Stop Denying Climate Change

Climate Change Is Real And Your Denial Won't Change That

Denying climate change may help you sleep better, but it won't change the fact that it's ravaging our planet.

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In a world of immense polarization, it's no surprise that climate change is just another thing to argue about. I mean, what do 97% of scientists know anyway? Pulitzers, shumulitzers.

Now if you're one of those climate change deniers we all love to hate, then you must be saying to yourself: "But Jess, even if climate change is real, we won't feel the effects in our lifetime." Funny thing about that though, YOU'RE WRONG. That 97% of scientists you love to doubt estimate we will feel the effects of climate change come the year 2040. So unless you plan on dying in the next 20 years (looking at you baby-boomers), you're pretty fucked.

Okay, so you know all of that and you still don't care because you don't live in a coastal city so you won't end up underwater, right? Well, I hope you know all about droughts and dust bowls and extreme heat.

Still not caring? Watch one of those nature documentaries about polar bears and how they're all dying because you know, THE ICE CAPS ARE MELTING. I mean, they just want to chill on some ice and eat seals, is that so much to ask?!?

Wait, what's that Greg? You're sure that your heart is cold enough to chill the entire planet? Well, I guess it's about that time for you to crawl underground with the rest of the Lizard People.

But all of the Ted Cruz jokes aside, what's the real reason so many deny climate change?

I mean, we even went ahead and changed its name from 'Global Warming' because you had too difficult a time understanding how that was possible when the winters kept getting colder. But despite its snazzy new re-branding, you still refuse to accept what science is screaming at you.

And really, I think it has something to do with fear.

Fear of what a catastrophic future really means for not only us but the generations that will come after us.

Fear of having to work harder, to be more conscious.

Fear of being called a hypocrite for adopting a new opinion or ideology.

Fear of being as annoying as vegans.

I would imagine the list of reasons to deny continues and varies based on location, age, income and active Facebook usage among other demographics. But don't worry, I'm sure lots of people had fears like that they didn't address throughout history. And I'm sure they all ended up on the right side? Flat-earthers are definitely killing it right now.

All jokes aside, the time for denial, for complacency, for straight up laziness must come to a screeching halt. This is one issue that for every single reason (aside from the special interests of oil companies) we should come together and put the partisanship to the side.

No matter how much you want to believe Elon Musk will take us all to space in a magical school bus, that just isn't our reality.

We have one planet. Let's stop shitting on it.

If you want some pointers on what changes you can make to your life to help make a better future, head to The World Wildlife Federation for some useful tips.

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The Plastic Straw Ban Is A Good Thing, So Slurp On That

It is positive any way that you look at it.

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vdurgin
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As Starbucks and Disneyland both announced plans to remove plastic straws from their offerings, the debate surrounding the effectiveness of plastic straw bans seemed to reach a fever pitch.

Critiques of the ban run from cries of ableism to shames of lazy activism. Along with that span, people have questioned whether one person not using straws can even make a difference and questioned if plastic even harms the planet all that much.

For the last two points, the answer is a resounding "yes". Approximately eight million metric tons of plastic ends up in the world's oceans every year.

Starbucks' planned ban on straws will eliminate upwards of one billion straws a year; Disneyland's similar plan will remove more than 175 million straws and 13 million stirrers annually. This will hugely benefit marine life that is threatened by the increasing amount of plastic waste in the world's oceans.

But the immediate effect on ocean health is lost among the noise of other concerns surrounding the debate on bans. According to some, the ban is ableist because many with disabilities need straws in order to drink beverages.

This argument overlooks two key points: that Starbucks will offer non-plastic straws as an alternative to those who ask, and the fact that reusable straws of several different material and size options are available for inexpensive prices on sites such as Amazon.

The wider concern comes from a place of apprehension; will this just encourage people to not use straws and then think that is enough to save the planet? Will this just lull people into a calming mindset that they are doing enough, and should do nothing more?

I'm far from an expert, but in my humble opinion, plastic straw bans are none of the above. Are they a final solution to the multitude of climate change-related issues we all collectively face? No, not at all.

But refusing single-use plastic straws is a step easy enough for people to take in their daily lives. No average Joe will be able to stop bug oil companies from polluting water systems on his own. Jane Doe can't directly and single-handedly change a country's environmental policies.

But Jane and Joe and all of us can stop using plastic straws and throw them to a landfill after one use. The ban, and the subsequent push to convince people to refuse all single-use plastics is accessible to all people.

It is one area in which every person actually does have the power to drastically improve the world for the thousands of species that call oceans home.

Plastic straw bans empower ordinary citizens with an extraordinary impact on the environmental problems about which they hear so much. I don't know if it will lull them into a false sense of security, but I do know that the end result will still be a greatly improved ocean system.

That should be celebrated; mocking "small" actions like this will only further isolate people from the movement to improve our planet. The last thing this world needs right now is more apathetic people doing nothing to fight climate change.

The plastic straw ban is not the end-all, be-all solution to the problems we face, but that doesn't automatically make it useless. We should all take steps as simple as not sipping from a one-use plastic straw while enjoying our coffee, or tea, or whatever you order from Starbucks.

In the long run, a higher amount of people participating in an act to help the planet will help not only Mother Earth but all of the people who call her home as well.

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Solving Climate Change Is The Key To Solving Poverty

Two insurmountable problems, one solution.

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It is rare that anything happens in a vacuum. Even more than most things, poverty is intertwined with a number of other issues facing our society. One issue you may not have connected to poverty though is climate change. For one thing, "extremely poor people cannot lift themselves out of poverty without access to reliable energy." This has to be done though without increasing and preferably reducing pollution, and carbon emissions.

This is easier said than done when "achieving universal electricity access by 2030 would result in only a 2% increase in global emissions." This is why the "rhetorical link the UN is making between anti-poverty and anti-climate " is important "it will push the environmental movement to focus its efforts where they should always have been - on wind and solar – and to make sure that the cost of new technology is borne by those who can afford it."

With both poverty and climate change being such major problems they can appear insurmountable, but they can even be tackled together. One of the best ways to reduce poverty is with jobs, and "solar and wind jobs have grown at rates of about 20% annually in recent years, and sustainability now collectively represents four to four and a half million jobs in the U.S., up from 3.4 million in 2011."

With this, we need to focus on how to help green energy businesses. Where to start? Well, currently "a total of $20.5 billion annually in corporate welfare" goes to fossil fuels, "how does this compare to renewable energy subsidies? In terms of permanent tax expenditures, fossil fuels beat renewables by a 7-1 margin."

An investment in renewable energy could both help us create jobs, and reduce carbon emissions. You might be thinking "what about the jobs we'd lose in reducing the fossil fuel? Wouldn't that pretty much just balance this whole thing out?" The thing is, the jobs are in renewables, not fossil fuel.

With all that the answer becomes apparent. We can increase jobs, reduce emissions, and help alleviate poverty and climate change. It's a win-win situation, and all it would take is altering where we send our funds.

If you would like to learn more about it than you can look at the UN's plan, and the World Bank's thoughts on the issue.

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