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Is waging ‘war’ the only way to take on the coronavirus?

What do climate change, drugs, and Christmas have in common? The United States has supposedly been at “war” with all of them.

When facing any sort of crisis, big or small, Americans often frame the situation through the lens of a battle. So when coronavirus brought daily life in the United States to a halt last month, it seemed nearly inevitable that President Donald Trump would declare himself a “wartime president.”

“The world is at war with a hidden enemy,” he tweeted. “WE WILL WIN!”

Similar language has been invoked by leaders around the world. France’s President Emmanuel Macron deployed the phrase “we are at war” no less than six times in one speech last month. And in a rare special address to the United Kingdom last week, Queen Elizabeth II invoked the “Blitz spirit” of World War II, a time of shared sacrifice.

Wartime rhetoric serves as an aggressive moral appeal, drumming up emotion and calling people to action. But here’s the thing about the war on coronavirus: We’ve already lost it.

“I think war metaphors are best used as a mobilizing effort,” said Stephen Flusberg, an associate professor of psychology at Purchase College in New York. “And it’s too late in the United States. We’ve failed.”

If coronavirus were truly a “war,” the United States would be the best prepared in the world, with a so-called “defense” budget at $700 billion a year and climbing — more than what the next seven largest countries spend added together. What the country was unprepared for was a pandemic, something infectious disease experts had warned was eventually coming.

Warlike language has been part of our speech for so long, it usually goes unnoticed. When the Spanish Flu hit England in the summer of 1918, newspapers warned their readers to prepare “defenses” against the disease. Soon enough, they described the flu as a “new foe,” and people freaked out, panic-buying quinine. It sounds all too familiar to anyone who’s been following the news of coronavirus, which the New York Times first painted as a “mystery” illness in January, something to “combat” in February, and an “all-out war” in March.

Fighting words have their time and place, language experts say, but public discourse seems to get stuck fighting everything. Studies show that this framing can paralyze people with fear and limit our collective imagination about what can be done to fix complex problems. In times of pandemic, calling the virus an “invisible enemy” can evoke xenophobia and racism. The framing primes people to view problems like climate change as a battlefield — this side vs. that side — widening partisan divides while obscuring any common ground.

“When a metaphor is used again and again and again, it really makes people experience something in those terms,” said Veronika Koller, a linguist at Lancaster University in England. In other words, people start to feel like they’re living in wartime. This can help governments gain public support for short-term actions that would normally be unpopular, like closing borders or exercising emergency powers. But for a prolonged crisis, it results in fatigue, Koller said. From climate change to cancer to coronavirus, the struggle is not a matter of weeks, but months, years, and decades.

Researchers say that it’s clear we need a new way to discuss big problems, a broader repertoire of metaphors to choose from. “There’s a paucity of the imagination around insurmountable challenges,” said Brent Ryan Bellamy, an instructor at Trent University in Canada.

Last week, Trump tweeted, “The Invisible Enemy will soon be in full retreat!” Though he didn’t mention the virus, no one seemed confused by what he was referring to — a sign that the war narrative has firmly taken hold. But others are already describing the pandemic in creative terms, comparing the government’s response to a storyline in a Harry Potter book, or practicing social distancing to a string section playing quietly (it only works, after all, if everyone does it). A group of linguists are attempting to #ReframeCovid, tracking international efforts to put new words to the crisis.

Flipping the usual script can lead to fresh critiques, new alliances, and eventually, if the new metaphors take hold, different ways to cope.

Coming next week: A look at efforts to use a new vocabulary to take on social problems.


Is waging ‘war’ the only way to take on the coronavirus?

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Bloomberg bombed the debate, but his climate record is pretty good

In between absorbing blows from his fellow presidential contenders at the ninth Democratic debate in Nevada on Wednesday, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg tried to present his vision for what his climate agenda might look like if he were elected the next president of the United States. He didn’t quite succeed.

That’s a testament to how bad his debate performance was — because of all the candidates on stage, the billionaire latecomer probably has the strongest climate bona fides. He’s donated millions to shutter coal plants across the United States with his “Beyond Coal” partnership with the Sierra Club, something he briefly touted Wednesday night. In the absence of federal leadership on climate, he’s worked with cities and states to negotiate emissions reductions goals as part of America’s Pledge, an initiative he helped launch.

Similarly to his answers to questions about his personal wealth and treatment of women, Bloomberg basically bungled his opportunity to respond persuasively to prompts about rising temperatures and international cooperation. Aligning himself with moderate candidates like Amy Klobuchar, Bloomberg came out in support of natural gas as a “transition fuel.” Natural gas production in the U.S. has skyrocketed in recent years due to the fracking boom, but recent research shows the fracking industry is largely responsible for a prolonged spike in methane emissions, a greenhouse gas far more powerful than carbon in the short term. (On Thursday, a spokesperson clarified to Grist that Bloomberg believes that “while gas played a useful role in the early stages of transitioning away from coal, its role as a transition fuel has ended now that renewable energy is cheaper and gas is now a bigger source of carbon pollution than coal.”)

Also on Wednesday night, instead of taking a hard line on China — currently the world’s leading emitter of greenhouse gas — Bloomberg pivoted to India, arguing that the developing country was an ”even bigger problem.” While India’s emissions are on the rise, China still emits four times as much carbon from fossil fuel use.

Pundits’ reviews of Bloomberg’s performance were overwhelmingly negative. For the time being though, it looks like Bloomberg’s stash of cash all but ensures his continued presence in the race. And if he can figure out how to communicate more clearly, the next debate is a chance to establish himself as a serious climate candidate.

So how might he do that? He could start by talking about his record. Bloomberg championed climate policies when few politicians were thinking about rising temperatures. After Superstorm Sandy ravaged parts of New York City in 2012, then-Mayor Bloomberg launched a sustainability agenda that was considered to be the most ambitious urban climate mitigation plan in the world.

He led a campaign to protect the city’s drinking water and waged a city-wide effort to revamp its garbage collection system. He created a sustainability task force and, later, a sustainability office that was tasked with tracking the city’s emissions. He attempted to introduce congestion pricing to limit car use in parts of the city. (Though that idea ultimately failed, it’s been reintroduced with more success recently.) Many of his efforts to green the Big Apple went the way of his failed ban on large sodas, but they laid groundwork for the upwelling of urban sustainability efforts happening now across the nation.

“Now you hear a lot about climate action at the national level,” Antha Williams, senior adviser for climate and environment for the Bloomberg campaign, told Grist. “But Mike was really the person who got a lot of that local work started.” That record, she said, will resonate with voters, many of whom say they consider climate change a top priority.

He can also go the Elizabeth Warren route, and get wonky. His specialty is the private sector. He could make a case for why he’s the best candidate to address corporate climate accountability. “One of the things he’s done over the past several years is lead a task force on climate-related financial disclosures,” Williams said, referencing a transparency initiative established in 2015 and chaired by Bloomberg. “That has put together a set of standards that should be reported for companies to actually show their exposure on climate change.”

Or he could set himself apart from his competitors by plugging the work he’s done on the international stage — an area where he is rivaled by only Joe Biden. The United Nations tapped him to be a climate envoy in 2014; and he also served as the head of C40, an international organization of cities committed to climate action. “When Trump walked away from the Paris climate agreement, Mike was there,” Williams said. “He was there to do the reporting that the U.S. shirked.”

Bloomberg’s climate platform checks many of the same boxes as his opponents’ plans: rejoin the Paris Agreement, halve the United States carbon emissions by 2030, invest in frontline communities to combat environmental injustice, the list goes on. As Pete Buttigieg said of those on the debate stage Wednesday night, “I’ve got a plan to get us carbon neutral by 2050. And I think everybody up here has a plan that more or less does the same. So the real question is, how are we going to actually get it done?”

Bloomberg is one of just a few candidates with an actual record to point to in answering that question. But you wouldn’t have known it from his time on stage in Las Vegas.

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Bloomberg bombed the debate, but his climate record is pretty good

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Some economics nerds just realized how much climate change will cost us

A bunch of economists just put down their calculators and concluded that we should act on climate change sooner rather than later. Really.

For decades, economists have suggested that the government should charge a fee on every ton of carbon dioxide that gets emitted, giving companies a bottom-line incentive to change their polluting ways. The conventional wisdom is that we’d ease into it, starting with a low price — say, $40 per ton — and gradually ramp it up over time.

But according to a new paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, that prevailing wisdom is backwards. The authors argue that a carbon tax should start out steep, above $100 per ton (and potentially above $200 per ton), rise higher for a few years, and then slowly fall over the next few centuries as people get the whole climate crisis thing under control.

Such a high price would encourage countries and businesses to clean up their act much faster. Part of the reason is that we need to make up for lost time. The implication is that the United States and most governments have waited so long to put a price on carbon that a milder approach just doesn’t make much sense.

“To me the most surprising result of the research was how quickly the cost of delay increases over time,” said Robert Litterman, a risk management expert who used to work for Goldman Sachs, in a statement accompanying the study. His team found that if the world procrastinated on a carbon price by just one more year, the damages from climate change would climb an additional $1 trillion. Waiting 10 years would put the price tag at $100 trillion. In other words, the time to act was yesterday (or, like the 1980s).

No one knows exactly how much our planet is going to heat up in the coming decades. The degree of nightmarishness depends on the amount of greenhouse gases we send into the atmosphere and how quickly and ferociously the planet responds with feedback loops that accelerate warming. The euphemism for this is “uncertainty.”

Because studying the climate is a risky business, the researchers borrowed a model from the world of finance, which is hyper-focused on measuring risk (hello β). Their unconventional model considered the damage climate change would bring to agriculture, coastal infrastructure, and human health in the future. Their takeaway: For something as high stakes as the climate crisis, governments should be trying to avoid the worst outcome at all costs.

“We need to take stronger action today to give us breathing room in the event that the planet turns out to be more fragile than current models predict,” said Kent Daniel, a professor at Columbia Business School, in the statement.

The researchers aren’t the first to recommend this “start high, decrease later” approach to implementing a carbon tax, nor are they the first to propose such a steep price. A landmark report from the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change last year suggested that limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees C above pre-industrial levels would take an array of tough climate policies, including a carbon price of at least $135 per ton by 2030, and perhaps as high as $5,500 per ton.

Around the world, carbon prices are either nonexistent or simply not cutting it. Though more than 40 countries have implemented some sort of carbon price, including Canada, Mexico, and Switzerland, their prices are generally considered too low to be very effective.

Even though old-school Republicans and even some oil companies have publicly called for a nationwide carbon tax, it’s not like voters are clamoring for it. Measures have failed in otherwise environmentally-friendly states such as Washington and Oregon in recent years. No carbon tax exists in the United States, though California and a group of states in the Northeast have cap-and-trade programs that serve a similar purpose. Offering an even higher tax would unlikely help a measure’s odds of passing.

So how to square all this? Perhaps a little wordplay will help. A recent study said that people might be more willing to rally behind a plan to tax carbon if proponents simply dropped the t-word and called it “a fine on corporations” instead.

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Some economics nerds just realized how much climate change will cost us

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The Green New Deal is an opportunity for America to get right with the world

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There’s an inescapable truth when it comes to climate change: Through its historical emissions and political role throughout history, the United States is responsible for this problem more than any other country on Earth.

The unveiling of a sweeping Green New Deal resolution by Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Senator Ed Markey, along with several leading presidential candidates and dozens of other co-sponsors, is a legitimate effort to right those wrongs and repair our standing in the world on the biggest problem in human history.

The historical context for this moment should not be forgotten: After World War II, the U.S. normalized fossil fuel use on a massive scale, launching an explosive rise in carbon emissions that has continued largely unabated even after climate change was identified as a potentially existential problem decades ago. With 4 percent of the world’s population, the United States has produced 25 percent of all human-related greenhouse gases since the Industrial Revolution, twice that of China.

Beyond our direct emissions, U.S. politicians have a history of sabotaging global efforts to fight climate change, most notably American reluctance to keep its commitments to the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Accord. Even American climate champions have fallen short: Obama presided over the failure of cap-and-trade legislation, the botched global deal in Copenhagen, and the rise of the natural gas industry. And all along, American fossil fuel companies have funded a campaign of disinformation designed to promote the status quo — regardless of who held the presidency. Current U.S. policy is “critically insufficient” to address climate change.

In 2019, after decades of delay, the world finds itself at the brink of locking in irreversible changes to the biosphere, oceans, land, ice, and atmosphere of the planet. There is no more time left to wait.

“Even the solutions that we have considered big and bold are nowhere near the scale of the actual problem that climate change presents to us, to our country, and to the world,” Ocasio-Cortez said in an interview with NPR this morning. “If we want the United States to continue to be a global leader, then that means we need to lead on the solution of this issue.”

Today’s Green New Deal resolution acknowledges America’s unique climate legacy and its outsized responsibility in its second paragraph, concluding “the United States must take a leading role in reducing emissions through economic transformation.”

That call for historic, transformative change — at an emergency pace — could see the U.S. kickstart a new era of responsible climate policy, “a new national, social, industrial, and economic mobilization on a scale not seen since World War II,” according to the resolution.

Simply put, the Green New Deal is a chance for the U.S. to make amends.

The resolution, which is non-binding, is designed to be a talking point in the upcoming presidential campaign and as a means gather support for a broad legislative push in the near term. Its 10-year plan would provide “100 percent of the power demand in the United States through clean, renewable, and zero-emission energy sources” and a “just transition for all communities and workers.” This is likely at the limits of technical feasibility, even with the hedge of “net-zero” emissions, which would allow for a slower complete phase-out of fossil fuels.

Most of the resolution isn’t so much a concrete plan to cut emissions so much as a manifesto for a restructuring of American society to thrive in the climate change era — and to serve as a model to the rest of the world. The Green New Deal would address “systemic injustices” head-on in “frontline and vulnerable communities” through a living wage job guarantee, public education, universal health care, universal housing, and “repairing historic oppression,” all the while promoting a resurgence in community-led democratic principles.

Paying for it, judging from separate statements by its supporters, would likely require massive tax hikes on the wealthiest Americans and trillions of dollars of deficit spending. Polling for earlier versions of the plan showed overwhelming support from the public, even among Republicans.

In the context of our ongoing planetary emergency and America’s long struggle to productively confront climate change, it’s impossible not to see this as an investment in the future of our country, an investment in the stability of the planet and the survival of human civilization.

“I think that this is a very special moment,” Ocasio-Cortez told NPR. “We have a responsibility to show what another America looks like.”


The Green New Deal is an opportunity for America to get right with the world

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Just a reminder: The world is perilously close to annihilation!

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The world’s most eminent predictors of doom, the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, gathered Thursday to announce just how close humanity is from irreversible collapse. The answer: pretty damn close.

The Doomsday Clock is two minutes from midnight (read “the end of everything”), thanks largely to climate change and the threat of nuclear annihilation. That’s exactly where it was last year, when the collection of scientists set it at 11:58, the nearest it’s been to midnight since 1953 when the Soviet Union and the United States were testing nukes.

The current state of climate and political doom is starting to feel familiar. The Bulletin’s name for it is the “new abnormal.”  

“The longer world leaders and citizens carelessly inhabit this new and abnormal reality, the more likely the world is to experience catastrophe of historic proportions,” said Robert Rosner, a professor of astronomy and physics at the University of Chicago, during a press conference announcing the Doomsday Clock’s settings in Washington, D.C. The most serious global threats — climate change, nuclear, and information warfare — are all being denied or ignored, Rosner said.

Since 1947 when the Cold War was getting underway, the Doomsday Clock has been used to bring awareness to the biggest existential threats. The first team behind the iconic clock came from The Manhattan Project, the scientists and engineers who produced the first atomic bomb. For most of the clock’s history, nuclear war has been the largest threat (it started at seven minutes to midnight). Yet since 2007, climate change has become a growing risk, nudging the clock’s minute hand closer to Doomsday.

The scientists noted that there’s another way to measure of our proximity towards doom: carbon dioxide levels. “Every year that we continue to add carbon dioxide to the atmosphere, irreversibly ratchets up the level of human suffering and ecosystem destruction that will occur due to global climate change,” said Susan Solomon, an atmospheric scientist and professor at MIT, at the announcement.

After years of remaining stable, global emission levels rose in 2017 and reached an all-time high in 2018. Part of the reason is that the United States, China, and other big polluters have increased their emissions, which Solomon called an “act of gross negligence.”

That the clock didn’t tick this year is a sign that we’ve made no progress on avoiding impending disaster. “The new abnormal climate that we already have is extremely dangerous,” said Solomon. “And we’ve moved onto a path that will make our future much more dangerous still.”

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Just a reminder: The world is perilously close to annihilation!

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What’s greener than burial or cremation? Human composting.

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After death, your options tend to be limited. You could go the cremation route, releasing carbon dioxide and mercury in the process. Or you could be buried in casket within a plastic-lined concrete vault, your body coated in carcinogenic embalming fluid. But must you destroy the planet, even after you’ve expended your time on earth?

Washington state might soon expand your options to include the (in my humble opinion, unfortunately named) process of “human composting.” A bill, expected to be introduced by state Senator Jamie Pedersen next month, would make the state the first to legalize “recomposition” — letting a body decompose in nutrient-dense soil. It would also legalize alkaline hydrolysis, aka water cremation, where a body dissolves in a vessel with water and lye until it’s just bone and liquid.

“People from all over the state who wrote to me are very excited about the prospect of becoming a tree or having a different alternative for themselves,” Pedersen told NBC News.

I don’t mean to get macabre here, but the reality is that everyone eventually dies. And the environmental cost of death really adds up. In the United States, 30 million board feet of wood, 1.6 million tons of concrete, 800,000 gallons of embalming fluid, and 90,000 tons of steel are used every year for conventional burials. Cremation releases 250,000 tons of CO2 each year, the equivalent of burning nearly 30 million gallons of gasoline.

Death didn’t use to be such an environmental drag. Burials were once a simple affair: a shrouded body lowered into the ground. The body would decay and leave behind minerals and nutrients in the soil. Maybe, if lucky, those remains could one day feed a flower or a tree.

Katrina Spade, the founder of Recompose, is popularizing a modern incarnation of this natural process. The company promises that over the span of a month, bodies will decompose into about a cubic yard of compost per person, saving at least a metric ton of CO2 in the process.

As Spade told the Seattle Times, “Our bodies are full of potential” — even, apparently, when dead.

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What’s greener than burial or cremation? Human composting.

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The future of food: droughts, wrecked crops, and empty plates

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More droughts. More punishingly hot days killing farm workers and livestock. More allergen-spewing weeds. More crop-wrecking storms. And ultimately, more hunger.

According to the recently released National Climate Assessment, global warming is already making farming in the United States more difficult, and it’s likely to get worse. A steep decline in U.S. harvests would spur a worldwide crisis, because grains, oils, and meat from the United States ship to every continent. It would increase pressure to clear rainforests around the equator and the boreal forests of Canada and Russia to grow food. Falling yields would also drive up food prices, making it harder for the poor to afford meals.

“Food security, which is already a challenge across the globe, is likely to become an even greater challenge,” the report’s authors wrote.

The short-term outlook doesn’t look so scary. Climate change means a longer growing season, and conditions might actually improve in places like the Dakotas, where cold weather currently limits farming. Warming should also boost wheat and barley harvests. But rising temperatures and CO2 concentrations will also “enable ragweed and other plants to produce allergenic pollen in larger quantities,” for more months out of the year. And in the long term, harvests of all food crops, including wheat, are expected to decline unless farmers take unprecedented steps to adapt.

Radical adaptation could improve harvests and help solve the larger climate problem. Crops can suck carbon dioxide out of the air and store it in the soil. The report notes that “agriculture is one of the few sectors with the potential for significant increases in carbon sequestration.”

What would radical adaptation look like? The corn belt might move north from Kansas to Saskatchewan with the weather. Farmers could synch planting times and fertilizer application with precise weather forecasts. Governments might pay farmers for locking up carbon in their fields instead of maximizing profits. They could also provide the funding necessary for scientists to breed climate-adapted crops and animals.

In short, there are plenty of ways that agriculture can provide hope in place of worry. But without action, there’s going to be misery in farm country, according to the report. By 2050, climate change could shrink Midwestern harvests all the way down to the size they were during the farm crisis of the 1980s, when a surge of foreclosures led many farmers to take their lives. And with our global food market, misery in farm country would mean misery around the world.

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The future of food: droughts, wrecked crops, and empty plates

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1,656 pages too long? Climate report coauthor Katharine Hayhoe has 3 takeaways.

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The 1,656-page National Climate Assessment can feel overwhelming if not broken up into actionable-sized pieces — not unlike climate change itself. Thankfully, report coauthor Katharine Hayhoe offered up some key takeaways in a webinar with the nonprofit news organization Climate Central on Monday. Hayhoe, an atmospheric scientist and political science professor at Texas Tech University, focused her presentation on a core message: Climate change is impacting everyone now.

“The myth that the science isn’t real, or that it’s something up for debate, is not the most dangerous myth that the largest number of people have bought into,” Hayhoe said. “There’s a belief that is just as pernicious: that global warming does not matter to me.”

To change this mindset, Hayhoe recommended shifting the narrative away from polar bears in the melting Arctic to how climate change is shaping people’s lives today, from wildfires in California to severe flooding in New York.

The new report offers the most up-to-date assessment of how climate change is affecting the United States. As Hayhoe said, it tackles “the myth that climate change is happening to people far away.” Three of her takeaways:

1. “There are already climate refugees in the United States.”

Louisiana’s Isle de Jean Charles, home to members of the Biloxi-Chitimacha-Choctaw tribe, has been swallowed by rising tides. In 1955 the island was 22,000 acres; today it’s only 320. Last year, state officials announced that the tribal nation would be evacuated to higher grounds.

However, many other indigenous communities face significant barriers to receiving relocation funding, as the report details. Slow-onset disasters like coastal erosion and melting permafrost deeply effect communities over time, but they often don’t qualify for relocation funding. The report highlights the need for more community-driven relocation plans.

2. “Hurricanes are getting stronger, bigger, and slower, meaning they can sit over us for longer.”

If you’ve noticed hurricanes getting worse in recent years, it’s not your imagination. Climate change is bringing wetter and more intense hurricanes to the United States. For example, one recent study showed that climate change made Hurricane Florence 50 percent worse. The storm dumped enough water to fill the Chesapeake Bay.

3. “Climate change hits us in the Achilles’ heel.”

Peering into a climate-changed future is a bit like looking into a fun-house mirror where all of your worst features are accentuated. Texas, for example, is susceptible to a host of climate hazards, from heatwaves to hurricanes. It’s experienced more costly weather disasters than any other state. Climate change will only boost these extremes, bringing even more drought, flooding, and high temperatures.

You may have heard that everything’s bigger in Texas. That’s certainly true of climate change.

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1,656 pages too long? Climate report coauthor Katharine Hayhoe has 3 takeaways.

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30 Ways to Keep Celebrating Earth Day (Even After It’s Over!)

On?April 22, 1970, close to?50 years ago, millions of people?took to the streets to protest the effects?of industrial development on quality of life. At the time, smog, decline in biodiversity and the pollution of everything from air to drinking water were of utmost concern, in part due to frequent, unregulated use of heavy pesticides and other pollutants.

In response,?President Nixon and the United States Congress created the?Environmental Protection Agency and, subsequently, passed the Clean Water Act and Endangered Species Act ? two efforts that have?been instrumental in managing the human impacts of industrialized living.

Whether these policies will hold up is a different story. Today, the Trump Administration is still working on pulling the United States out of the landmark Paris climate agreement, while simultaneously rolling back a number of additional efforts such as the Obama-era Clean Power Plan.?Does the idea of this get you heated? Here are 30 ways you can personally keep the spirit of Earth Day?alive, even after April has?passed!

30 Ways to Keep Celebrating Earth Day

1. Plant a tree.

2. Commit to shopping secondhand as much as possible.

3. Set up your recycling so it’s easy to use.

4. Start commuting by bike.

5. Go meat free.

6. Run a charity 5K.

7. Save scrap materials and create something new.

8. Go for a hike nearby.

9. Purchase a?credit through a carbon offset program.

10. Build a birdhouse.

11. Recycle electronic waste (it’s the fastest growing waste stream in the world).

12. Host a clothes swap.

13. Set up a barrel for rainwater collection.

14.?Don’t drive if you can reasonably walk there instead.

15.?Install a low-flow shower head.

16.?Fix broken things instead of tossing. Not skilled? Call in experts from Taskrabbit.

17. Get something growing ? preferably perennials.

18.?Volunteer your time with an eco club or state park.

19. Participate in a collaborative sharing service like yerdle, B-Cycle or Airbnb.

20.?Watch this video.

21. Take some pressure off the grid and go?solar.

22. Build a vermicomposter like this one.

23. Plan a picnic.

24. Break your plastic bag habit and start using reusable totes (for real this time).

25. Create beneficial spaces for local wildlife.

26. Organize a small trash clean-up with friends.

27. Watch a documentary that interests you.

28. Plant one thing that can be eaten by your family. Herb garden anyone?

29. Turn off the lights and eat by candlelight instead.

30. Make a family pact to go greener!

Did you celebrate Earth Day back in 1970? What was it like??If not, how do you personally advocate for the planet?

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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30 Ways to Keep Celebrating Earth Day (Even After It’s Over!)

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The whole island of Puerto Rico went dark for the first time since Hurricane Maria.

Rick Scott, who has served as Florida’s governor since 2011, hasn’t done much to protect his state against the effects of climate change — even though it’s being threatened by sea-level rise.

On Monday, eight youth filed a lawsuit against Scott, a slew of state agencies, and the state of Florida itself. The kids, ages 10 to 19, are trying to get their elected officials to recognize the threat climate change poses to their constitutional rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

18-year-old Delaney Reynolds, a member of this year’s Grist 50 list, helped launch the lawsuit. She’s been a climate activist since the age of 14, when she started a youth-oriented activism nonprofit called The Sink or Swim Project. “No matter how young you are, even if you don’t have a vote, you have a voice in your government,” she says.

Reynolds and the other seven plaintiffs are asking for a “court-ordered, science-based Climate Recovery Plan” — one that transitions Florida away from a fossil fuel energy system.

This lawsuit is the latest in a wave of youth-led legal actions across the United States. Juliana v. United States, which was filed by 21 young plaintiffs in Oregon in 2015, just got confirmed for a trial date in October this year.

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The whole island of Puerto Rico went dark for the first time since Hurricane Maria.

Posted in alo, Anchor, Broadway, Everyone, FF, G & F, GE, Jason, LAI, LG, ONA, Pines, PUR, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on The whole island of Puerto Rico went dark for the first time since Hurricane Maria.