4 lessons the US learned from the COVID-19 pandemic

The long-term lessons America learns from the coronavirus pandemic will spell life or death.

  • As the US commences its early stages of COVID-19 vaccinations, Michael Dowling, president and CEO of Northwell Health, argues that now is not the time to relax. "There are lessons to be learned by systems like ours based upon our experience," says Dowling, adding that "we know what these lessons are, and we're working on them."
  • The four major takeaways that Dowling has identified are that the United States was unprepared and slow to react, that we need a domestic supply chain so that we aren't relying on other countries, that there needs to be more domestic and international cooperation, and that leadership roles in public health must be filled by public health experts.
  • If and when another pandemic hits (in the hopefully distant future), the country—and by extension the world—will be in a much better place to deal with it.
Learn more about Northwell's pandemic response here.
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Manmade objects now weigh more than all living things on Earth

Humans churn out about 30 gigatons (30,000,000,000 tons) of material every year.

Credit: aryfahmed via Adobe Stock
  • The study compared estimates of the planet's total biomass (the mass of all living things) with anthropogenic mass, which includes all human-made materials.
  • Every year, humans are bringing materials into the world at a higher rate.
  • Concrete is the single biggest contributor to anthropogenic mass and it's a major source of greenhouse-gas emissions, suggesting that finding more sustainable alternatives could help curb climate change.
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Radical innovation: Unlocking the future of human invention

Ready to see the future? Nanotronics CEO Matthew Putman talks innovation and the solutions that are within reach.

Innovation in manufacturing has crawled since the 1950s. That's about to speed up. Using a combination of imagination and technology, science tech company Nanotronics aims to revolutionize the factory floor so that industries can have a smaller factory footprint, produce less waste, and rapidly increase the speed from R&D to production—it's this very philosophy that allowed Nanotronics to pivot and manufacture ventilators as a rapid response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Study details the negative environmental impact of online shopping

Frequent shopping for single items adds to our carbon footprint.

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  • A new study shows e-commerce sites like Amazon leave larger greenhouse gas footprints than retail stores.
  • Ordering online from retail stores has an even smaller footprint than going to the store yourself.
  • Greening efforts by major e-commerce sites won't curb wasteful consumer habits. Consolidating online orders can make a difference.
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How the last two centuries led to today’s economy

The best and worst of yesterday has created the economy of today.

  • Adam Davidson, co-founder of NPR's Planet Money, can trace a line through time from homemade clothing and baked goods to today's passion economy. Davidson argues that a combination of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries are how we got to where we are.
  • We shifted from an intimate and localized economy of goods and services, to an economy of scale, and finally to what Davidson refers to as "intimacy at scale."
  • There are, of course, positive attributes to this hybrid economic system, but it also comes with some of the flaws of its predecessors.

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