Women-only co-working spaces? Or women, trans, femme, and gender-nonconforming co-working spaces? Sound like a good idea. And it’s one that’s growing in popularity as these spaces’ founders and members discover the intentional community-building opportunities that such venues offer—opportunities that have grown scarcer among young people who are less inclined to attend church or some other weekly gathering. Some spaces emphasize amenities, others programming and events, but all seem to have found this particular political moment in the US to be helping their business. The article’s author briefly addresses the potential for exclusivity based on cost or space, but it seemed most of the groups’ leadership were aware of the issue and actively addressing it.
If you don’t know the online outdoor adventure guide The Outdoor Project, you should! I’ve found great articles and trip reports from them, and I appreciate that they connect their users with opportunities to help protect the places we visit. Hot tip: Portlanders can get to know The Outdoor Project in person next weekend at its fourth annual Solstice Block Party.
David Roberts has more masterful pieces about tribalism, making the case that democracy can only work with strong institutions and shared norms, and that in a world with global, complex problems like climate change, we’ll sink if we let tribalism and fear take the tiller. Tribalism narrows the circle of “us” and aggressively ousts the “other.” Our only chance is to extend cooperation and communion, bringing more people under the banner of “us.”
I liked these tips from a class on how to detect when big data is talking rot, including time-tested warnings against mistaking correlation for causation, and warnings that algorithms trained with human actions will reflect existing cultural biases, such as racism.
This is a re-post from the Sightline Daily, but especially in light of current events and the increasing importance of personal actions in the fight against climate chaos, everybody, everybody, everybody should read this article about the heroic valve turners who stopped the flow of Canadian tar sands oil to the US for one day last October.
Some passages to whet your appetite:
If a subject is sitting alone in a room, and the room begins filling with smoke, the subject will open the door and get out. If, however, the subject is sitting with others in the room, and they sit calmly ignoring the smoke—chances are good that he’ll sit calmly ignoring it too.
“We’re wired to take our cues from each other,” Foster concluded. “Unless we have people acting like climate change is an emergency, we’re going to keep talking about this as if it’s some kind of Al Gore political issue. And we’re going to fry our kids.”
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But, if you’re Michael Foster, verdicts and sentences are not the most meaningful measures of victory. For him, the victory that matters is the one he’d already snatched out of the beet fields of North Dakota: raising public awareness about 350 parts per million as essential for the survival of future generations. “I made a choice to take an action that I thought was morally necessary to expose a deadly system of injustice against our kids,” he says simply.
It’s gonna suck being a little old vegan in prison,” he continues, smiling sadly. “But honestly? Living in this system of overconsumption, beside this concrete river of CO2 that is always flowing on I-5—everywhere I go in this town that I love feels like prison. So the idea of living in prison? It doesn’t bother me the way it should.”
Biggest takeaway: we should all be acting like it’s an emergency. Because it truly is. I think the only way forward in this time of government inaction is to embrace this sense of urgency, both in the decisions we make in our personal lives and in the actions we take to defend the future. The smoke is pouring in, and a few courageous souls are showing us the door.
I’ll be keeping an eye on the political developments in Qatar for multiple reasons, including the fact that the country is the world’s largest exporter of liquefied natural gas (LNG). Instability or uncertainty around the country’s LNG supply could cause market changes. If you’re also wondering what this means for the world LNG market (or whether it means anything just yet), below are some articles from the past week to get you started. The list is organized by date of publication.
- Qatar’s Dispute With Arab States Puts LNG Market on Edge (New York Times)
- A Middle East spat with an LNG twist (LNG World Shipping)
- Here’s how the Qatar rift could change the LNG markets (CNBC)
- Regional Rift Hits Container Shipments to Qatar, but Not LNG Exports (Wall Street Journal)
- Qatar fight finally spills into global energy market (CNBC)
- Gulf crisis not to affect Qatar’s LNG and oil exports: Expert (Qatari newspaper The Peninsula)
I was inspired and intrigued by the Reverend William Barber’s suggestion that politics needs religion. He reminds us there’s this little thing called morality and we could use more of it all around—conservatives who fall back on theology and progressives who’ve distanced themselves from religion alike—and he gained notoriety for the Moral Monday movement. “If your attention is not on dealing with the issues that hurt the poor, the brokenhearted, the sick the left out the least of these the stranger and all of those who are made to feel unacceptable, you don’t have…evangelicalism you have heresy, you have theological malpractice.” His interview on the New Yorker Radio Hour podcast is worth a listen.
And, a British political operative moves to California to launch a political revolution. Steve Hilton is also a newly minted talk show host at Fox News. He’s definitely conservative, but he’s critiquing elite power in politics and giving a more authentically compassionate take on what to do with the groundswell of populist politics in the US and beyond—asking what real, “positive” populism could look like:
The argument went like this: previous Conservative Party leaders had said, “The enemy is big government. We need to cut back government, to roll back the frontiers of the state, cut back the size of government, cut spending and everything will be great.” That certainly had its appeal particularly in the U.K. at the end of the 1970s, where people felt that the state had [become] way too big and out of control. But as you went through the 80s, people saw that if you cut back government and left it at that, people were often left behind and social problems were unaddressed. We tried to make a more nuanced argument than saying “smaller government.” We’d say, “Yes, the answer to our problems is not Big Government, but a Big Society.”
Here’s his whole interview on Freakonomics Radio.
Keep your eyes peeled for THINK.urban’s Women Led Cities project launching this fall. The project aims to bring women’s voices—or to clarify, non-cis men voices—to the forefront of urban planning discussions and start conversations around how to develop feminist city policy. I’ve stumbled upon a few articles that highlight ways we can advance cities as safe and inviting places for women, such as this CityLab piece and Guardian piece. Lisa Schweitzer, associate professor of urban planning at USC’s school of public policy, also has a clever and hilarious blog where she shares her research on urban planning and public policy (among other topics, like pop tarts). Have other women-led design articles and resources to share? Add them to the comments below!