Is the World Bank Snatching Climate Defeat From the Jaws of Victory?
Here’s a headline for climate action advocates to love: Wind and Solar Crushing Fossil Fuels. It’s Bloomberg New Energy Finance’s summary of the current state of play in global energy markets, and it’s got striking data points to support it.
In 2015, record investment in new wind and solar electricity was twice as high as dwindling capital flowing into gas and coal. More remarkable, for the first time clean energy investment topped oil and gas capital expenditures combined. Because the prices of wind and solar are plummeting, the volume of new energy being constructed grows faster than the dollars being spent: annual wind installations have doubled four times since 2000, solar a stunning seven! New bids for wind in North Africa and solar in Mexico are coming in below $0.04 kwh, half the price of new coal plants with pollution controls that meet modern health standards.
But here’s a sobering counter-point, in a forward by UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon to another report on stunning rates of renewables growth: Sustainable, renewable energy is growing, but not quickly enough to meet expected energy demand. And the BNEF numbers support this worry, showing that by 2040 at least 50 percent of new cars sold will still rely on gasoline or diesel, and that developing countries other than China continue to add more new fossil fired electrical capacity which will either be shut down prematurely or, if fully utilized, blow the world way past acceptable levels of greenhouse pollution.
So what’s the problem? While clean energy is cheaper to buy and operate than fossil, it is requires more capital at the front end—because the benefits of free sun and wind flow over time, while the expenses of turbines, panels and batteries come all at once. That’s not a big problem in industrial nations, where capital is plentiful and cheap—in fact investors are desperate for the kinds of yields clean power can bring. So fossil generation is dropping in Europe and the U.S. And it’s not a problem in China which holds enormous foreign exchange reserves—which is why China appears to be at or close to its peak emissions a full decade before it promised. But in the rest of the developing world capital is scarce or expensive or both, which makes it cheaper to buy a new coal turbine and pay for the fuel over time than to pay the whole cost of a solar or wind farm in advance.
So the name of the game is to loan cheap, abundant capital from the industrial world to clean energy projects in developing nations. The technologies themselves are not risky—by now solar panels and wind turbines can be counted on to generate electrons years after year for decades. And the skills to construct and operate these projects are broadly available in the major developing economies.
But loaning money to a foreign country to be repaid over 20 years creates a series of risks unrelated to the project. What will happen to exchange rates over those periods? Will the government be stable enough to ensure that contracts are honored? Will there be a war or revolution that might destroy the panels or turbines?
Banks know how to guarantee loans against these risks—and the major industrial nations have agencies which will enable GE, say, to build a nuclear project in Kenya, by guaranteeing GE’s loans. The more innovative of the two U.S. agencies, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, managed to leverage $20 million in guarantees for clean energy in Africa into a total lending pool of nearly $1 billion of finance for clean energy.
But the world lacks a global institution which will do this for all countries and all commercially sound clean energy projects; OPIC is too small, and can only guarantee where the suppliers or funders are Americans. And so far the industrial nations which control development banks like the World Bank have refused to bring the needed financial creativity to ensure that a lack of borrowing capacity does not lock the world into a fossil fuel future.
In the run-up to Paris the World Bank took the lead in trying to solve the problem of climate finance. Its efforts were widely dismissed by the developing countries as providing far too little affordable finance for the clean energy revolution needed. Now, post-Paris, the World Bank has come forward with its new offer, claiming that it is bold and different. Heralding its own efforts, the World Bank said it would help finance 30 gigawatts of renewable power, provide early warning systems on drought failure for 100 million people and develop "climate-smart agriculture investment plans for at least 40 countries."
It’s hard to assess the scale of these commitments from the press release, but the full document suggests that there is much less here than meets the eye:
- The Bank Group does plan to ramp up its investments in climate, and place greater emphasis on dealing with climate change impacts on poor countries than previously. Its total portfolio mix will shift from 21 percent climate related to 28 precent by 2020.
- Direct funding from the World Bank’s various arms will rise to $16 billion by 2020.
- By 2020 World Bank loans will be leveraging $13 billion a year in additional private sector funds, making a 2020 total of $29 billion available.
The Bank heralded this as represented 1/3 of the $100 billion in climate finance that OECD countries pledged six years ago in Copenhagen. By itself, this sounds impressive—and was widely reported as such. But if you look at the scale of the challenge as reported by BNEF, or as outlined in the national commitments made by the developing economies in Paris, it’s alarmingly modest.
India’s Paris commitment, for example, involves adding nearly 30 gigawatts of clean electricity every year, so the World Bank’s five year plan would cover only one-fifth of India’s needs with nothing left for the rest of the developing world. Total clean energy investment in 2015 was $321 billion—the World Bank promises that by 2020 it will enable a pathetic 10 percent increase in today’s investment levels.
Missing from the World Bank’s Climate Change Action Plan are any indication that it will follow through on the G-7 pre-Paris call for it to dramatically increase total lending by leveraging its own balance sheet. Instead the Bank is primarily shifting funds from other development activities to climate—a step which will infuriate the developing world, for whom less money for health and education to pay for climate puts the whole burden of climate action on the poor.
Nor is the World Bank stepping forward to use aggressive private sector loan guarantees ala OPIC to maximize the leverage of public sector funds. The World Bank’s private sector commitment is only $3.5 billion of its $16 billion total, and anticipates a leveraging ratio of only 4-1. (OPIC got at least 20-1 in Africa).
Even if other development banks collectively make up the rest of the Copenhagen $100 billion pledge, low carbon development in emerging nations will still be credit starved. Let’s be clear. The problem here is not cost—clean energy is cheaper—nor a lack of capital—there are trillions of dollars sitting in investment funds in advanced economies which would love the 6 percent returns that properly guaranteed clean energy investments yield.
The problem is that the industrial nations, which created the climate crisis, are unwilling to deploy modest creativity in reshaping global financial arrangements to overcome it. Liquidity shortages were not permitted to bring down the global banking system in the crisis of 2008. Even unstable developing countries are always able to obtain long-term, low-interest loans to purchase tanks and fighter jets from the Global North.
But from every indication, while much of the Global South is trying to invest aggressively in low carbon development, the OECD countries are still starving these ambitions by refusing to provide adequate credit. Financial arrangements envisaged at Bretton Woods in 1947 are still dominating the conversation in 2016.
Global development banks may yet snatch climate defeat from the victory enabled by Paris. The Global South is moving. Will the industrial world keep up?
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If you've found yourself in the kitchen more than usual during the past year, you're not alone. About 40% of American adults report that they are cooking more since the coronavirus struck, according to the U.S. Grocery Shopper Trends 2020 report. Demand for online food content and recipes has soared, and without lengthy commutes or social engagements, many adults have more time to experiment in the kitchen and make more of their own meals.
1. Freeze leftover herbs.<div id="b5acf" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="35ceec3c11404d6d839ab2db0c2e7a24"><blockquote class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-captioned data-instgrm-version="4" style=" background:#FFF; border:0; border-radius:3px; box-shadow:0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width:658px; padding:0; width:99.375%; width:-webkit-calc(100% - 2px); width:calc(100% - 2px);"> <div style="padding:8px;"> <div style=" background:#F8F8F8; line-height:0; margin-top:40px; padding:50% 0; text-align:center; width:100%;"> <div style=" background:url(data:image/png;base64,iVBORw0KGgoAAAANSUhEUgAAACwAAAAsCAMAAAApWqozAAAAGFBMVEUiIiI9PT0eHh4gIB4hIBkcHBwcHBwcHBydr+JQAAAACHRSTlMABA4YHyQsM5jtaMwAAADfSURBVDjL7ZVBEgMhCAQBAf//42xcNbpAqakcM0ftUmFAAIBE81IqBJdS3lS6zs3bIpB9WED3YYXFPmHRfT8sgyrCP1x8uEUxLMzNWElFOYCV6mHWWwMzdPEKHlhLw7NWJqkHc4uIZphavDzA2JPzUDsBZziNae2S6owH8xPmX8G7zzgKEOPUoYHvGz1TBCxMkd3kwNVbU0gKHkx+iZILf77IofhrY1nYFnB/lQPb79drWOyJVa/DAvg9B/rLB4cC+Nqgdz/TvBbBnr6GBReqn/nRmDgaQEej7WhonozjF+Y2I/fZou/qAAAAAElFTkSuQmCC); display:block; height:44px; margin:0 auto -44px; position:relative; top:-22px; width:44px;"> </div></div><p style=" margin:8px 0 0 0; padding:0 4px;"> <a href="https://www.instagram.com/p/B-vYQpkpY3h/" style=" color:#000; font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; font-style:normal; font-weight:normal; line-height:17px; text-decoration:none; word-wrap:break-word;" target="_top"></a></p> </div></blockquote></div><p>If you find yourself with more fresh herbs than you can use, they don't have to slowly wilt in the fridge until they're beyond help: rosemary, thyme, cilantro, sage, basil, or whatever else you have on hand can be <a href="https://www.epicurious.com/expert-advice/how-to-freeze-herbs-for-long-term-storage-article" target="_blank">frozen for future use</a>.</p><p>Make sure to thoroughly wash and dry the herbs, and prepare them the way you normally would before eating (stems removed, spoiled pieces discarded, etc.). Finely chop and press into each "cube" of an ice tray. Top them off with olive oil and freeze. Once solid, the cubes can be removed from the tray and stored in a freezer bag.</p><p>The cubes can be tossed directly into a pan for sautéing vegetables, or melted to dress a salad.</p><p>Even fresh ginger can be frozen – either shaved and stored in ice trays for individual servings, or peeled and frozen whole to be grated as needed.</p>
2. Save leftover lemon peels for a homemade cleaning solution.<img lazy-loadable="true" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNTY2MTkzMC9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY2MjI2NTI5MH0.QM1D5-3OG9c_BC7ybLaMzyNrbjzaafIalEdmH9Sk7B0/img.jpg?width=980" id="ceb1a" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="e00a837264e09d8033ea5275f9f42dc9" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" data-width="2520" data-height="1472" />
Pexels<p><span>If you use a lot of lemons for cooking or beverages, repurpose the rinds for an </span><a href="https://toriavey.com/home-garden/natural-all-purpose-homemade-citrus-cleanser/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">easy, organic surface cleaner.</a></p><p>After squeezing lemons for use, collect the rinds in a clean glass jar in the fridge, packing them tightly. Make sure to remove any stickers and thoroughly wash the lemons beforehand. Once full of peels, fill the jar with vinegar, cap it tightly, and keep in a dark, cool place (like the back of the fridge).</p><p>After about two weeks, your lemon-cleanser base should be ready. Strain the liquid through a piece of cheesecloth or a mesh strainer into another clean jar, discarding the peels.</p><p>In a spray bottle, combine the cleanser base with water in a 1:1 ratio, and it's ready to go.</p><p>This organic surface cleaner is excellent for glass windows and mirrors, showers and sinks, countertops, and other surfaces. Since the mixture is very acidic, avoid using on marble or stone, as it might cause pitting on the surface. </p>
3. Keep produce dirty.<img lazy-loadable="true" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNTY2MTkzNy9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY2Mjg0MTE1N30.GPLlrouDytglxsYd8kf-5aYpLw5XviCXnVGgVEzOtmU/img.jpg?width=980" id="0b400" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="41d171a58d45ddb420f8da2056048441" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" data-width="2250" data-height="1500" />
Pexels<p>Extend the life of fruits and vegetables by refraining from washing until you're ready to use them; too much moisture on produce can cause premature decay and send food to the trash. If you get a particularly dirty batch of potatoes or other fruits and veggies, you can still give them a good wash if they're dried completely before being stored in the fridge.</p>
4. Stock up on scraps.<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="3f0c37a649ee985435a31948baf3dd7f"><iframe lazy-loadable="true" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/NcUEZaOp-5s?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p>Save veggie scraps in the freezer to make your own <a href="https://tasty.co/recipe/how-to-make-veggie-stock-with-kitchen-scraps" target="_blank">veggie stock</a>. Not only will you keep peels out of the trash, but you'll circumvent buying pre-made stock, which often comes in wasteful, non-recyclable packaging.</p><p>As you accumulate vegetable scraps – stalks, skins, stems, chopped-off tops and bottoms – add them to a Ziplock bag or Tupperware container in the freezer, where they can stay for up to six months. While peeling often eliminates the need for washing some foods, like potatoes, you'll need to thoroughly wash any vegetables from which you plan to save scraps in order to avoid a muddy stock.</p><p>Once you have a decent amount of scraps, drop them in a pot and fill it with water. Bring the water to a boil and let simmer for 30-40 minutes, adding salt as needed. Strain the stock, making sure to remove any visible scraps.</p><p>The stock can be refrigerated for up to four days (or frozen for up to three months), and can be used in all of your favorite <a href="https://www.tasteofhome.com/collection/vegetable-broth-recipes/" target="_blank">recipes calling for vegetable broth</a>.</p>
5. Rescue avocados from browning.<img lazy-loadable="true" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNTY1ODUyNy9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY0NzQxMjMzNn0.jUgBXyjppaC90MlBH5gp7FR-xngjTxoXXm11_7nQYW8/img.jpg?width=980" id="5b67a" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="652fc9deab752d1124b94fca4bed33ac" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" data-width="2520" data-height="1418" />
Pexels<p>Before stowing an avocado-half in the fridge, rub a few drops of lemon or lime juice on the exposed surface. The citric acid will <a href="https://www.thespruceeats.com/keep-avocados-from-turning-brown-1328686" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">slow down the browning process</a> and your avocado will stay fresh for longer.</p>
6. Revive limp kale.<img lazy-loadable="true" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNTY1ODI0MS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYzNzMwNDcxN30.p7GRQQXdqHVyvQCer-GV2PCor3KLuvs5_BFK-SSJ5gE/img.jpg?width=980" id="b56ac" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="fb43aac852fcff77b3acc2592b0f2287" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" data-width="2250" data-height="1500" />
Pexels<p>Kale and most other leafy greens like to be kept dry – a dish towel wrapped around the leaves and placed inside a produce bag should keep them fresh in the fridge; but, droopy kale isn't a lost cause! <a href="https://foodess.com/article/tuesday-tips-how-to-bring-wilted-kale-back-to-life/#:~:text=treat%20them%20like%20flowers!,new%20in%20a%20few%20hours!" target="_blank">Cut the edges of the stems and submerge</a> in a few inches of water in a glass. Tuck them in the fridge for a few hours, and the leaves will perk right up.</p>
7. Store smarter.<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="5896c7edc784497b512a0bf5698bc87f"><iframe lazy-loadable="true" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/tk0omultgnU?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p>Storing produce more mindfully is an important way to <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/wirecutter/blog/keep-your-produce-fresh/" target="_blank">extend the shelf life of your produce</a>, and prevent tossing foods that have been gone bad.</p><p>Most importantly, keep foods that produce more ethylene gas away from those that don't. Ethylene promotes ripening and can cause nearby foods to spoil – especially ethylene-sensitive foods, like leafy greens, eggplant, peppers, squash, and sweet potatoes. <a href="https://www.subzero-wolf.com/assistance/answers/ethylene-producing-foods" target="_blank">Ethylene-producing foods</a> include apples, avocadoes, ripening bananas, mangoes, peaches, pears, plantains, and tomatoes. Storing these in a separate drawer will prevent your other groceries from rotting prematurely.</p>
8. Grow your own herbs.<img lazy-loadable="true" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNTY2MTgxNC9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY0NTM0NDM5Mn0.FvlesWdpXFqyNBEnOtiStcj_cYmBCP-8YA5ASak63sI/img.jpg?width=980" id="0f650" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="2870412139a8986475d323ba578be785" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" data-width="4505" data-height="3317" />
s0ulsurfing - Jason Swain / Moment / Getty Images<p>At most mainstream grocery stores, fresh herbs come pre-packaged in disposable plastic containers and in rather large quantities. When a recipe calls for only a dash of rosemary or a handful of chopped basil for serving, you might find yourself with more than you can realistically use.</p><p>Luckily, you don't even need a backyard to have a <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/how-to-create-your-indoor-edible-garden-1881995906.html" target="_self">beautiful, indoor herb garden</a>. Many herbs will <a href="https://www.gardeners.com/how-to/herbs-indoors/8920.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">thrive in a pot on your windowsill</a>, close at hand to pluck exactly the amount you need for a given recipe.</p><p>To grow sage, thyme, oregano and rosemary, look out for planter starters – a small piece of the plant that has already rooted and started growing – at a local hardware, grocery, or garden store. Herbs like dill, basil, parsley, and chives are easier to grow from seed, although purchasing starters can jumpstart the process.</p><p>Plant the starters or seeds in a well-draining pot, and water only when the soil is dry or the herbs are drooping. If you have a window sill that gets around 6 hours of indirect sunlight a day, great; if not, a small <a href="https://www.thespruce.com/best-grow-lights-4158720" target="_blank">grow light</a> can brighten up any corner of the house where you have space for growing.</p>
9. First in, first out.<img lazy-loadable="true" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNTY2MTc1Mi9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY3MDAwMzcyMH0.NZGtVC_aNqaRuJq28cHL0WvosQ4E7tH8m1uOZRR-I6s/img.jpg?width=980" id="dab8d" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="370e71afedbdaffb82d9a6efec3d9ea8" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" data-width="2250" data-height="1500" />
Pexels<p>When unloading your bags from the grocery store, don't let the new items sit front and center. Bring older groceries to the front to encourage your household to eat these first. Designating a "use first" drawer will also remind you what to eat before breaking into the new stuff.</p>
10. Get pickling.<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="38cb5a8bd34a749523c93f7dbfefbec6"><iframe lazy-loadable="true" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/jJSaSyIHeEQ?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p>If it's becoming clear that you won't get around to cooking with that red onion, try preserving it instead of tossing it in the trash.</p><p><a href="https://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-quick-pickle-any-vegetable-233882" target="_blank">Pickling</a> is a great way to squeeze some extra life out of foods. Cucumbers, onions, cauliflower, beets, green beans, onions, and even <a href="https://www.southernliving.com/food/entertaining/pickled-fruit-video" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">fruit</a> can be easily pickled for future use. By keeping some some vinegar, sugar, and salt on hand, you'll be ready to prepare an <a href="https://www.feastingathome.com/quick-pickled-vegetables/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">easy brine</a> in a pinch for preserving your produce.</p><p>Some easy <a href="https://www.liveeatlearn.com/quick-pickled-vegetables/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">pickling recipes</a> even add extra spices and seasoning for a more flavorful product.</p>
11. Blend up the extras.<div id="ca24e" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="e0b7ec64e659e80d3a5f689c13734a88"><blockquote class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-captioned data-instgrm-version="4" style=" background:#FFF; border:0; border-radius:3px; box-shadow:0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width:658px; padding:0; width:99.375%; width:-webkit-calc(100% - 2px); width:calc(100% - 2px);"> <div style="padding:8px;"> <div style=" background:#F8F8F8; line-height:0; margin-top:40px; padding:50% 0; text-align:center; width:100%;"> <div style=" background:url(data:image/png;base64,iVBORw0KGgoAAAANSUhEUgAAACwAAAAsCAMAAAApWqozAAAAGFBMVEUiIiI9PT0eHh4gIB4hIBkcHBwcHBwcHBydr+JQAAAACHRSTlMABA4YHyQsM5jtaMwAAADfSURBVDjL7ZVBEgMhCAQBAf//42xcNbpAqakcM0ftUmFAAIBE81IqBJdS3lS6zs3bIpB9WED3YYXFPmHRfT8sgyrCP1x8uEUxLMzNWElFOYCV6mHWWwMzdPEKHlhLw7NWJqkHc4uIZphavDzA2JPzUDsBZziNae2S6owH8xPmX8G7zzgKEOPUoYHvGz1TBCxMkd3kwNVbU0gKHkx+iZILf77IofhrY1nYFnB/lQPb79drWOyJVa/DAvg9B/rLB4cC+Nqgdz/TvBbBnr6GBReqn/nRmDgaQEej7WhonozjF+Y2I/fZou/qAAAAAElFTkSuQmCC); display:block; height:44px; margin:0 auto -44px; position:relative; top:-22px; width:44px;"> </div></div><p style=" margin:8px 0 0 0; padding:0 4px;"> <a href="https://www.instagram.com/p/B-ptQOXJ-ai/" style=" color:#000; font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; font-style:normal; font-weight:normal; line-height:17px; text-decoration:none; word-wrap:break-word;" target="_top"></a></p> </div></blockquote></div><p>When you find yourself with produce on the brink, whip up a "<a href="https://www.wellandgood.com/whatever-smoothie-formula/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">whatever smoothie</a>," adding anything you have on hand: overripe bananas, leftover stalks from leafy greens, wilting kale and spinach, or soon-to-be-spoiled produce that you just don't know what to do with. This <a href="https://foodwastefeast.com/recipes/2018/6/5/bruised-fruit-and-surplus-vegetable-smoothies" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">delicious, waste-free smoothie</a> is an easy alternative to tossing your less-than-perfect produce.</p>
12. Compost if you can.<img lazy-loadable="true" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNTY2MTc4NC9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY0MzIzMTEyNn0.B_seUe74jSp1YEy6-4kMPXqXkVXNsfIONiC7mQrjL1k/img.jpg?width=980" id="daa45" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="38c8cc65d8a0fbf386fbc0c43bcfd25f" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" data-width="2121" data-height="1414" />
svetikd / E+ / Getty Images<p>Composting is one of the most effective ways to divert food waste from <a href="https://www.usda.gov/foodlossandwaste/why" target="_blank">landfills, where it decomposes and contributes to methane emissions</a>: a harmful greenhouse gas accelerating climate change.</p><p>As composting becomes increasingly recognized as an important practice, practical (and cute!) <a href="https://www.thespruceeats.com/best-compost-bins-4150354" target="_blank">indoor compost bins</a> are widely available and fit right on a kitchen counter or tucked discreetly underneath. <a href="https://www.thespruce.com/what-to-compost-1709069" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Be wary of what you toss in</a>, avoiding meat, dairy, and greasy leftovers that harbor pathogens and give the compost a strong odor.</p><p>When it's time to empty the bin, indoor and outdoor composting systems allow for the natural processes that break down food and create rich, organic fertilizer for lawns and gardens. If you have an outdoor space, maintaining your own <a href="https://www.bobvila.com/slideshow/10-compost-bins-for-backyard-gardeners-8119" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">backyard composting system</a> is rather simple, with many different styles and options to fit your space. There are even <a href="https://www.bobvila.com/articles/indoor-composting/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">excellent options for indoor composting</a> if you don't have access to a yard.</p><p>Many cities have developed large-scale <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/city-compost-programs-2646170908.html?rebelltitem=2#rebelltitem2" target="_self">municipal composting programs</a> for residents – including <a href="https://www.greenmatters.com/p/top-composting-cities" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">San Francisco, Seattle, and Boulder</a> – allowing city- and apartment-dwellers without their own outdoor space to compost. Even if your city doesn't have a composting program, there are plenty of <a href="https://compostnow.org/compost-services/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">independent groups</a> that might accept your scraps, including some community gardens and communal composting centers. Research what options exist in your area and consider how composting might work for you.</p>
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Nzambi Matee is an entrepreneur with an incredible goal -- to turn plastic destined for the landfill into sustainable, strong building material. Her company, Gjenge Makers, uses the plastic waste of commercial facilities to create bricks that can withstand twice the weight threshold of concrete.
Gjenge Makers Ltd.<p>The factory is only in its beginning stages, but it has already <a href="https://www.reuters.com/article/us-kenya-environment-recycling/kenyan-recycles-plastic-waste-into-bricks-stronger-than-concrete-idUSKBN2A211N">recycled 20 tons</a> of plastic since 2017 and created 120 jobs in Nairobi. In addition, Gjenge bricks are also one of the more affordable options on the market. They cost approximately $7.70 per square meter, as opposed to <a href="https://www.remodelingcalculator.org/concrete-calculator/" target="_blank">$98 per square yard</a> for concrete produced in the U.S.</p> <p>However, it hasn't been an easy road. <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QbZKP4UAtL8&feature=emb_title" target="_blank">Matee says</a> about the founding of her company, "I jumped in, off a cliff without even a parachute. I was building it as I was falling down. But isn't that how great things are done?" </p> <p>With entrepreneurs like Matee, there is a beacon of hope for the worldwide plastic pollution crisis. To learn more about Gjenge Makers process and impact, you can visit their <a href="https://gjenge.co.ke/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">website</a> or <a href="https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCH7ahGR28JP4Gy47CGhCZTg/featured" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">YouTube channel</a>. Or, <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/stop-plastic-pollution-2649324134.html">read this</a> to learn more about ways you can help fight against plastic pollution in your community. </p>
Countries most vulnerable to climate change are often the ones with the least financial resources to respond, and rich countries, which are accountable for the majority of global greenhouse gas emissions, are failing to support them.
As unusually cold temperatures descended on the south and central U.S. this week, it wasn't only humans who struggled to adjust.
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While Texans were burning their furniture and children's toys for warmth, other wider-ranging impacts of the energy crisis precipitated by Arctic temperatures across the U.S. will be felt for years.
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