Daily Digest 8/7 – Good News Friday: Workers Idled by the Virus Try New Careers, Houston Beyond Fossil Fuels

This is Good News Friday, where we find some good economic, energy, and environmental news and share it with PP readers. Please send any positive news to [email protected] with subject header “Good News Friday.” We will save and post weekly. Enjoy!


‘It’s Time for a Change’: Workers Idled by the Virus Try New Careers (jdargis)

Going to art school is something she’s wanted to do for years, along with eventually, perhaps, opening her own seaside ceramics shop. When her work dried up, she realized how little support she had in her food-delivery job, and it’s unclear how steady that work will be.

“I think the pandemic has brought those issues right to the forefront of my mind,” she said. “I think it’s time for a change.”

Your Old Radiator Is a Pandemic-Fighting Weapon (tmn)

Health officials thought (correctly) that fresh air would ward off airborne diseases; then as now, cities rushed to move activities outdoors, from schools to courtrooms. When winter came, the need for fresh air didn’t abate. According to Holohan’s research, the Board of Health in New York City ordered that windows should remain open to provide ventilation, even in cold weather. In response, engineers began devising heating systems with this extreme use case in mind. Steam heating and radiators were designed to heat buildings on the coldest day of the year with all the windows open. Anybody who’s thrown their windows open in January, when their apartment is stifling, is, in an odd way, replicating what engineers hoped would happen a century ago.

Scientists Are Optimistic About New Vaccine Studies From Novavax (tmn)

Although it’s not possible to directly compare the data from clinical trials of different coronavirus vaccines, John Moore, a virologist at Weill Cornell Medicine who was not involved in the studies, said the Novavax results were the most impressive he had seen so far.

“This is the first one I’m looking at and saying, ‘Yeah, I’d take that,’” Dr. Moore said.

Public Opinion Is Moving Against Natural Gas and Fracking (Bill M.)

Poll numbers like these have already influenced candidates’ positioning in both state primaries and the US general election. Based on horse race polling, there’s no discernible electoral disadvantage for candidates who take a tough stance on fossil fuels, even in swing states—and even in swing states where fossil fuels loom large, like Ohio, the nation’s fifth-biggest gas producer, and Texas, the nation’s leading gas producer.

Houston Beyond Fossil Fuels (Bill M.)

I’ve worked with Houston’s inventive minds capable of scaling-up vast engineering and technological systems. From grounded experience, I know we are uniquely qualified to lead the world’s transition into renewable energy and solve three important crises at the same time: Climate, inequality, and economic recovery. We are capable of creating a Houston renaissance over the next 10 years as other cities have done after their originating industries collapsed. They still make steel in Pittsburgh and cars in Detroit. Oil is still part of my hometown of Tulsa, the former Oil Capital of the World. But visionary leaders renewed Tulsa and Pittsburgh. FDi Magazine named Tulsa number eight for cities of the future, and The Economist named Pittsburgh the second most livable city in the United States. However, Detroit was forced into bankruptcy in 2013. Houston has a choice. If Houston leaders don’t get organized and drive the renewable energy transition, Silicon Valley will, and Houston could become more like Detroit.

Therapy llama ‘Caesar the No Drama Llama’ calms tensions at protests (tmn)

Llamas generally are not known to be cozy with humans, and at 5-foot-8 and 350 pounds, Caesar could appear intimidating. But Caesar doesn’t turn from affection or back away from chaos. When people meet Caesar, they tend to melt in his calm presence, said his caretaker, Larry McCool, who lives in Jefferson, Ore., on the Mystic Llama Farm.

This Virginia Woman’s New Business Brings Alpacas Right To Your Door (TourGuideDC)

Diaz grew up in Peru, where alpacas are treasured animals commonly adopted as pets. They’re gentle and curious, she says, and love to socialize. “My mom thought it would be hilarious to bring a bunch of llamas and alpacas to our backyard, and they were so cute,” Diaz recalls. “The babies started coming inside the house just like our dogs. And they started behaving a little bit like them. They were super sharp, and they loved people, so that’s when we understood they could be treated as pets.”

Replanting roots in a Southern food desert (jdargis)

Nettie and I started gardening together not long after I moved in with my folks this spring to help with groceries and chores during the coronavirus pandemic. One evening, standing in the yard near dusk — the mosquito hour — I asked her how gardening and working the land could bring her so much joy when her introduction to such tasks was not born from a labor of love.

She told me gardening and church bring her a similar solace — where she can find quiet and “fully lose herself.” These days, when she’s not thinning greens, she passes hours on our family’s orange riding mower, which she’s coined her “Prayermobile.”

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Article suggestions for the Daily Digest can be sent to [email protected]. All suggestions are filtered by the Daily Digest team and preference is given to those that are in alignment with the message of the Crash Course and the “3 Es.”

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