Chicken little forecast

Still Chugging Along

Volcanoes are erupting in The Philippines, but on-fire Australia received some welcome rain. The Iran war cries have been called off and The Donald’s military powers are about to be hamstrung by the Senate. Meanwhile, his impeachment trial is starting, and we’re all on Twitter for a front-row seat.


What Could Go Right? The latest on long Covid

Plus, Black Americans can now more easily trace their lineage, a win for equal rights in Malaysia, and more

Emma Varvaloucas

Emma Varvaloucas

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Knowing where you come from is a powerful thing. Unless you don’t know, you may not realize how deeply the emotions around historical identity cut, especially in the United States, where many Black Americans are unable to trace their family history through the murky, dehumanizing history of slavery. Now, the genealogy website has published what NBC News called a “Black family lineage game-changer—3.5 million records of previously enslaved Black people, available for free.”

The digitized, searchable records come from the Freedmen’s Bureau, an American federal agency created in the late 1860s to “assist the newly freed in their transition out of slavery.” That assistance included everything from marriage paperwork to housing access to finding lost family members. The collection is a great step for historians and researchers and, hopefully, everyday Black Americans, who may be able to find records of their personal family histories.

“I found out that after slavery, my ancestor saved up money with other slaves to seek medical care,” said 26-year-old New Yorker Dennis Richmond Jr., who found information about the mother’s side of his family using the Freedmen’s Bureau. “That almost made my cry. I would never learn that at public school.”

The discussion continues. Kids and long Covid: how worried should we be? The United Kingdom’s Office for National Statistics (ONS) released data last week that UK doctor Alasdair Munro, whose research specializes in pediatric infectious diseases, said should put parents’ minds at rest. “Despite a huge amount of concern, these statistics back up what we are seeing in practice with kids,” he explained in a Twitter thread on the new statistics. “Long Covid is not a huge problem for the overwhelming majority of children who are infected.”

ONS tracked 12 common symptoms of Covid, including fever, headache, fatigue, shortness of breath, and loss of smell, and their prevalence 4 to 8 weeks and 12 to 16 weeks after infection for children ages 2 to 16. The rates of symptoms at both time frames are low, 0% to 1.7%, compared to rates of symptoms in the control group. You can see the data for yourself here:

Note that *more* children, at 2–11 years old, in the control group reported experiencing common long Covid symptoms than those who had tested positive for Covid.

There are 24 countries around the world where mothers and fathers do not have equal rights to pass their nationality on to their children. Until last week, Malaysia was one of them. In a landmark ruling, children born overseas to Malaysian mothers will now be considered Malaysian citizens. It’s an obvious win for gender equality, but the decision will also have important on-the-ground effects. Imagine, for instance, a woman trapped in an abusive relationship abroad who wishes to return home. How can she, if her child has no rights as a citizen, meaning that she may struggle to register them for school, take them to the doctor, or even keep them in the country? Advocates are hoping that the Malaysian ruling will spark change in the remaining nations on the list. Barbados, Nepal, Madagascar, Kuwait, et cetera, we’re looking at you.

Before we go, longtime climate activist Bill McKibbin says we are finally catching a break in the climate fight. “The price of renewable energy is now falling nearly as fast as heat and rainfall records, and in the process offering us one possible way out,” he wrote in his newsletter this week. The public debate, he says, hasn’t yet caught up to this new reality. If renewable energy is much cheaper than fossil fuels, that’s an argument for a swift green transition that will have real legs for governments and policymakers. The short article is an especially nice read if you’re searching for some inspiration to get back on those streets.

And, did you know that most of the CO2 from Australia’s megafires has been offset by algal blooms?

Below in the links section, how about a little lab-grown coffee in the mornings?

The Hindustan Times reports that “slightly over 80 million, or 42.5% of total rural households, have been covered under the piped drinking water mission so far,” according to official data. If you haven’t checked out the newsletter Future Crunch yet, do it!

From us: When you hear the word “economics,” do you hit the snooze button? Yet how we structure our economies, whom they serve, and even what we decide to measure has an enormous impact. In the latest episode of What Could Go Right?, we talk through the unknown outcomes of a post-COVID economy and why we need to move beyond GDP with Diane Coyle, co-director of the Bennett Institute for Public Policy at the University of Cambridge. Listen to the conversation here.

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Emma Varvaloucas

Emma Varvaloucas is the Executive Director of The Progress Network. An editor and writer specializing in nonprofit media, she was formerly Executive Editor of Tricycle: The Buddhist Review and is the editor of two books from Wisdom Publications.