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What We’re Reading: Trying to understand the climate future

Scott Lamb
The Medium Blog
Published in
4 min readApr 20, 2024

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Hi,

If you’re like me, the act of trying to come to grips with the climate crisis does funny things to your brain. Like dealing with other unpleasant but nonetheless true facts of being human in our time (taxes, social media, the pandemic), thinking clearly and deeply about the changing climate and our role in it is hard. How much do you focus on personal choice vs. collective action? Do we, as individuals, have a path to making a meaningful difference? Are things irredeemably grim? It’s all too easy for the entire topic to swirl into what feels like an unassailable morass.

But that’s no reason not to try — the climate future is already here, it’s just unevenly distributed. Ahead of Earth Day, here are some things on Medium that have recently led me to a deeper understanding of the issues we’re facing:

  • “What is the Amazon ‘Tipping Point,’ Exactly?” from science writer (appearing in a publication called The Environment) breaks down why many climate scientists look at what’s happening with the world’s largest rainforest as a bellwether for our overall efforts to mitigate climate change. The story of the Amazon is largely about water, but the definitions of “tipping point” range from water capture to deforestation to carbon storage. Septer explains: “Combined, the Amazon and Orinoco Rivers account for 25 percent of the freshwater that flows into the planet’s oceans.”
  • A useful follow-up to the above, “Who Cares About Rainforests?” is by an ecologist who worked for an Amazon conservation non-profit. The writer looks at why preserving the rainforests is one of the key moves in mitigating climate change (published in The New Climate).
  • This deep look at agrivoltaics — the practice of combining solar power generation and agriculture on the same piece of land — points to exciting innovation and a good reason for optimism (from Symbiotica). According to the piece, solar power will represent nearly 60% of new U.S. generating capacity in 2024.

If you’ve read something recently — on Medium or elsewhere — that helped you think about our climate future in a new way, I’d be grateful to hear about it. Hit reply and let me know.

And thanks, as always, for reading.

, VP of Content at Medium

What We’re Reading

Photo by Ben Kitching on Unsplash

You’re Not Managing Enough

Published by

in One Big Thought

The climber has the hard job. They’ve got to make their way up through small moves and big ones. They try, fall, and work each problem until they can move past it and keep climbing. It’s active as hell.

But the job of a good belayer is pretty active too. They’re vigilant, taking up the slack, hand always on the rope. Their job isn’t just to catch the fall, but to provide the sense of safety that lets a climber take a risk. They don’t just do that job on the ground. Most of it — the most important parts by far — happen all along the way, from start to finish.

Image by DALL-E

The Math Behind Neural Networks

Published by

in Towards Data Science

Neural networks are at the core of artificial intelligence (AI), fueling a variety of applications from spotting objects in photos to translating languages. In this article, we’ll dive into what neural networks are, how they work, and why they’re a big deal in our technology-driven world today.

  • Early career designers take note: A staff product designer at Meta shares her process for creating a case study that 1) is actually interesting and 2) helped land her a job. Her key advice? When in doubt, ask yourself, “What am I most proud of in this project?”
  • Struggling with spending too much time on social media? This is a unique approach to limiting smartphone usage: The dual-smartphone system. Yes, it means getting a separate, wifi-only phone for all social media and games, and limiting your access to it.

Today’s Final Word goes to

, whose controversial “Wordle Starter Words for Dangerous Troublemakers” has been a source of much debate in my Wordle group text over the last week or so. Sure, you open your daily game with relatively safe words like “crane” or “slate,” and Wordlebot will reward you for your prudence. But, as Shepherd writes:

“If you are willing to shun the prudish dogma of the Wordle intelligentsia and bask in the light of nature, a whole glorious world of illicit five-letter starter words will be revealed to you, and you can soar on their exquisite currents like a scarlet ibis (history’s most interesting long-necked bird) and dance the Wordle dance of the gods. Here are 11 starter words that’ll really tick Wordlebot off.”

Which 11 words, you ask? Read them all here in Cellar Door.

Favorite new reads? Write anything new? Let us know in the comments.

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Scott Lamb
The Medium Blog

VP, Content @ Medium. I'm here to support people writing words on the internet. Priors: BuzzFeed, YouTube, Salon.com