Categories
The Environment Science Now + Beyond

Climate change is a feminist issue, and here’s why

In the past year, we’ve seen wildfires devastate Australia and parts of the United States. We’re seeing cities and islands disappear under rising sea levels, torrential rains flood large parts of Europe, and entire regions drowning in smog. With temperatures soaring to new levels, increasing numbers of natural disasters ripping communities apart, and rising sea levels displacing populations, it is unthinkable to deny that climate change is threatening us all. Despite repeated warnings from scientists and experts, there are very few practical solutions being implemented to combat it and secure life on this planet for all. As governments continue to ignore or water down climate justice treaties and enact policies that cause environmental destruction, few stop to think about how climate change and gender interact with each other.

Climate change impacts those who are the most marginalized–and in most communities, they’re women. Women are more likely than men to be impoverished and they face high risk during climate change-related disasters. In fact, women constitute 80% of those displaced by climate change. Women and children are actually 14 times more likely than men to die during a disaster. With migration expected to increase due to climate change (increased sea levels, inhospitable temperatures, and a loss of arable land), women are be the most vulnerable to violence, exploitation, and other harm. This is already noticeable in current migration patterns, where 50% of migrants are women and girls, facing gender-based violence.

LGBTQIA+ individuals, who already face disproportionate violence and disenfranchisement, are also at risk due to climate change, particularly with shelter and health. Even without climate concerns, many are forced to leave their homes and communities from fear or insecurity about their safety. But in climate emergencies, when housing is destroyed or limited, the need for support increases manifold. LGBTQIA+ individuals who would be displaced in the process of extreme weather conditions would find their marginalization increasing, as might violence toward them and a lack of advisory services.

Climate change has also been a result of extractivist, colonial activities by many global North countries. The drive for increased profits has long been at the expense of communities who find themselves in an unequal power dynamic with corporations and governments. In those communities, where gender dynamics are already skewed and where resource exploitation drives down the quality of life, women face additional or exaggerated burdens. Women, commonly positioned as primary caretakers, find themselves struggling to support their communities and families when the water goes bad, the crops don’t grow, and people fall ill. For this reason, many women human rights defenders are actively agitating for solutions to climate change that involve the dismantling of economic structures that prioritize extractive industries over environmental protection.

Despite all of this, women and LGBTQIA+ communities rarely find themselves afforded a space at the negotiating table to be a part of climate justice solutions. In the European Union, for example, only one-fifth of ministers who handle issues relating to the environment, transport, climate change, and energy are women. This is in line with historical trends, where women have not been included in key decision-making bodies. Many climate justice agreements do not address gender equality, women’s rights, or minority rights. The enhancement of present policies and the building of future ones to effectively reflect gendered realities is vital if marginalized communities are to be served well by climate justice solutions.

A feminist approach to climate justice can lead the way for concrete change. Here are some steps we can take for that:

  • Gendered perspectives must be included at every step of the decision-making process, including disaster mapping and mitigation solutions.
  • Feminist activists, women human rights defenders, LGBTQ+ activists, and other key leaders representing marginalized communities must be included in the research, review, and policy crafting processes. Their inputs can be based on lived and directly observed experiences, which in turn would increase the efficacy of policy solutions.
  •  Ensure that climate justice solutions do not pit one marginalized community against another. Intersectionality–the consideration of gender, race, ethnicity, class, sexuality, age, and other factors–must be the foundation of any effective climate justice framework.

As we all struggle to survive in a world where the greed of corporations is hindering the quality of our lives and contributing to climate injustices, let us band together to turn back the clock!

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Categories
Latin America The World

Devastating fires in Chile go unnoticed

A wildfire that is believed to have been started deliberately turned Chile’s skies red and forced citizens to flee their homes.

The Valpraiso region was engulfed by flames for hours. According to authorities, the fires have blazed through 400 hectares of forest. At least ten houses have been caught by the flames, and some 25 000 residents and hundreds of firefighters were deployed to battle the flames.

According to various sources including a local government official, the fires are believed to have been started deliberately. Local rumors suggest that the fires were started deliberately by a construction company after being denied access to encroach land property.

[Image Description: Residents look up at the orange sky as the wildfires burn nearby (Picture: AP)] Via AP
[Image Description: Residents look up at the orange sky as the wildfires burn nearby (Picture: AP)] Via AP
A Chinook helicopter that was carrying tonnes of water was used to extinguish the fire from above. The destroyed property includes four houses, six cabins at a recreational center, and two warehouses. 

People who were evacuated were placed temporarily in a school building while a ‘safe zone’ was set up in the municipal stadium. Citizens that had been self-isolating after coming into contact with someone with coronavirus were instructed to go to local schools that were designated quarantine zones. 

This is not, however, the first time the area has been destructed by the wildfires. In January 2017, Chile witnessed one of the worst wildfires which caused major devastation throughout the country, killing at least 11 people. In 2019, 200 homes in the port city of Valparaiso were destroyed by wildfires on Christmas Day

Despite the devastation caused by the fires, they have received little to no coverage in international news and media. Citizens and Diaspora Chileans have expressed contempt over the blatant ignorance of the fires.

https://twitter.com/dreamnctfound/status/1350488355184799761

Instead of spreading the word about the fires and calling for aid, people on social media believed the pictures to be aesthetic and used them to promote songs. The insensitivity towards the matter speaks volumes.

Forest fires such as the one in Chile have both short-term as well as long-term impacts. Dozens of citizens been displaced from their houses as fires blaze through the inhabited parts of the country. Acres of forests have been destroyed and countless animals are caught in the flames.

Research has proven that the smoke from fires can choke nearby cities months after the fires. Fires can release more pollution into the air. Air quality is significantly poor and creates hazes in cities farther away. Reduced air quality can have longer-term health effects such as penetration of lung membranes and damaged respiratory system. Short-term effects include coughing, shortness of breath, and exacerbation of asthma attacks.

A bigger cause of concern is that the toxicity of these smoke particles appears to increase the further they get from the site of a fire. The particle undergoes chemical reactions as they are carried in the wind. This causes them to “age” in a process known as oxidation. It converts the particles into highly reactive compounds that have an even greater capacity to damage cells and tissue than when they were first produced.

The aforementioned effects are not even a quarter of the devastation that is caused by wildfires. The insensitive and rather ignorant response to the Chilean fires is worrying because the world is already struggling with wildfires that are causing catastrophic effects and aiding environmental damage. In addition to stealing hundreds of people’s livelihoods. It is necessary to draw attention to the fires in Chile so that the real culprits face the punishment. More importantly, though, governments need to be more pro-active to prevent such catastrophes from re-occurring.

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Categories
The Environment 2020 Elections Inequality

President Trump’s four year long war on science needs to come to an end

The past four years have been irreversibly affected by efforts from the Trump administration to limit the use of science in policy making. During this administration’s tenure all of the progressive climate reforms made by its predecessors have been reversed – the United States removed itself from The Paris Agreement and the wildfires raging across the West Coast have doubled in size causing the forced evacuations of more than 90,000 residents. To make matters worse, these fires show no sign of slowing down as increased emissions from heat-trapping gases have led to warmer and drier conditions in the area. The flames which have torn across the West Coast thus far in 2020 indicate the most active fire season on record. As the climate warms, the wildfires will continue to grow larger and more frequent. Still, President Trump denies the enormity of the threat presented by climate change. Our nation cannot afford another four years of his environmental inaction.

Both presidential debates last month included questions regarding climate change, prompting the candidates to speak on their plans to rectify the situation. But here’s the thing—there is no rectifying it. Global warming has worsened with every passing year since at least 1950. The only viable option left—apart from laying in the grave which has been dug for all living beings—is to try to slow down the progress of global warming and not allow the earth to become entirely unlivable for the future generations. Perhaps this is a classic case of too little, too late.

Since taking office President Trump has invalidated the well-known fact that carbon dioxide emissions are caused by human activities, labeling it “alarmist.” Instead, he has held onto the American coal industry as well as domestic oil production for dear life, therefore accelerating fossil fuel development. On the debate stage a few Thursday’s ago, the president proudly stuck up his faux green thumb and proclaimed that his fervent solution to save the environment is to plant more trees.

On the other hand, Joe Biden’s plan is only a little less ashy. His campaign promises a strict reduction of net carbon emissions through the creation of new energy-efficient homes and electric vehicle charging stations—but there is a big discrepancy. The former vice president cites support of the promotion of clean energy while simultaneously assuring voters that the jobs associated with natural gas production will remain secure. So, he must be lying to someone. A real transition from fossil fuels toward renewable energy will inevitably result in the elimination of the oil and coal industries. At the rate in which the world is warming, this elimination might need to come sooner than we’d expect, leaving millions of working class Americans out of work. But, at least it’s a step away from immediate and total destruction of the earth.

The hottest year ever recorded was in 2016, with 2019 coming in a close second place by less than one-tenth of a degree Fahrenheit. Right now, there is an increased urgency to implement real change because doom is impending. Whoever winds up in the Oval Office next must plan for the economic pitfalls that will come along with such a change—but nonetheless ensure that the change happens, and fast. That is why it is imperative that all U.S. citizens who are eligible to vote do so today. In more ways than one, we hold the fate of the world in the palms of our hands. 

 

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Categories
The Environment

14 woes of an Eco-Warrior

The fact that we need to change our way of living in order to stop climate change in its tracks is old news. All of us are beginning to do the best we can: using metal water-bottles and coffee-cups, and watching copious amounts of David Attenborough to understand the impact humanity is having on the world.

But it’s not always easy trying to save the world, especially when the rest of the world does not seem to have caught up with the urgency. How can we be environmentally-aware and truly sustainable when the rest of the world is essentially telling us not to bother?!

This is indeed the struggle. We Eco-Warriors are still in the minority and live in a world that is fundamentally unsustainable. Here are 14 things that we poor souls trying to stop the world from eventual doom and destruction can relate to:

1. Where did it come from?

Macklemore enjoying a fur coat
[Image Description: Macklemore enjoying a fur coat]
No longer being able to indulge in the simple joy of shopping or talking about ‘things’ with your friends without questioning where everything came from and how it is going to be disposed of…

2. Do they pay their staff enough?

John Oliver screams 'It's Not Fair'
Image description: John Oliver screams ‘It’s Not Fair’

Aggressively Googling if that new brand you spotted on Instagram has an ethical production and fair wage policy.

3. I can no longer fly to Mexico for the weekend?!

Harry Potter flies on a Griffin
[Image Description: Harry Potter flies on a Griffin]
The everlasting issue of wanting to explore the world and, and simultaneously worrying endlessly of the carbon impact of one plane journey. 

4. Trains are just as cool, right?

A man sits on the wheel of a train as it turns
[Image Description: A man sits on the wheel of a train as it turns]
We’re not quite buying the argument about rail travel being just as convenient and fun for a vacation.

5. Am I even an adult if I don’t drive?

Phil from Modern Family teaches Haley, his daughter, how to drive
[Image Description: Phil from Modern Family teaches Haley, his daughter, how to drive]
Refusing to learn how to drive because buying a car would inherently mean becoming reliant on it and the petrol required to fuel it, yet feeling like a child because of that very refusal.

6. Yum, berries! But we don’t grow those here… 

A woman observes and eats a strawberry
[Image Description: A woman observes and eats a strawberry]
Really wanting some of that exotic summer fruit that is mysteriously available in your local supermarket in the dead of winter but knowing full well what has happened to get it there.

7. Okay but organic does not mean sustainable…

A man rolls his eyes
[Image Description: A man rolls his eyes]
Incessantly questioning all the ‘ethical trade’ / ‘organic’ labels on food packaging after all you know about the sociopolitics of the global food trade.

8. No more Netflix marathons

Sergeant Terry Jeffords from Brooklyn Nine-Nine throws a laptop across a room
[Image Description: Sergeant Terry Jeffords from Brooklyn Nine-Nine throws a laptop across a room]
Discovering how much carbon dioxide is emitted by devices such as laptops and phones and wondering how you’re meant to spend your spare time now.

9. That’s HOW much?!

A person counts dollar bills
[Image Description: A person counts dollar bills]
Accepting the mark-up – or rather the correct, ethical price – that comes with buying responsibly.

10. It seems that plastics are going…

An ocean with plastic waste in it
[Image Description: An ocean with plastic waste in it]
Knowing that it is brilliant that we are finally getting rid of single-use plastics, but also worrying about the multiple-use plastics that are still going to be knocking about and are even harder to break down.

11. … But actually they’re here to stay.

A woman tells us that under 10% of plastics actually gets recycled
[Image Description: A woman tells us that under 10% of plastics actually gets recycled]
By extension, wanting to scream when plastics are labelled as recyclable, as if that invalidates their long-lasting global impact.

12. I’m too busy for this!

Neil Patrick Harris puts his iPad down, then answers his phone, and then appears to answer a can of soda
[Image Description: Neil Patrick Harris puts his iPad down, then answers his phone, and then appears to answer a can of soda]
Realising that ‘busy culture’ contributes a huge amount to wastage and disposability and wanting to slow down as a consequence – and, of course, not knowing where to start.

13. Single-wear outfits = single-use plastics

Two girls are talking and one says 'What a waste. I only got to look cool for two seconds'
[Image Description: Two girls are talking and one says ‘What a waste. I only got to look cool for two seconds’]
No longer being able to appreciate a wedding dress, a red carpet outfit or an influencer’s post on Instagram because you know that outfit is only going to be worn once.

14. Am I doing enough? Am I even doing it right?

A man sweats in a hot desert
[Image Description: A man sweats in a hot desert]
Constantly worrying that you’re practicing what you’re preaching.

Eco-Warriors are a particular breed. We will not stop trying to save the world from itself, despite the world itself telling us to do the exact opposite and take a hike. Eventually, we are certain, everybody will see that true sustainability is going to be much harder to achieve than simply refusing single-use plastics.

Categories
Editor's Picks The Environment The World Policy

Your curbside recycling habits are about to change – here’s the policy behind it

In Mid-November, I checked my mail to find an interesting report from my town. They were ending their single-stream recycling program and moving to a dual-recycling program. The notice came without much warning. Moreover, the new program was incredibly restrictive about what products I could put out to recycle.

No longer would the tax-funded recycling program take things like pizza boxes or plastic takeaway containers. Additionally, they would refuse all glass recycling. Glass pickup was restricted to only 7 locations across the largest county on Long Island.

If you have a car, you can probably find one of these locations on your way to work. However, for those who previously relied on the curbside recycling that their property taxes pay for – they may be finding that their glass jars and plastic containers are just ending up in the garbage.

The restrictions have caused garbage volume to increase for many households. For people who were unprepared, they had to buy a new recycling bin to account for the bi-weekly recycling schedule. Without proper notice of the change, many people chose to stop recycling entirely – feeling as though the county was bringing too much hardship to their good deed.

What is more insidious is that much of the reason behind the change was cloaked behind vague reasoning. Rumors suggested that the county was changing their policies because recycling costs were too high. However, only a brief Google search revealed that these changes were being made across the country, indicating a more national reason afoot.

That reason is the United State’s trade war with China.

Previously, when a person recycled something that was not pure – such as oily pizza boxes or damaged take out containers, the containers needed to be cleaned. This process can be costly, and labor intensive. In the past, China would buy these materials at a cut rate, clean them, and reuse them in their own re-purposing endeavors.

Due to the cost of employing people to clean recyclables, China has been cutting back on their purchase of imperfect recycled products. However, they ultimately ended the program entirely in retaliation to President Donald Trump’s trade war.

Because it is no longer profitable to sell recycled products to China, many local recycling programs, like the one in my town, have cut back or reduced their recycling programs to only what they can profit on. Smaller communities have needed to end their recycling programs altogether.

This is an attack on the spirit of recycling. Were recycling simply about profit, there would be no incentive at all. I pay to recycle, with my time, and my tax dollars that fund the local recycling district.

Altruism need not exist purely for profit. As our oceans are overwhelmed with plastics, and the temperatures rise, the importance of recycling is more important now, than ever. With restricted recycling practices, there will be an increase in trash going to landfills, which release methane gas as garbage decomposes. Landfills account for one-third of the methane produced by humans in the United States, showing the toll that simply throwing things away has on global climate change.

Recycling cardboard boxes (whether or not they stored pizza before) is pivotal in preserving rainforests. Glass can be recycled endlessly, without an effect on purity. The process of recycling glass actually costs less than starting from raw materials, making it an easy tradeoff for many companies.

However, we rarely think of the environmental cost of our actions as a nation, only the monetary ones.

While our nation’s leaders are fighting over how to spend our tax dollars, I’ve come to realize that I rarely have any input on how my tax dollars are spent. My representative does not consider my values – and that I would rather pay for a recycling program that loses money, instead of a country-wide monument to hate on our southern border.

I’m still trying to find what is the best solution to recycle my pizza boxes. However, I think the president should be held responsible for all the wine bottles in the bin – he’s the reason they’re there.

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Categories
Fashion Lookbook

Want to make your wardrobe more green? Here’s how.

In the wake of the United Nation’s damning climate report, people are scrambling to think of ways to make their lives more carbon neutral. Whether that means driving less, eating more vegetables, every little bit helps to try and stem the effects of global warming. Have you ever thought that one way to be more green, can start with your closet?

Many people probably wouldn’t look to their closets when they think about climate change. Most issues around clothing production circle around human rights offenses. However, the recent fast fashion movement is to blame for a large portion of climate change. In fact, the fashion industry creates more pollution than international flights and maritime shipping, over 1.2 billion tonnes of carbon a year! This can account for 5% of global emissions yearly.

[bctt tweet=”the fashion industry creates more pollution than international flights and maritime shipping, over 1.2 billion tonnes of carbon a year! This can account for 5% of global emissions yearly.” username=”wearethetempest”]

While everyone isn’t able to afford an electric car or go vegan at the drop of a hat – we do have the ability to harness fashion as a tool for the global good.

One way to focus on limiting the global impact of the fashion industry is to simply buy less. This can come in many different forms, like recycling old clothes into new pieces, or going to thrift stores when you need to update your wardrobe.

While thrifting isn’t the most glamorous method of shopping, it lowers the demand for new inventory.  That means that clothing companies can slow the breakneck speed of production. It also increases the value of long-lasting, multi-use items. If a piece of clothing has survived multiple uses, it’s clearly built to last.

With a little creativity, you can turn thrift store finds into perfectly tailored outfits. Learning to sew is a very versatile skill that can make you essential in any friend group. Your ability to make your outfits custom to your style and your size means that you can impact your network, showing them that fashion is yours alone.

[bctt tweet=” Make sure you find these legacy pieces and hold onto them with love – they’re good for you and the planet!” username=”wearethetempest”]

If you do choose to shop, select pieces that can carry you through many seasons, and many years of use. Consider products that are built to last, so they don’t need to be replaced often. Something as simple as a white t-shirt can come in a wide range of qualities – from ones that tear on the first use, to ones that you’ve owned for forever. Make sure you find these legacy pieces and hold onto them with love – they’re good for you and the planet!

It’s great to investigate and find brands that choose to be carbon neutral with their production. Many brands are moving towards carbon neutral production standards. You can find these companies by searching the web. One resource is the Global Organic Textile Standard, which ensures organic fibers and environmental standards for the entire supply chain behind a product – meaning that everything, even your red shirt, is green.

[bctt tweet=”One resource is the Global Organic Textile Standard, which ensures organic fibers and environmental standards for the entire supply chain behind a product – meaning that everything, even your red shirt, is green.” username=”wearethetempest”]

The UN Climate Report stipulated that widespread changes need to be made before our planet’s temperature rises beyond our control. With goals set for 12 years in the future, we don’t need to rely on our governments to act on our behalf.

We can start by simply cleaning out our closets.

Categories
The Environment Tech Science Now + Beyond

The solution to climate change depends on CO2 emissions

It’s hard to imagine what a world not powered by fossil fuels would look like.

Sure, generations of humans have navigated the world without factory plants emitting carbon dioxide (CO2) into the skies and air-polluting cars weren’t at their disposal. And yet, the disbelief and delay to enact change doesn’t stall the climate change effects shown in the high-tide flooding resulting from rising sea levels or the rampant wildfires. And how many times must we witness the video of the starving polar bear, before we realize that melting sea ice is not just a human problem?

But what if we didn’t have to revert to our modest beginnings and instead were able to keep doing what we’re doing while siphoning CO2 emissions from the sky? A team of scientists from Harvard University and Carbon Engineering have reimagined a world where CO2 is the answer and are aiming to counter human’s carbon footprint by 2021.

Carbon Engineering announced in June that they have found a method to cheaply extract CO2 pollution out of the atmosphere. The process consists of making liquid fuel from the CO2 that’s been extracted out of the atmosphere and combining it with hydrogen from water. Essentially, this would mean the Canadian companywho are backed by Microsoft Founder Bill Gatesrecycling emissions back into the fuels that generated it.

 Pulling carbon dioxide directly out of the air isn’t new. The idea of extraction has been a part of the climate change policy over the past five years in terms of geo-engineering and direct air capture, also known as DAC. However, Carbon Engineering scientists have made it more realistic and attainable by cutting down the costs of such a process.

According to Klaus Lackner, the director of the Center for Negative Carbon Emissions and a professor in School of Sustainable Engineering at Arizona State University, “the [company] has taken a ‘brute-force’ approach to drive down costs using known technologies.”

He goes on to say in the interview with Nature, “They are coming within striking distance of making this interesting economically.”

Until this past year, the costs of CO2 extraction was considered to cost upwards to $600 per ton. The number has dropped exponentially, estimating below $100 for each ton of CO2 removed from the atmosphere according to the company. The cut in costs makes CO2 extraction realistic for major countries like China a realistic method to curb their emissions output, which in the past two years saw an increase in carbon dioxide emissions despite the country’s increased in 2017, according to a report from Columbia Center on Global Energy Policy. It also, makes the method more realistic for countries like Syria or Nicaragua who signed the Paris Agreement in the past year.

As it currently stands, the United States is the only country in the world that has rejected the Paris Agreement when President Trump withdrew it’s pledge to the reduce country’s carbon footprint in June of last year. This is in spite of the United States ranking 11th when it comes to carbon dioxide emissions, according to The World Bank report.

Though it would seem almost obvious that the answer to the world’s climate problem is to not emit CO2 into the atmosphere or at the very least, reduce our consumption.  Of course, we wouldn’t be able to reverse the clock back to before we were callous to the earth’s decay And yet, the modest and cheapest solution of the two is not on the table.

It’s almost as if we learned nothing from Former Vice President of the United States Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth documentary or even the squirrel from the Ice Age franchise. It’s critical to sustain the environment and the planet we have now because the alternative is unimaginable.

Categories
World News The Environment Science The World Now + Beyond Inequality

Hey, South Africa, stop lying about climate change

Did you know Cape Town in South Africa almost ran out of water?

Three years of poor rain and an ever increasing population brought the metropolis down to its knees. Capetonians were (and are still) being urged to limit their water usage as much as possible in ways such as two-minute showers and flushing the toilet only when extremely necessary. Government officials are citing Climate change but are more eager to pin the problem down to corruption and inefficiencies in management.

Not convinced? That’s ok.

Do you remember the heat wave in California last year? It was said to have been part of the hottest summer on record for California. LA Times reported that six people died from heat-related illnesses and in downtown San Francisco records reached 106 degrees F (41.1 degrees C). It was also reported that the heat put a strain on the State’s power grid which intermittently left thousands without electricity.

Hurricane – giphy.com

Do you remember Hurricane Irma that devastated the Caribbean and put Florida in a state of emergency? Well, scientific analysis has shown at no point in history dating up to the 1800s has seen the emergence of two category five hurricanes in the region. Last year we had Irma and Maria fit the bill.

And what about the 80 or so wildfires burning across nine western U.S. states causing $1.75 billion being spent on fire suppression?

Giphy

Did you know all of these catastrophes (and many others) have been due to climate change? Do you even know what I am talking about?

The President of the United States seems to think Climate change isn’t real even though most of the effects are happening in his own backyard. But if we don’t start educating ourselves and making serious alternations to our lifestyles – things are only going to get worse.

ASK A SCIENTIST: What really is climate change?

I know most people think the changes that we will need to bring about will reverse the lifestyle we are accustomed to. But no, nobody is asking you to not drive your car to work and back, we are just asking you to consider purchasing a more fuel-efficient vehicle, or consider carpooling with your colleagues.

Consider using less heat and air conditioning. Nope, not asking you to die of a heat stroke or contract hypothermia. Just wear more layers or less as the occasion calls for it. I personally liked to crank up the air conditioning in the summer and then sleep with a duvet and I know I am not alone in this. Now, after reading about the effects of climate change, I don’t think I can justify my habit. At home, instead of having the heating on all the time, I wear more layers and move around a lot more then I used to.

Fact: did you know setting your thermostat two degrees lower in winter or higher in summer could potentially save up to 2,000 pounds of carbon dioxide each year?

Consider saving electricity and water. Not only will you teach your kids to be less wasteful but you will also save a few bucks. Do you really need that 45-minute long shower? Does the water need to be running while you brush your teeth? I am sure you can switch the light off when you leave the room.

Human beings are parasites. There I said it. We will live through the climate change and we will survive. But the ride is not going to be easy and it is not going to be remotely pleasant. Lives are already being lost due to the damage we are doing to Mother Earth, people are already suffering. It may be unpleasant in the developing world, it is truly catastrophic in developing countries. There we don’t have resources to tackle the effects of climate change as well we do here.

If you take anything from this article let it be this: climate change is real. It is disastrous and you can do your part by making small changes to your lifestyle.

Categories
Science Now + Beyond

4 things you can do to save money while saving the environment

Lets face it, our planet’s climate isn’t going to get any better by itself. And it’s pretty obvious from the way things are shaping up with our government that the people in office won’t do anything to help either. Climate change is a problem that affects us all, and now, it’s up to us to prevent it.

I’m tired of watching apocalypse movie trailers about the end of the earth, but that may very well be our future (minus the dramatized special effects). Even if it’s small, little changes in your life could eventually add up to make a big difference for the environment. Here are four simple ways you can take action, while saving money at the same time!

1. Use your feet

We have them for a reason, but we choose to use them more often for pressing the gas pedal of a car instead of walking. Cars and trucks emit about 24 pounds of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gasses for every gallon of gas we burn. If walking doesn’t take you places fast enough, try using a bike or skateboard. A lot of people on my college campus use bikes to get around which encourages the city to make infrastructure more pedestrian-friendly.

I live in California so I understand that long commutes can sometimes be unavoidable. Easier solutions would be to carpool to work or switch your gas-guzzler to a more fuel efficient hybrid. You’d be saving money on gas while running on electricity.

2. Air dry your clothes

Not only does this prevent clothes from shrinking, it will also save all the fossil fuel you’re burning by using a clothes dryer. The average cycle for drying-machines use over 4kWh of energy and produces around 1.8kg of carbon dioxide. Considering how many cycles it takes to get one load of laundry completely dry, these machines are inefficient and unnecessarily hurting our environment.

After switching to air drying, I ended up saving money (which is important as a broke college student), and all the freshly washed clothes made my room smell amazing. There are options to purchase cheap clotheslines online to dry clothes inside or outside. Another perk: your clothes will last longer so you won’t be putting more money into having new clothes shipped by freighters burning fuel oil to cross the ocean.

3. Don’t touch the thermostat

Climate control doesn’t need to be a year round thing when temperatures are still moderate, yet for some reason we are obsessed with carrying out our own climate change in every building we work and live in. The chemical compounds used in air conditioners known as HFCs, or hydrofluorocarbons, emit greenhouse gasses. Ironically, they are the culprits contributing to global warming while keeping you cool. Without it, we could be saving millions of tons of carbon dioxide emissions.

During my first year in college, I discovered what a heater was for the first time after growing up in California where they don’t exist. What I wasn’t accustomed to was that my room was missing air conditioning even though the summer hadn’t ended yet. To keep cool, I kept the windows open almost 24/7, and when that didn’t work, I went outside. Sometimes it’s just nice to enjoy the actual climate how we were meant to live in it.

4. Unplug your devices

Just because an appliance is off, does not mean that it stops consuming energy. When you leave devices like your television, stereo, computers, and chargers, they’re still using electricity, thus creating more greenhouse emissions. By unplugging them, you could cut down drastically on your electricity bill as well.

However, unplugging is easier said than done if you have a lot of devices. Using a power surge is a convenient way of creating more plugs, with only one plug to unplug! Energy-efficient gadgets are also effective replacements which would save money and energy by replacing something you use on a daily basis.

Saving an entire planet can seem daunting; however, think of all the people that inhabit it. Just by doing your part, you’re already making a difference. Climate change can not be erased, but we can help to prevent it. And there is no better time to start than now.

Categories
Science

“An Inconvenient Sequel” will bear the truth and horror of climate change

The other day I was sitting in a theater waiting for the feature movie to begin. A trailer for a horror projected onto the screen. But it wasn’t your average slasher or murderer-next-door film, it was a movie about the Earth’s climate.

The trailer was for “An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power,” a documentary about the progress made to solve the climate change problem and Former Vice President Al Gore’s work in asking government leaders to support and invest in renewable energy.

Debuting in some theaters on July 28, the movie is a sequel to the 2006 film, “An Inconvenient Truth,” which was directed by David Guggenheim and followed Gore on a series of lectures to raise awareness about the dangers of global warming. The film was the most talked-about documentary at Sundance.

The new trailer begins with someone who could perhaps be the environment’s greatest enemy:  President Donald Trump. He mocks the idea of global warming with the statement, “It’s supposed to be 70 degrees here; it’s freezing here. Speaking of global warming … we need some global warming.”

As the eerie music accompanied the dangerous rhetoric of our now-president and the laughs of his die-hard fans, I got chills— and not the good kind.

Clips of natural disasters flashed onto the screen, such as Hurricane Sandy flooding the 9/11 Memorial and the victims of its wrath.

A momentary glimpse of hope replaces the horror as footage of nearly all of the world’s officials agree to work toward no greenhouse emissions. But another clip of Trump sent my mood into a downward spiral, knowing that he has already succeeded in pulling the U.S. out of the Paris Agreement.

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The words “Fight like your world depends on it” took over the black screen. That’s when I realized that we really are in the fight for our lives.

As we ban together to make strides against climate change, we cannot let the current administration derail our progress. “An Inconvenient Sequel” reinforces the idea that humankind is capable of saving this planet—our only inhabitable one—so long as we all work in tandem.

We each play a role. Perhaps you cannot install solar panels on your roof but you can carpool or take public transit to work twice a week. Or, you could speak up when you hear climate change-denying rhetoric.

Nevertheless, your first step could be to watch “An Inconvenient Truth,” and its new continuation, “An Inconvenient Sequel.”

Categories
Science Now + Beyond

Here’s everything you need to know about the March for Science

We’ve seen multiple marches on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., since Donald Trump became president. First it was the Women’s March on Washington, then it was the March for Life, then we saw large scale protests against Trump’s immigration ban. Next up is the March for Science, which will take place on April 22, Earth Day.

Trump has made some alarming remarks about the environment and climate change and the Trump administration is proposing to reduce the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) budget by 31% and eliminate 25% of the agency’s jobs. Not only that, but Trump selected Scott Pruitt, a climate change denier to head the EPA.

Trump has also said some concerning things regarding climate change on Twitter. In 2012, he tweeted that climate change was “created by and for the Chinese.”

In 2013, he tweeted about climate change being an expensive “hoax.”

It comes as no surprise that scientists all over the world are alarmed not just by the overwhelming data that proves global warming exists, but also by President Trump’s lack of concern for the environment.

The March for Science, which is being co-organized by March for Science and Earth Day Network, is a celebration of science. An estimated 500 satellite marches will take place in other cities in the United States and around the world on the same day.

Organizers of the event say it will be a “global gathering of scientists and science enthusiasts joining together to acknowledge the vital role science plays in our lives and the need to respect and encourage research that gives us insight into the world.”

On the day of the event before the march begins, a teach-in will take place and focus on the need to hold both scientific leaders and political leaders accountable for the role science plays in a democracy and everyday life.

According to the March for Science mission statement, the group is nonpartisan and calls for political leaders and policy makers to enact “evidence based policies in the public interest.”

But the March for Science has goals beyond having a large turnout on April 22. The group believes that people have stayed silent for far too long on policies that ignore scientific evidence and put humans and the planet at risk. March for Science believes science “can and should influence policy and guide our long-term decision-making.”

Some of the goals for the march include supporting scientists, humanizing science, and partnering with up with the public. Other goals include advocating for open and inclusive science as well as affirming science as a democratic value.

March for Science also wants to expand upon science education, support science, promote the importance of science in political decision making and encourage legislators to support policies that are backed by scientific evidence.

Though March for Science is not partnered with the People’s Climate March which is happening on April 29, the two groups are in contact with one another.

To find out if a March for Science is taking place near you, click here.

Categories
USA World News The World

Syria Gas Attack, Bill O’Reilly, and Russia: The Week in Review

We get it, Wednesdays can be tough to get through. In an effort to keep up with the world’s ever-changing news landscape, we’ve put together the top 10 headlines of the week to keep you on top of things.

1. North Carolina wins over Gonzaga in the NCAA

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On Monday, North Carolina won the 6th NCAA Championship with a 71-65 win over Gonzaga. The victory literally came down to the very last second, with Justin Jackson delivering the final, winning 3-point play only 1 minute and 40 seconds before the final buzzer.

2. Deadly St. Petersburg, Russia train blast

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This week in Moscow, Russia, a bomb was set off in two locations of public transportations. One woman said that she saw someone throw a bag in one of the train cars. 11 people on the train were killed and many still missing. The explosion occurred during the Russian president’s visit to his hometown. As of right  now,  the source of the bomb is  unconfirmed but an investigation is under way.

3. Neil Gorsuch’s nomination heads to the Senate

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As Neil Gorsuch’s nomination heads to the Senate, we should know what to expect in terms of his ideologies, as they may very well be affecting daily American life. Gorsuch is known for his extremely hostile feelings towards Planned Parenthood primarily because of the abortion services Planned Parenthood offers (although that is only a small percent of the women’s health services they offer and by no means their primary purpose, meaning that Gorsuch wants to eliminate abortion essentially more than he wants to provide healthcare in general for women).

It is probable that he will work to overturn Roe v. Wade. He has also stated his belief that employers should not be required to provide employees with contraceptive coverage if doing so interferes with their religious beliefs, putting religion above the health-related rights of female employees. In addition to voting in favor of decisions that undermine women’s rights and employee rights, Gorsuch can be expected to fail to prioritize the rights and needs of people with disabilities, as well as civil rights in general.

4. Mudslides in Colombia

theatlantic.com

Heavy rainstorms in Colombia this week were the unfortunate impetus for powerful mudslides in the southwestern region of the country. Torrential downpours, coupled with floating debris, upheaved neighborhoods, have left over 273 and counting dead. Over 300 people are missing in the city of Mocoa, with local forces working as quickly as they can to launch efforts to find survivors.

5. James Rosenquist passes away

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James Rosenquist passed away at 83 this past Friday in New York City. Rosenquist was, and will continue to be, widely renowned for his immense contributions to the early Pop Art movement. Pop Art can be defined as combining or juxtaposing fine art values with mass media and modern popular culture, often to make some kind of social or political commentary.

Rosenquist’s life was a vivid testament to the value of breaking away from the norm and embracing change; his art, although ill-received initially as it strayed away from the traditionalism of the early 60’s, inspired and gave way to today’s greatest Pop Artists: Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein. Rosenquist was also known for the sheer size, scale and boldness of his pieces, many of which covered billboards that loomed over places like Times Square.

6. Syria chemical gas attack

source

In Syria, many are dying from the toxins of a chemical bomb. Many innocent lives were taken and some children are now left without their families. There are about 25 survivors being treated of the chemicals. A chemical bomb is not completely the reason, as of this moment, but many claimed they saw a bomb being dropped from a plane causing many to be killed from the chemicals.

7. New developments with Brexit

BBC

Today with the European Union, Britain has voted for the United Kingdom to be kicked out of the Union. The campaign began on June 23 of last year and was just confirmed of their victory on the campaign.

8. Egypt’s authoritarian leader is welcomed to the White House

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Egypt’s authoritarian was welcomed at the White House by President Trump on the 3rd of April 2017. Trump emphasizes how great of a leader Sisi is, but he has done nothing but show ignorance towards his people, especially the women that reside there. The President also mentioned how he has similar tactics that the Egyptian authoritarian has towards his government.

9. Bill O’Reilly sexual assault allegations put Fox News in trouble again

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In a vein similar to that of Fox News CEO and Chairman Roger Ailes stepping down amidst similar claims, The New York Times reported that five women were paid between 2002 and 2016, either by O’Reilly himself or Fox News, a collective $13 million to settle harassment allegations, agreeing not to pursue legal action or publicly discuss the incidents. Two of the women were former producers on Bill O’Reilly’s show, and the other there were former on-air personalities at Fox News and Fox Business Network. 4 of the 5 claims involved sexual harassment claims.

O’Reilly has not addressed the allegations on his show. He has only posted a statement on his website explaining that his fame made him a target for publicity stunts, and that no complaints have ever been filed to Fox News’ Human Resources department thus far, not even anonymously. In addition, 21st Century Fox, Fox News’ parent company, stated that O’Reilly”denies the claims, but has resolved those he regarded as his personal responsibility.

“Resolved” or paid off?

You decide.

Consequently, BMW, Hyundai, and Mercedes-Benz have all pulled their advertisements from O’Reilly’s show.

10. Michael Flynn seeks immunity in exchange for testifying on Russia

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Retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn served for a short amount of time as national security adviser to Donald Trump, before he was asked to resign due to allegations of ties to Russia, which were at the time confirmed by Trump, although the extent of the ties was not clear. Flynn is now is seeking immunity from prosecution in exchange for testifying regarding the president’s ties to Russia, as reported by the Wall Street Journal on Thursday. Flynn’s attorney has stated only that “discussions have taken place” with the House and Senate Intelligence Committees, but that is all the information that is been released to the public for now.

Until next week!

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