Communicating the message of climate change is the main reason I started writing this newsletter. I figured I’d try and work through this existential crisis with the people I’m closest to, and then once we figured it out, we could all use that messaging to save the world, or whatever.

This weekend, between NBA Playoff games, I watched “Our Planet” the new Netflix nature documentary that represents a fundamental shift in how mainstream films portray the world around us. 

It’s a version of “Planet Earth” for the climate change era.

Not since “An Inconvenient Truth” — and really not even then — has a film been able to depict the gravity of the situation human beings have gotten ourselves into. Even the title “Our Planet” implies a sense of ownership that something like “Planet Earth” doesn’t.

The documentary shows dying polar bears surrounded by melting ice. It shows dying coral reefs, and the death of fish that is likely to happen because of the dying coral reefs that could likely be gone in the next decades. 

The portrayal of death is one thing, and it’s powerful, but it’s powerful in the way that attending a funeral is powerful. You develop a desire to live a life that will be fondly remembered by those around you, and it lasts for awhile, but it’s not often life-changing.

But the more powerful part of the film are the parts showing the remarkable beauty of the world around us that we’re at risk of losing.

For example, I didn’t know that 90 percent of sharks have died across the planet. Sharks? Even sharks? I didn’t know that. In one scene, a school of sharks chases a fish, showing the dominance a top predator can have, but it also makes sure that you realize the fragility even those at the top of the food chain are feeling.

The breathtaking scenes provide a reprieve from the doom and gloom, though they’re transparent telling you — hey, this cool thing is happening, but it’s only happening in this small area because humans killed them all, and also soon it may not happen at all if you don’t do anything.

Sure, the film feels like an invasion on your personal time, on your personal space, and it’s an impending sense of doom on your free time. But at least someone is making this film, and people are watching it.

The film even offers suggested action our society can take and tells you: “The future doesn’t have to be like this.”

“Our Planet” is a magical journey turned into a giant *gulp* that drains in the blood in your faith, forms a pit in your stomach and forces you to look yourself in the mirror.

I would call it a bait-and-switch, if it weren’t just showing our reality.

***

Sorry it’s been a bit since I last wrote, but hey, just because you start something and then you get busy doesn’t mean you should give up.

In the time since I last wrote, I’ve published some things that matter, and worked on some other things that will matter once they get published.

***

I generally try not to include too much New York Times in this because of pay wall reasons, but also they do very good work, and it’s essential reading, so sorry for including them too much.

The New York Times Magazine published a “Climate Issue.” I’m going to be honest that I’m not very far into it, but stories include the reckoning between climate change and capitalism, how companies like Exxon Mobil are hedging against the apocalypse and how the Pinkertons, a modern security firm, are preparing for climate change.

From ruined bridges to dirty air, EPA scientists price out the cost of climate change

The U.S. Government is still working for the people, despite the disbelief of some people at the top.

Want to Escape Global Warming? These Cities Promise Cool Relief

“Still I like the quiet of Duluth in the winter.”

Unless you know people flock there to avoid climate change.

Climate change is making allergy season worse

I’m having trouble breathing already, and there was snow on the ground this morning.

Midwestern Towns Prepare to Navigate More Flooding (and a Climate-Denying President)

Sean Neumann gets a Friend of the Newsletter mention here. Sometimes our friends are out here doing cool stuff, and Sean, when he’s not busy touring, is out here writing about important things like climate change and WWE. Catch Ratboys on tour.

What I’ve Been Working On:

Guardians of the Gulch: How locals of all political stripes banded together against mining proposals

Speaking of friends doing dope shit, here’s a story I wrote about the Yellowstone Gateway Business Coalition, many of whom I consider my friends.

Volatile pesticide to be sprayed on soybeans and cotton starting this year

“This is absolutely going to be a disaster,” said Nathan Donley, a senior scientist with the Center for Biological Diversity.

Thanks for reading.

Love,

Johnathan

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