If we don’t save democracy first, we can’t effectively tackle our biggest problems

US Democracy — Frayed, but still standing (for now)

The United States hit a historic low this week. A dangerous would-be despot pushed his followers to get violent. It was a pathetic coup attempt, but it was backed by sitting US Senators and representatives (all from the GOP). It was the culmination of 4 years of efforts to undermine democracy and, if we are honest with ourselves, support white supremacy.

This reality of what has happened to America has to change our priorities. The new US administration, and its miraculous new majority in Congress, is not entering into a normal situation at all. …


Anti-intellectualism delays action on emergencies from pandemics to climate change.

On the final day of 2019, China first reported cases of the COVID-19 virus. As the crisis grew in Wuhan, the World Health Organization started to warn people with increasing urgency. It started with advice on hand washing and coughing into your elbow. But by mid-February the WHO was talking about the need to “maintain social distancing.” (see Feb. 13 version of the site).

The experts in pandemics — epidemiologists, infectious diseases doctors, and ministers of health — were sounding the alarm many weeks ago. They told us that exponentially…


Jeff Bezos, worth $130 billion

Well, it’s certainly not bad. And yet…

Let’s be clear that $10 billion is serious money. And the climate fight can use all the help it can get. But before getting too excited, there are some open issues:

Questions

  1. What’s the time frame? Is the $10 billion fund established right away or over time? Will grants go out at the 5% per year minimum required by law of foundations, or go faster? ($500 million per year is not bad, but not $10 billion, and time is short.)
  2. Who decides where the grants go? Does Bezos have a mix of people with…


Nearly 10,000 more people died prematurely in 2018 because of rising air pollution.

See Washington Post article

Air pollution kills. According to the World Health Organization, every year, 7 million people die early because of air pollution — from more strokes, heart attacks, and deadly lung and respiratory infections.

A month ago, as this Fox station reported, a new study from the National Bureau of Economic Research looked at the increase in air pollution in the United States. The focus was on particulate matter less than 2.5 micrometers across (or, PM2.5).

These are super tiny particles. But we now know that the really small stuff is dangerous, in part because the particles get past the nose and…


What the science of climate change is telling us about the future is hard to process. Here’s how I handle it.

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

Recently, my mother asked me why I seemed down. It’s taken me awhile to articulate what I wanted to say, and how.

There are big, macro issues that weigh on me as a feeling human and in my work. One is the state of democracy and rise of autocrats around the world, which I believe is horrible for freedom, equality, and the economy. I’m not going to talk about that one today. What I do want to grapple with is the state of the planet we call home. …


Everyone seems to be giving Republicans a pass on keeping their oath of office to the Constitution. Enough already.

Just so we’re grounded in reality, here’s the section of the U.S. Constitution on impeachment, which gives the power to impeach to the legislative branch (the House of Representatives impeaches and the Senate convicts):

Article II, Section 4: “The President, Vice President and all civil officers of the United States, shall be removed from office on impeachment for, and conviction of, treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.”

You know what it does not say anywhere in the Constitution? “The President…shall be removed from office by the opposing political party.”

The two factions in this potential legal battle are…


Thoughts on a challenging letter to greenies from a prominent think tank

Some important articles are going around the climate change twitter and social media spheres (yes, that’s a thing). The discussion focuses on the Green New Deal (GND), its theory of change, and its chances of ever becoming a reality.

A skeptical policy grenade was lobbed this week by Jerry Taylor, president of the Niskanen Center, a DC think tank identified (until recently) as libertarian. His “Open Letter to Green New Dealers” combines tough love with an important perspective from a policy warrior on what’s “realistic.” …


The Market is Doing Fine, but it Did Better Under Obama (and Many Other Presidents)

During this week, I’d like to declare independence from a big myth — that the market and economy under Trump are outperforming.

When you ask Trump supporters what they like about him, they often say something about the rise in the stock market or reduction in unemployment. “What don’t you like about how great the economy is? What are you ‘resisting’?” they ask.

Here, for example, is Fox Business News tweeting about Trump’s big “accomplishments” in his first 500 days.

(Note: before going any further on the ups and downs of the market let me just say that a president…


Teens are leading a mass movement on guns. Don’t write them off. Young people have shown the way before.

Day 2 of the Greensboro lunch counter sit-ins, Feb. 2, 1960 (Picture: Jack Moebes / Corbis)

After surviving yet another mass murder at a school — a problem that only America seems to struggle with — many students have had enough. Led by impressive, articulate, passionate teenagers from Parkland, Florida, a national movement to tackle guns is finally building.

The vicious attacks on these kids started immediately. The most vile accusations — that the survivors appearing on TV aren’t even students at the school — are not even worth the time spent writing this sentence. …


Obsessing over just short-term shareholder value is bad business…and big investors are finally figuring that out

New diet fads come and go. Avoid fat. No, actually eat only fat and avoid carbs. Now avoid all sugars. Wait, drink only juice to cleanse. Eventually health advice settles back into some version of “most things in moderation.” Over time, people realize that focusing on any single number is unproductive.

And yet in business, we’ve been stuck for nearly a half century with a one-number obsession: shareholder value.

The idea that companies should only maximize investor value, and specifically not care about societal issues, evolved over years. But the tipping point has been credited to one man, Milton Friedman…

Andrew Winston

Adviser, author, speaker on how businesses can (profitably) solve the world's mega-challenges. Author: The Big Pivot & Green to Gold http://www.andrewwinston.com

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