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Green Is The New Black

The Conscious Scoop: A Viral Greenland Photo, Pope Francis vs. Big Oil and New Vocabulary for the Climate Crisis

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A sled dog photo has gone viral, but what does it mean? The Guardian is changing the way it talks about “climate change”, so how are we meant to refer to it now? And Pope Francis declares a climate emergency, on what grounds? All this and more in this week’s Conscious Scoop.


1. Greenland is melting so fast that a photo of sled dog team walking on ice has gone viral.

Firstly, last week Greenland lost two billion tons of ice in a day, which amounts to the size of Texas. Let that sink in for a moment. At the same time (and you’re going to want to sit down for this), we also found out that Greenland’s temperatures were a whopping 40 degrees above normal. The Greenland ice sheet is melting unusually fast, and the photo that’s gone viral more or less captures how perfectly terrifying the situation is.

Environmental writer Andy Rowell warned that “what happens in the Arctic doesn’t stay in the Arctic.”


2. Pope Francis declares a climate emergency in meeting with big oil leaders.

It certainly isn’t the first time Pope Francis has taken a stance on environmental issues, but this time, he was more serious. After meeting with some of the world’s biggest multinational oil companies in the Vatican, he highlighted the urgency and scale of the climate crisis. “Future generations”, he said, “stand to inherit a greatly spoiled world.” However, some have expressed disappointment about the meeting, since none of the companies made pledges after.

Unsurprising – given that big oil companies have known about the climate crisis years before we did.


3. Media organisations are apparently ditching the term “climate change”?

The Guardian was first, explaining that they would be replacing outdated and inaccurate words and phrases with more appropriate ones whenever possible. “Climate change”, for one, they felt was too mild for what it really is a “climate emergency, crisis, or breakdown”. Following their announcement, other journalists worldwide have followed suit. But of course, the change hasn’t been welcomed by all, and some are expressing concern that stronger terms may alienate the currently disengaged.

“Global weirding” is apparently a contender too. What do you think?


4. Britain set to host critical UN climate crisis summit at the end of 2020.

With reports coming out every day about the global anthropogenic impact we’re having on our climate, it’s no wonder UN climate summit in 2020 is going to be such a crucial one. The upcoming summit is also a deadline by which world leaders should be fully adopting The Paris Agreement and radically implementing actions to reduce the current trajectory of climate change. This is crucial to avoid impending doom and the possible end of our civilisation as we know it.

The UK, which has been taking the lead for much climate action in recent months, was very eager to host the summit.


5. Boaty McBoatface makes significant climate change discovery about rising sea levels.

If you’ve seen the funny-looking yellow submarine around lately, then you’ve probably also heard about this. Boaty McBoatface, a research submarine that just completed its debut mission, made an important discovery. What did it find? That increasingly strong winds in the Antarctic are causing turbulence deep within the sea. Sounds normal? It’s not. The process mixes warm water from the middle levels with colder water in the abyss. It then causes sea temperatures to rise as well as increasing sea levels. Yikes.

But… as exciting as this technology can be, it’s also not telling us news we didn’t expect about the climate crisis, is it?


Image credit: Danish Meteorological Institute / Steffen M. Olsen

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Tammy (she/her) is an activist-in-progress and digital creator and communicator, based in sunny, tropical Singapore. Her mission is three-fold: (1) to make climate justice activism and theory more accessible; (2) to create digital and physical community and learning spaces towards a more just, regenerative, and loving world within our current one; (3) and to mobilise the best parts of social media in service of all this.