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How did Democrats fare at CNN’s climate town hall? We asked the experts.

For seven whole hours on Wednesday night, 10 Democratic presidential hopefuls talked about our overheating planet at length (not that they had much of a choice). Rather than arguing or talking over each other, the candidates actually had the time and space to speak substantively on this complex issue at CNN’s Climate Crisis Town Hall, discussing carbon taxes, geoengineering, lawsuits against the fossil fuel industry, and much more.

There’s no question that the future president will have the weight of the world on their shoulders when it comes to tackling climate change. So which Democratic candidates did the heavy lifting on climate policy and wowed us with their know-how?

Grist gathered experts who powered through the lengthy town hall (or at least some of it) and asked them to evaluate the candidates’ performances through the lens of science, politics, and environmental justice. Here’s what the 2020 hopefuls did well — and what they messed up — during the evening’s climate ultra-marathon. These interviews have been condensed and edited for clarity.

Grist / Leah Stokes

Leah Stokes

Assistant professor of political science, University of California, Santa Barbara

How much did she watch? All of it. (“I’m so f$#@ing tired.”)

CNN pushed candidates on sore spots, which I thought was impressive. We had Andrew Yang pushed on geoengineering — probably the first time that geoengineering has been talked about in any detail on national television.

We had Bernie Sanders pushed on nuclear, and he got fairly doomsday-ish. I mean, we have a lot of nuclear plants in this country. If it was as unsafe as he made it sound, things would be really bad!

Biden got pushed on the things that people have been trying to get him to clarify, and he really didn’t have great answers. Some of his answers sounded like Republican talking points: Yes, the U.S. only represents 15 percent of global emissions, and we must act with other nations, but it sounded like a reason to delay. And he ignored the fact that the U.S. is the driver of technology and innovation globally — so if the U.S. decarbonizes, it will affect every other country.

I think Warren was the best by far. She was so sharp. One point of weakness: her answer on nuclear was a little unclear. She sidestepped the issue of whether she’d extend the licenses of existing plants, which is what Sanders said he wouldn’t do. Nuclear is unpopular, so I think she was trying to thread a needle, but it left people saying she’s anti-nuclear. Otherwise, she knocked it out of the park.

Grist / Sylvain Gaboury / Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

Jamie Margolin

17-year-old climate activist, cofounder of Zero Hour

How much did she watch? Snippets. “I was busy being a student and fighting the climate crisis so I couldn’t sit down more than 30 minutes at a time.”

The 2020 election is going to be my first voting election, and I am actually still undecided in terms of which Democratic candidate I’m voting for. It’s very historic that this climate town hall happened — you’re able to really dig deep and see who actually knows what they’re doing and who’s actually just talking and saying what sounds good.

There were answers where I could see that a politician still didn’t fully grasp the full gravity of the climate crisis and how radically fast we need to act on it. Pete Buttigieg does not fully understand the full extent of how urgent this crisis is. Joe Biden claimed that he’d never put fossil fuel money over children’s lives; that is so false on so many levels. And many candidates kept mentioning stupid late targets for net-zero carbon, like 2050, that are way, way past what we actually need in order to solve the climate crisis.

I’ll add that it was really refreshing to see young people in the audience asking questions. They did a really good job as people who are going to be seeing the worst effects of the climate crisis. That was a very powerful moment.

Grist / Chuck Kennedy / MCT / Tribune News Service via Getty Images

Bob Inglis

Former Republican U.S. representative for South Carolina

How much did he watch? Not everything, but he followed the highlight reel.

I was struck by the angry tone of so many of the questioners and the divisive rhetoric worked into the questioning. It’s not a way to win people over to action. What I’m really concerned about is, the Democratic base is driving Democratic candidates to a place where they will not win the general election.

For example, take the question that morphed climate change into a discussion of abortion with Bernie Sanders. Just give me a break. That just caused us to lose so much ground on climate action all across the Southeast. It just brought up the cultural difference. We’re trying to solve climate change — why bring up abortion? That may be your favorite hobby horse, but it’s a rickety hobby horse. Most people would not get on and ride it.

I would ask, how can we bring America together to solve this? How can people on the left speak to their neighbors on the right and generate consensus on a solution? You know, hats off to Pete Buttigieg for speaking in a bipartisan way, realizing the need to bring America together. I think it’s born of his experience serving in the military and being a mayor.

Some of these answers went veering off the road on the left down into the ditch. Trump, meanwhile, has his car over in the right-hand ditch. Somebody needs to figure out a way to drive up on the pavement.

Gabriel Reichler

Sunrise Movement activist

How much did he watch? The whole event. He was actually there!

As I tweeted last night, it was extremely cold. I was joking that that must have had something to do with their attempt to use a very pathetic way of adapting to climate change: air conditioning.

A lot of amazing people were in the room. There was probably one of the largest collections of people I really look up to in one room at the same time. In the beginning, I was very excited but a little bit doubtful about what would come out of it.

Some of the candidates had really amazing responses, and I admired how they were keeping the energy up. But then there were some candidates who just couldn’t quite do that. Like having to sit through Joe Biden answering things was just anger and frustration.

Even with Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, there were a few points where they weren’t giving completely satisfactory answers. Like Bernie had a somewhat unsatisfactory answer about the filibuster, and Warren had some not so satisfactory answers about things like nationalizing utilities and military things.

There were some moments when the moderate candidates gave shoutouts to Sunrise and the movement and the activists who are actually putting in the legwork. They were saying that the credit doesn’t really belong to them as candidates — it belongs to us.

Grist / Paul Archuleta / Getty Image

Mustafa Santiago Ali

Vice president for environmental justice, climate, and community revitalization at the National Wildlife Federation

How much did he watch? “I made it through all of it, except for about 10 minutes. There was a storm that came through, and I have a satellite dish, so it went out for a second on Buttigieg.”

I think the format was pretty good. Thankfully, they had a number of young activists and leaders who were part of that process. I would have liked to have seen more diversity in the room. I would have loved to have seen a moderator who has a background in climate or environmental justice. But compared to the previous presidential debates, this was light years ahead.

When Secretary Castro talked about the need for civil rights legislation, that was a transformational moment. Most folks don’t know there’s been some real difficulty at EPA around the utilization of civil rights laws to deal with some of these impacts in vulnerable communities.

Then you transition to Senator Klobuchar and her first seven days and what she would actually do. I think it was good for those who are in the middle part of the country to see themselves reflected. I really appreciated Senators Sanders and Warren talking about the economy, and a just transition, and how workers in Appalachia and on the Gulf Coast have to be a part of this process.

I thought that Mayor Pete, when he began to talk about DOD and the military and that they have already acknowledged that climate change is real and are thinking about it in their long-term planning, was also really important. I appreciated Senator Harris talking about the need for stronger enforcement, because for frontline communities, there has never been enough enforcement.

And then on Senator Booker, I really appreciated him helping to walk people through these different types of impacts that are happening throughout the country. When the candidates talk about their policies, I want them to anchor it in the reality that’s going on in different parts of the country. Theoretical conversations, they’re fine, but they’re 20th century. We need 21st-century solutions.

Reporting by Nathanael Johnson, Paola Rosa-Aquino, Claire Thompson, Zoya Teirstein, and Nikhil Swaminathan

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How did Democrats fare at CNN’s climate town hall? We asked the experts.

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Looking for a CNN Climate Crisis Town Hall drinking game? Bingo!

So you’ve decided to watch CNN’s Climate Crisis Town Hall on Wednesday evening. That means you’re either a climate wonk who’s willing to spend seven hours of your precious free time listening to politicians prattle about global warming, or you can’t figure out how to change the channel. Either way, hello and welcome!

The town hall’s rules of engagement are simple. Ten presidential candidates will have 40 minutes each to share their ideas for fixing humanity’s biggest and scariest problem ever. And what better way to prepare you to digest that marathon strategy-fest than a little climate action aperitif?

That’s right, we’ve come up with the ultimate drinking game to complement the delicate aroma of the world bursting into flames. (Though abstainers should feel free to stick with us and sub a couple of Marianne Williamson’s pre-debate yoga moves).

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If you follow our nifty drinking guide, our goal is to leave you sober enough to decipher Bernie’s thick Brooklyn accent but drunk enough to keep the TV on when Biden promises to unlock the power of “American innovation.” (Drink!)

Ready? Let’s go.

How to play

The game itself is simple: climate candidate bingo! Keep tabs on each presidential wannabe’s quotable quotes and take a sip for each phrase that gets mentioned. We’re sure the multiple hours of dense, environmental policy proposals will just fly by. (You can download a PDF version of the bingo board here.)


The games begin at 5 p.m. Eastern with former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro. The “fun” won’t end until Cory Booker closes out starting at 11:20 p.m., so consider chugging some water at least every time CNN switches moderators or you’ll be Wolf Blitzer-ed by the time Amy Klobuchar rolls up.

5:00 p.m. Julián Castro
5:40 p.m. Andrew Yang
6:20 p.m. Kamala Harris
7:00 p.m. Amy Klobuchar
8:00 p.m. Joe Biden
8:40 p.m. Bernie Sanders
9:20 p.m. Elizabeth Warren
10:00 p.m. Pete Buttigieg
10:40 p.m. Beto O’Rourke
11:20 p.m. Cory Booker

Pregame idea: Raise a glass to the dearly (Democratically) departed.

Your brain (and liver) should probably be grateful that not all of the original 20-some Democratic candidates have made it this far in the election cycle. But a few drop-outs had some interesting climate ideas along the way. If you’re up for pregaming, consider pouring one out for the following candidates:

Jay Inslee — Ah, the original “climate candidate.” The Washington governor’s impressive environmental record and, um, crowd appeal will be sorely missed during this town hall. I would tell you to take a shot for every climate plan Inslee released during his run for president but there are six of them and I’m not trying to kill you. So slowly sip a sustainable beverage for dear old Jay as you scan the remaining candidates for your new “climate daddy.” (Google if you dare.)

John Hickenlooper — The former Colorado governor is gone from the presidential foray but not forgotten (because he’s running for Senate). His climate plan, however, which didn’t do much to offset his history of boosting fracking in his state, might merit a little forgetting. If you do drink to his memory, just make sure it’s not fracking fluid — that’s John’s job.

Kirsten Gillibrand — The #metoo candidate was the most recent campaign casualty in the rapidly thinning Democratic primary. She is survived by her impressive $10 trillion climate plan, which includes a tax on carbon pollution. Raise a glass of whiskey, Gillibrand’s “favorite comfort food,” to that.

Bonus doomsday dares

Need some additional entertainment? Spice up the evening with a few of the following challenges:

Phone your grandma when Joe Biden calls one of the other full-grown adults on stage “kid.”
Shotgun a Michelob Ultra every time Elizabeth Warren gets raucous applause for one of her six climate plans.
Have a friend go into another room and read last year’s entire 2,000-page Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report. Whoever cries themselves to sleep first wins!
Scream “Ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country” at the TV when someone uses JFK’s moon landing project as a metaphor for taking on climate change.

Seven hours of climate policy might feel like a poor substitution for, say, an official climate debate, but it’s a major step up for broadcast media. Last year, national broadcast networks spent only 142 combined minutes discussing the issue.

Ideally, an uptick in coverage would be spread out over the course of several months, not concentrated in one brutally long political masterclass. But the occasion seems to have prompted a number of 2020 procrastinators to release climate plans ahead of the event. On Tuesday, Warren, Klobuchar, and Booker unveiled proposals, and Buttigieg slid in just under the wire, releasing his climate plan Wednesday morning. Harris said she also intended to release a plan pre-town hall.

But you know what? We’ll take what we can get, even if it’s too little too — Ding dong! Who’s there? The delivery guy with the baked potato you drunkenly ordered in honor of Amy Klobuchar.

Go to bed.

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Looking for a CNN Climate Crisis Town Hall drinking game? Bingo!

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Can we stop stupid politics from ruining carbon farming?

It seems like every Democratic presidential candidate wants to get farmers sucking carbon out of the air and sticking it in the ground. Call it regenerative agriculture, carbon farming, soil carbon sequestration, but, boy have the candidates found an idea they love. Among the more popular names, Elizabeth Warren, Pete Buttigieg, Bernie Sanders, Beto O’Rourke, and Joe Biden, have included it in their platform. Kristen Gillibrand, Tim Ryan, and Amy Klobuchar have also said they want to pay farmers to catch carbon.

The science is straightforward enough. Planting a cover crop after harvest, when the acres might be bare and vulnerable to erosion, helps capture carbon. Farmers can keep that greenhouse gas in the ground if they stop plowing, because turning over the dirt with a plow releases soil carbon. These are relatively simple practices that many farmers have already adopted.

We’ve treated soil-science like dirt for too long, so it’s nice that it’s finally getting the chance to star in shovel-ready (sorry) national policy proposals. But there’s still reason for caution: Politics has a way of distorting science.

Look back twenty years and everyone was excited about biofuels: Presidential candidates talked about how we could grow green fuel provide new markets for farmers, while freeing ourselves from foreign fossil fuels. And the plants would suck carbon from the air. What’s not to love?

Starting in 2005, the government enshrined market mandates to help people start turning crops into fuel. Farmers cut down rainforests in Southeast Asia to grow oil palm for biofuel. Although the new market for corn and soy beans was great for Midwestern farmers, it was awful for those trying to stop erosion, preserve prairie habitat, and shrink the deadzone in the Gulf of Mexico. At this point, it’s nearly impossible to tell if biofuels are any better or worse for the climate than gasoline.

So if we want to learn from history, rather than repeat it, we’ll tamp down the hyperventilation over soil carbon, make sure we get the numbers right, and look out for unintended consequences.

Right now, the presidential candidates are talking in vague terms. Sanders’s plan, for instance, says the government will “pay farmers $160 billion for the soil health improvements they make and for the carbon they sequester.” O’Rourke’s just says he wants to “allow farmers and ranchers to profit from the reductions in greenhouse gas emissions they secure.” But as these ideas morph from Iowa stump speeches to actual legislation, keep an eye out for some potential stumbling blocks:

It’s uneven. The amount of carbon you draw out of the atmosphere with, say, your winter cover crop depends on how long your fields are frozen, how sandy your dirt is, how many worms are squirming in your soil … and that’s just for starters. So if the point is to fight climate change, proposed policies should pay farmers for results (the amount of carbon dioxide they take out of the air), rather than paying for practices (like planting a cover crop), said Jonathan Sanderman who studies soil carbon and climate change at Woods Hole Research Center.

Returns diminish. As soils “fill up” with carbon it gets harder to add more. Soil gets saturated. Navin Ramankutty, who studies global food systems at the University of British Columbia, thinks of soil like a bathtub: If there’s more water coming through the faucet then leaving through the drain, the water rises. Replace “water” with “carbon” and you get the idea. Eventually the carbon is going to start spilling over the top of the tub. “So, while carbon farming is certainly a useful measure to mitigate carbon emissions, it’s a solution with a finite lifetime,” Ramankutty said.

Keep it in the ground. Once carbon is in the ground, it doesn’t just stay there. Soil is churning with worms, fungi, bugs, and bacteria that eat up, transform, and release carbon back into the air. It really is dynamic, like Ramankutty’s bathtub. If farmers decide to plow up fields after years of sequestration, it would release a lot of the stored carbon. “How you deal with this is clearly a tricky policy problem,” Sanderman said. Perhaps, when agreeing to take money for carbon sequestration, farmers would have to accept restrictions on their land for the next decade.

It could crowd out other ideas. How much will carbon farming cost taxpayers, and are there other ideas that — for the same cost — would take even more greenhouse gases out of the air? Expanding forests, growing seaweed, or scrubbing carbon from the air might make more sense in some cases. Could we replace a coal plant with clean energy for the same amount of money and prevent more emissions in the first place? The danger of the latest sexy policy is that it tends to take precedence in every context, not just the ones in which it makes the most sense.

Candidates break hearts. Some of the candidate’s proposals use unrealistically large numbers for the carbon that farming could suck up, said Mark Bomford, director of Yale’s Sustainable Food Program. “I suspect this overstatement has less to do with misunderstanding the science, and more to do with what inevitably happens to communication of the science when it enters the arms race of political rhetoric,” Bomford said.

It just sounds better to say that an acre of farmland can suck up 25-60 tons of carbon a decade, as ex-candidate Jay Inslee did, then to say 7.4 tons per decade, which is the consistent average, Sanderman said.

All this is to say we ought to be a little wary of ambitious soil-policy solutions for climate change. Anyone who says we’ve figured out carbon farming (or whatever your buzzword of choice) deserves your skepticism. But the nice thing about about these proposals is that minimizing tillage, planting cover crops, and the other practices that store soil carbon are generally good for the environment — even if they don’t do as much to stem the climate crisis as advertised.

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Can we stop stupid politics from ruining carbon farming?

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Midwest farmers take to Twitter to document flood disaster


Midwest farmers take to Twitter to document flood disaster

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Air: The Restless Shaper of the World – William Bryant Logan


Air: The Restless Shaper of the World

William Bryant Logan

Genre: Nature

Price: $2.99

Publish Date: August 20, 2012

Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company

Seller: W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.

In a sublime exploration of the most unpredictable element of the earth, William Bryant Logan opens our eyes to the astonishing physics, chemistry, biology, history, art, and even music of the air. Air sustains the living. Every creature breathes to live, exchanging and changing the atmosphere. Water and dust spin and rise, make clouds and fall again, fertilizing the dirt. Twenty thousand fungal spores and half a million bacteria travel in a square foot of summer air. The chemical sense of aphids, the ultraviolet sight of swifts, a newborn’s awareness of its mother’s breast—all take place in the medium of air. Ignorance of the air is costly. The artist Eva Hesse died of inhaling her fiberglass medium. Thousands were sickened after 9/11 by supposedly “safe” air. The African Sahel suffers drought in part because we fill the air with industrial dusts. With the passionate narrative style and wide-ranging erudition that have made William Bryant Logan’s work a touchstone for nature lovers and environmentalists, Air is—like the contents of a bag of seaborne dust that Darwin collected aboard the Beagle—a treasure trove of discovery.

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Air: The Restless Shaper of the World – William Bryant Logan

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Sustainable Road Trip: a Green Getaway to Carmel, California

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Some people feel that 3D movies offer the ultimate adventure. I beg to differ. A road trip up the Big Sur Coast of California? Now, there’s an actual reality that can put any virtual reality to multi-sensory shame.

While heading north along U.S. Highway 101 through the central California coast, many words come to mind, such as charming, nature, balance, and beauty. But adjectives are one thing and experiencing these qualities firsthand is truly another. There’s nothing quite like navigating the scenic stretch of California from Cambria to Carmel-by-the-Sea. Encompassing a winding, 100-mile span of jaw-dropping chartreuse-colored cliffs, sweeping ocean views, and lush, Cypress tree silhouettes, the voyage along Pacific Coast Highway will leave you breathless.

Since my husband, Ron, and I typically choose the road less traveled, I highly recommend traversing along Highway 101 versus Interstate 5 out of Los Angeles. Yes, this decision will cost you about 30 minutes of extra drive time, depending on traffic, but the memories will be timeless.

Healthy Eats

Just a few of the delicious offerings at the Hummus Bar and Grill in Tarzana, California. Photo: Lisa Beres

We departed Orange County, California, on Friday morning with full intentions to beat the LA traffic. It worked.

But hunger kicked in soon after the 101 merger, so we exited in Tarzana, where we stopped at Hummus Bar and Grill. This Israeli-inspired Middle Eastern-eatery was bustling at lunchtime. And it was quickly clear why. The vast menu offered a variety of vegan and non-vegan entrees and appetizers.

We devoured everything from marinated mushroom hummus, fresh Israeli salad, and tahini-drizzled falafel to fried cauliflower, babaganoush, and Baladi eggplant. Ron didn’t waste any time in ordering the very vegan donut holes with a creamy dipping sauce for dessert. Carnivorous friends, fret not — they offer fish, filet mignon, Kosher food, and kabobs, too.

Green Local Lodging With a German Touch

The Hofsas House hotel offers elegance, charm, and earth-friendly practices in Carmel, California. Photo: Lisa Beres

After we rolled back into our Jeep, bellies stuffed like two Greek grape rolls; we proceeded along our journey to the Big Sur Coast. The six-hour drive had us entering the charming town of Carmel-by-the-Sea at dusk, my favorite time of day; the azure-colored sky coupled with wood-burning fireplace aromas can soothe any soul. We checked into the Hofsas House, a Bavarian-inspired boutique hotel that offers European elegance with the charm of family-owned-and-operated hospitality.

The Hofsas House isn’t just another picturesque hotel in Carmel; the owners take sustainability seriously. The Hofsas House incorporates a rainwater catchment system and provides recycling bins in every room. The city of Carmel is also on the green bandwagon with a ban on Styrofoam, and being the first city on the Monterey Peninsula to ban plastic straws and plastic eating utensils (unless they are biodegradable or recyclable).

Everything about the Hofsas House is cloaked in warmth, including general manager and owner, Carrie Theis. Her family has served up comfort, style, and views of the Pacific Ocean for over 70 years. The Hofsas House is nestled smack dab in the center of town, making this a sustainable choice for lodging. From art galleries, pubs, restaurants, and coffee shops to wine and olive oil tastings, activities are a just a cobblestone’s throw from your room’s Dutch door. The Hofsas House offers 38 uniquely designed, spacious rooms that include fresh ocean air, sweeping views of the pines, free wi-fi, and wood-burning fireplaces in every room. Our room was well-appointed and donned with a king-sized bed, ocean view, and wet bar. You’ll instantly feel welcome and so will your four-legged friends.

Saturday morning, we met with third-generation owner Carrie, to hear tales of how her grandmother founded the Hofsas House and how she has checked in weary travelers since she was a teenager. While we chatted by the lobby’s copper-lined fireplace, we enjoyed a complimentary breakfast of French roast coffee and fresh fruit and muffins from the neighborhood bakery.

The village of Carmel-by-the-Sea offers a wide selection of restaurants and shopping, and quaint, “storybook” architecture. Photo: Lisa Beres

Eco-Friendly Shopping in Carmel

Next, we strolled to the quaint village of Carmel, which boasts a rich history and spectacular beauty. We wandered in and out of shops, including a visit to Eco Carmel, a self-proclaimed “general store for all things earth and people friendly!” We couldn’t agree more. Next, was a visit to Trio Carmel for some truffle oil tasting. (Yes, we left with a bottle of black truffle oil and let’s just say, plain popcorn will never be the same.)

After the oil indulgence, we hit the 5th Avenue Deli to grab a vegan picnic lunch: a salad for myself and veggie wrap for Ron. We proceed to the nearby gates to embark on 17-Mile Drive — a must if you are in the area. Everywhere you turn is a sight for sore eyes, from tranquil deer grazing on the Pebble Beach golf course to seagulls perched on rugged, ocean-lined rocks. The air is fresh, the grass green, and the ocean as blue as nature intended. The untouched beauty and respect for the environment are nowhere more apparent.

View of the Pacific Ocean from the side of 17-Mile Drive on California’s Monterey Peninsula. Photo: Lisa Beres

We proceeded to the at the Inn at Spanish Bay and walked out to the fire pits to enjoy our picnic. Carrie informed us a bagpipe player arrives on the lawn each evening to entertain, but in this case, the early birds did not catch the plaid-skirted worm.

Sustainable Wine Tasting

Author Lisa Beres and her husband Ron sample the wines of Scheid Vineyards.

Late afternoon, we headed back to downtown Carmel to do as any smart tourist would do in wine country — sniff, swish, sip, and savor. First up was the tasting room for Blair Wines, located on the lower level of Carmel Plaza. We met owner, Jeffrey Blair, who made us feel right at home. Jeffrey shared so much knowledge and enthusiasm about wines, and we both agreed that Blair Estate offers some of the best tasting wines we’ve ever had.

Next, we proceeded to the Scheid Vineyards tasting room. While neither of us was familiar with Scheid, it was hard to ignore the vast vineyards on the drive up. But what we didn’t know was that Scheid is a sustainable winery whose eco-efforts include:

The use of screw caps

Maintain the integrity of the wine and prevents loss of product
More consistent seal than cork

Reusable wine bags

Versatile, great for multiple uses
They return bags for new wine orders
Fabric bags reduce the need for paper products

Locally sourced products

Make efforts to sell locally sourced products


Transaction receipts and wine club signups are all paperless


The environmentally friendly pulp wine shippers are recyclable and biodegradable


All empty wine bottles and cardboard cases are recycled

Ocean-Front Dining

The Beach House Restaurant at Lovers Point offers a romantic setting for an excellent meal. Photo courtesy of Beach House at Lovers Point

Saturday night arrived, and so did a romantic visit to nearby Pacific Grove to dine at one of the most picturesque spots you’ll ever witness, The Beach House Restaurant at Lovers Point. If you don’t feel the romance here, candles and chocolates won’t help. The food was superb, the energy lively, and the views — spectacular. While the California-inspired cuisine offers something for everyone, we chose our standard vegan fare by sticking with the starters and proceeded to feast on chilled Castroville artichoke, charred Brussels sprouts (sans the chorizo), and arancini.

The Beach House Restaurant’s chilled Castroville artichoke. Photo courtesy of Beach House at Lovers Point

The night was not-so-young, so we waltzed a block from our hotel to the nearby Hog’s Breath Inn, formerly owned by actor, Clint Eastwood (who also happens to be a former mayor of Carmel). The Hog’s Breath Inn is rich in brick, indoor and outdoor fireplaces, and history. We sat by a cozy indoor fireplace (and tried to ignore the hog mounted on the wall above us). We enjoyed a nightcap, heard stories from the bartender, and reminisced about the day’s adventures.

Lisa and Ron enjoy the fire at Hog’s Breath Inn, Carmel, California

Local Artists

Sunday arrived much too soon, and we had one last stop: the Testerosa Winery tasting room in Carmel Valley Village to meet with local artist, Katrina Kacandes. We met Katrina on a past trip and loved her passion for all things creative, colorful, and Carmel. Her abstract, etheric, and vibrant art incorporates recycled pieces from old gloves to matchboxes and is inspired by the local landscape and ocean. From fairies, fireflies, and fish, Katrina wants you to interpret her pieces the way you see them with your mind’s eye. You can find her work online or locally at the Patricia Qualls Art Gallery in Carmel Valley.

Heading Home

The charming dining room at Café Rustica in Carmel Valley Village. Photo courtesy of Cafe Rustica

We enjoyed a farewell lunch at the oh-so-enchanting Café Rustica in Carmel Valley Village. The beet salad was superb, but the company and ambiance were the true icing on the cake.

It was time to head home and leave this dreamy adventure as a distant memory and sweet reminder. Life is beautiful. Nature is perfect. Beauty is everywhere. No matter what stresses or challenges life throws at you, don’t forget, there is a world of wonder right under your steering wheel ready to be explored, enjoyed, and experienced.

If you haven’t headed outside looking for adventure recently, it may be time to get your motor running. Even if you weren’t born to be wild, it’s time, my friend, to channel your inner nature’s child.

Author Lisa Beres

Feature photo courtesy of Lisa Beres

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Sustainable Road Trip: a Green Getaway to Carmel, California

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The world is hot, on fire, and flooding. Climate change is here.

The worst ravages of climate change are on display around the world.

Wildfires have ripped through towns in Greece, floods have submerged parts of Laos, and heat waves have overwhelmed Japan. These are striking examples of climate change playing out in its deadliest forms, and they’re making  the term “natural disaster” an outdated concept.

People in Greece were jumping into the Aegean to escape advancing wildfires, according to a report in the New York Times. More than 70 are confirmed dead so far, and some scenes are horrific. 

“Greece is going through an unspeakable tragedy,” said Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, in a televised address to declare three days of national mourning.

This is already Greece’s hottest year on record. Although the last few weeks have been mild and wet, it’s nearly certain that warm weather has played a role in drying out forests throughout Europe, where the number of fires this year is 43 percent above normal. Longer summers, more intense drought, and higher temperatures are all linked to greater fire risk.

We’ve known enough about meteorology to link extreme events to their increased likelihood as they are happening for years now. Recent advances in extreme weather attribution can often tell us exactly how much.

Ample evidence links worsening fires with human activity. Greece and much of the Mediterranean region is projected to turn into desert over the next several decades, and there are signs that this shift has already begun. As the region’s native trees die off and urban areas expand into neglected forests, firefighting resources are becoming woefully overmatched. Regardless of ignition source — arson or lightning or human carelessness — massive wildfires will become more common as droughts intensify and heat waves get more common. Extreme winds, like those blamed for fanning the flames this week in Greece and during megafires in Portugal last year, can make an already dire situation uncontrollable.

It’s the hottest month of one of the hottest years in the history of human civilization, and unusual wildfires are sprouting up all over the map. Sweden has called for emergency assistance from the rest of the European Union to help battle massive wildfires burning north of the Arctic Circle. Across the western United States, 50 major wildfires are burning in parts of 14 states, fueled by severe drought. The wildfires burning in Siberia earlier this month sent smoke plumes from across the Arctic all the way to New England, four thousand miles away. Last year, big wildfires burned in Greenland for the first time in recorded history.

And then there are the rains. In Laos, after days of downpours, a hydropower dam that was under construction collapsed on Tuesday. Hundreds of people have been reported missing. Higher global temperatures increase the evaporation rate, putting more water vapor in the atmosphere and making extreme downpours more common.

In recent weeks, high temperature records have been set on nearly every continent. On Monday, Japan had its hottest temperature in recorded history — 106 degrees Fahrenheit — just days after one of the worst flooding disasters the country has ever seen.

Algeria has recorded the highest reliably measured temperature in Africa, 124 degrees Fahrenheit. In late June, the temperature never dropped below 108 degrees Fahrenheit in Oman — the highest overnight low temperature anywhere in the world.

Even in normally temperate places the air has been sweltering: Temperatures approaching 100 degrees Fahrenheit hit parts of Canada, overwhelming hospitals in Montreal — where another heat wave is imminent this week.

According to calculations from climate scientist Gavin Schmidt, this year will likely be the world’s fourth warmest year on record globally, behind 2015, 2016, and 2017. With another El Niño on the way, next year could be even hotter.

All over the world, heatwaves are getting longer and more intense, the most well-documented and deadliest consequence of our failure to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

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The world is hot, on fire, and flooding. Climate change is here.

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Other Minds – Peter Godfrey-Smith


Other Minds

The Octopus, the Sea, and the Deep Origins of Consciousness

Peter Godfrey-Smith

Genre: Life Sciences

Price: $3.99

Publish Date: December 6, 2016

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Seller: Macmillan / Holtzbrinck Publishers, LLC

Although mammals and birds are widely regarded as the smartest creatures on earth, it has lately become clear that a very distant branch of the tree of life has also sprouted higher intelligence: the cephalopods, consisting of the squid, the cuttlefish, and above all the octopus. In captivity, octopuses have been known to identify individual human keepers, raid neighboring tanks for food, turn off lightbulbs by spouting jets of water, plug drains, and make daring escapes. How is it that a creature with such gifts evolved through an evolutionary lineage so radically distant from our own? What does it mean that evolution built minds not once but at least twice? The octopus is the closest we will come to meeting an intelligent alien. What can we learn from the encounter? In Other Minds , Peter Godfrey-Smith, a distinguished philosopher of science and a skilled scuba diver, tells a bold new story of how subjective experience crept into being—how nature became aware of itself. As Godfrey-Smith stresses, it is a story that largely occurs in the ocean, where animals first appeared. Tracking the mind’s fitful development, Godfrey-Smith shows how unruly clumps of seaborne cells began living together and became capable of sensing, acting, and signaling. As these primitive organisms became more entangled with others, they grew more complicated. The first nervous systems evolved, probably in ancient relatives of jellyfish; later on, the cephalopods, which began as inconspicuous mollusks, abandoned their shells and rose above the ocean floor, searching for prey and acquiring the greater intelligence needed to do so. Taking an independent route, mammals and birds later began their own evolutionary journeys. But what kind of intelligence do cephalopods possess? Drawing on the latest scientific research and his own scuba-diving adventures, Godfrey-Smith probes the many mysteries that surround the lineage. How did the octopus, a solitary creature with little social life, become so smart? What is it like to have eight tentacles that are so packed with neurons that they virtually “think for themselves”? What happens when some octopuses abandon their hermit-like ways and congregate, as they do in a unique location off the coast of Australia? By tracing the question of inner life back to its roots and comparing human beings with our most remarkable animal relatives, Godfrey-Smith casts crucial new light on the octopus mind—and on our own.

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Other Minds – Peter Godfrey-Smith

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How to Tell Which Foods Are In Season this Fall

Winter, spring, summer, fall…each new season brings with it a multitude of unique tastes and smells. Squash, pumpkin, chestnuts, and freshly picked apples signify that fall has come. Colorful bell peppers, cherries, and watermelon taste like summer.

It’s comforting knowing that everything has its place, isn’t it? That you can count on fresh apricots and corn on the cob when warm weather comes around. But the benefits of eating in-season produce go far beyond those daily comforts.

Seasonal food is produce that is “purchased and consumed around the time that it is harvested.” As such, eating seasonally means greater?access to a more nutritious diet, a reduction in your?carbon footprint, and financial savings in your pocket thanks to the?nature of abundance. But how do you know which foods are in season when fall rolls around?

How to Tell Which Foods Are In Season this Fall

With grocery stores sourcing?produce worldwide?it can be hard to tell which types of produce are actually in season and which were shipped from a warmer climate thousands of miles away. Here’s where you can start.

1) Check out the Seasonal Food Guide.

The Seasonal Food Guide?is an easy online tool that you can use to determine which foods are in season when, based on your exact location and the time of the year. Through this tool I discovered that the best produce available in Wyoming right now is: apples, beets, brussels sprouts and carrots! Cool, right?

2) Visit your local farmer’s market.

Shopping at the farmer’s market is a wonderful way to see seasonal produce right in front of you ? question answered! This week at our Cheyenne Farmer’s Market we saw lots of squash, pumpkins, and carrots galore. Need some recipe inspiration? Here are fourteen delicious recipes to make this harvest season.

3) Ask your neighbors.

At this time of the year, most gardeners have more produce than they know what to do with. Do your friends have fall tomatoes coming out their ears? Who knows, they may need someone to take them off their hands! Over time, you’ll grow more familiar with which foods are growing at any given time.

What fresh fruits and vegetables?get you excited about this fall??

Related at Care2

14 Foods to Eat this Harvest Season
Is it better to buy local or organic?
4 Vegetables to Plant Now for a Fall Harvest

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


How to Tell Which Foods Are In Season this Fall

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Watering Guide for Summer Vegetables

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Watering Guide for Summer Vegetables

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