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The Black Box for the Planet

Yes, you read that right. On Saturday, December 11th, 2021, Washington Post reporter Sammy Westfall shared the dimensions of the 33-foot long indestructible "black box," which will record climate data for future generations. You know, in case we don't make it.

Like a black box for an airplane, the Earth's Black Box will reside in the Tasmanian desert. Its algorithm will record more than 500 metrics, including atmospheric carbon, weather-related data, and news headlines from across the world. Researchers from the University of Tasmania started the initiative and will complete the project in early 2022.

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Meanwhile, this weekend a record number of tornadoes devastated Kentucky and five other states, resulting in the deaths of scores of people and tens of millions in property damage. Climate scientists are underscoring the likely link between extreme weather events such as these deadly tornadoes and carbon-fueled climate change. The impacts of extreme weather from our energy choices are becoming clearer each day.

How's that for a relaxing holiday discussion?

As an environmentalist, I hear a common refrain "what am I supposed to do with this [uncomfortable or depressing] information?" The Black Box for the planet is unnerving and weird, but probably a good idea. The devastation wrought by the intense tornadoes are worrisome and heart-wrenching.

Ok, what now?

Check out the suggestions below.

Here are some #OneGreenThings based on Service Superpowers:

  • Adventurers: Reflect on your travels. Do you think scientists placed the "black box" in the right area of the globe? Why or why not? Have you witnessed the impacts of climate change in some of your favorite places? If yes, discussion with friends.

  • Influencers: Share this article with friends, ask them their thoughts on the climate change, and encourage them to support the climate provisions in the Build Back better bill.

  • Philanthropists: Talk to family and friends about Earth's Black Box, the recent devastating tornado strikes and the potential link to climate change, and give to the American Red Cross.

  • Sages: Ask your friends about our moral obligation to future generations. What can we do now to create a better tomorrow?

  • Sparks: Talk to your friends about the Black Box for the planet. Ask them what they think about it. Share what you've learned about how individual action can shift the culture for big climate policy and market solutions.

  • Wonks: Think about the extreme weather you've witnessed in the past few years. What do you think future generations would want us to know?


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