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So well written and researched. Such a creative way to talk about an important and difficult topic.

Also, you are the queen of subheadings!

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Thanks so much for reading, Kathleen, and for your kind words. I really appreciate it. Especially the bit about giving it a creative spin. I got inspired by TV documentaries actually, they always have some storytelling, I thought it would make it more engaging for the readers.

The subheadings: For a moment I wondered if I wasn't being 'too funny'. But I decided to leave them in and see the reactions.

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It works. There’s a lot to take in and I think humor is often best used in dark times to demonstrate humanity’s perseverance. Agree with all the comments about a need for major changes at the top.

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It was harder to add narrative fiction snippets to the second part of the article dealing with numbers, statistics and scientific proof. And I didn't want the information to feel dry or hard to grasp. I had to do a lot of reading to grasp the Milankovitch cycles and then the titles came in a moment of inspiration and I thought, how easy it is to explain these phenomenons with wording that paints a familiar picture in our heads.

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Dec 4, 2023Liked by Claudia Befu Ibarra

Haha I was going to say this too 😁

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I mean, there was a Cypress Hill call out!

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Funny enough, I only remembered the song title but not the band name. 😅

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I loved that call out!

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😁

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Dec 4, 2023Liked by Claudia Befu Ibarra

Living under the illusion that the survival of the human race, and consequently its massive reproduction, is the most important thing in our universe has led to catastrophes, both humanitarian and ecological. Our insatiable thirst to ensure the survival of our families, communities, countries, races, and ultimately of the individual will lead to our own destruction—unless Elon colonizes our galaxy...

Recognizing that we are wrong is hard. Fighting what has been encoded in our DNA to avoid our own extinction is nearly impossible.

But there is hope if we start caring for others, including eliminating feelings of superiority towards other races and countries, but most importantly, putting our race on par with animals, the soil we step on, the oceans, rivers, mountains, trees, plants, and the air that gives us life.

It’s time to start working together and set aside our egos, fears, vain desires, and anything that could lead to indifference towards the continuous destruction of Earth’s ecosystems.

Thank you for such informative and eye-opening article, Claudia!

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Dec 5, 2023·edited Dec 5, 2023Author

Thank you, Misael 💚. Every time I write a new piece, I'm looking forward to your feedback. We've been having lots of discussions about this topic the past years and I absolutely agree. We need a change of heart, of vision. Let's hope that we can do all this.

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Dec 4, 2023Liked by Claudia Befu Ibarra

👏

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Btw, Nathan, meet my husband. 😁

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Dec 4, 2023Liked by Claudia Befu Ibarra

😆🤩 No wonder the words were so wise.

Hey Misael!

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Dec 5, 2023Liked by Claudia Befu Ibarra

Thank you for the kind words Nathan! I’ve heard about you. Good things :) nice to meet you!

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Dec 5, 2023Liked by Claudia Befu Ibarra

Ditto 😁

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Dec 3, 2023Liked by Claudia Befu Ibarra

What I love about this essay, @ClaudiaBefu, isn't just the amazing depth of research in bringing resources and a coherent story to life for a topic which is rarely explored within mainstream education and science outreach programmes, but also how you intimately portray the lifestyle of ancient humans through various fictional vignettes.

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Thank you for taking the time to read, Johnathan. Learning bits and pieces about the life of the Ice Age people sparkled my imagination, I found them fascinating. I’m not a historian, therefore I thought what better way to bring their stories to life than through some imagined scenes from their daily life?

It’s actually curious how we portray Stone Age people as these half naked brutes who cannot speak properly. It was a bit cold to run around barefoot. 🤣 Also, it seems like footwear was invented as early as 40,000 years ago.

All in all, I loved learning more about the Ice Age people and the role of ancient farmers in climate change. I remember the Paleolithic and Neolithic etc. from school. It was such a bore with the stone tools and whatever. I wonder why history is not taught in a more engaging manner.

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Dec 4, 2023Liked by Claudia Befu Ibarra

It's a common fallacy to equate additive, incremental technological advancement with intelligence, culture and civilisation. Our brains haven't evolved so much over the last 40,000 years. Our basic needs remain the same - and those urges are taken advantage of by rampant commercialism. Sanitation, vaccines and clean water are responsible for 80% of our improved longevity, not sophisticated drugs. Writing and reading have contributed to cultural expansion, but it's being subsumed by transient, flickering visuals. Modernity is only a thin veneer of pretence to exist in. We can no longer see the stars, feel the earth and imagine as we used to.

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I didn't know that our brain hasn't evolved much in the past 40,000 years. So what did all this civilisation do to us?

'Modernity is only a thin veneer of pretence to exist in.' - Is this all that is in the end? After all the work, the CO2, etc.? The next must be a revolution of the mind.

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Dec 4, 2023Liked by Claudia Befu Ibarra

The (not so) trite answer is that it embedded power structures (govt, church, legal, academic), grew commercial wealth and permitted collection of taxes.

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All products of our imagination. And I appreciate many of these conventions whether social, political or economic, but some think that this is it, we cannot find something better than this.

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Dec 4, 2023·edited Dec 4, 2023Liked by Claudia Befu Ibarra

Quite right, Homo sapiens brain structure is essentially the same it was, if we want to break the cycle we'd need to evolve past our current stage. what would that look like? a HS 2.0? Enhanced with Neurobionics? "We can no longer see the stars, feel the earth and imagine as we used to." We could, if we cared to look.

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Dec 4, 2023Liked by Claudia Befu Ibarra

I have a feeling the melodramatic, the pornographic, the accidentally wealthy and the intentionally deadly will lead the way on human enhancement. Yay for sapiens.

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Three cheers. Well, once the earth rotation slowed down enough, we can all put them on the dark side of the earth 😅

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Isn't that a nice thought?

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Dec 5, 2023Liked by Claudia Befu Ibarra

"I wonder why history is not taught in a more engaging manner."

Claudia, we need more passionate, curious writers (like you!) to create "living" books for students as an alternative to the dry textbooks written by committee. Passion is contagious, and children learn best through storytelling--rather than rote memorization. I think there is a growing interest in the hybrid text format.

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Dec 5, 2023·edited Dec 5, 2023Author

How does the hybrid text format work? Is it part teaching manual part storytelling? And where is it used?

While researching I kept thinking about how much more engaging school could be. I am sure that I would've remembered the paleolithic in a different light if I learned more about the life of the people in those times. Instead we learned the types of stone arrow tips they made which had scientific names that numbed my 12 year old brain.

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Dec 5, 2023·edited Dec 5, 2023Liked by Claudia Befu Ibarra

Great read Claudia! And creative use of headings by mingling in some subtle pop-culture references like Peter Gabriel, Cypress Hill, Snoop, the recent cancelled, and the less subtle GoT, great way to add some beats of humor to break up the seriousness of the subject. I was struck by the reality of the statistics in regarding major pandemics in the past 1000 years and the correlating decrease in CO2 PPM and the devastating impact in the population. I have always known the stats but in light of our own contemporary pandemic it carries more weight. Additionally, your There is Hope fiction highlights a reality that human resilience will be utilized as reasoning to allow the model of production and consumption to continue to reign, regardless of consequences.

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Dec 5, 2023·edited Dec 5, 2023Author

Thank you for reading, Brian, and leaving your notes. I really appreciate it.

I was recently called a climate optimist but I think that we won't stop until we're at the brink of extinction. Change comes out of pain. I hope I'm wrong. The world around tells me I am not. But there is always hope.

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so enjoyed this and the playful playlist of course it makes me want to dive into bookshelf and dig out "Sapiens" again but your piece fills in so many blanks ie where he goes into what transition and epically from hunter gatherer to agricultural meant to the survival of species you go into the climatic repercussions of that very same human population by this i mean the nod in your scholarship is towards all species and living things as well as inanimate objects this shift is needed if we are to leave this place in another 30,000 years as a space where anything can exist let alone thrive without some kind of artificial intervention uhohhhh theres the AI WORD LOL

loved this

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Thanks for reading. Do you mean the book 'Sapiens' by Harish Johari?

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The planet doesn't need us, and obviously would be better off without us 😅. Wrecking another planet won't change the narrative. I wonder, though, if it is even possible to get general awareness for this on a scale where it would matter. Some say it's already too late, anyway. Doom Sayers! It's never too late. We keep learning from our past, so here's to finally learning enough to prevent the same mistakes.

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I also don't think that it's too late. But it will be painful as a species to live with the consequences of our own actions. Especially if we let this very bad situation go on long enough.

Such good observation though, we are learning from the past. And I find so inspiring to look back at the different ways in which we existed as a species on this planet. Right now we're clinging so much to our way of life thinking that it can#t get ay better. Or having harmful ides about how it can be better. It's not the American Dream lifestyle. We need new values and new dreams.

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Dec 4, 2023Liked by Claudia Befu Ibarra

Very interesting Claudia, thank you for the time you've taken to read, research and write about all this. I knew some of these details, but not all (the critical importance of the needle?! Had no idea, hadn't ever considered it! Amazing.)

The planet's f$&+'ed, is my generally takeaway from the last decade or more. I'd love to hope there can be a turnaround, and I try to make small changes as much as I can, but the disappointing lack of action by governments and world leaders just derails my hopes. Look at cop28, look at New Zealand, who have just rolled back a coal/oil ocean exploration ban introduced by former PM Jacinda Ardern ... It's just heartbreaking.

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Thank you, Nathan. It is very hard to see a bright future without mass action against climate change. The fact that even if we stop with the emissions the climate will not cool off is also alarming. Because we don't know what all this heat will unleash in terms of natural feedback. So far, there was an understanding that it will be very bad to end this century with +5 celsius degrees. And that we're working toward a maximum of +3 celsius degrees. I started reading a new book published last summer and apparently we are on track for ending the century with +6 celsius degrees. From previous readings, I understood that this is mayhem.

Things will change at some point. If there's anything I've learned from all the history reading, climate change has been at the core of all major changes in human lifestyle, belief systems, social systems. Unfortunately, these changes were done only under high environmental pressure. And the transition periods were extremely harsh. This is what it takes to change. With all our technological advancement, we haven't learned anything.

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I wouldn't say we haven't learned anything, we just haven't felt the cataclysmic sting of extinction, yet, the magnitude of force required to effectuate meaningful change planetwide, requires a "unifying event" on a global scale. It will come. Every system is finite.

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Unfortunately, I think you're right Alexander. It has to be really painful to make a change. Do we have to wait until it hurts so bad? Nope. But we will. 'Every system is finite.' I like this.

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Dec 4, 2023Liked by Claudia Befu Ibarra

Well said. True change likely won't happen before it's too late and we are facing the consequences to the extent that they must be dealt or else. Of course, we are already at that point--long past it, I'm sure--but it still isn't in the faces of leaders enough for mass action to be happening.

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Leaders react to the people. If there's enough pressure for a certain agenda to be implemented, it will be implemented. But the people have to speak. We will not change the world by shopping plastic-free but we will if we pressure the leaders into banning single use plastic. I think that this kind of mass action is needed and this is where our power lies. What do you think? Did you notice Australian leaders reacting to what the people want?

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Dec 4, 2023Liked by Claudia Befu Ibarra

Yes, I agree that leaders need pressure.

In Australia, despite there being a strong Greens political movement, the government still sees the country as a land to be mined. Of course, exports help the economy, I understand the need etc, but there's not enough being done about transition to greener energy. If there's one country that has the available landmass, wind, sunshine etc, then surely it's here (I say that without doing my research 😬)

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You don't have much solar energy in Australia? Maybe we have good deals for fossil fuels? I know that water is a huge issues in Australia. When I read about it in 'When the rivers run dry' by Fred Pierce I was shocked.

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Dec 5, 2023Liked by Claudia Befu Ibarra

I think we do, but I'm sure there should be more. It's better in "sunnier" states such as Queensland, but my political takeaway always feels like the government is more interested in fossil fuels than renewables. One of our previous PMs thought that wind farms were a blight upon the land and did all he could to stop them. 🤦‍♂️

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Dec 5, 2023Liked by Claudia Befu Ibarra

PPS I just saw this article in my work inbox. Might be of interest: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41564-023-01557-x

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This is a very interesting article, thanks Nathan!

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Dec 4, 2023Liked by Claudia Befu Ibarra

PS meant to say very much enjoyed the snippets of fiction writing you weaved through at the start.

Please, as Kate notes, love/lolled at the article sub-headings 😅

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Oh, I even managed to get a laugh with those sub-headings. This is more than I could hope for. 🤣

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Dec 4, 2023Liked by Claudia Befu Ibarra

😆

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Wow. I feel like this is the type of history that needs to be taught to kiddos. And maybe it will be soon enough? I'm an adult, with a three-year-old of my own, and it's the first I'm learning about so, so much of it. So, thank you very much for that. I'm certain that it has taken hours and hour and hours to read, digest, and package your own learnings into something that is accessible, entertaining, and insightful. It's a special talent you have, Claudia.

Also, love the headings throughout!

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Thank you so much, Garrett, really appreciate your feedback 💚! It did take a lot of research, especially understanding the orbital movements enough to explain their contribution to Earth’s climate and also the scientific proof of how ancient farming contributed to climate change which involved reading several academic papers. The more I learned, the more I thought about how easy it would be to make learning in schools more engaging for children. One can create narratives around any topic and present the material in a more cohesive form which will also help children retain it better. Based on the age group certain details can be left out or added. But yeah, let’s hope education will develop in that direction otherwise schools will be replaced by ChatGPT. 🤣

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Claudia, when I homeschooled my children years ago, I followed the advice of educator Charlotte Mason, who, in the early 20th century was a proponent of using “living books” for children’s learning rather than textbooks.

One book we enjoyed. It was called the Burgess Bird Book for Children, which was a charming antique book written in 1919. He taught the children all about different bird species in the form of a story book in which the different birds were characters with personality traits based on their particular species’ habits.

It’s an old idea, but one that’s being revisited. People think it’s a new concept because it now has a term to define it called “hybrid text” or “storybook text.”

I thought this was a good article:

https://ila.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/trtr.1560

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This example ignites my imagination in numerous directions. It’s for young children, but the idea could be expanded for older children and adults.

_Python_ by Christopher Cheng (2013) is composed in two fonts to highlight the difference between the narrative and informational text. The narrative text uses a larger font set in straight lines, and the informational text uses a smaller font that curves across the page.

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