The Atlantic Daily: Our Personal Relationships With Nature Are Changing

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“Outside, fires raged and seas rose and viruses attacked,” my colleague Megan Garber writes. “Inside, not knowing what else to do, I kept watering all the plants.”

This Earth Day, Megan has a thoughtful essay arguing that the recent boom in houseplants—along with a rise in nature-chic decor—is a way of processing our collective “eco-grief.”

As we try to chart a course forward amid anxieties about the future of our planet, our personal relationships with nature are changing.

  • Recycling can do only so much. “A constant influx of new and hard-to-manage materials in the waste stream poses ongoing problems,” E. A. Crunden reports.

  • Our diets are a big source of emissions. Experts offer two easy rules for reining in your mealtime footprint, Annie Lowrey reports: Don’t waste food, and eat less meat.

  • For more practical advice on navigating our changing world, subscribe to the Weekly Planet, a newsletter that comes to you every Tuesday from my colleague Robinson Meyer.


One question, answered: I got invited to a wedding this summer. I’m fully vaccinated, but I don’t know whether everyone else there will be. It will also require me to fly. Is it okay for me to go?

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Weddings have been a tricky question since the beginning of the pandemic. Our staff writer James Hamblin has advice on whether you should make the trip this summer:

Yes. The vaccines are extremely effective, both at preventing you from getting sick and at making it very unlikely for you to carry the coronavirus and transmit it to others. By summer, everyone 16 and older in the United States will have had an opportunity to get vaccinated, and our rates of viral transmission should be very low. Barring a sudden revolt against vaccination or a new variant that evades our vaccines, domestic travel and gatherings should hopefully be pretty low-risk overall, and extremely low-risk for vaccinated people. Plus, if you have an opportunity to catch up with close friends or family at the wedding who aren’t vaccinated, you could maybe have a conversation with them about why they’ve avoided vaccination, and help make sure that they’re informed and that they know you care about their decision. I still wouldn’t go to a sweaty indoor reception that was packed with unvaccinated people, shouting into my face over Bruno Mars or whatever, but that probably wouldn’t be a very fun party anyway.


Tonight’s Atlantic-approved activity:

Pocket this practical advice for improving your well-being, courtesy of Arthur C. Brooks:

“When you’re unhappy, don’t curl up and watch a sad movie. Exercise, call a friend in need, and read up on happiness instead. You will be reprogrammed for action.”

Read the rest of this week’s “How to Build a Life” column.


A break from the news:

How did a case involving a convenience store make its way to the Supreme Court? The answer involves beer, frat boys, and a young lawyer named Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who made an unusual argument for women’s equality. Listen to the latest episode of The Experiment, our podcast with WNYC Studios.


Every weekday evening, our editors guide you through the biggest stories of the day, help you discover new ideas, and surprise you with moments of delight. Subscribe to get this delivered to your inbox.