And people didn't hesitate to talk about it. Here are the 20 most popular hashtags on Twitter inspired by environmental progress made in 2015:
Climate change is not a political issue. It’s a people and a planet issue. #ActOnClimate https://t.co/z7yGgERVVn— Climate Reality (@Climate Reality)1451316420.0
Activists ramped up the pressure on world leaders to reach a strong, global agreement on climate change at the UN COP21 Paris climate talks, calling it "our last, best chance" to do so. Climate change received far more attention from mainstream media outlets this year, and according to recent polling, more Americans than ever accept the science on global warming.
I can't even. #BlackFridayIn3Words— Melissa Knowles (@Melissa Knowles)1448297018.0
"My soul went Black Friday shopping. First on the list? Adventure." -Instagram's _gentry__ #OptOutside https://t.co/5yNC03G22b— REI (@REI)1448744407.0
REI made waves when it announced that it would be closing all of its 143 retail locations, headquarters and two distribution centers on both Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday. All 12,000 full- and part-time employees received paid time off as the company encouraged them and everyone else to go outside instead.
This U.S. town plans to #Go100percent #renewables #OffGrid https://t.co/F20s2tJVPA via @ecowatch https://t.co/CFQ5MoArbZ— Climate Council (@Climate Council)1450671726.0
Costa Rica ran on renewables for almost all of 2015. From small towns like Nassau, New York to major cities such as San Diego, Vancouver and Las Vegas, pledges were made to go 100 percent renewable. Sweden vowed to as well. And Hawaii pledged to do so by 2045—the most ambitious standard set by a U.S. state thus far.
It's simple: If we're serious about reducing carbon emissions, #renewables are key to meeting our goals https://t.co/4JPwrCmOLR— American Renewable Energy (@American Renewable Energy)1451064602.0
Renewables had another record-breaking year with solar and wind power growing like crazy—providing more than 5 percent of the nation’s electricity for the first time—and the country’s first offshore wind power project is finally under construction.
Extreme #weather across the globe linked to #ClimateChange and #ElNino: https://t.co/LJghdo3MfJ #Climate #Ocean https://t.co/3byGICtVqW— The TerraMar Project (@The TerraMar Project)1451317580.0
The so-called "Monster El Niño" delivered the globe some powerful extreme weather this year. The World Meteorological Organization's Secretary-General Michel Jarraud said the combination of a record-strength El Niño and climate change is putting us in "uncharted territory." This year will undoubtedly go down as the hottest on record and the UK Met Office has already forecasted 2016 to be even hotter still.
Here, enjoy this street art from #BuenosAires #ShellNo #climatechange https://t.co/mmEQyAenJS— Rebecca Cooke (@Rebecca Cooke)1448548023.0
Activists were relentless in calling for President Barack Obama to revoke oil and gas exploration leases in the Chukchi Sea. In July, 13 Greenpeace activists suspended themselves from a bridge in Portland, Oregon, to block Shell’s ice breaker from leaving the port headed for the Arctic Ocean. The 40-hour standoff ended with a call for Obama to "join the millions of people who are speaking with one voice to say it loud and clear: ShellNo.”
This is what community looks like! Donald Trump has got to go #DumpTrump https://t.co/jV068hvWxc— Alexandra Rosenmann (@Alexandra Rosenmann)1450645915.0
Despite the fact that Donald Trump has maintained his place at the top of polls for months, many Americans loathe the man. Civil rights groups have demanded everyone, including Saturday Night Live, dump Trump.
Don't be fooled by the media. @BernieSanders is winning the hearts and minds of the people. #FeelTheBern @CTDems https://t.co/RxX99UBjtT— OurRev-CT Team (@OurRev-CT Team)1451148462.0
Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign is drawing massive crowds and generating intense passion among his supporters. He has even set the record for the biggest campaign turnout this year. And yet, an analysis by the Tyndall Report earlier this month revealed a so-called "Bernie Blackout" in which major news programs such as ABC Word News Tonight devoted a total 81 minutes this year to Trump’s campaign and just about 20 seconds to Sanders’ candidacy.
The TPP deal was just finalised. Now we have to stop it: https://t.co/DwREfZAeB4 via: @sumofus— Mark Ruffalo (@Mark Ruffalo)1451270204.0
The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) has rocked 2015 with controversy. It's the largest regional trade accord in history involving the U.S., Japan and 10 other Pacific Rim nations, who all together represent two-fifths of the global economy. The countries reached a final agreement on the accord, but it still needs to be ratified by each participating country. Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune called the agreement a "fast track to disaster" and Sanders vowed to stop the "disastrous" deal.
Does bodywash really have to hurt wildlife? Tell @POTUS to ban microbeads! https://t.co/74wVFrYNCt #BanTheBead https://t.co/WRaqANV2Gr— WCS (@WCS)1450506989.0
Earlier this month, Congress passed the Microbead-Free Waters Act, and Monday, Obama signed a bill that will phase out the manufacturing of face wash, toothpaste and shampoo containing plastic microbeads by July 1, 2017, and the sale of such beauty products by July 1, 2018. This will eliminate a significant source of plastic pollution in oceans.
Fast fashion came under intense scrutiny in 2015 thanks to the work of nonprofits such as Greenpeace and Natural Resources Defense Council, and John Oliver's exposé on the fashion industry. Documentary series such as Sweatshop: Dead Cheap Fashion and The True Cost also helped shine a spotlight on the industry, which one fashion industry executive called the "the second largest polluter in the world … second only to oil.”
#TedCruz Offers @AlGore Some ‘Inconvenient Truths:’ Most Outrageous #ClimateDenier Stunt Yet https://t.co/eY8BKeAaHo https://t.co/Kh0ZOX0xxa— EcoWatch (@EcoWatch)1449765084.0
Organizing for Action sponsored a Climate Change Fantasy Tournament highlighting climate denial in Congress and Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) took the trophy in the Denial Finals. He serves as chair of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. Last winter, he tossed a snowball on the floor of the Senate, claiming he had thereby disproved global warming. Earlier this month during the Paris climate talks, he told a group of deniers that they were doing "the Lord's work."
#droughtshaming Green Valley Ranch Casino 2:20pm Dec24 @lvvwd https://t.co/SlPJjQgaQT— Renee Rhodes (@Renee Rhodes)1451010631.0
We're counting down our top 5 fav moments from 2015! #5 Celebrating #NoKXL https://t.co/LRlSuRukmU photo via @350 https://t.co/2g25tCMslw— Nobel Women (@Nobel Women)1451235742.0
Obama rejected the presidential permit for the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline last month. "A head of state has never rejected a major fossil fuel project because of its climate impacts before," 350.org reported. "The president’s decision sets the standard for what climate action looks like: standing up to the fossil fuel industry and keeping fossil fuels in the ground."
A real good overview on #verticalfarming https://t.co/L2M8Oi3L7f #indoorfarming #infarming #agritech https://t.co/UNpR8QIeSV— INFARM (@INFARM)1450778715.0
The world’s largest vertical farm broke ground this summer in Newark, New Jersey. The world’s first hydraulic-driven vertical farm in Singapore can produce 1 ton of vegetables every other day. And Chicago-based FarmedHere, the first organically-certified indoor vertical aquaponic farm, announced it wants to expand to 18 more locations in the U.S.
"I'm not a scientist" became the GOP's tired schtick this year with almost all of the Republican presidential candidates responding this way when asked about the threat of climate change. That led Hillary Clinton to release a hilarious faux-horror video bashing her opponents for their stance a few months ago. And earlier this month, Americans United for Change released a video, “Still Not A Scientist,” a sequel to the Webby Award nominated video “Not A Scientist.”
#SaveThePlanetIn4Words Don't vote for Trump http://t.co/8kDwMoFtI8— Brendan McInnis (@Brendan McInnis)1443103922.0
People took to Twitter to offer their serious and not-so-serious ideas of how to #SaveThePlanetIn4Words. A common tweet: “Don’t Vote For Trump.”
My first #bearselfie of 2015 & hopefully not last! #alaska #bristolbay #katmai http://t.co/ty2BoVzPG3— Louisa Chu 朱功蕾 (@Louisa Chu 朱功蕾)1435881596.0
While "bear selfies" could mean a few different things, here we are referring to the recent phenomenon in which people have been getting way too close to bears, bison and other wildlife in state and national parks. It became such a problem that a park in the Denver area was forced to close for a period of time because people were putting themselves and the local bears in danger.
2015 set to be hottest year on record: UN, by @nina_larson https://t.co/UtcKfwfsBn https://t.co/HBU4ECvon8— AFP news agency (@AFP news agency)1448451963.0
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Fertility issues are on the rise, and new literature points to ways that your environment may be part of the problem. We've rounded up some changes you can make in your life to promote a healthy reproductive system.
Infertility and Environmental Health: The Facts<ul> <li>Sperm count is declining steeply, significantly, and continuously in Western countries, with no signs of tapering off. Erectile dysfunction is on the rise, and women are facing increasing rates of miscarriage and difficulty conceiving.</li><li>Why? A huge factor is our environmental health. Hormones (particularly testosterone and estrogen) are what make reproductive function possible, and our hormones are increasingly being negatively affected by harmful, endocrine-disrupting chemicals commonplace in the modern world—in our homes, foods, and lifestyles.</li></ul>
What You Can Do About It<p>It should be noted that infertility can be caused by any number of factors, including medical conditions that cannot be solved with a simple change at home.</p><p><em>If you or a loved one are struggling with infertility, our hearts and sympathies are with you. Your pain is validated and we hope you receive answers to your struggles.</em></p><p>Read on to discover our tips to restore or improve reproductive health by removing harmful habits and chemicals from your environment.</p>
Edit Your Health<ul><li>If you smoke, quit! Smoking is toxic, period. If someone in your household smokes, urge them to quit or institute a no-smoking ban in the house. It is just as important to avoid secondhand smoke.</li><li>Maintain a healthy weight. Make sure your caloric intake is right for your body and strive for moderate exercise.</li><li>Eat cleanly! Focus on whole foods and less processed meals and snacks. Studies have found that eating a Mediterranean-style diet is linked to increased fertility.</li><li>Minimize negative/constant stress—or find ways to manage it. Hobbies such as meditation or yoga that encourage practiced breathing are great options to reduce the physical toll of stress.</li></ul>
Edit Your Home<p>We spend a lot of time in our homes—and care that what we bring into them will not harm us. You may not be aware that many commonly found household items are sources of harmful, endocrine-disrupting compounds. Read on to find steps you can take—and replacements you should make—in your home.</p><p><strong>In the Kitchen</strong></p><ul> <li>Buy organic, fresh, unprocessed foods whenever possible. <a href="https://www.ehn.org/clean-grocery-shopping-guide-2648563801.html" target="_blank">Read our grocery shopping guide for more tips about food.</a></li><li>Switch to glass, ceramics, or stainless steel for food storage: plastics often contain endocrine-disrupting chemicals that affect fertility. <a href="https://www.ehn.org/bpa-pollution-2645493129.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Learn more about the dangers of plastic here.</a></li><li>Ban plastic from the microwave. If you have a plastic splatter cover, use paper towel, parchment paper, or an upside-down plate instead.</li><li>Upgrade your cookware: non-stick may make life easier, but it is made with unsafe chemical compounds that seep into your food. Cast-iron and stainless steel are great alternatives.</li><li>Filter tap water. Glass filter pitchers are an inexpensive solution; if you want to invest you may opt for an under-the-sink filter.</li><li>Check your cleaning products—many mainstream products are full of unsafe chemicals. <a href="https://www.ehn.org/how-to-shop-for-cleaning-products-while-avoiding-toxics-2648130273.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Check out our guide to safe cleaning products for more info</a>.</li></ul><p><strong>In the Bathroom </strong></p><ul> <li>Check the labels on your bathroom products: <em>fragrance-free, paraben-free, phthalate-free</em> and organic labels are all great signs. You can also scan the ingredients lists for red-flag chemicals such as: triclosan, parabens, and dibutyl phthalate. Use the <a href="https://www.ewg.org/skindeep/" target="_blank">EWG Skin Deep database</a> to vet your personal products.</li><li>Ditch the vinyl shower curtain—that new shower curtain smell is chemical-off gassing. Choose a cotton or linen based curtain instead.</li><li>Banish air fresheners—use natural fresheners (an open window, baking soda, essential oils) instead.</li></ul><p><strong>Everywhere Else</strong></p><ul><li>Remove wall-to-wall carpet. If you've been considering wood or tile, here's your sign: many synthetic carpets can emit harmful chemicals for years. If you want a rug, choose wool or plant materials such as jute or sisal.</li><li>Prevent dust build-up. Dust can absorb chemicals in the air and keep them lingering in your home. Vacuum rugs and wipe furniture, trim, windowsills, fans, TVs, etc. Make sure to have a window open while you're cleaning!</li><li>Leave shoes at the door! When you wear your shoes throughout the house, you're tracking in all kinds of chemicals. If you like wearing shoes inside, consider a dedicated pair of "indoor shoes" or slippers.</li><li>Clean out your closet—use cedar chips or lavender sachets instead of mothballs, and use "green" dry-cleaning services over traditional methods. If that isn't possible, let the clothes air out outside or in your garage for a day before putting them back in your closet.</li><li>Say no to plastic bags!</li><li>We asked 22 endocrinologists what products they use - and steer clear of—in their homes. <a href="https://www.ehn.org/nontoxic-products-2648564261.html" target="_blank">Check out their responses here</a>.</li></ul>
Learn More<ul><li>For more information and action steps, be sure to check out <em>Count Down: How Our Modern World Is Threatening Sperm Counts, Altering Male and Female Reproductive Development, and Imperiling the Future of the Human Race</em> by EHS adjunct scientist Shanna Swan, PhD: <a href="https://www.shannaswan.com/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">available for purchase here.</a></li><li><a href="https://www.ehn.org/st/Subscribe_to_Above_The_Fold" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Sign up for our Above the Fold Newsletter </a>to stay up to date about impacts on the environment and your health.</li></ul>
The irony hit Katherine Kehrli, the associate dean of Seattle Culinary Academy, when one of the COVID-19 pandemic's successive waves of closures flattened restaurants: Many of her culinary students were themselves food insecure. She saw cooks, bakers, and chefs-in-training lose the often-multiple jobs that they needed simply to eat.