Tag Archives: Small

Lessons from coronavirus and climate change: Don’t be deceived by small numbers

Comparing the coronavirus pandemic to climate change is a fraught endeavor. Using one crisis to illustrate the dangers of another typically doesn’t work. For the most part, people only have the mental bandwidth for one life-threatening, world-altering crisis at a time. (Even one’s a stretch, if personal experience is any indication.)

But there is at least one major way in which coronavirus is similar to the climate crisis, and it’s worth talking about now, while the world’s collective missteps in containing COVID-19 are fresh in our minds: Small differences in numbers matter a lot.

When the coronavirus first began to spread beyond Wuhan, China, a misinformed bit of conventional wisdom started getting passed around: COVID-19 is just like the flu, and Americans survive flu epidemics on a regular basis. President Trump regurgitated this tidbit as recently as last week, tweeting, “So last year 37,000 Americans died from the common Flu. It averages between 27,000 and 70,000 per year. At this moment there are 546 confirmed cases of CoronaVirus, with 22 deaths. Think about that!” (Trump’s tweet was almost right — the flu killed 34,000 Americans last year.)

The flu has a death rate of around 0.1 percent in the U.S. COVID-19 has put an estimated death rate between 1 and 3.4 percent, although we won’t know the true death rate until the outbreak is over. The difference between 0.1 percent and 2 percent may not sound like much. Indeed, some people on social media have opined that a 97 or 98 percent survival rate sounds pretty good to them.

But a report published Monday by an epidemic modeling group said that, in the absence of federal and individual measures, COVID-19 could kill 2.2 million people in the U.S. Some of that is because COVID-19 is more contagious than the flu — but it’s also because there’s a major difference between a 0.1 percent death rate and a 2 or 3 percent death rate.

And there’s a major difference between 1.5 degrees C and 2 degrees C. Experts agree that, in order to avert mass casualties, serious upticks in extreme weather events, and unending heatwaves, global warming needs to stay below 1.5 degrees C (2.7 degrees F) over preindustrial levels. We’re currently on track to surpass 2 degrees C (3.6 degrees F) of warming. Some studies show the world is on course for more than 3 degrees C (5.4 degrees F) of warming. So what’s in a half-degree? A whole lot, even if it doesn’t seem like it.

At 1.5 degrees C of warming, heat waves will affect 14 percent of the world’s population once every five years. At 2 degrees C, 37 percent of the world will be exposed to heat waves — 420 million more people. At 2 degrees C of warming, 61 million people more will be exposed to severe drought than if we kept warming to 1.5 degrees C. That half a degree could expose between 180 and 270 million more people to be exposed to water scarcity. At 1.5 degrees C of warming, coral reefs will decline 70 to 90 percent. At 2 degrees C, they become nonexistent. These are just a fraction of the findings in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s 2019 special report on global warming, but you get the idea. Small changes in climate equal huge impacts.

Maybe if people started thinking about 1.5 degrees C like it’s the flu, and 2 degrees C like it’s a life-altering pandemic, politicians will be compelled to take action. Right now, we’re moving too slowly to avoid a worst-case scenario.

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Lessons from coronavirus and climate change: Don’t be deceived by small numbers

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Happy 100 Day Trumpiversary, Everyone. Here Are His First 100 Days in 100 Seconds.

Mother Jones

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Small crowds. Millions march. “Alternative facts.” Hiring freeze. Pipelines revived. Tiny desk. Bannon unleashed.

And that was just the first week.

After that? Well, lots of golf. How have the first 100 days of Trump’s presidency played out in the news? Mother Jones put together a definitive day-by-day guide. Judge for yourselves.

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Happy 100 Day Trumpiversary, Everyone. Here Are His First 100 Days in 100 Seconds.

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Donald Trump Is Really Learning a Lot at the White House Academy for Government Studies

Mother Jones

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I’m just writing these down for posterity:

Trump on health care: “I have to tell you, it’s an unbelievably complex subject. Nobody knew health care could be so complicated.”

Trump on China and North Korea: “President Xi then went into the history of China and Korea….And Korea actually used to be a part of China. And after listening for 10 minutes I realized that it’s not so easy. You know I felt pretty strongly that they have a tremendous power over China….But it’s not what you would think.”

Trump on the Export-Import Bank: “I was very much opposed to Ex-Im Bank, but it turns out that, first of all lots of small companies will really be helped….So instinctively you would say it’s a ridiculous thing but actually it’s a very good thing and it actually makes money. You know, it actually could make a lot of money.”

So far, Donald Trump has learned that health care is complicated; Korea used to be part of China; and the Ex-Im bank helps small companies too.

On health care, Trump gets solid marks. It is complicated. On the other hand, pretty much everyone except Trump already knew this. And the graders would have liked him to demonstrate a little more familiarity with why health care is complicated. Still, it’s a good first step. Let’s give him him a B-.

On Korea, Trump didn’t do so well. Is it true that Korea “used to be a part of China”? Sort of, in the sense that, back in the day, China repeatedly invaded Korea with varying success. At times it was a vassal state, at other times it wasn’t. But Trump talks as though maybe Korea was a province of China until maybe World War II or something. It’s actually been more than six centuries. Still, I’m feeling generous, so I’ll give a gentleman’s C-.

The Ex-Im bank is even more problematic. The bank itself claims that “more than 90 percent of EXIM Bank’s transactions—more than 2,600—directly supported American small businesses.” But take a look at dollars:

This comes from a longtime opponent of the Ex-Im Bank, so take it with a grain of salt. Small businesses do a little better on other metrics. Still, there’s not much question that agitprop aside, the Ex-Im Bank is primarily a tool for gigantic corporations. On the other hand, Trump is right that it makes money and doesn’t cost the taxpayers anything. But I still think I have to give him a D on this for his core claim.

Overall, then, Trump is learning, but he’s not learning especially well. So far I’d give him about a C-. He really needs to spend more time on his homework and less time watching TV.


Donald Trump Is Really Learning a Lot at the White House Academy for Government Studies

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25+ Beneficial Plants That Ward Off Pests and Protect Your Garden

Everybody agrees that good neighbors are so much better than bad ones. This is true not only at home and at work, but also in the garden.

There are good plants — companion plants — that do a lot for their plant neighbors and your garden overall. They help each other grow, they can increase the yield that each neighbor produces, and some even provide added nutrients to the soil.

One of the things that make companion plants great neighbors is that they offer pest control benefits. They mask or hide a crop from pests, produce odors that confuse pests, and act like trap crops that draw pests away from other plants.

Not all plant visitors are bad. In fact, some are so good that we actually want to encourage them to come into our gardens. Unfortunately, we tend to think that any bug we see is bad; when we focus so much on removing any and all pests, we can wind up killing off the “good” guys in the process.

That’s why companion plants are so great.

While they discourage “bad” garden pests, companion plants also help to attract beneficial insects by providing them with breeding grounds and creating a habitat for them.

Some beneficial insects feed on weeds, some feed on insects and mites like aphids, and some attack insect pests by sterilizing or debilitating them. Good pests you want to invite to your garden include: lacewings, parasitic wasps, lady beetles, spiders and predatory mites. And, of course,bees andbutterflies are considered good guys, and we need to attract them to our gardens for pollination.

One of the best ways to attract beneficial insects is to provide a diversity of plants that takes into account seasonality and the different feeding requirements they have at the different stages of development. Make sure to use plants that are rich in pollen and nectar at different times of the year.

To get you started, here are some of the most common beneficial companion plants:

In general, plants with many small flowers work better than those with a large single flower because small insects may drown in large blooms with too much nectar. Small flowers include:

small sunflowers and

Umbelliferae plants also make great beneficial plants. These include:

coriander (cilantro)
Queen Anne’s Lace and

Herbs help repel certain pests like the cabbage moth and the carrot fly. These include:

mints (spearmint, peppermint)
thyme and
sage (Salvia) family plants.

Annuals or perennials in the sunflower/aster family (many small flowers/petals around a central disk) also make great companion plants. These include:

daisy and

Do you have favorite companion plants you’d like to recommend? Share them in the comments section.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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25+ Beneficial Plants That Ward Off Pests and Protect Your Garden

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Inside the Carbon Tax Fight That’s Dividing Environmentalists

Mother Jones

This story was originally published by Grist and is reproduced here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration.

Voters in a progressive Pacific Northwestern state could approve the nation’s first carbon tax next week, providing a much-sought victory to proponents of legislative climate action—and possibly a model for the rest of the country.

And yet the ballot measure is at equal risk of failing spectacularly. Not because of the usual oil and coal industry foes, or even because it includes the dreaded t-word. No, the biggest obstacle in its way: other environmentalists.

An unlikely array of local and national organizations have come out against—or declined to support—Washington state’s carbon tax initiative, which will appear on the ballot as I-732. Their concerns: That a revenue-neutral carbon tax wouldn’t raise money for investing in clean energy and communities, and that people of color didn’t get a fair say in crafting the policy.

Although the split became public last year, it’s only been in the last few months that a barrage of organizations have proclaimed their opposition. Washington Conservation Voters called the measure “flawed,” while Sierra Club Washington noted its members have “deep concerns.”

Infighting is not uncommon in the environmental movement, which actually represents a fairly large and loose coalition of diverse local, state, and national interests. But the carbon tax battle in Washington state appears to stem from a recent and fundamental shift: Following the lead of more community-minded activists, the nation’s most powerful environmental groups are attempting to change their emphasis from a largely white perspective to one that is more diverse and equitable. And that means a new approach to issues like climate legislation.

Many of those groups have come to the realization in recent years that they can’t fight climate change without including a broader range of people in their solutions. Attempts to remake policy so it is equitable and impactful has resulted in two main visions for how to approach climate action.

The tension between a narrowly focused environmental campaign and a newer approach that involves more consensus around a broader progressive agenda has been simmering for a long time. With I-732, it’s broken out into the open.

False starts have plagued the climate movement for years. The failed 2009 Waxman-Markey bill, which would have capped carbon emissions and created a national market for trading credits (hence the name “cap and trade”), sent the movement into existential soul-searching.

Since then, Congress has only become more hostile to climate action, meaning any successes have largely come at the state level or inside the White House. As Republicans at the national level have been less and less involved in a serious fight against climate change, the solutions have evolved without them.

Progressive states including California, New York, and yes, Washington have recently made significant strides on climate policy. Part of the movement’s post-Waxman-Markey strategy was to broaden the base of support for climate policy beyond a very white core—not by appealing to increasingly intransigent conservatives, but by listening to the people representing low-income communities and communities of color, which are disproportionately impacted by pollution and climate change.

“It isn’t just about reducing emissions,” said Green for All’s Vien Truong, who works on climate justice policy initiatives in California and other states. “It is that, but we have to move forward.” This includes bringing people to the movement who “feel the pinch of climate change” most.

Gregg Small of the Washington-based Climate Solutions noted that the cap-and-trade bill’s failure was a teaching moment. “We have to find a different climate movement going forward,” he said. “The climate community can’t do it on their own.”

Despite the recognition by many environmentalists that a new, more inclusive approach was needed, it was a divided effort that helped set the stage for the current battle in Washington state.

Two years ago, a new-school coalition of social justice and environmental groups that became the Alliance for Jobs and Clean Energy began working on a climate action proposal, gathering extensive input from community organizations.

But a smaller, grassroots-based climate group, known as Carbon Washington, got its carbon tax proposal on the ballot first. I-732 would phase in next year, tax carbon emissions at $25 per metric ton in 2018, and gradually ramp up over 40 years to $100.

What’s troubling some opponents is where that money would go: cutting the state’s sales tax by 1 percent, cutting taxes for manufacturers, and providing tax rebates to more than 400,000 low-income households. That’s allowed I-732 proponents to try to appeal to conservatives by calling it revenue neutral, but it doesn’t sit well with the Alliance-affiliated enviros.

Their four-page alternative proposal is murky on the details, though: It calls for a carbon “fee” that would redirect the revenue collected toward clean energy efforts, water quality improvement, and helping disadvantaged communities. It doesn’t cut taxes, and unlike 732, it establishes an absolute, though unknown cap on carbon emitted. The actual tax on polluters starts at $15 per metric ton, but is unclear on how it would ramp up over time. It promises some “compliance flexibility” for polluters yet doesn’t say what that entails.

Small, a chair of the Alliance, said his group was ready to put its proposal on the 2016 ballot but pulled its plans when 732 gained the signatures needed. Two competing ballot measures would likely have meant success for neither.

Carbon Washington met with the Alliance to figure out a compromise but moved ahead without the full blessing of the organizations that had fought hard to bridge justice and environmental concerns. In return, there are now a slew of environmental and social justice groups slamming I-732 for not doing enough to fight climate change, not managing to be revenue-neutral, and failing on equity.

The founder of Carbon Washington, Yoram Bauman, defends his group’s approach. “I think that underneath, there’s a philosophic difference in how to provide benefits to low-income communities and communities of color,” he said. “Their approach was to fund community-directed investment. They wanted a pot of money that could be controlled by local communities to reduce emissions, create jobs, and lower pollution in communities of color. Our approach was we wanted to put money back into the pockets of low-income households.”

Bauman says that if his group’s measure passes, small tweaks and improvements could be made by the state Legislature. But opponents say a flawed model is not a good place to start.

“Perfect shouldn’t be the goal,” Bauman argues. “I think folks who care about climate change need to support action on climate change. We don’t have many opportunities to take a swing at the ball, and there are serious questions about how many more years we want to wait.”

I-732 does have its share of supporters. Actor and activist Leonardo DiCaprio, 28 environmental and energy-focused groups (including the Audubon Society’s state chapter), and dozens of Republican and Democratic lawmakers and economists have endorsed it. All this has lead to one very fractured environmental community.

The Seattle-based sustainability think tank Sightline Institute is neutral on 732 but still manages a good summary of the pro-side’s position in a lengthy analysis weighing the pros and cons: “Initiative 732 does exactly what the scientists and economists prescribe: It sets a science-based, steadily rising price on pollution,” Sightline writes. “The citizens’ initiative covers most of the state’s climate pollution, makes the tax code more progressive, and is administratively elegant.” Based on a Washington Office of Financial Management projection, the 732 carbon tax would raise $2 billion in fiscal year 2019 (4 percent of the state’s annual budget), which would go back to taxpayers in various forms.

Critics, however, remain convinced that 732 doesn’t do enough to fight climate change, nor does it address justice concerns. They also felt shut out of the process.

“We’ve got to get it done right the first time,” said Small, who was careful to make it clear that Climate Solutions is not opposed to I-732. “Effective carbon pricing needs to really do three things: It needs to put a meaningful price on carbon to drive down pollution; it needs to invest the money generated in clean energy solutions; and it should invest in those affected by climate change.”

A coalition of environmental justice organizations penned an open letter to the Sightline Institute, saying they took issue with the group’s analysis, arguing that it serves to “denigrate our perspective and profess to speak for the interests of our communities without our consultation or knowledge.”

“People who can actually begin to be part of the solution were hoping to be part of this clean energy future,” Green for All’s Truong said. “And this carbon tax essentially shut that effort down.”

Perhaps the most unexpected argument is that the tax won’t do the intended job of cutting emissions. Food and Water Watch issued a report claiming that the model for 732, a British Columbia carbon tax, “fails to demonstrate that it has reduced carbon emissions, fossil fuel consumption, or vehicle travel, as it purported to do.”

Technically, it would be possible to alter 732 in the Legislature down the line if voters approve it in November, but it’s politically unfeasible. Some environmentalists would prefer to work with what they have if it passes, but in a few cases, the critics would rather see no tax at all. Seattle public radio station KUOW asked Alliance member and OneAmerica activist Ellicott Dandy if she would regret her position against I-732 if no other carbon tax ever passed.

Her answer: “No.”

The latest polling shows a close vote. In an early October poll, 21 percent of voters were undecided. In a late-October poll from KOMO News/Strategies 360, that number is even higher, with 28 percent unsure how they will cast their ballot. How the undecided voters break makes all the difference for an initiative leading with just 40 percent of the electorate, and 32 percent opposed.

If 732 fails, the lessons for environmentalists will be clear: An approach designed to appeal to more conservative sensibilities—tax cuts, revenue neutral—isn’t going to help them bring in new voices on the left, who want to be heard and play a guiding role in the process.

“Carbon pricing is incredibly difficult and maybe impossible if people don’t come together,” Small said. “Other states will face similar types of dynamics here on the policy and strategy. I hope people learn from the painful lesson we have in Washington to, you know, work it out.”

Also read: James Hansen vs. Naomi Klein: State carbon tax splits national climate hawks.

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Inside the Carbon Tax Fight That’s Dividing Environmentalists

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11 Green Hacks to Stay Cool This Summer

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11 Green Hacks to Stay Cool This Summer

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Humangear GoToob (3 pack) Travel Bottle, Clear/Blue/Green, Small (1.25 oz)


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Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff and It’s All Small Stuff – Richard Carlson


Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff and It’s All Small Stuff

Simple Ways to Keep the Little Things from Taking Over Your Life

Richard Carlson

Genre: Self-Improvement

Price: $1.99

Publish Date: January 1, 2002

Publisher: Hyperion

Seller: Hachette Digital, Inc.

Don't Sweat the Small Stuff…and It's All Small Stuff is a book that tells you how to keep from letting the little things in life drive you crazy. In thoughtful and insightful language, author Richard Carlson reveals ways to calm down in the midst of your incredibly hurried, stress-filled life. You can learn to put things into perspective by making the small daily changes Dr. Carlson suggests, including advice such as &quot;Choose your battles wisely&quot;; &quot;Remind yourself that when you die, your 'in' box won't be empty&quot;; and &quot;Make peace with imperfection&quot;. With Don't Sweat the Small Stuff… you'll also learn how to: Live in the present moment Let others have the glory at times Lower your tolerance to stress Trust your intuitions Live each day as it might be your last With gentle, supportive suggestions, Dr. Carlson reveals ways to make your actions more peaceful and caring, with the added benefit of making your life more calm and stress-free.

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Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff and It’s All Small Stuff – Richard Carlson

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Build Your Own Small Wind Power System


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Build Your Own Small Wind Power System


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