Solving Climate Change Is The Key To Solving Poverty

Solving Climate Change Is The Key To Solving Poverty

Two insurmountable problems, one solution.


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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Eco-Friendly Adult Sippy Cups Fail To Accommodate The Disabled Community

Following the plastic straw ban, the disabled community voice out themselves for being excluded.


Earlier this month, Starbucks introduced new lids to eliminate the use of plastic straws. Seattle and Vancouver are the first locations to distribute the lids to customers. The long-term goal is to completely rid of plastic straws in more than 28,000 stores around the world.

The environmental milestone started out as an assignment for Emily Alexander in 2016. As an engineer in Global Research and Development at Starbucks, Alexander and her team were assigned to create a lid for a specific drink called Draft Nitro. The design could not involve a straw in order to exhibit the cold foam of the drink. The development spanned 10 weeks before the team produced the appropriate lid, which would become the standard for cold beverages.

With the launch of strawless lids, Starbucks stated in their announcement that it is "a decision that will eliminate more than 1 billion straws a year."

The United States is the latest country to follow the plastic ban with corporations like American Airlines and Disney joined Starbucks.

However, the disabled community is expressing dismay for the straw ban.

Katherine Carroll, a policy analyst, indicated the accommodation the community did not receive when the ban was put into effect. In an elucidation for Time, she noted plastic straws are used by individuals with incapacities to eat and drink. Thus, she stated: " . . . it seems the blanket bans are not taking into account that they need straws and also that that plastic straw replacements are not accessible for people."

Plastic straws have been regarded as convenient for those who use them. Paper straws disintegrate while metal straws change temperatures and cause pain.

"Other types of straw simply do not offer the combination of strength, flexibility, and safety that plastic straws do," a statement from the letter co-written by Disability Rights Washington cowrote and other advocacy groups.

Daniel Gilbert, who has Duchenne muscular dystrophy, shared how plastic straws make his life easier. When he attempts to explain the convenience of using them, there is a tendency for others to accuse him of being wrong. He is not in any way against being environmentally conscious. Gilbert wants to be part of the movement, but it will only be possible for him and others with disabilities if they can be accommodated for their certain needs.

In an opinion piece by Madison Lawson for Teen Vogue, she further explains the conflicting effect of banning plastic straws on disabled individuals including herself. Her condition, similar to what Gilbert suffers from, prevents her from doing simple tasks such as picking up a cup and leaning her neck back to drink. Without a straw, she puts herself in potential danger as she may "[swallow] liquid down the wrong pipe which is risky for [her] weak lungs."

Plastic straws serve as a key instrument for those who have disabilities when they consume liquid. The disabled community do not want to be excluded from the environmental campaign; they wish to be accommodated as well, to continue living comfortable lives.

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Saving Our Throw-Away Society

Our society has fostered a culture that turns a blind eye to the implications of our throw-away culture - one that believes everything is disposable, replaceable and transient - resulting in a cornucopia of negative implications.


It's no secret that our planet is facing a bit of a trash problem. Stories of "islands of garbage", such as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, make it clear that we have more trash on our hands than we know what to do with. And we have yet to find a viable solution to collect displaced garbage or to realistically reduce our annual waste output. But who cares?

The answer!

According to millennials who answered a global survey by the World Economic Forum in 2017 about the world's most critical problems, nearly half (48.8%) of the survey participants chose climate change as their top concern, and 78.1% said they would be willing to change their lifestyle to protect the environment.

My own reality check came at the dinner table when my grandfather, after finishing his food, poured a glass of water into his soup bowl, swished the water around and then drank it. While everyone around him made crude faces and looked at him in shock, he pointed out that in doing this he had put no food to waste and saved water that would have been used by the dishwasher. In truth, there was no fault in his action except that younger generations are born and brought up in a culture where wasting is acceptable.

Another one of his environmental philosophies is to only take as much as you will need. Our society has been accustomed to excess in all facets of our lives. While people from other countries take showers with a single gallon of water, we waste thousands on long showers. In the dining hall just yesterday, I saw dozens of students throw away plates of untouched food, likely not giving that action any thought ever again.

So, what's being done to save our throw-away society?

1. In hopes of keeping up with the British government's push to reduce their plastic waste output, McDonald's unveiled a plan to accomplish this by running a trial with paper straws instead of plastic straws in their UK and Ireland locations.

2. Kroger recently announced that they would phase out their iconic, single use brown plastic bags by the year 2025.

3. Attempting to make a dent in the plastic waste output that is created by discarded soda bottles, SodaStream developed a product that allows users to create their own flavored, carbonated beverages at home.

The truth is, environmental consciousness is more important now than ever before. With initiatives, plans and motives by corporations small and large alike, what was once a throw-away society looks to be headed in a direction focused on saving Earth. As we look to the future, keep in mind the adage, "Leave things better than you found them."

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