Despite climate, war and Covid, is everything actually … getting better?

The psychologist Steven Pinker has long believed we should be more optimistic – and even current crises do not dissuade himReading and watching the media over the past year, you might be forgiven for thinking that we are facing the collapse of civilisation. We have a shrinking economy, a fuel crisis that may bring on energy rationing and forced blackouts, extreme weather events, the increased chance of nuclear war, and risk of the growth of a new pandemic riding on the back of the last. The Doomsday Clock – a symbol created by scientists to represent the likelihood of a……

‘What’s the alternative? To give up?’: Bella Lack, the new queen of green

Bella Lack, a leading voice in the next generation of environmentalists, is on a mission to redefine activism. She talks about optimism, collective responsibility and finishing her A-levelsA few years ago, the environmentalist Bella Lack travelled to Versova Beach, on the Mumbai coast, to stand on a huge heap of rubbish. Lack was 16 at the time and studying for her A-levels; she was also writing a book, The Children of the Anthropocene, in which she tells the stories of young people involved in projects that address the climate crisis. She was in Mumbai to meet Afroz Shah, a lawyer……

Many States Have Created or Expanded Tax Credits to Help Families Get By

Earned income and state child tax credits make the tax code fairer, bolster equity and improve economic security.

Salvation of New Zealand’s dying giant kauri trees may have roots in Māori wisdom

The country’s largest trees, kauri are threatened by dieback and climate change. But there is hope for the revered speciesLook out at the forest of Waitakere and you will see the skeleton of Aunt Agatha above the treeline. The tree – who gained her nickname from generations of schoolchildren – was still alive and topped with a proud plume of foliage just a few years ago. Now the trunk stands white as an exposed bone, huge ribbons of bark sloughed off on the ground like recently shed skin.Ranger Stuart Leighton walks down an empty track toward her, stepping on to……

Schools Are Facing Shortage of 300,000 Teachers and Staff, Major Union Says

National Education Association president Becky Pringle on Thursday warned that the U.S. teacher shortage has spiraled into a “five-alarm crisis,” with nearly 300,000 teaching and support positions left unfilled and policymakers taking desperate — and in some cases, questionable — measures to staff classrooms. Pringle told ABC News that teachers unions have been warning for years that chronic disinvestment in schools has placed untenable pressure on educators as they face low pay and overcrowded classrooms. “We have a crisis in the number of students who are going into the teaching profession and the number of teachers who are leaving it,”…

Nonwhite Voters Face High Risk of Being Dropped From Arizona’s Mail Ballot List

The past year has been char­ac­ter­ized by wide­spread assaults on voting rights across the coun­try. This has been espe­cially true in swing states where the 2020 pres­id­en­tial elec­tion saw narrow margins. As our colleague Will Wilder explains, even among these states, Arizona stands out as a focal point for the fight over voting rights. Here, we look at one provi­sion of Arizon­a’s Senate Bill 1485, which was passed into law in May 2021 but won’t be in effect for the midterms. The bill turns Arizon­a’s extremely popu­lar “Perman­ent Early Voting List” into an “Active Early Voting List.” Voters on the…

Many States Have Created or Expanded Tax Credits to Help Families Get By

Several states have created or improved tax credits this year — particularly state earned income tax credits (EITCs) and state child tax credits (CTCs) — to support families struggling to afford the basics as costs rise amid the pandemic. Since families with high incomes pay a smaller share of their income in taxes than those with lower incomes, the EITC and CTC make the tax code fairer, bolster equity, and improve families’ economic security now and in the future. Tax credits for families with low incomes help them to afford housing, food, utilities, and more. Research indicates that additional income…

Activists Stress Need for Much More Climate Action After IRA Passes in the House

While welcoming U.S. House lawmakers’ passage of the Inflation Reduction Act on Friday, climate campaigners and some progressive lawmakers said the $740 billion bill does not do nearly enough to address the worsening climate emergency. “Today, we celebrate the power of organizing,” Varshini Prakash, executive director of the youth-led Sunrise Movement, said after House lawmakers voted 220-207 along party lines to pass the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). The historic bill — which was passed in the Senate earlier this week and which President Joe Biden says he will sign into law next week — includes major investments in renewable energy…

‘We need reservoirs built’: drought leaves UK farms begging for government aid

As crops shrivel in the fields, farmers around the country are calling for urgent action from the Tory leadershipIt last rained on the Euston Estate, near Thetford in Suffolk, a fortnight ago, although the 6mm that fell evaporated almost immediately on contact with the parched earth. Before that, the farm hadn’t seen any rain since June, said Andrew Blenkiron, director of the estate belonging to Henry FitzRoy, 12th Duke of Grafton.“It has been so dry since April. Some days we only had rain at one end of the farm,” Blenkiron said. The 15mm that fell in July was a third……

UK weather: extreme heat warning in place for England and Wales as 500% increase in wildfires reported – live

Dorset and Wiltshire fire service says it has seen a ‘massive’ rise in wildfires compared to last yearLondon Fire Brigade has called on people to avoid barbecues during the extreme weather, following a grass fire in Hayes, west London, yesterday.It tweeted:Firefighters tackled another grass fire in #Hayes which damaged around 400sqm of grass and shrubland, along with some boundary fencing, a chicken coop & a shed. Remember – don’t barbecue in parks, dispose of cigarettes properly & clear away rubbish & glass. Continue reading… Source – Full Article UK weather: extreme heat warning in place for England and Wales as…

The Lessons of the Kansas Primary Go Far Beyond Abortion Rights

In 1922, the newspaper editor William Allen White wrote, “When anything is going to happen in this country, it happens first in Kansas.” On August 2, voters in Kansas proved him right, going to the polls for the first referendum on abortion since the fall of Roe v. Wade. The result was an emphatic rejection of a state constitutional amendment that would have allowed state legislators to severely restrict access to abortion or ban the procedure outright. Pollsters were left scrambling as people across the country expressed surprise: How could this have happened in a state like Kansas? A few…

Monkeypox Is Yet Another Global Health Crisis Fueled by Governmental Neglect

It’s hard not to think about AIDS when thinking about monkeypox — the media images of otherwise healthy gay men covered in sores, the homophobic anti-sex puritanism from people across the political spectrum, and the widespread culture of blame and shame directed at queer sexual pleasure. And, as always, stigma distracts from the actual cause of the problem, which, in this case, is devastating neglect by the United States government. Every queer person lives with the ongoing trauma of the AIDS crisis, and this plays out generationally. There is a generation that experienced sexual liberation in the 1970s, and then…

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