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Religion and the political divide, what's on CEOs' minds, X to collect biometrics, the blue moon, centenarians, falcon attacks pelican
September 11, 2023 - The Nett Report
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“Between market crashes, climate change, and war, the world often feels like it's in ‘Permacrisis.’” – Greenwich Economic Forum
United Nations Report: more effort needed to address climate change
The United Nations Global Stocktake report that will lay the groundwork for the annual UN climate change talks in Abu Dhabi at the end of the year (called COP 28) has concluded that “much more is needed now on all fronts.” According to a September 8, 2023, story in Reuters, the UN report “distills thousands of submissions from experts, governments, and campaigners” to assess progress made since the 2015 climate agreements in Paris. “Existing national pledges to cut emissions were insufficient to keep temperatures within the 1.5 C threshold.”
The more solar that is installed, the cheaper it gets
According to a study from the Rocky Mountain Institute, by 2030, “exponential growth in the sector will lead to 33% of global energy being produced by wind or solar generation. It marks a significant increase from the 12% generated by the same sources now.” As reported by The Cool Down on September 10, 2023, “as more solar projects are completed — and costs are reduced due to increased production — the price per megawatt could reduce from $40 to $20.”
Do electric vehicles reduce traditional air pollution?
One of the side benefits of electric vehicles has been that traditional air pollution is reduced along with the reduction in carbon emissions. In Hannah Ritchie’s Sustainability by the Numbers newsletter, she says, “There might be no tailpipe emissions from an electric vehicle (EV), but if they’re heavier – which the average one currently is – there could be more pollution from brake, tire, and road wear. Would this be enough to undo the benefits of having no exhaust emissions?” She gives the following overview of what the research says (and doesn’t yet know):
Overall, electric cars do reduce levels of air pollution compared to petrol, and especially diesel cars.
The size of this reduction depends on their weight, the age and type of car they’re replacing, and the electricity mix.
Electric cars do not completely fix the problem. Non-exhaust emissions are still significant.
Electric cars eliminate exhaust emissions of NOx and PM2.5 and reduce particulates from brake wear due to regenerative braking.
If they are heavier, they could increase tire wear and road dust pollution.
Non-exhaust emissions need much more research, especially on solutions such as improved tires, particulate filters, the role of more automated driving, and vehicle weight.
The best way to reduce local air pollution is to have fewer vehicles on the road.
“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” - Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
If words control you, everyone else can control you
“You will continue to suffer if you have an emotional reaction to everything that is said to you. True power is sitting back and observing things with logic. True power is restraint. If words control you, that means everyone else can control you. Breathe and allow things to pass.” – Daymond Jones, Founder of FUBU, star of ABC’s Shark Tank.
Blue zones where people become centenarians
We started watching the new Netflix series Live to 100: Secrets of the Blue Zones and coincidently saw a friend’s Facebook post about a September 9, 2023, NPR post while we were watching (that’s multi-tasking defined, probably not good for health!). These are the seven habits to live a healthier life inspired by the world’s longest-lived communities:
Trade the La-Z-Boy for a mat and a garden.
Ditch DoorDash and eat like a peasant.
Reduce meat and aim for a plant-forward approach.
Give loneliness the boot — become a joiner.
Revamp social media to cultivate friends and a sense of purpose.
In lieu of an afternoon espresso, take a nap.
Trade big-city rents for an affordable home (and maybe keep your parent nearby).
The Political Divide
“The U.S. has always been in trouble. Its historical greatness consists of finding ways to get out of each era’s troubles and to prepare for what comes next.” - James Fallows, Breaking the News newsletter, August 28, 2023.
Point / Counterpoint
“There is some good in this world, and it’s worth fighting for.” - J.R.R. Tolkien
“It’s not a lie if you believe it.” - George Costanza, Seinfeld
About religion and politics. The intertwining of religion and politics has become part of the political divide. The two opinions below illustrate the challenge.
Do we live in a pluralistic democracy or a divinely ordained promised land?
“Our two political parties are increasingly animated by two starkly conflicting moral visions that have struggled for ascendancy since the first Europeans landed on these shores five centuries ago. Is America a divinely ordained promised land for European Christians, or is America a pluralistic democracy where all stand on equal footing as citizens? Most Americans embrace the latter vision. But a desperate, defensive, mostly white Christian minority continues to cling to the former.” Robert P. Jones, the president and founder of the Public Religion Research Institute, in an August 31, 2023, story in Time about the history of Christian Nationalism.
Americans are leaving the church rather than reinventing it
“Many Americans, including me, were once part of churches that were essential parts of our lives,” writes Washington Post opinion editor Perry Bacon in a personal essay. “It’s strange to me that America, particularly its left-leaning cohort, is abandoning this institution, as opposed to reinventing it to align with our 2023 values.” In the Post’s The Week in Ideas column, Politics Opinion Editor Chris Suellentrop describes Bacon’s dilemma and how 40 million Americans used to attend church but don’t now. “I’ll be at Sunday Mass with my family this weekend,” Suellentrop writes, “but I strongly identified with the struggle Perry describes of how to fit an ancient institution and practice into a contemporary family that wants to uphold the virtues of equality and tolerance. None [no church affiliation] or something, we all could do worse this weekend than spending an hour reading and reflecting on what he [Bacon]” has to say.
Future of Work / The Economy
What questions are on the minds of CEOs?
Alan Murray, CEO of Fortune Media, provided his thoughts on “The five big questions every CEO must wrestle with in the coming months” in the August 27, 2023, edition of CEO Daily:
The economy: Is this a soft landing or the calm before the storm?
Technology: A.I. will transform my business: But how? And how quickly?
Climate: The energy transition is happening: How should my company play it?
Geopolitics: The world is realigning: How should we realign with it?
U.S. politics: As much as I’d like to avoid it, I can’t. What’s the best strategy to survive?
A dysfunctional political system is the single biggest threat to U.S. competitiveness
Murray addressed #5 (above) in the August 31, 2023, edition of CEO Daily. He writes that “business has no home in either political party. The Republican right has declared war on ‘woke’ corporations that adopt the kinds of climate and diversity policies that have become table stakes in today’s talent-driven business world. Meanwhile, the Democratic left has turned away from business, deeming profits as dirty and favoring regulation to excess. No wonder most CEOs prefer to stay out [of politics].” Murray further quotes Harvard’s Michael Porter’s conclusions six years ago that a “dysfunctional political system is the single biggest threat to U.S. competitiveness. In the long run, companies can’t thrive in a country whose politics are broken.” Here are Murray’s thoughts on how companies can engage:
Encourage employees to participate and vote.
Support politicians in the center; they need it. Any business leader who cares about the future of capitalism these days should be a raging centrist.
Consider backing non-partisan efforts to empower the majority—like the “final five” voting used in the last election in Alaska.
Most importantly, do the hard work in advance to define your company’s values—the things you are willing to stand up and fight for. If there’s one clear lesson from the problems that pummeled Disney and AB InBev, it’s that vacillation is the worst solution.
With a bruising political year ahead, companies need to know in advance where they are willing to make a stand. If you wait until the crisis comes, it’s too late.
Harris Poll addresses diversity in corporate America
A Harris Poll of 2,025 Americans taken on August 8-9, 2023, has revealed the general national sentiment about DE&I (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion). Prepared for the Black Economic Alliance Foundation, the survey report says, “overall, more Americans support businesses taking measures to ensure companies reflect the diversity of the American population than oppose.” These are some key findings:
78% - support businesses taking active steps to make sure companies reflect the diversity of the American population.
81% - agree that corporate America should reflect the diversity of the American population.
91% - of employed Americans say their company is doing something to ensure diversity among employees.
X (formerly Twitter) to collect biometric data and other personal information
The Nett Light-Side
“It’s the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting.” - Author Paulo Coelho, from The Alchemist
Stunning photo of falcon attacking a pelican
Photographer Jack Zhi won the Bird Photographer of the Year 2023 award for the above image of a female peregrine falcon attacking a California brown pelican. In a September 5, 2023, story in PetaPixel, Zhi said, “For four years, I attempted to capture the rare sight of the female falcon attacking large brown pelicans with incredible speed and agility.”
Blue Moon Photos from Around the World
On August 30, 2023, the last blue moon until 2037 was visible. A blue moon is “the second full moon that occurs in a month.” On August 31, 2023, Time posted images of blue moons as photographed around the world.
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 and organizations 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.