilience Centre and Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research.

“These changes are potentially pushing the Amazon closer to a tipping point where large parts could switch from rainforest to savannah-like states,” he adds.

Stockholm Resilience Centre #UncommonCourage

Credit: Stockholm Resilience Centre

Other headlines to look out for

(And remember I’m not including links here because I really want to encourage you to invest the time in this information below. It is too important to ignore and this isn’t everything.)

  • After the relentless rain, South Africa sounds the alarm on the climate crisis
  • India heatwave: Severe temperatures will bake a billion people and damage crops
  • Clusters of Weather Extremes Will Increase Risks to Corn Crops, Society
  • Too many new coal-fired plants planned for 1.5C climate goal, report concludes
  • UN says up to 40% of world’s land now degraded
  • Humanity on ′spiral of self-destruction′ as disasters rise, UN warns
  • Climate change study: Cut 75 per cent of meat from diet
  • Climate change triggering global collapse in insect numbers: stressed farmland shows 63% decline – new research
  • Rice and the Climate Crisis: Thai rice farmers struggle against climate-driven challenges
  • 2021 tropical forest loss figures put zero-deforestation goal by 2030 out of reach

And business is not doing what is necessary to reduce the worst possible outcomes

  • Asset managers have $82 billion in coal, $468 billion in oil and gas
  • Wells Fargo and Citigroup Vote to Keep Financing Fossil Fuels

Another critical read is (see below under politics): U.S. Treasury’s Yellen, White House say World Bank needs major ‘reboot’ | Reuters. This is overdue, but at least it’s starting. We need the smartest people in the world on this.

And finally, look for: Interview: Ramez Naam, futurist, author, and investor. The final question on what can we do is perfect and I love Ramez’s answers. Take inspiration and work out what you can do. Action is the pathway out of fear and we need billions acting now.

At a technical level: Get involved. If you have professional skills, how do you deploy them? Do you work on optimizing ad clicks? On marketing consumer products? On fossil fuel production? Can you deploy those same professional skills to working on clean energy or climate, or computing advances that can accelerate progress, or helping craft business models or marketing plans for products that improve humanity?

On a civil level: Can you help cut through the hyper-polarization that exists? Can you reach out to people with differing opinions, learn how they think, and help persuade them to see the other side? Can you help elect leaders that move us forward instead of backwards? Can you criticize the worst ideas on your own political side. If you’re a conservative, can you stand up for democracy? If you’re a liberal, can you support free speech on campus and in the private sector? Can you help overcome NIMBY?

On a social level: Can you help cut through the heavy marketing of outrage and fear that media use to get clicks? Can you calm the discourse down? Can you help overcome “if it bleeds, it leads” in news media? And maybe most importantly, can you help spread this notion of dynamic optimism, showing people how the world is getting better in so many ways, and inspiring them to take action – whatever action they can – to continue to make it better?

Let’s get stuck into the reads.

Friend’s content and mine

Sharing a snippet of The Know Show, recorded on Earth Day. A deep and urgent conversation with Tim Wade and Joe Augustin. We must do all we can to turn this around. We are running out of time.

I launched my daily tips for everyone to help address climate change and here is week seven. I will also be updating these ideas at this blog – What can I do to act on climate change? Actions we can all embrace. Favorite it and check in often.

Donation time

If everyone gave #just10percent of their time, talent, money or voice, we’ll change the world. Can you donate? Make it a regular donation to the World Food Programme. Or donate to the UN Refugee Program, PowerOf , , Soi Dog Foundation.  It’s a time for giving and taking care of each other.

If you want to support Ukraine Red Cross Ukraine, Medicine Sans Frontier, Defend Ukraine, as well as World Food Programme and UN Refugee Program.

Content to read

And here’s the content I’ve been reading this last week. Scan the headlines, read the ones that jump out at you, read or watch them all. Knowledge is power, and global knowledge is even more powerful.

Climate crisis

Climate: The time for incrementalism is over.


Where forests disappeared last year, in one chart

Interview: Ramez Naam, futurist, author, and investor tks Robert Kirubi

Sex for Water: What price are women and girls paying?

To stop plastic pollution, we must stop plastic production, scientists say

California is investigating Big Oil for allegedly misleading the public on recycling

Nature loss: Insatiable greed degrading land around the world – UN

Can I Recycle This? A Guide to Recycling Paper, Plastic and Everything in Between

Las Vegas turns on low-level Lake Mead pumps designed to avoid a ‘Day Zero’

Southern Californians told to reduce outdoor watering in ‘unprecedented’ order amid historic drought

‘Cascade of emergencies’: 500 green groups demand end to fossil fuel-driven war and climate chaos

If Chevron, Exxon and Shell can’t get carbon capture right at Gorgon, who can?

Many Climate Models May Be Fundamentally Flawed

A Major Ocean Current Is at Its Weakest Point in 1,000 Years

Natural variability has dominated Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation since 1900

2021 tropical forest loss figures put zero-deforestation goal by 2030 out of reach

Why recycling ocean plastic into clothes is not a great idea.

Innocent calls on industry to join forces to avoid ‘greenwashing’.

Why renewable energy infrastructure needs to be built for a circular economy

Bank of America, Citigroup, and Wells Fargo Vote to Keep Financing Fossil Fuels

Clusters of Weather Extremes Will Increase Risks to Corn Crops, Society

Heat wave in India leaves millions struggling to cope

Poor Nations Face Four Times More Climate Change Risk, S&P Warns

Humanity on ‘spiral of self-destruction’ as disasters rise, UN warns

Rising authoritarianism and worsening climate change share a fossil-fuelled secret

UN says up to 40% of world’s land now degraded

Too many new coal-fired plants planned for 1.5C climate goal, report concludes

Freshwater boundary exceeds safe limits

Severe Indian heatwave will bake a billion people and damage crops  tks Damian Corbet

Google teams up with UN for verified climate information

How high-profile scientists felt tricked by group denying climate change

Planetary boundaries update: freshwater change exceeds safe limits

The story of climate change right now in 9 charts

Giant global asset managers have $82 billion in coal projects, $468 billion in oil and gas

Boulder climate activist dies after apparent act of protest outside U.S. Supreme Court on Earth Day

Planetary boundaries update: freshwater at stake

Cut meat consumption by 75 per cent globally to tackle climate change: study

The climate crisis turns up the heat on Malaysia’s food security

India’s heatwave compared to start of climate disaster novel

All My Environmental Heroes Are Black Women

After the relentless rain, South Africa sounds the alarm on the climate crisis

Now we know the flaws of carbon offsets, it’s time to get real about climate change

Scientist Says That Humans Are Almost Certainly Going Extinct

Rice and the Climate Crisis: Thai rice farmers struggle against climate-driven challenges

We can now tell how much CO2 in the air is due to fossil fuel burning

‘This act is not suicide’ | Man who died after setting himself on fire outside Supreme Court on Earth Day described as climate activist

Humanity: sailing into a stagnant ocean

Food waste is responsible for 6% of global greenhouse gas emissions tks Robert Kirubi

Climate change triggering global collapse in insect numbers: stressed farmland shows 63% decline – new research

Enough About Climate Change. Air Pollution Is Killing Us Now.

Global politics – focus on Ukraine

Ukraine, inflation and pandemics: the big issues coming up at Davos, according to historian Adam Tooze World Economic Forum Podcast

A Ukrainian father’s terrifying journey to a Russian prison and back

Boris Johnson ‘tempting evil’ by revealing Ukrainian soldiers trained in Poland tks Dr. Philip Merry

Russia’s state TV warns nuclear war is ‘probable’ and ‘we all die someday’

Fears Are Mounting That Ukraine War Will Spill Across Borders

Ukraine war to cause biggest price shock in 50 years – World Bank

Russia warns Poland, Bulgaria of gas supply cuts on Wednesday

Why The Russian People Go Along With Putin’s War

A month in Kyiv: soldiers’ funerals and looters tied to lampposts

Odesa missile attack: ‘My world was destroyed by a Russian missile’

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is fracturing the delicate peace in the Arctic

Russian ambassador to Ireland: ‘I am for Ukrainians as well’

Other politics

U.S. Treasury’s Yellen, White House say World Bank needs major ‘reboot’

Australia Now on Transparency International’s Corruption Watchlist tks Phillipa Edwards

Move over Boomer: Millennials, Gen Z dominate in the territories, StatsCan says

Tory MP who allegedly watched porn in Commons should be ‘kicked out of party’, says Home Office minister Rachel Maclean tks Dr. Philip Merry

Elon Musk has a ‘huge responsibility’ to tackle vaccine misinformation on Twitter, WHO official says

FDA to halt McKinsey contracts amid federal probes into opioid work

Young people are switched on and politically engaged. But they’ve barely had a mention in the election campaign tks Willie Wahlin

Cost of living crisis: Changes to childcare and MOT rules considered to help budgets

White House reviewing Section 230 amid efforts to push social media giants to crack down on misinformation

Chinese Warships, Fighter Jets Heading To Australia’s Backyard ‘In Weeks’ As Beijing Projects Power In Southern Pacific

US won’t rule out military action if China establishes base in Solomon Islands

French election result: Macron defeats Le Pen and vows to unite divided France

Business and technology

Brownies to learn coding in bid to involve more girls in technology

The Most Important Leadership Competencies, According to Leaders Around the World

Podcast: The Sunday Read: ‘How Many Billionaires Are There, Anyway?’

Money Still Can’t Buy Cool

The Case for Not Worrying (Too Much) About Elon Musk Taking Over Twitter

Breakingviews: Elon Musk probably won’t buy Twitter

Beyond Bored Ape: Every NFT Collection Worth Knowing About

The Contractual Impossibility of Unwinding Disney’s Reedy Creek

Harvard professor: Elon Musk once told me to ‘get out’ during a meeting—here’s how I won him over

Twitter: Why Elon Musk has been so keen on taking control

Jack Dorsey says Elon Musk ‘is the singular solution I trust

Musk gets Twitter for $44 billion, to cheers and fears of ‘free speech’ plan

Factbox: Global edible oil markets simmer after shock Indonesia ban

The Sunday Read: ‘How Many Billionaires Are There, Anyway?’ The Daily Podcast

Social issues and humanity

Florida man asks schools to ban Bible following the state’s efforts to remove books

Italy court rules children should be given surnames of both parents

Whitehall’s clumsy attempts at strengthening free speech on campus

Everything You Need to Know About the Hepatitis Outbreak Among Children

Dressed in his favourite clothes, Nagen posed for a final photo before he was hanged

How TikTok Live Became ‘A Strip Club Filled With 15-Year-Olds’

The world has given Australia a pay rise. Its workers are still waiting

Author Talks: The great American demographic shift

The service and sacrifice of our military caregiver kids deserves to be supported and recognized

Passion, humour, history

Dogs’ Personalities Aren’t Determined by Their Breed

James Corden leaving Late Late Show after eight years

Mike Tyson punched plane passenger ‘after bottle thrown’

Let me know what jumped out at you? Or share with me what you’re reading? I love that!



Uncommon Courage: an invitation – my latest book

You can buy it on AmazonApple BooksBarnes & Noble, Book DepositoryBooktopia, SmashwordsKobo, Gardners, Odilo, Indie Bound, BookShop by BookTrib and Scribd.

Better yet, order it from your local bookstore, so you can #SupportLocal.

You can read the reviews, including a new five-star review on Book Commentary, another five-star review on ReaderViews, a review on BookTrib, and three more on Booklife, another on Book Commentary and Blue Ink Reviews. I’m also collating reviews on my Website too. Have a look and grateful to everyone who has written or recorded one.

Come and join the conversation in my new Facebook Group Uncommon Courage.

Uncommon Courage, the podcast – Apple, Spotify and everywhere podcasts are published.

The Know Show

Check out The Know Show. It’s a weekly wrap up of the news!

18 Steps to an All-Star LinkedIn Profile 

Listed by Book Authority in the 100 Best LinkedIn Books of All Time and 22 Best New LinkedIn eBooks To Read In 2021 and 2022 categories. Grab it today if you want to take your professional presence to the next level! When it comes to LinkedIn, it really is time to ask — can you really afford not to have this book in the hands of every employee?

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