Amidst a wave of climate inactivity by COP25 and the U.S. federal government, a few hopeful headlines wiggled free. Most notably, Goldman Sachs announced it would not fund arctic fossil fuel drilling projects. If anything, we learned this week that business and consumerism might be the more realistic conduit to confront climate change.

Goldman Sachs Leads Among US Banks with Commitment Not to Fund Arctic Drilling

By Gabby Brown, Sierra Club, December 15

  • Global bank Goldman Sachs ruled out financing for Arctic oil drilling in an updated energy policy, joining UniCredit, Royal Bank of Scotland and Barclays in doing so.
  • The policy also ended financing for “new thermal coal mines and coal-fired power projects worldwide.”
  • The Arctic – namely the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge – is home to expanses of pristine natural areas. Resident caribou herds that are a primary food source for the Gwich’in people.

The Biggest, Stupidest Decade in Seattle History

Staff report, the Stranger, December 18

OK, this isn’t a typical “hopeful headline,” but it does show that the environment has become household issues in Seattle in the last decade. And also, bless the Stranger.

  • Man in Tree – A “clearly unwell man” climbed up an 80-foot Sequoia in downtown Seattle, causing #ManInTree to trend on social media. In the aftermath, “Seattled mourned the wounded tree.” I’ll take that as a sign that people do care about nature.
  • Orcas draw attention – Puget Sound’s dwindling southern resident orca population received national attention after J35 (aka Tahlequah) carried her dead calf around for 17 days, seemingly mourning and crying for help. The spectacle prompted action from Governer Jay Inslee.
  • Wildfire smoke in Seattle – Nobody enjoyed the weeks of wildfire smoke in both 2017 and 2018. Sadly, there is probably more to come. However, wildfires have placed climate change and the environment unmistakably at the forefront of local issues.
  • Seattle gets light rail – The 2010’s (well, 2009 technically) brought light rail to the Emerald City. It also brought calls and efforts to expand it.

For Business, Climate Change Has Become Real

By David Hodari, Wall Street Journal, December 17

  • Major companies from all industries are responding (albeit, often slowly) to demands for climate-friendly products and business practices.
  • The 2015 Paris climate accord seems to have been “a crucial driver in making the corporate sector take climate change into account when doing business.”

Feature photo by Nuno Antunes on Unsplash.