Three great stories we found on the internet this week.
Rock the world
A new study has found that a simple farming fix could eliminate a billion metric tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere if just three countries adopted it.
China, India and the United States are the three biggest emitters of greenhouse gases. If those countries started spreading rock dust on their farmland, it could massively reduce CO2 emissions. This is because the process isn’t just carbon neutral — it’s carbon negative. When the silicate material in the rock dust is dissolved by rainwater, it sucks carbon dioxide out of the air, washing it away as runoff. The lead author of the study described it as “a straightforward, practical CO2 drawdown approach” that could eliminate half the amount of greenhouse gases produced by all of Europe.
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The rock dust has the added benefit of helping to rebuild overworked soil, and the researchers say that concerns about the process requiring harmful mining activities can be addressed by using recycled “waste rock” that’s already being produced by mines, making the solution a win-win-win.
A new app is bringing the employee-powered co-op model into the digital age. The platform, Up & Go, is cooperatively owned by 51 Latin American housekeepers. The “owner-workers” share office space, customer service representatives and ownership of the app itself. With a few taps, clients can hire one of the housekeepers for residential or commercial services; meanwhile, the housekeepers get to be their own bosses and keep regular work rolling in.
By combining the employee-centered co-op model with a TaskRabbit-style digital economy tool, Up & Go hopes to reap the benefits of both. One way it has done this is by ensuring its co-op members are well protected during the pandemic — which can be hard for other workers whose bosses may prioritize profits over safety.
“This is where we really saw the power of the co-op. We had these systems in place,” said one member. “Everything was grounded in the worker’s experience, rather than: ‘We need to make as much money as possible, let’s send people out even if they don’t have adequate protective gear.’” That doesn’t mean the profits aren’t rolling in, however — one Up & Go member the New York Times spoke to said the app has increased her average hourly wage to $25 from the $11 or $12 she was making when she used fliers.
The tok is ticking
Indigenous women in Canada are woefully underrepresented in media, so they’re using TikTok, the dance-happy digital platform, to represent themselves. The Tyee reports on Sherry McKay, an Oji-Cree woman from Winnipeg, who was working toward a degree in media, but was forced to leave school for lack of funding. So she turned to TikTok, where she’s now one of the platform’s many Indigenous stars who have helped the hashtag #NativeTikTok reach almost 200 million views. “Not only does it bring people together, in a certain sense it’s an eyeopener,” said Ticia Johnson, who is from the Gitxsan Nation and goes by Ticaks on the platform. “There are a lot of cultures out there that I never really got to see until I was on TikTok.”