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3D white shark, Swedish death cleaning, we are not doomed by climate change, ride the wave of purpose, Abu Dhabi’s focus
August 14, 2023 - The Nett Report
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“Today is your opportunity to build the tomorrow you want.” - Ken Poirot, author, entrepreneur, and public speaker.
Champion surfer Shaun Tomson: “ride the wave of purpose”
Growing up in La Jolla, California, surfing was part of the culture, and South African surfer Shaun Tomson was a hero to those of us catching waves on a regular basis. It was great to meet him at a recent San Diego Rotary Club meeting. Thomson has leveraged his surfing skills to build two companies, become an author, and take to the road as an inspirational speaker. His recipe for life is something he calls The Code, which can give our lives purpose. He says purpose is “the power that enables organizations and people to thrive.” It is a higher calling and something he defines as a “long-term commitment to accomplish aims meaningful to self and the broader world.” He encourages all of us to “ride the wave of purpose.”
The Political Divide
“’Drill, baby, drill’ has become a way to offend the elites, not a true expression of policy beliefs.” – David Brooks, conservative political commentator.
“The culture war has become a major problem for climate action — a problem we really, really don’t need right now.” – Paul Krugman, economist and New York Times opinion columnist.
"Democracy relies on faith in its institutions and laws. Otherwise, there's no stability." - Jason Stanley, professor of philosophy at Yale University and author of “How Fascism Works: The Politics of Us and Them.”
The public expects companies to take public positions on social issues
Businesses are emerging as another place where political division has emerged. The push for businesses to embrace ESG principles (environmental, social, and corporate governance) and that “doing good is good for business” has created pushback from a number of businesses that think profit and shareholder returns should be the primary goals. According to an August 8, 2023, report on a survey by Weber Shandwick, a strategic communications and consulting network, “research shows that Americans across party lines are deeply concerned about political and social divisions and believe businesses should find common ground to help bridge them.” Some findings:
Most consumers expect companies to take public positions on critical social issues:
82% - human rights
73% - climate change
72% - racism
70% - gun violence
84% - of employees are satisfied with their job at companies where leaders speak up about critical events and issues
65% - of employees said companies have a responsibility to speak up even if the issue is sensitive or controversial
55% - of consumers said they had taken an action to oppose or support a company based on their positions or actions
52% - of consumers see the Supreme Court affirmative action decision as a step toward ending racial bias in education
31% - of consumers said their company being described as “woke” made them feel proud
27% - of consumers said they were fearful their company would be the target of aggression if perceived as woke
Future of Work / The Economy
“A lot of this boils down to trust. Do I trust that someone is working for me fully if I can’t see them?” - Kevin Oakes, CEO of i4cp, in regard to working virtually.
Working from home is gaining more pushback from corporate leaders
An August 2, 2023, article in Insider reveals a growing frustration by corporate leaders with working from home. Michael Bloomberg, cofounder of Bloomberg LP, says working from home had negatively affected customer service at some federal agencies. He said the average occupancy rate is “little more than 20%,” which Bloomberg called “mostly empty.” His firm has more than 80% of workers in the office at least three days a week, which will be increased to four days in the fall. Bloomberg, JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon, and billionaire investor Marc Andreessen all say working from home denies young workers the mentoring opportunities that occur in the office environment. Tesla CEO Elon Musk takes it a step further, saying remote work is “morally wrong.”
Abu Dhabi's focus on the challenges of our time
Having been to Abu Dhabi twice for environmental and business conferences, the story in the August 3, 2023, CEO Daily intrigued me. Abu Dhabi has brought a focus on “transitioning away from carbon-emitting energy sources,” and the second is the potential for artificial intelligence (AI) “to transform every industry and every business in the coming years.”
Regarding the energy transition: businesses must step up to make practical contributions to keeping the goal of 1.5 degrees Celsius within reach.
Regarding AI: by creating the first minister of state for AI and the first university devoted exclusively to AI. Abu Dhabi sees its small size as an enabler, not a hindrance, according to Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, the head of the Abu Dhabi National Oil Corporation:
Abu Dhabi doesn’t have the political structures or demographic issues that do not allow other countries to deploy technology fast.
The UAE is going to be among the first countries in the world where people actually engage with technologies like drones, self-driving cars, robotics, and many other utilities.
The UAE plans to train people and make sure talent in the UAE is considered amongst the best in the world and to attract the best and bring them there.
The Mohamed bin Zayed University of Artificial Intelligence’s goal is to attract talented students from all over the world and train them for careers in Abu Dhabi, providing full fellowships, residences, and other benefits for all students.
Abu Dhabi has the kind of professors that people would expect to find in top schools in the United States.
It also hopes to convince global businesses to locate high-end technology facilities.
It sees its global position as being in the middle of everywhere as a gateway between East and West. Close to Europe. It’s very friendly to Chinese, Indians, East Europeans, and others.
U.S. drive to gain dominance in chips hindered by lack of workers, hiring timelines
An August 8, 2023, story in Fortune says the $52 billion in U.S. investments to revive the domestic computer chip industry are being stymied by a shortage of skilled labor. An analysis of the top 50 chip producers in the U.S. by Revelio Labs says semiconductor firms take “more than twice as long as their peers in other industries to hire personnel such as technicians or mechanical engineers, with the typical process stretching out to about three months.” In addition, firms are planning to add 115,000 jobs by 2030, but “nearly three-fifths of those jobs could remain unfilled.”
Google’s CEO shares the rule of three for public speaking
Google CEO Sundar Pichai recently shared with Inc. his rules to deliver clear and concise messages when speaking publicly:
Identify common questions. Identify the top questions your audience is likely to ask.
Create a three-part answer. Develop three messages you can quickly deliver in a short paragraph.
Add one example to support each point. One example in one sentence is all it takes to make the point.
“The challenges we face are significant, but they are not insurmountable. We still have the ability to change the future, starting now. And the more we do, the better off we will all be. This is literally what the science says: every bit of warming matters, and every action and every choice matters, too.” – Katharine Hayhoe, Chief Scientist for The Nature Conservancy and Paul Whitfield Horn Distinguished Professor at Texas Tech University.
New IPCC head: “we are not doomed” if temperatures increase by 1.5 degrees Celsius
According to a July 30, 2023, story by German public broadcaster Deutsche Welle, the newly appointed head of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Jim Skea, said “we should not despair and fall into a state of shock” if global temperatures were to increase by 1.5 degrees Celsius,” the current target for limiting global warming compared to the pre-industrial era. Skea says that "If you constantly communicate the message that we are all doomed to extinction, then that paralyzes people and prevents them from taking the necessary steps to get a grip on climate change … The world won't end if it warms by more than 1.5 degrees. It will, however, be a more dangerous world." The IPCC is a “UN body that evaluates climate science. It brings together leading scientists to study climate change and how it is reshaping the world. It also explores solutions to cut emissions and adapt to a hotter planet,” according to Deutsche Welle.
Port of San Diego taking electric leadership
On July 17, 2023, the Port of San Diego announced the arrival of the first all-electric mobile harbor cranes in North America. On August 9, 2023, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported that the port will be receiving the first all-electric tugboat in the United States. “This is the way the zero-emissions parade is heading, This is where the world is going, and we want to be a pioneer in this technology,” said Rafael Castellanos, chairman of the port’s board of commissioners.
60 Minutes report on Colorado River: not enough water to go around
In case you missed it, a July 31, 2023, report by 60 Minutes declares that the Colorado River is “unsustainably low” and details how seven states and 30 Native American tribes are planning for a drier future as water levels plummet due to a 23-year drought exacerbated by climate change.
EV energy costs less than gas, but is variable across the U.S.
According to researchers at the nonpartisan Energy Innovation think tank, as reported in Climate Coach, “in all 50 states, it’s cheaper for the everyday American to fill up with electrons — and much cheaper in some regions such as the Pacific Northwest, with its low electricity rates and high gas prices. This assumes, as the Energy Department estimates, that about 80 percent of the time, we fuel up at home, where electricity prices are lower … In the Southeast, with low gas prices and electricity rates, savings are lower but still significant. In Mississippi, for example, a conventional pickup costs about $30 more to refuel than its electric counterpart.”
101-year-old practicing doctor’s rules for keeping your brain sharp
We’ve all seen the ads for supplements to keep your brain sharp. Dr. Howard Tucker, a neurologist, has been a practicing doctor since 1947. His wife of 66 years still practices psychoanalysis and psychiatry at 89. Dr. Tucker provided these three rules to keep your brain sharp in an August 10, 2023, story in make it.
Go to work. Volunteering, pursuing a hobby, and learning new skills can provide great mental stimulation.
Stay social. Research has indicated that strong relationships may help maintain our memory and cognitive function.
Read for entertainment. Immersing yourself in a good book, fiction or non-fiction, requires your brain to process a bulk of new information. I believe this is key to keeping your mind sharp.
How to be happier with less stuff: Swedish death cleaning
Why is it hard to let go of stuff? “We think we are our stuff, but we can tell a different story,” according to a recent post in the Climate Coach newsletter. “Clutter is linked to stress and anxiety, even depression,” the author says. He reports on the Swedish practice of death cleaning, which is about “rethinking your relationship with things … it’s about getting more from the things that make you happy.” The article provides tips on how to let go of something every day.
The Nett Light-Side
Play with this 3D white shark animation
Our fascination with great white sharks is seemingly endless. The Save Our Seas Foundation has created this 3D animation of a great white that you can move around, zoom in on, and learn about different parts of its body. I played with it and bet you will, too!
Big Picture Competition reveals the mysteries of the natural world
This image of an egret is only one of the many fascinating images in the 2023 Big Picture Competition for Natural World Photography. Take a deep breath and enjoy browsing the photos.
Put on your dunce cap, or take it off!
Did you ever wonder how the term “dunce cap” originated? Thankfully, it is no longer used. “The pointy hat was called a dunce cap and was used in olden times to humiliate and punish the dunces, that is, the students who cannot or will not learn their lessons.” See this aeon newsletter and learn about Duns Scotus, the man behind the term.
About Carl Nettleton
Carl Nettleton is an award-winning writer, speaker, thought partner, facilitator, and subject-matter expert regarding water, climate, sustainability, the ocean, and binational U.S.-Mexico border affairs. Nettleton Strategies, the consultancy he founded in 2007, is a trusted source of analysis and advice on issues at the forefront of public policy, business, and the environment. He helps people to think strategically about their options for change. He is also the founder of OpenOceans Global, a nonprofit addressing ocean plastic in a new way.