This article appeared in the February 14, 2022 edition of the Monitor Daily.

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Watching for wins that bring new hope

Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP
The exterior of SoFi Stadium is pictured on Feb. 8, 2022, days before the Super Bowl in Inglewood, California.
Clayton Collins
Director of Editorial Innovation

Some Super Bowl fans – especially in Cincinnati – were hoping their team would end a 33-year dry spell on Sunday. Instead, pro football’s Cincinnati Bengals lost a close one to the Los Angeles Rams.

But for viewers looking closely, the Super Bowl venue in Inglewood, California, still showcased a small win – for climate action. While all big stadiums require a lot of pavement for parking, SoFi Stadium’s green urban landscape also includes a 5.5-acre lake that collects rainwater.

And while one promising (and costly) structure won’t shift society to a mindset of hope on climate change mitigation, it might begin to address a kind of anxiety that can be immobilizing. 

“Future industrial development is on track to be cleaner than past industrial development,” writes journalist Matthew Yglesias, “even without any new policy changes or technological breakthroughs.” 

And a study on “positive tipping points,” unpacked last week in The Guardian, looked at how “small interventions” by “small groups” can build and deliver social change as they gather critical mass and start delivering economies of scale. 

“I wanted to show that, if you understand the complexity,” said a professor who worked on the study, “it can open up windows of opportunity to actually change things.” 

Consider inroads by electric cars, or plant-based meat alternatives. Consider stadiums with lakes or gardens. The new becomes the norm. As Mr. Yglesias writes, “It’s worth trying to dispel the sense of helplessness.”

This article appeared in the February 14, 2022 edition of the Monitor Daily.

Read 02/14 edition
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