Solving Climate Change Is The Key to Solving Poverty

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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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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4 Products To Keep Your Period Plastic-Free

C'mon ladies, let's save a few sea turtles during our crimson tide!

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Our plastic waste eats up landfills, oceans, and the environment around us. It's killing the planet and the creatures that inhabit it. If we all make small, easy swaps on everyday products, we can make one large change for Mother Earth! So I know we all dread that time of the month, but Aunt Flow visits us whether we like it or not. With some of these feminine products, we can change our habits to help our planet, our bodies, and our wallets!

1. Cloth pads

http://gladrags.com

Sanitary napkins can take from 500 to 800 years to decompose in a landfill. Reusable pads are an easy option when first starting your low-waste journey! The cloth pads snap around your underwear to stay in place, with an absorbing cloth inside to ensure that they don't leak. Most come with washable carrying cases so you can change out the pad out in public restrooms. If you're at home, you simply toss the cloth pad in your laundry basket. Cloth pads come in all shapes in sizes, even slim fit that are made for thongs. Not to mention there are adorable patterns and colors!

2. Menstrual cup

https://www.saaltco.com

I recently bought a menstrual cup and cannot wait to try it! Menstrual cups are known for being incredibly comfortable, so comfortable you forget they're there. They last all day long, don't leak, and are completely reusable! All cups will come with an instruction guide. The cup is easy to insert, but you'll want to make sure you have a good understanding of where your cervix is before you do it. Once home for the day, all you have to do is pull the cup out and rinse it in your sink. Cleanliness is the most important factor to remember when using the cup. Most companies sell a soap that is safe for both you and the cup materials.

If you are a regular tampon user, I recommend the cup for you. It's similar, saves money, and is a healthier option than the chemicals found in your tampons, and we've all feared toxic shock syndrome which is not something that occurs when using the cup. On a less important note (but the fun part), my cup came with the cutest pink carrying case so I can throw it in my purse for emergencies.

3. Period panties

https://www.shethinx.com

Period panties are the easiest option by far. They take no extra work— you just put on underwear like you do every day. The nice part is that they come in all kinds of sizes and styles, from hip-huggers to bikinis and thongs. When I used period panties, I always went for the hip-hugging style, which I would recommend for any girls blessed with a big booty like me. My favorite part about period panties is that you can buy different kinds depending on how heavy your flow is. Think of these like regular and super-plus tampons. I opted for the heaviest flow option, only because I was scared of spotting onto my pants.

I loved my period panties and will continue to use them on my lighter days, but I advise caution to girls with heavy flows. The one downfall is that if you're out in public and start to feel like you need a fresh pair, you're SOL. Now, I never had the issue of needing to change them, so maybe they just gave me flashbacks of middle school and the constant fear that somebody could see spots on my jeans...but understand that they take some getting used to. Just don't knock 'em until you try them!

4. Applicator-free tampons

http://www.ob-tampons.com

Although I am a fan of reusable products that are zero waste, I understand changing your habits can be difficult. If you can't make the switch and know tampons are the best option for you, try O.B. tampons! They reduce waste by not coming with the unnecessary plastic applicators. O.B. tampons are inserted by just using your finger, but don't worry about the mess they are designed to keep your tampon (and your finger) clean! O.B. tampons are a healthy, low waste option that won't disrupt the lifestyle you have today. They're easy to find online and in most stores!

All it takes are a few small changes in your lifestyle to conserve waste. Even though your period only comes once every month, think about how much plastic you'll avoid using over the course of a year!

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