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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Science Now + Beyond

Here are 5 brilliant health benefits of being a multilingual

Half of the world’s current population can speak at least two languages. Are you one of them? Have you thought about becoming one? Sure, we all know that speaking a second language is good for traveling and job opportunities. However, many people ignore the effects that it has on brain chemistry. Research has shown that as exercising changes your body, helping you develop muscles and be healthier overall, speaking a second language activates your brain and changes its structure too.

Here are some of the health benefits of being multilingual:

1. A more active brain

Bilingualism is associated with better maintenance of white matter during aging as well as developing more gray matter. Together, they boost brain acitivity and lead to better elevated mental and physical abilities, particularly in relation to learning. Moreover, speaking a second language can also help you develop other skills, that can be very useful in the work environment. According to several studies, studying another language helps with attention control, cognitive inhibition, and memory. Moreover, multilingual people are, on average, better at analyzing their surroundings, multitasking, and problem-solving.

2. Lower risk of dementia

A study from the University of Edinburgh published in 2013 a study that proved that there is a connection between multilingualism and the progression of dementia, as well as other cognitive diseases like Alzheimer’s. The study concluded that, on average, bilingual people develop dementia four years later than monolingual ones. Another study in Italy showed that multilingual Alzheimer’s patients are, on average, five years older.

3. More cognitive abilities

Essentially, a new wat of looking at the world; language directly affects how we understand and see the world. Therefore, speaking more than one language will open your mind to different ways of looking at your life and experiences.

For example, Russian speakers can distinguish shades of blue easier than English speakers, because they have different words for different tonalities. Moreover, Japanese speakers tend to classify objects based on the material that they’re made of rather than their shape. And the fact that German syntax is more based on the outcome than the action, as opposed to English sentence structure, has been proven to result in German speakers focusing more frequently on the consequences of people’s actions rather than on the actions themselves.

Being able to switch languages, therefore, allows you to ‘choose’ your vision of the world, as explained by the researchers behind this latter study.

4. Better chances of recovery after a stroke

Speaking a second language might help you recover from serious injuries like strokes much faster. A study into 600 stroke survivors in India found that while 40.5% of bilingual patients had normal cognition, only 19.6% of monolingual survivors had such a good outcome. If you are bilingual, you are therefore twice as likely to recover from a stroke without long-term damage.

5. And, overall, a better understanding of cultural differences

Okay, this is not strictly scientific but multilingual people are exposed to different cultures and therefore different ways of looking at the world. For example, Chinese has a lot more words for relatives than English, because of the importance that they place on family and genealogy. Moreover, Malcolm Gladwell has explained the cause of the high rate of airplane crashes of Korean airlines in the fact that the Korean language is very hierarchical, and therefore the crew could only suggest the pilot that there might be an issue instead of talking to him as an equal and expressing their true concerns.

So, watch that movie in a foreign language, speak to your children in your native tongue, join that language class with your friends, try to learn the language of the country that you are visiting on your next holiday. Ultimately, it will improve your health and help you discover a brand new culture at the same time.


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Music Pop Culture

Charli XCX is redefining pop one quarantine album at a time

Unless you’ve been living under a rock this past decade, you’ve probably heard of Charli XCX. The music provocateur broke out in the early 2010s by featuring in Iggy Azalea’s iconic smash-hit Fancy, and then made her own mark in the music industry with her song Boom Clap

Truth to be said, none of these songs appealed to me. Their brashness, and lack of lyrical creativity was something I disliked (along with how overplayed they were). But over the years, Charli XCX has managed to completely flip her sound, from a traditional raucous pop formula to a futuristic, unique techno-rave one that’s ahead of its time. Simply put, Charli has become a niche, unstoppable force in her field – a kind of evolution that’s nothing short of admirable. 

And that’s why, it’s no surprise to her fans that in the past 6 weeks, she’s made an entire album from scratch. Dubbed as ‘the first album of the quarantine’, How I’m Feeling Now features experimental club tracks, edgy ballads and anthemic production. In true millennial fashion, Charli documented the whole album-making process – collaborating with fans for song lyrics, sharing melodies on Instagram Live and vlogging her all-nighters while editing its tracks – a kind of transparency in creative process that is almost unheard of.

The album heavily centers around the rollercoaster of emotions she’s felt during this uncertain time, isolation, nostalgia and the highs and lows of her relationship. The album kicks off with “pink diamond”, a bombastic, electronic expression of missed adrenaline rushes, with a Grimes-esque influence. It’s glossy and laser-sharp- setting a good precedent for the rest of the album. 

It’s similar to “anthems“, a club banger designed specifically for a party for one. The track is studded with synths, cut-up and layered in just the right places – making it feel refreshing yet familiar at the same time. It’s a Charli classic – the noisy, glamorous aesthetic that she’s mastered in previous mixtapes, like Vroom Vroom.

However, it’s at her most vulnerable that Charli XCX truly shines on the record. On “claws”, which is a neon-pink, mutant pop confession of being helplessly in love, she puts forth one of her catchiest melodies. It’s an upbeat song with an incredible beat – one that’s definitely a hidden gem in the singer’s discography. “forever”, the album’s second single, is possibly quarantine in a song. Charli XCX wistfully reminisces on the lifestyle we all took for granted before the pandemic. The production is invasive and harsh at first – but is somehow complemented by the gentle, fairy-like vocals Charli provides.

Charli manages to lend her signature, electro-pop touch to the albums ballads as well, a prime example of this being the emotional 7 years” – a tribute to the beauty of long-term love. It’s endearing and complemented by its low-key, subtle instrumental. 

While How I’m Feeling Now does have its weak, almost excessive moments – such as “c2.0” whose artistic aim is ruined by splintered, static production – it’s a cohesive, varied body of work. Charli encapsulates the anxious, yet hopeful emotion that we’re all feeling right now. With no collaborators (unlike her previous work, the self-titled Charli), it puts the singer at the forefront of music, proving how much of an innovator she is in her arena.

If there’s anyone who knows how to do internet-pop, it’s Charli XCX, and How I’m Feeling Now is a testament to that. 

Love Life Stories

I’ll never allow mental health issues to set me back from my passions

I love memes, and sometimes I write about them too. But if there’s any meme which I don’t personally find relatable, it’s the “me at the beginning of 2016 vs. me at the end of 2016” one.

My 2016 wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be — or as everyone makes it out to be.

Long story short: I applied for an Editorial Fellowship at The Tempest, and I landed the job. I started out with zero knowledge of how to work remotely. I didn’t know how to manage working around a huge time difference (twelve fucking hours!) either. Here’s the thing, though — the last few months mark one of the best times of my life, as I’ve teamed up with a group of the bestest diverse millennial women.

[bctt tweet=”I was about to accept the fact that 2016 was a dumpster fire.” username=”wearethetempest”]

My interview session with Laila Alawa was conducted at 1 P.M. EST, or 1 A.M. my local time, which roughly translated to “I had to leave my house to look for stable internet and so as not to bother my sleeping folks.”  Alas, I lost signal more than four times during the session. To compensate, I casually yelled into my computer speakers, hoping she’d hear.

At that moment, when my enthusiasm and anxiety raced against each other, I was about to accept the fact that the year 2016 was a dumpster fire and I probably wouldn’t work in media until at least 2017. I had lots of things on my plate, and rebuilding my life seemed drop-dead impossible. Clinical depression obstructed my way to college, and my parents were (used to be) separated. I actively found (and tried) several ways to die because I felt like a lost cause.

I didn’t think any of this would work out. English isn’t my first language, and I was afraid of the challenges that could pose. Besides, I straight-up stated in my interview that I’m currently dealing with my mental health — as if I had nothing to lose by being upfront. What if I’m actually not qualified despite my past experience and potential? Sounds scary indeed, but a heads-up never hurts, right? Sooner or later, everyone will know about it, I thought — but mostly, I was desperate. Really desperate.

[bctt tweet=”I felt like a lost cause.” username=”wearethetempest”]

A part of me was sure that my setbacks didn’t define me, but another part of me was convinced that (historically speaking) they kind of did. I went batshit crazy with worry for having admitted it. I felt that I’d low-key put self-honesty on a blind spot, and it made me feel vulnerable. But Laila believed in me, and recognized that I wasn’t defined by my mental health.  Here I am — formerly an Editorial Fellow at The Tempest, and now a Community Editor.

If you happen to face the same problems as I do, you know struggling with mental health stigma is more than just “being misunderstood.” It’s about finding a home in this cruel world, finding people who love and support you. The Tempest is a loving home for me, not a mere shelter. It’s a space where I can open up about my mental illness and creative writing aspirations at once. Our kickass staff and writers from across the globe are some of the funniest and brilliantly blatant people I know.

[bctt tweet=”I am not yet the person I want to become; I know I am closer to getting there.” username=”wearethetempest”]

I am not yet the person I want to become; I know I am closer to getting there. And now “lost cause” has been blacklisted from Frequently Used Words of 2016.

I am forever grateful. Here is to more experiences rejoiced and shortcomings overcome.

Gender & Identity Life

10 signs you’re a Third Culture Kid

I’ve always heard about how being a third culture kid makes you wonder where you belong. As well as, how in some instances like this or this, it isn’t always the best.

I think differently, I think it’s amazing to be able to say that you’ve lived in several different countries for years.

I’m a third culture kid.

I was born and brought up in Dubai until I moved to Canada about 10 years ago. Both my parents are from Gujarat, India – hence I’ve spent a decent amount of time there as well.

[bctt tweet=”I think it’s amazing to say that you’ve lived in several different countries.” username=”wearethetempest”]

Being a TCK gives you a whole new perspective on life.

I was recently speaking to a friend of mine and asked him what he would do if he would have to move in order to progress his career. He simply said he would go as far as a neighboring city but nothing further. He said he wouldn’t like to start all over again meet new people and make new friends.

[bctt tweet=”Being a third culture kid gives you a whole new perspective on life.” username=”wearethetempest”]

This is obviously understandable. For some reason, moving to a whole new city or country is often stigmatized. But I feel differently. If my life, education or career required me to move somewhere completely new, I’d be excited.

Here are some reasons why I think being a Third Culture Kid is fantastic:

1. You have international friends


Going to New York? No worries, you have a friend there. Going to Australia? No biggie – got a friend there as well. I could name over 10 countries that I could visit without any hesitation because I know there will be at least one familiar face in the crowd.

2. Incredible knowledge about different cultures

Do women in Dubai drive? Are all Indians Hindu? Do Canadians really live in igloos? Now, if you were familiarized with more than 3 different cultures, you’d never assume such rumors.

I know for a fact that living in Canada is definitely not the same in each province, similarly living in India does not equate to living in the slums.

3. You can speak broken languages from everywhere


I can pick up languages very easily, in fact, I’m the only person in my company who speaks/understands/reads over six different languages.

Now, this doesn’t mean I’m fluent in all the six, but I can do the basic, “Hello, how are you? I don’t know where the bathroom is. Shut up you pig.”

You know, the essential things.

4. My birthday is celebrated for about 3 days

Best Animations
Best Animations

My birthday is on the 20th of November – but my friends start wishing me from the 18th all the way to the 21st.

This really confuses people who live in the same timezone as me. #internationalfriends

5. Visiting a country almost always equates to a reunion


Over the past few years, my friends have traveled internationally for work and school. This is amazing for a person like me because that means I can post things like “Going to Dubai in 3 weeks” and I start getting messages for reunions.

In fact, when I went back “home” recently, I met up with friends from over 10 years ago. It was incredible!

6. Making friends becomes incredibly easy


Because I’ve lived in two continents, three countries, and over 6 cities – I have friends everywhere. But this also means that when I move, I go back to having zero friends. Over the years, I’ve learned that making friends is easy. You don’t need to know people for over 10-15 years to be close.

[bctt tweet=”You don’t need to know people for over 10-15 years to be close.” username=”wearethetempest”]

Yes, I have my few faves living overseas with whom I speak online, but I have friends that I’ve made in the past 4 years that are closer to me than my online friends.

7. You are always ready for an adventure

Tumblr: Virgin Velcro
Tumblr: Virgin Velcro

Most of the time people are so scared to move away from their “home” but I’m always up for it. Wanna move to Florida? Sure. Wanna move to South Africa? Hell yeah.

This might mean that I would have to start all over again, but should we really restrict ourselves because of this fear of being “alone?” Hell no.

8. Because you’re so far away from your friends, you cherish them


Every time one of my best friends and I meet, we squeal. Like, Rachel Greene-and-her-friends style. We hug for about five minutes and then gush over how beautiful the other person looks. This ritual takes place regardless of where we are.

[bctt tweet=”Every time one of my best friends and I meet, we squeal.” username=”wearethetempest”]

About a week ago, we met at a wedding – and my gawd, did we die over each other.

9. Since you’ve lived all over the world, you’re also a food expert


When you’ve eaten a real shawarma in Dubai, literally everything else tastes bad. McDonald’s in India serves the BEST chicken tikka burger. And obviously, despite the food poisoning, nothing compares to the street food in India.

10. Lastly, when you get to answer the question “Where are you from?”

Tumblr: Portlandia
Tumblr: Portlandia

I cherish this question, because even though this means that they don’t think I’m Canadian. This also means that it’s story time. I love telling people how my grandfather saved the Muslims in our state in India, or how I was raised in Dubai. I love discusses how different all the lifestyles are in all these cities/countries. It’s an amazing way to start conversations and introducing new topics into the same mediocre topics.

So if you’re a third culture kid like me, and proud of it – show it off. Talk about it. There’s nothing to be afraid of.

Project Girlfriend
Project Girlfriend