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10 Steps You Can Take to Shrink Your Carbon Footprint (Maria)

The author writes, “Small changes alone won’t save our planet. To keep the Earth from warming above the critical 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) limit, climate action needs to happen at an institutional level. The Washington Post has built a tracker to keep you up to date on all of President Biden’s environmental actions. But that doesn’t mean you should feel helpless, or that your actions aren’t worthwhile. Taking steps to lower your own carbon footprint may help ease your climate anxiety by giving you back some power — and even the smallest of actions will contribute to keeping our planet habitable.”

Texans With Disabilities Fear New Restrictions on Voting Help Could Mean Criminal Charges at the Polls (Dan)

From The Texas Tribune: “Nancy Crowther needs an aide around the clock to help her with meals and other daily household tasks. Her personal attendant of three years lives with her in Austin. Crowther, 63, would also like her attendant to help her cast a ballot in the primaries. Crowther has spinal muscular atrophy, a progressive neuromuscular disorder that makes it difficult for her to reach the touch screen at the polling booth. She also uses a wheelchair that limits her mobility around polling places. But even though Crowther says she trusts her attendant to respect her voter privacy, Texans with disabilities — and attendants who get compensation for assisting a voter — could face criminal penalties under new voting legislation.”

The CDC Isn’t Publishing Large Portions of the COVID Data It Collects (Russ)

The author writes, “For more than a year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has collected data on hospitalizations for Covid-19 in the United States and broken it down by age, race and vaccination status. But it has not made most of the information public. When the C.D.C. published the first significant data on the effectiveness of boosters in adults younger than 65 two weeks ago, it left out the numbers for a huge portion of that population: 18- to 49-year-olds, the group the data showed was least likely to benefit from extra shots, because the first two doses already left them well-protected.”

Why Are Beef Prices So High? Some Ranchers and the White House Say It’s More Than Just Inflation. (Reader Steve)

From The Boston Globe: ‘Beef and veal at grocery stores cost 16 percent more in January than they did a year earlier, a key factor in the nation’s decades-high inflation rate. And there are some people getting rich off it. The profit margins of the four largest meatpackers have tripled over the past two years, according to a recent White House analysis. But ranchers like [Eric] Nelson aren’t cashing in. ‘We’re actually getting less … than at any time in the last 20 years,” said Nelson, 59, noting that it’s ranchers, not meatpackers, who have to pay the higher costs of cattle feed. ‘The consumer’s not winning and we’re losing. And it’s those dealing in the middle that have been the huge winners.’ The Biden administration and some in Congress on both sides of the aisle agree.”

City Trees and Soil Are Sucking More Carbon Out of the Atmosphere Than Previously Thought (Mili)

The author writes, “They may not have lungs like we do, but the soil and trees are breathing in and out all of the time. Trees take in carbon dioxide (CO2), release oxygen by way of photosynthesis, and store carbon in their trunks. And when the leaves land on the ground, soil microbes work to decompose the leaves and other organic matter, which releases carbon dioxide. Forests actually store more carbon dioxide than they release, which is great news for us: about 30 percent of carbon emissions from burning fossil fuels are taken in by forests, an effect called the terrestrial carbon sink.”

Why Older Generations Can’t Understand the Millennial Struggle to Buy a House (Sean)

From The New Statesman: “It’s a word that disappeared as quickly as it arose: avocado. From the mid-2010s, it became the go-to cliché for older and middle-aged people to mock a younger generation’s struggle to buy a home. The idea was that millennials had no financial sense and frittered their money away on expensive breakfasts in restaurants, which was keeping them from building up their savings. No one could really believe millennials were literally spending all of their money on avocados (or, more specifically, avocado toast), but avocado-spending was supposedly indicative of the spoiled, expensive lives that young people wanted but could not actually afford to enjoy. Over the past few years, that word has largely fallen out of use as its enthusiasts have noticed it was getting less and less attention, and realized they had to shift gears to continue making the same point in a way that didn’t immediately trigger eye-rolls. The “avocado” should now be implied, but not explicitly mentioned.”

I Found a Tiny Frog in My Salad Now He’s My Friend (Laura)

The author writes, “Four days before Christmas last year, while staying with friends in Tulsa, I pulled a half-eaten box of romaine lettuce out of the fridge to prepare a salad. I clocked a tiny tree frog motionless in the box; he was the exact color of the leaves. I was amazed but concerned. He was so cold, I feared he’d gone into stasis. I had no idea how to keep this little guy alive. I posted a video of him on Twitter and asked for advice. My phone blew up and I was contacted by some pretty knowledgeable people. I searched Google, too. It was below freezing and too cold to set him outside, so I pierced holes in the lettuce box, put the frog back in and sprayed him with mineralized water. I added some leaves and drinking water, and closed the lid.”

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