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Published on 12/11/2019 additional information available

11,000 scientists and 1 controversial climate change fix

#population growth
#businesses linked to climate change
# affects poor and working people

Hi, readers!


More than 11,000 scientists signed onto a proposal to halt climate change, published this week in BioScience — and some people got pissed off with one of the ideas in it.

Among other things, the scientists called for stopping population growth. “Still increasing by roughly 80 million people per year, or more than 200,000 per day, the world population must be stabilized — and, ideally, gradually reduced,” they wrote.

Arvind Ravikumar, a Harrisburg University of Science and Technology professor, best articulated the problem: “A bunch of white people in the developed world saying population should be reduced is the definition of an imperialist framing,” he tweeted.

Besides, as my colleague Kelsey Piper has written, we’ve worried about population growth for centuries and we’ve almost always been wrong. And when it comes to climate change, how we produce energy matters so much more than population.

Meanwhile, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison caught my eye with his threat to make it illegal to boycott businesses linked to climate change. (The country has a significant coal industry.)

He said his government is pondering “serious mechanisms that can successfully outlaw these indulgent and selfish practices that threaten the livelihoods of fellow Australians.” Immediately, environmental activists and human rights groups objected, saying that would infringe on their right to protest.


Georgetown University in DC hosted a conference this week called “The Color of Surveillance,” all about how surveillance affects poor and working people, especially people of color. I couldn’t attend because I was sick, so I felt major FOMO — until I realized I could watch the livestream and read the great reading list compiled by the conference organizers. Both are really worth checking out.


I learned about how Detroiters are mobilizing against the imposition of facial recognition technology. And how Vancouverites living in low-income and supportive housing are oversurveiled, regulated, and controlled at those sites. And how formerly incarcerated Americans are campaigning against the growing use of electronic monitoring devices, which they themselves have been forced to pay for upon release from prison. All in all, the conference pretty much smashes the fallacy that surveillance is synonymous with safety.

Plant-based meat companies are celebrating: On Thursday, Mississippi revised its labeling regulations that had targeted meatless meat products.

The backstory: The Mississippi legislature passed a law earlier this year banning the use of meat-product terms to label plant-based food. (So a “veggie burger” was not allowed to be called a “veggie burger” because “burger” might confuse consumers into thinking it had meat.)

As soon as the ban took effect on July 1, Upton’s Naturals and the Plant-Based Foods Association filed a First Amendment lawsuit. In response to it, the Mississippi Department of Agriculture withdrew the regulation. Turns out it was a big nothingburger — though this is still a live debate in other states like Arkansas.

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