News Briefs

  • Broad, comprehensive education is crucial to addressing our environmental problems. Unfortunately, some communities have relatively few such information sources, especially on television, with the Latino community being a prominent example. To address that gap, Univision, the Spanish language news and public affairs broadcaster, has a new series called Nuestro Medio Ambiente y su Mundo. It’s the work of Gabriela Teissier, and so far, it’s covered five topics, including biodiversity, marine aquaculture, climate change, and wildfires. The LA-based series will be especially useful for older Latinos who get their news primarily in Spanish. 

 

  • The Public Utilities Commission is considering changes that will make rooftop solar more expensive in large parts of the state. The controversial policy shift, decried by the Sierra Club, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and others, has been pushed by investor-owned utilities like PG&E who want to charge users for access to the power grid and not pay them for the unused electricity they return to the grid. The utilities have framed the proposal as a question of social justic, arguing that low-income residents, who do not normally have solar rooftops, are essentially subsidizing wealthier ones through higher electric bills. Opponents dispute this and say the changes would kill an extremely successful program, though some acknowledge that the program needs updating. Since its inception, 1.3 million California buildings have had solar installed, generating 10,000 megawatts of electricity. (Only Edison, PG&E , and other private company customers would be impacted, not those of any public utility.)

 

  • Anxiety about climate change is taking an increasing toll on children and young people, according to recent studies. A landmark international survey last year showed young people increasingly distressed, with a startling 95% worried about the future, and 59% extremely or very worried. Psychiatrists in England report that half of their young patients are suffering from “eco-anxiety” and related depression. Young people are said to feel betrayed by governments, which are seen as failing to respond adequately to the crisis. Greta Thunberg illustrtated this attitude at COP26 when she accused leaders of just making more empty promises, more “blah, blah, blah.” Eco-anxiety is much higher among the young than much older groups, not only in the UK but in the US. While 67% of Gen Z Americans (18-23 years) worry about the impact of climate change on their mental health, only 42% of baby boomers share their concern. 

SEI Reports Feb 2022 sq .png