Here's what we emailed out the week of April 23, 2021. Sign up for updates directly in your inbox.
Concrete that can trap carbon dioxide? Count us in! If you’ve been following Earth Week content (such as our first story below) you’ll know that excess carbon dioxide (CO2) in our atmosphere is a big driver of climate change. And in case you didn’t know, cement production accounts for 7% of global emissions of this greenhouse gas. But there's some hope: The $20M XPRIZE contest announced its winners this week, two of whom used CO2 in the production process, which not only trapped the gas but also resulted in a stronger concrete! In other news, some stories trapped below the front page that we cleared a path for...
Why pollen allergies are getting worse every year
Sat Apr 17
It’s not just you: Pollen allergies are getting worse every year — including for those who never had them before. The culprit behind this stuffy, itchy, sneezy madness? Humans and climate change, of course...
- As we burn more fossil fuels, more carbon dioxide is released into the atmosphere. In fact, for the first time in recorded history, the concentration of atmospheric CO2 was measured at more than 420 parts per million (for reference, geologic evidence suggests that the Earth’s CO2 was last at this level ~3 million years ago).
- More CO2 helps plants grow bigger, leading to more flowers which tend to have more pollen. These big-pollen flowers also tend to produce more seeds, meaning more pollen-spewing plants will blossom in the next season.
- And increasingly warm temperatures not only speeds up plant growth, but the earlier springs and warmer winters give plants a head start on pollen production.
In the U.S., the cost of treating nasal allergies already tops $3.4 billion, and is expected to only get worse as more exposure to pollen makes it more likely that you’ll develop an allergy. Severe forms of the allergy can also lead to other complications, such as increased vulnerability to respiratory infections (such as COVID-19) or pollen-induced asthma attacks (which currently leads to 20,000 ER visits a year). The best cure? Simply keeping windows closed, taking hot showers after spending time outdoors, and getting ahead of the season with allergy medication.
Some additional resources...
- For more on how climate change is worsening pollen allergies, turn to Vox, National Geographic, or U.S. News.
- For more on the record-breaking level of CO2 in the atmosphere, refer to the Washington Post.
- For a list of the most challenging U.S. cities to live in with allergies, refer to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.
In Argentina, legislation to prevent rent hikes led to rent hikes
Thu Apr 16
While the pandemic led to rent price drops in major American cities, the opposite is happening in Argentina. The city of Buenos Aires has seen rent prices increase 67% recently — ironically as a result of legislation meant to prevent this! The law...
- Intended to stabilize prices and protect tenants. Problem is, the actual rent increase allowances won’t be shared until July, so landlords are preemptively raising prices before they’re no longer able.
- Changes rental agreement rules, extending them to three years (as opposed to the current two) and limiting rent changes to once every year (versus once every six months).
- Comes just months after Argentina’s year-long rent freeze was lifted, which prohibited landlords from evicting tenants who didn’t pay rent.
Further fueling these rent spikes is massive inflation after Argentina excessively printed money to pay for its coronavirus stimulus plans last year. Not only did inflation rise 3.9% over a single month, but rent is rising twice as fast as paychecks. Purchasing isn’t much easier either, as houses are sold in USD while mortgages are offered in pesos. While a clear solution hasn’t emerged yet, some politicians are trying to dismantle the upcoming rent legislation.
Some additional resources...
- Most of our research for this story came from these Bloomberg articles: Rent increases, money printing, and housing market.
- For more on inflation in the country, refer to MercoPress.
#ASCII ART OF THE WEEK
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You might consider ah-choo-sing to celebrate Earth Day indoors.
Art Credit: JGS, Ascii Art Archive