What you need to know to start your week—from nuclear missiles to imminent climate change

Each week, Chicago Ideas will offer up some links to help you start your week. We’ll collect articles and videos to bring you up to speed on specific issues, while offering action items for you to get involved with, too.

What to read: “The Uninhabitable Earth” from New York Magazine

Written by David Wallace-Wells, this exhaustively researched piece features dozens of climatologists and researchers weighing in on the implications of climate change and what that means for our shared future. Though it presents very dire outcomes—the first section is titled “Doomsday,” after all—it is a necessary reminder of how quickly these dismal possibilities could become a reality. From melting polar ice caps to aggressive heat waves all the way to destroyed economies, Wallace-Wells describes the piece as “a portrait of our best understanding of where the planet is heading absent aggressive action,” though it’s important to note it’s not too late to course correct. It’s something that was discussed at Chicago Ideas Week last year, when we looked at how the military is driving innovation with alternative energy, and continues to gain traction across the globe.

Continued readings:

What to watch: “The Growing North Korea Nuclear Threat, Explained” from Vox

Last week, North Korea launched its first intercontinental ballistic missile, known as an ICBM, becoming the country’s first long-range missile in its arsenal. And while this sounds frightening, with Alaska now technically in range of North Korea’s missiles, Vox dispels the rumor that this means the United States is now in imminent danger. The video breaks down how this missile, the Hwasong-14, isn’t capable of carrying a nuclear warhead across the Pacific Ocean just yet, while also unraveling Kim Jong-un’s motivations for building ICBMs. It dovetails nicely into another Chicago Ideas Conversation from last year about the future of national security, which is proving incredibly prescient in the present moment.

What to do: Consult the Climate Action Plan

In terms of what individuals can do in terms of taking daily actions against climate change, the Chicago Climate Action Plan has long offered simple solutions that people can implement right away. Not only that, it offers plenty of ways for people to get involved with the organization, with plenty of volunteer opportunities available for interested parties, and a reminder that these small lifestyle changes can make a big impact.

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