Climate movement, we have a problem.
We've been marching and speaking out demanding justice for George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and countless other victims of white supremacy.
1. What Our Black Colleagues Want the Rest of Us to Know About Culture<p><strong>Black People Are Not a Monolith</strong></p><p>"Whether in terms of appearance, experience, personal interests or opinion, Black people are not a monolith. We come in many shades, shapes, and colors. Our hair comes in many textures and styles. We represent different opinions and interests. We represent a myriad of cultures and community experiences. These are not pop cultural trends, but are reflective of who we are as individuals. While there may be some common themes, just as with any culture, Black people are still individuals and should be recognized as such." </p><p><strong>We Have Experienced Racism </strong></p><p>"Most of us have experienced racism in some shape or form. Whether it's a derogatory name, gaslighting, second-guessing our success as the result of external charity rather than individual prowess, or a denial of history (statements like "slavery wasn't that bad"), it's there. It manifests in many different ways, and we learn to recognize it at an early age. Our reactions to this reality are as diverse as we are as individuals. Each of us are experts on our individual experience and, while there may be some overlap, our individual experience it is not necessarily fully representative of the Black experience. Also, we don't all necessarily agree on everything nor do we all know each other." </p><p><strong>It's Not Our Job to Educate You</strong></p><p>"As a Black person, it is not our job to educate you on the Black experience or race. Having conversations on race are fine (and necessary), but recognize it is not something you are owed. If we choose to engage, understand that it is often through mixed emotion of frustration, anger, and microaggressions. Also recognize that if we do choose to engage with you, it is often a good sign not that you've gotten it all right, but that we think there is hope for you before you're too far gone. Appreciate that."</p><p><strong>Black Comes in All Shades</strong></p><p>"People who are of a lighter skin aren't necessarily mixed. Black comes in all shades."</p><p><strong>Black Culture Is Not for Your Entertainment</strong></p><p>"My culture is not for your entertainment. I have spent a lifetime fighting stereotypes so I don't wear straight back cornrows or outfits that show my shape. I stay away from color and wear blue, black, and gray. We are taught that our natural way of being is ghetto. Then other races co-opt our style, music, and slang, and it is considered 'pop culture' and 'fashion forward.'"</p>
2. About Privilege<p><strong>White Privilege Is a Symptom of Racism</strong></p><p>"Recognize your privilege. Just a short time ago, most Americans thought that police killings of Black Americans were isolated events. Now, most agree that there is a systemic problem. White privilege is a symptom of racism. It is critical for white people to have uncomfortable conversations about race so that they can recognize their privilege and understand how they benefit from a society that is profoundly separate and unequal. Just as people of color did nothing to deserve unequal treatment, white people did not 'earn' disproportionate access to compassion and fairness."</p><p><strong>White Privilege Means We Carry a Burden That You Do Not</strong></p><p>"The fact that you just recently started thinking deeply about these issues is a sign of your white privilege. I've had to discuss racial injustice at my dinner table for my entire life, not just the last few weeks. When you grow tired of the news stories about racial injustice, you can unplug and go for a run or walk your dog in the park. Those same innocent activities can turn deadly for me, so I don't have the 'privilege' to unplug."</p>
3. About Ally-ship<p><strong>You Need to Do the Work Yourself</strong></p><p>"I am tired and trying to stay afloat, so I can't always be a source for your political education. Being an ally requires extensively educating yourself on colonialism, imperialism, white supremacy, racism, and anti-Blackness. Part of the work is finding these resources with your community."</p><p><strong>Ally-ship Means Asking Hard Questions</strong></p><p>"Solidarity is advocating for material change in our fight to end all state sanctioned violence. Questions to ask yourself: Are you willing to relinquish your comfort and power? What are you willing to risk? Are you prepared to be on the frontline? Why now? Has your guilt brought you here? How will you keep the momentum? What does ally-ship mean? Are you ready to interrogate your own internalized anti-Blackness?"</p><p><strong>We Are Not Here for Your Photo Op</strong></p><p>You will not exploit or destroy my relationships in my community. I will NEVER let my people be a photo opportunity for your grant project, board of directors meetings, or anything else. I can make an introduction but you need to put in the work because we believe in transformational relationships, not transactional ones."</p><p><strong>Words Matter</strong></p><p>"When listening to our liberal and progressive white allies speak and the mainstream media, they have a way of using verbiage and unwittingly pushing dog whistles that sound like bullhorns to the Black community. Words matter and how things are framed matter. If there is a group of Black people with guns, they are 'thugs' and 'gangs.' When they are white they are a 'militia.' When white people are suspected of committing a crime the word 'allegedly' is used 99.9 percent of the time. George Floyd was murdered by the police because someone called them because he passed a fake $20 in a store. He has never been convicted of that. He 'allegedly' passed a fake $20 in a store. And by not using this word, you are assigning guilt that is not appropriate and it criminalizes him to justify his death."</p>
4. About Racism and White Supremacy<p><strong>Racism Is Traumatic</strong></p><p>"The shock that many of you experienced after watching George Floyd's murder on camera is reflective of the shock that many in our communities live with every day. The fatigue some of you have expressed from a few weeks of racial upheaval — we've lived with that and then some for generations. We've lived with the frustration of communities for decades screaming that this was happening to us, only to have society turn a blind eye. We live with this trauma. And we still show up to work. We still achieve. We still smile, despite the pain. Recognize this — and not for sympathy, but for solidarity."</p><p><strong>Our Lives Always Matter</strong></p><p>"Black lives don't only matter when we are already dead. Our lives always matter. Solidarity is redistributing your wealth and resources. Organize for the liberation of all Black people globally. Believe Black people. Protect all Black lives."</p><p><strong>Use Your Privilege to Fix Racism</strong></p><p>"We don't directly blame you for racism; we know this has been around long before you were born. But please realize you have privilege due to racism and though you didn't start it, you have the power to fix it."</p>
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Cities and counties across the country are choosing to create community choice aggregation (CCA) programs, sometimes known as community choice energy or municipal aggregation.
How Does It Work<p>The first step to achieving a community choice aggregation program is ensuring that the proper legislation is in place at the state-level. Several U.S. states have passed legislation that allows local municipalities to enact CCA programs, including California, Illinois, Rhode Island, New York, Massachusetts, Ohio and New Jersey.</p><p>This legislation removes the regulations around who controls the electric utilities in a certain region and allows for a local municipality to procure power independently. If a municipality chooses to enact a program under these laws, consumers within a CCAs control are given the option to participate, typically through an opt-out model, where the default is enrollment. While customers can choose to stick with the existing utility option, CCAs often provide an appealing competitive rate and more renewable options. </p>
Marin County, California<p><a href="https://www.mcecleanenergy.org/" target="_blank">Marin Clean Energy</a> (MCE) launched in 2010 as California's first CCA program, following the passage of Assembly Bill 117, which gave communities the ability to purchase power on behalf of residents and businesses.</p><p>Marin County joined with three neighboring counties, as well as several other unincorporated regions and cities in the greater Bay area, to create MCE. Through this program, customers can choose between 60 percent renewable, 100 percent California-based renewable, or 100 percent locally sourced solar electricity portfolios.</p><p>For MCE to provide more renewable energy, local development of renewable energy projects has increased — and with it so have the number of available green jobs.</p><p>MCE reports that from 2010 to 2018, they've eliminated over 340,000 metric tons of carbon emission while helping cities and counties achieve their greenhouse gas emissions reduction goals. MCE serves more than 255,000 customers across 34 communities around the Bay Area.</p>
Albany, New York<p>In early March 2020, the City of Albany voted to create a CCA program to provide a competitive electricity rate with renewables to its residents.</p><p>By partnering with Municipal Electric and Gas Alliance (MEGA) and 13 other municipalities, Albany will offer an alternative utility provider to residents than the existing utility. Residents within the city's jurisdiction will automatically be enrolled in this program unless they choose to opt-out. Albany's CCA program features structure that allows residents to choose the percentage of renewables in their energy portfolio and will help facilitate Albany's transition to 100 percent renewable electricity.</p><p>Albany hopes this new program will help stabilize electricity costs by using its group purchasing power and competition, and ultimately reduce costs and deter predatory practices of energy telemarketers and door-to-door sales.</p>
Massachusetts<p>The towns of Melrose and Brookline have shown that CCA programs can also be successful in Massachusetts. The CCA program in Melrose has been providing the town with 5 percent renewable electricity since 2016. This program, one of the first for the state, relies primarily on wind projects in Massachusetts and Rhode Island to procure this electricity and provide it to customers though the CCA program.</p><p>The program has been widely supported due to its success stabilizing electricity rates, while providing a cleaner option. </p><p>Brookline Green Energy provides four choices for its customers with different amounts of additional renewable energy, ranging from zero percent to 100 percent. This is currently the largest amount of renewable energy provided by any utility in the state.</p><p>Additionally, Brookline Green Energy is committed to providing competitive prices by fixing its electricity costs through 2022, at which time they'll re-leverage their aggregate purchasing power to negotiate a new contract with electricity providers. This program is expected to reduce the town's overall carbon emissions by over 8 percent, a huge step toward reaching its goal of being carbon neutral by 2050.</p>
What Can You Do?<p>Want your county to lead the way in fighting the climate crisis? Through asking your county to join the <a href="https://www.climaterealityproject.org/climatecoalition" target="_blank">County Climate Coalition campaign</a>, your county can join a growing coalition of counties across the nation dedicated to taking local climate action.</p><p>Join your local Climate Reality chapter to get involved in promoting innovative solutions to the climate crisis, including community choice aggregation, in your own community. You and your chapter can learn the best ways to urge your own county's elected officials to take regional action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. <a href="https://www.climaterealityproject.org/climatecoalition" target="_blank">Learn more now</a>.</p><p>Across the country, everyday Americans are joining <a href="https://www.climaterealityproject.org/chapters" target="_blank">Climate Reality chapters</a> and working together for practical climate solutions in communities from sea to shining sea.</p><p>These friends, neighbors, and colleagues are bringing clean energy to their towns, fighting fracking developments, and so much more. Most of all, they're making a real difference for our climate when it matters — and you can too.</p>
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With springtime in the air and the days getting longer, you may well be daydreaming about your garden or flower bed and the quiet weekend hours you hope to spend there in the weeks to come. But knowing what to plant as temperatures climb and precipitation patterns change around the world can be a challenge.
Drought-Tolerant Plants<p>When it comes to our changing climate, it's fairly safe to "<a href="http://climateandlife.columbia.edu/2017/05/31/expect-the-wet-to-get-wetter-and-the-dry-drier/" target="_blank">expect the wet to get wetter, and the dry, drier</a>."</p><p>If the region you live in is already a fairly dry one — like, say, the American West, Middle East and North Africa, and much of Australia — you're likely to experience even drier conditions and occasional drought as the world continues to warm.</p><p>These concerns, of course, have far larger implications than what you plant in the beds around your front porch or in your backyard. But that's not to say picking the right plants for your particular changing climate has no role at all in making you a better steward of natural resources at a time when it matters more than ever.</p><p>As just one example, <a href="https://www.epa.gov/watersense/how-we-use-water" target="_blank">according to the EPA</a>, outdoor water use, including the watering of lawns and gardens, accounts for about 30 percent of all residential water use in the U.S., and that number "can be much higher in drier parts of the country and in more water-intensive landscapes." So it makes sense that opting for plants that are able to thrive in drier conditions can also help rein in your home water use at a time when water resources can become strained.</p><p>But which plants are less thirsty and more resilient during periods of drought?</p><p>Lavender is a particularly popular — and wonderfully fragrant — common plant that "<a href="https://www.thespruce.com/water-wise-plants-drought-tolerant-gardens-2736715" target="_blank">has evolved to subsist on little water</a>."</p><p>Cushion spurge (Euphorbia), with its pale green leaves and yellow bracts, is an especially good <a href="http://www.perennialresource.com/photo_essay.php?ID=311" target="_blank">drought-tolerant plant</a> for gardens in cooler climes. And <a href="https://www.countryliving.com/gardening/garden-ideas/g26122002/drought-resistant-plants/?slide=12" target="_blank">ornamental grasses</a> tend to be both aesthetically pleasing and drought tolerant, more generally. Feather reed grass, blue fescue, fountain grass, and big bluestem (called "Monarch of the Prairie" by some), in particular, <a href="http://www.perennialresource.com/photo_essay.php?ID=311" target="_blank">will all survive periods of water shortage while still looking great</a>.</p><p>If more conventional flowers are your thing, consider peonies, geraniums, butterfly weed, baby's breath, sedum, and coneflower, all of which require a bit less water than many other common garden flowers.</p><p>It's important to note that the perennials above are only truly drought-tolerant once they have been fully established. This means that in their first and sometimes second years, they will require a little more water and care. And as with all plants, if you are in the U.S., you should check to make sure it is a good fit for <a href="https://planthardiness.ars.usda.gov/PHZMWeb/" target="_blank">your USDA Hardiness Zone</a>.</p>
Heat-Tolerant Plants<p>"Worldwide, since 1880 the average surface temperature [on Earth] has risen about 1° C (about 2° F), relative to the mid-20th-century baseline (of 1951-1980)," <a href="https://climate.nasa.gov/faq/12/whats-the-difference-between-climate-change-and-global-warming/" target="_blank">according to NASA</a>.</p><p>It's important to remember that's a worldwide average; many regions have experienced more warming than this on the ground. But any change in temperatures can and will change where a plant can be grown — and some plants are better able to deal with periods of extreme heat than others.</p><p>A few of the plants mentioned above as being drought-tolerant can also deal pretty well with higher temperatures, including butterfly weed and purple coneflower. </p><p>Celosia, with its bright, feathery orange, purple, yellow, red, and white plumes, is a favorite for many American gardeners — and is well-known to "<a href="https://www.bobvila.com/slideshow/14-plants-that-thrive-even-when-temperatures-rise-52220#celosia" target="_blank">remain upright and strong even in sizzling heat</a>."</p><p>And zinnias, gaillardia, purslane, and cosmos are all <a href="https://www.bobvila.com/slideshow/14-plants-that-thrive-even-when-temperatures-rise-52220#purslane" target="_blank">prolific, heat-loving annuals</a>.</p><p>When it comes to perennials and other shrubs, if you live in a largely temperate area that experiences occasional periods of high heat, consider adding viburnum to your landscape. Its fragrant clusters of delicate white blossoms arrive fairly early in the season, often in May and June, and it does a famously good job of standing up to late-summer heat, providing birds and other wildlife refuge in the shade created by its eight-to-10-foot average height and broad, leafy boughs.</p><p>Yucca, a broadleaf evergreen, is native to some of the warmest and driest parts of North America, so it's no surprise that, <a href="https://www.bobvila.com/slideshow/14-plants-that-thrive-even-when-temperatures-rise-52220#yucca-yucca-elephantipes" target="_blank">according to Bob Vila</a>, "When other plants begin to wilt in the heat, yucca stands tall and strong."</p><p>For a smaller shrub that does particularly well with higher humidity (it is a longtime stalwart in gardens across the American South), consider lantana.</p>
Rain Gardens<p>Like we said earlier, "<a href="http://climateandlife.columbia.edu/2017/05/31/expect-the-wet-to-get-wetter-and-the-dry-drier/" target="_blank">expect the wet to get wetter, and the dry, drier</a>."</p><p>Put as simply as possible, climate change impacts our weather largely by putting <a href="https://www.climaterealityproject.org/blog/climate-change-impacting-water-cycle" target="_blank">our water cycle</a> into overdrive. As temperatures around the globe climb, water from land and sea is evaporating faster. Making matters worse: Warmer air can hold more water vapor.</p><p>More water in our atmosphere means more intense precipitation and more intense storms. It's called a cycle for a reason.</p><p>So, if you are in a region experiencing more and more precipitation, and are looking for a great way to soak up some of the extra rain while keeping your landscape looking great, consider a "rain garden."</p><p>But wait. What's a "rain garden"?</p><p>"A rain garden is a garden of native shrubs, perennials, and flowers planted in a small depression, which is generally formed on a natural slope. It is designed to temporarily hold and soak in rain water runoff that flows from roofs, driveways, patios or lawns," <a href="https://www.groundwater.org/action/home/raingardens.html" target="_blank">according to Groundwater.org</a>. "Rain gardens are effective in removing up to 90 percent of nutrients and chemicals and up to 80 percent of sediments from the rainwater runoff. Compared to a conventional lawn, rain gardens allow for 30 percent more water to soak into the ground."</p><p>It's important to note that rain gardens are not ponds, water gardens, or wetlands. They are meant to collect and hold rainwater only during and for <a href="https://extension.psu.edu/an-introduction-to-rain-gardens" target="_blank">no more than 24 or so hours max after</a> a rainfall event. Designing them this way goes a long way to keeping <a href="https://www.climaterealityproject.org/blog/climate-change-and-health-infectious-diseases" target="_blank">another persistent climate pest</a> at bay: mosquitos.</p><p>Rain gardens are typically placed on the downside of a slope — the best location for them to collect excess rainwater runoff — and at least 10 feet from a house or other residence. Building the garden itself is a bit of a process, one with more than a few moving parts (luckily, <a href="https://extension.psu.edu/an-introduction-to-rain-gardens" target="_blank">Penn State Extension offers a fantastic primer on getting started</a>). The good new there is that most work associated with rain gardens happens up front; once the garden is established, it typically requires <a href="https://www.groundwater.org/action/home/raingardens.html" target="_blank">minimal maintenance</a>.</p><p>Just as some plants are drought-tolerant, other vegetation can easily withstand temporary excesses of water — and these are the plants you want to seek out for your rain garden. Be sure to seek out a mix of shrubs, perennials and grasses, and flowers that are native to your region.</p><p>Some shrubs that "<a href="https://extension.psu.edu/rain-gardens-the-plants" target="_blank">are tolerant of inundated (flooded) conditions … [and] can tolerate standing water for a period of time</a>" include elderberry, silky dogwood, winterberry, and swamp azalea. American beautyberry, red-osier dogwood, and Virginia sweetspire can handle pretty wet conditions too, but don't love it when standing water hangs around quite as long.</p><p><span></span>In the perennials, grasses, and ferns department, look to marsh marigold, switchgrass, goldenrod, cinnamon fern, and blue flag iris (<a href="https://extension.psu.edu/rain-gardens-the-plants" target="_blank">among many others</a>) for the wettest areas of the rain garden, and evening primrose, threadleaf coreopsis, blue mistflower, and boltonia for the corners that get a little less swamped.</p>
What's Next<p>Here at Climate Reality, we've long had a keen interest in <a href="https://www.climaterealityproject.org/blog/what-regenerative-agriculture" target="_blank">climate-smart agriculture</a> and <a href="https://climaterealityproject.org/blog/regenerative-agriculture-and-municipal-climate-action-plans" target="_blank">the ways</a> farmers and gardeners can do their part to help turn the tide on climate by taking <a href="https://www.climaterealityproject.org/content/right-under-your-feet-soil-health-and-climate-crisis" target="_blank">action to fight this crisis</a>.</p><p><span></span>It's important to remember that you don't have to manage a thousand acres to do something real for our climate. From <a href="https://www.climaterealityproject.org/blog/take-climate-action-transforming-your-lawn-edible-landscaping" target="_blank">edible landscaping</a> to "<a href="https://www.climaterealityproject.org/blog/lasagna-gardening-grow-healthy-veggies-while-taking-climate-action" target="_blank">lasagna gardening</a>" and <a href="https://www.climaterealityproject.org/blog/spring-action-6-tips-climate-smart-gardening" target="_blank">so much more</a>, you can be the change you want to see. You don't even have to leave your own backyard to get started!</p><p>And when your neighbors, colleagues, or family members ask what you're up to, tell them you are taking action for the planet. <a href="https://climaterealityproject.org/blog/do-something-important-climate-talk-about-it" target="_blank">Sometimes, the most powerful climate action you can take is simply talking about the crisis and the ways we can fight it and win together</a>. </p><p>In the meantime, sign up below to join Climate Reality's email list and we'll keep you posted on the latest developments in climate policy and how you can help solve the climate crisis.</p>
- Spring Into Action: 6 Tips for Climate-Smart Gardening - EcoWatch ›
- Fight Climate Change in Your Own Garden - EcoWatch ›
Be it Nina Simone and James Brown for civil rights, Joni Mitchell and Marvin Gaye for the environment, or Jackson Browne and Buffalo Springfield for nuclear disarmament, musicians have long helped push social movements into the limelight.
1. Xiuhtezcatl<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="3424b5a25e7fe0321774d4057fa0f8df"><iframe lazy-loadable="true" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/LKUZJjxm9Vs?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p>Few artists are making music on the climate crisis as vivid and bold as rapper Xiuhtezcatl Tonatiuh Martinez — a lifelong environmental activist and a trained <a href="https://www.climaterealityproject.org/training" target="_blank">Climate Reality Leader</a>.</p><p>Take his song "Broken," for example.</p><p>In just one track, he grapples with (at least) three important truths.</p><p>First, the fact that the climate crisis is already taking a devastating toll across the planet:</p><p><em>"While the walls fall and the world burns</em></p><p><em>Seas rise and the clock turns.</em></p><p><em>The earth fighting back with hurricanes</em></p><p><em>And the earthquakes and the pouring rain."</em></p><p>Second, that the climate crisis is an unprecedented intergenerational justice issue:</p><p><em>"How will you look your child in the eyes and tell them</em></p><p><em>Their future wasn't worth fighting for, could've done more but didn't listen</em></p><p><em>Didn't wake up, didn't speak up, didn't fight back when there was still time."</em></p><p>And third, that if we can change as individuals and as a society, there is still hope to avoid the worst of the climate crisis:</p><p><em>"The apathy is so poisonous and it's killing us…</em></p><p><em>Gotta recognize that the change we want in the world has to start inside us…</em></p><p><em>Fight for what we love, start healing the world's hate.</em></p><p><em>Build beauty from the ashes after the world breaks.</em></p>
2. Paul McCartney<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="79244f6ce15c222330556bb83bdf4538"><iframe lazy-loadable="true" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/5vDVZNOFMEM?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p>In 2018, the legendary Paul McCartney released the album <em>Egypt Station</em>, and with it "Despite Repeated Warnings," a powerful piece that expresses his frustration towards climate inaction.</p><p>As McCartney explained to the <a href="https://www.thesun.co.uk/tvandshowbiz/7197342/paul-mccartney-egypt-station-beatles/" target="_blank">Sun</a>, this song challenges "[T]his idea of: 'It's all gonna be fine, don't worry.' Oh yeah, sure, there are icebergs melting but it doesn't matter because they're not melting in London, so no need to worry."</p><p>What's more, as he goes on to describe, "[T]he person in the song will be symbolic of politicians who argue that climate change is a hoax."</p><p>With lines like "<em>Below decks the engineer cries / The captain's gonna leave us when the temperatures rise / The needle's going up, the engine's gonna blow / And we're gonna be left down below" </em>McCartney gives voice to the danger of putting off climate action any longer.</p>
3. Childish Gambino<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="97f36fff57a83c133fab2a9000f12676"><iframe lazy-loadable="true" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/F1B9Fk_SgI0?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p>In 2018, actor, hip-hop artist, and all around it-should-be-illegal-to-be-this-talented Donald Glover A.K.A. Childish Gambino released "Feels like Summer." Though lyrics like "<em>You can feel it in the streets/ On a day like this, the heat/ It feel like summer" </em>initially make this feel like a mellow summer tune, a closer look reveals a much different reality:</p><p><em>"Every day gets hotter than the one before</em></p><p><em>Running out of water, it's about to go down"</em></p><p>Of course, the song is actually a sobering wake-up call on the climate crisis. Rising heat and vanishing water aren't all that worry Gambino, though.</p><p><em>"Air that kills the bees that we depend upon</em></p><p><em>Birds were made for singing, waking up to no sound"</em></p><p>As he acknowledges, climate change is already taking a devastating toll on the natural world. Additionally, he repeatedly expresses his lament for our inability to change with the lines:</p><p><em>"Oh, I know you know my pain</em></p><p><em>I'm hoping that this world will change</em></p><p><em>But it just seems the same"</em></p><p>We're with you – this is a full-on climate crisis.</p>
4. Jaden Smith<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="aa7021e819812be13091e4ee879c28a4"><iframe lazy-loadable="true" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/5DA-w-_HZLo?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p>Jaden Smith is another rapper who's been taking on the climate crisis through his music, often teaming up with others to do it.</p><p>Take "Boombox Warfare," an activist's anthem Smith made with Xiuhtezcatl (see above).</p><p>With lines like, "<em>If I fly as a butterfly in my dream, or a bumblebee / As we going extinct, will we still live on in eternity</em>,<em>" </em>Jaden makes us consider the impact of the climate crisis on the natural world and, specifically, on increasingly threatened wildlife.</p><p>Be it through his music or through separate activism, there's no doubt Smith shows what it means to #LeadOnClimate.</p>
5. Billie Eilish<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="a0fb1b8c7574b268391fc5904ead3054"><iframe lazy-loadable="true" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/-PZsSWwc9xA?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p>Teen superstar and Grammy Award-sweeping phenomenon Billie Eilish is another prominent voice calling on the world to wake up.</p><p>Though her activist spirit might show in <a href="https://www.nme.com/news/music/we-are-in-a-climate-emergency-billie-eilish-and-woody-harrelson-post-video-urging-viewers-to-take-action-2552155" target="_blank">many ways</a>, there's no question one of the clearest is through her music. Take her song "All the Good Girls Go to Hell."</p><p>Really, just a few lines into the song make it clear that this eerie chart-topper is about our warming world and the <a href="https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2019/07/climate-change-500-percent-increase-california-wildfires/594016/" target="_blank">climate-fueled wildfires</a> in her home state.</p><p>"<em>Hills burn in California.</em></p><p><em>My turn to ignore ya.</em></p><p><em>Don't say I didn't warn ya.</em>"</p><p>And just in case the lyrics left any doubt, the video features a winged, petroleum-covered Eilish burning.</p>
6. Neil Young<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="e944c8c828d1ecb6e81865838b15030b"><iframe lazy-loadable="true" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/bHUFBXnn16w?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p>Throughout his multi-decade career, Neil Young has never been one to shy away from environmental activism. Regardless, it's still exciting to see the legendary guitarist take on climate so directly today.</p><p>Just last October he released <em>Colorado</em>, an album lamenting the climate crisis and issuing an aggressive call for action.</p><p>As just one example, "Green is Blue" is a mournful ballad about how much time has gone by since we first learned that our planet was warming.</p><p><em>"We heard the warning calls.</em></p><p><em>Ignored them.</em></p><p><em>We watched the weather change.</em></p><p><em>We saw the fires and floods.</em></p><p><em>We saw the people rise</em></p><p><em>Divided.</em></p><p><em>We fought each other</em></p><p><em>While we lost our coveted prize."</em></p><p>As the song "Shut it Down" shows, however, he's not waiting around any longer and has hope for the future.</p><p>Lines like <em>"When I look at the future / I see hope for you and me / Have to shut the whole system down" </em>make one thing clear: Young believes that we <em>can</em> still act in time.</p>
7. Foals<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="c7db983820de11c56ca72a6009162b08"><iframe lazy-loadable="true" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/gTHmJ1gol9c?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p>English rock band FOALS is quickly becoming one of the most notorious climate advocates in the music industry.</p><p>To see why, you don't have to look much further than <em>Everything Not Saved Will Be Los</em>t, an album simultaneously full of electrifying anthems and bold environmental advocacy.</p><p>Just take the music video for the song "Like Lightning," where a furry protagonist wakes up society to its mindless destruction of the planet, capturing the band's climate concern and distaste for rampant consumerism.</p>
8. Lana Del Rey<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="e76f64c5ded3836bf9aa021b532feddd"><iframe lazy-loadable="true" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/Ndo8r_Hg_lg?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p>Lana Del Rey is another high-profile artist that's making climate change a central theme in her music — and many critics are entirely here for it.</p><p>Pitchfork Music, for example, recently granted her song "The Greatest" — a ballad that yearns for a simpler past — the number-two spot in its list of the <a href="https://pitchfork.com/features/lists-and-guides/best-songs-2019/" target="_blank">100 best tracks of 2019</a>.</p><p>As the Pitchfork <a href="https://pitchfork.com/reviews/tracks/the-greatest/" target="_blank">review</a> describes, "In Lana Del Rey's latest song 'The Greatest,' an entire generation is burned out. The world is getting hotter. Hope is a dwindling resource. We don't have much time left… Lana's songs have always sounded like lonely missives from the end of the world with a beachside view; the difference is now we're watching the clock tick down alongside her."</p><p>Much like Billie Eilish, Del Rey sings of California's growing fires. Towards the end of the song she wistfully sings "<em>L.A.'s in flames, it's getting hot… 'Life on Mars' ain't just a song</em>".</p><p>Del Rey knows what profound changes the climate crisis is bringing and wants us to know it too.</p>
9. The Climate Music Project<p>Who says all climate change songs have to have lyrics?</p><p>Really, some of the most thought-provoking music addressing this crisis today is entirely instrumental.</p><p>To see how that's possible look no further than the Climate Music Project: a San Francisco group that takes real climate data to produce what could be considered the sound of climate change.</p><p>As the group's founder Stephan Crawford explained to <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/09/science/climate-change-music-sound.html" target="_blank">the <em>New York Times</em></a>, "Music is really visceral… Listening to a composition is an active experience, not just a passive one. It can make climate change feel more personal and inspire people to take action."</p><p>Snippets of the Climate Music Project's work can be found at <a href="https://climatemusic.org/our-music/#climate" target="_blank">climatemusic.org/our-music/#climate</a>.</p>
10. Bon Iver<p>Bon Iver, a band whose very name is derived from the French for "good winter," is understandably distressed by our warming world.</p><p>In "Jelmore," from the 2019 album <em>I,I</em> singer Justin Vernon wrestles with the failures of world leaders to see the danger right outside our window, asking, <em>"How long? / Will you disregard the heat?"</em>.</p>
Join the Fight for Our Climate<p>If listening to these songs has you thinking, "What can I do?," we've got an answer. <a href="https://www.climaterealityproject.org/training" target="_blank">Learn how to become a Climate Reality Leader</a>.</p><p>You'll learn just how the climate crisis is transforming our world and how together we can solve it. You'll also learn what you can do and develop the skills and know-how to mobilize your friends, family, neighbors, and more to act while we still have time.</p><p>As we say, give us three days. We'll give you the tools to change the world.</p>
There's a lot of good news about wind energy these days.
1. Texas<p>Wow. Everything really is bigger in Texas. The Lone Star State produces and consumes more energy overall than any other state in the country — in fact, <a href="https://www.eia.gov/electricity/state/" target="_blank">its electricity production</a> is double that of Florida, the next closest <a target="_blank">state.</a></p><p>Still, it's beyond impressive to see that the state accounted for more than <a href="https://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.php?id=39772" target="_blank">25 percent of the country's wind electricity generation in each of the past three years</a>.</p><p>Wind also generated <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2019/07/25/us/texas-wind-energy-trnd/index.html" target="_blank">22 percent of the state's electrical needs as of July 2019</a>: notably, edging out coal (21 percent, <a target="_blank">as of July 2019</a>, of the state's power). And just to show how quickly energy transition can happen with the right policies, this is a far cry from 2003 when wind made up just 0.8 percent of the Lone Star state's power.</p><p>Plus, Texas ranks first in the country for both installed and under-construction wind capacity — and <a href="https://www.awea.org/Awea/media/Resources/StateFactSheets/Texas.pdf" target="_blank">supports more than 25,000 wind-related jobs</a>.</p>
2. Oklahoma<p>Way to go, Oklahoma! The bulk of Oklahoma's power generation for decades was from natural gas and coal, but in <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2018/12/24/climate/how-electricity-generation-changed-in-your-state.html" target="_blank">2016 wind surpassed coal-fired generation in the state for the first time</a>. And in 2018, wind energy provided <a target="_blank">31.7 percent </a>of all in-state electricity production.</p><p>Plus, Oklahoma's incredible wind resource also provides economic development — it supported more than <a href="https://www.awea.org/Awea/media/Resources/StateFactSheets/Oklahoma.pdf" target="_blank">7,000 direct jobs in 2018</a>.</p>
3. Iowa<p>Iowa's also a big FAN of wind energy (get it? We're so sorry). In fact the Hawkeye State <a href="https://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.php?id=39772" target="_blank">has almost doubled its wind generation since 2011</a>. Wind provided 34 percent of total electricity generation in Iowa in 2018, putting the state second in the nation for wind energy as a share of total electricity generation. It produces more power than it consumes, and sends a surplus to nearby states.</p><p>Iowa also ranks second in the nation for installed capacity with more than 10,100 MW of wind online, And as of 2018, Iowa is home to more than <a href="https://www.awea.org/Awea/media/Resources/StateFactSheets/Iowa.pdf" target="_blank">9,000 wind industry jobs</a>.</p>
4. Kansas<p>Rounding out the list is Kansas. Wind turbines accounted for <a href="https://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.php?id=39772" target="_blank">36 percent of the electricity generated in Kansas in 2018</a> — a larger share than any other state — reflecting a fivefold increase since just 2010. Wind energy is also only just slightly lagging behind <a target="_blank">coal</a>, which makes up 39 percent of generated electricity in the state.</p><p>In 2018, developers installed <a href="https://infogram.com/wind-growth-in-2018-mw-1h7j4dj8xpzx4nr" target="_blank">543 megawatts of new wind generation</a> in Kansas, according to a new U.S. Department of Energy study.</p>
What You Can Do<p>Are you looking for ways to make a difference and be part of the movement for renewable energy?</p><p>Our upcoming <a href="http://climaterealityproject.org/training" target="_blank">Climate Reality Leadership Corps training in San Antonio, Texas</a> (the top producer of wind energy in the country!), is a good place to start. As a Climate Reality Leader, you'll join a network of more than 20,000 like-minded activists working to share the science of what's happening to our planet and secure the safe, sustainable tomorrow we all deserve.</p><p>We can't remain silent in the fight against the climate crisis. <a href="http://climaterealityproject.org/training" target="_blank">Learn more about a training today.</a></p><p>As we like to say: Give us three days. We'll give you the tools to change the world.</p>
- 4 U.S. States With 30+ Percent Wind Power - EcoWatch ›
- Climate Solutions: Technologies to Slow Climate Change - EcoWatch ›
- The Guardian Bans Ads From the Fossil Fuel Industry - EcoWatch ›
- Renewables Surpass Coal in U.S. and U.K. in Historic Firsts ›
There's no question that 2019 was a wakeup call on the climate crisis. Everything from devastating extreme weather events and seeing the planet's hottest month in recorded history to increasingly dire scientific reports coming out seemingly each week removed any doubt that this global emergency is rapidly escalating. We could hardly blame someone for feeling discouraged.
Unprecedented Public Awareness and Action<p>Our biggest source of optimism this year? The incredible number of people around the world that stepped up for our climate. These highlights make us believe that one day we'll look back at 2019 as a historic turning point for the movement.</p><p>1. With an estimated <a href="https://www.vox.com/energy-and-environment/2019/9/20/20876143/climate-strike-2019-september-20-crowd-estimate" target="_blank">4 million attendees</a> in over 163 countries, the Sept. 20 climate strike — the biggest climate demonstration in history — saw more people calling for climate action at once than ever before. </p><div id="8f386" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="7HH1AE1577557618"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-twitter-tweet-id="1175094173818589184" data-partner="rebelmouse"><div style="margin:1em 0">NYCs massive #ClimateStrike march has begun, from Foley Sq down Centre St to Chambers St across to Broadway... and… https://t.co/PGdw3PE3mT</div> — Gale A. Brewer (@Gale A. Brewer)<a href="https://twitter.com/galeabrewer/statuses/1175094173818589184">1568999257.0</a></blockquote></div>
Game-Changing Media Coverage<p>8. Whether calling it a <a href="https://www.climaterealityproject.org/blog/why-do-we-call-it-climate-crisis" target="_blank">crisis</a>, an emergency or a breakdown, this year <a href="https://www.thenation.com/article/climate-crisis-covering-climate-now/" target="_blank">news sources started covering climate change like never before</a>.</p><p>Why now? Partly thanks to collective efforts by media groups to finally do this story justice. Take the <a href="https://www.coveringclimatenow.org/partners" target="_blank"><em>Covering Climate Now</em></a> global journalism initiative, for example. Co-founded by The Nation and Columbia Journalism Review, this project includes more than 350 outlets worldwide reaching a combined audience of over a billion people. Now that's the kind of climate coverage the world needs. </p><p>9. This December, climate activist Greta Thunberg was named Time magazine's <a href="https://time.com/person-of-the-year-2019-greta-thunberg/" target="_blank">person of the year</a> — a distinction that highlights the importance of climate leadership today. What's more, earlier this year Greta was nominated for the <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/mar/14/greta-thunberg-nominated-nobel-peace-prize" target="_blank">Nobel Peace Prize</a> — perhaps the most widely recognized humanitarian award in the world. This gives us optimism not just because we're happy to see Greta receive the recognition she deserves, but because the nomination brought the world's attention to the urgent need for climate action. </p><p>10. In the U.S., the first-ever <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2019/09/05/politics/climate-town-hall-highlights/index.html" target="_blank">presidential climate town hall</a> gave us a lot of hope. Why? Because it was the first time ever that presidential candidates had to address the climate crisis so seriously. Just four years ago during the 2016 election, <a href="https://www.pbs.org/newshour/science/column-2016-election-left-behind-climate-change" target="_blank">candidates were hardly even asked</a> about the topic. </p>
Continued Growth of Renewables<p>Renewable energy — our most critical tool for reducing greenhouse gas emissions — just keeps getting cheaper and more accessible. So much so that as of this year, <a href="https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-08-27/solar-wind-provide-cheapest-power-for-two-thirds-of-globe-map" target="_blank">according to Bloomberg NEF</a>, "for two-thirds of the global population, it is already cheaper to get power by building a new wind or solar farm than a fossil-fuel power plant." How's that for some good news?</p><p>11. Globally, solar photovoltaic installations are expected to reach a new yearly high of 114.5 GW by the end of 2019 — a <a href="https://www.taylorhopkinson.com/global-solar-pv-installations-to-reach-new-high-of-114-5-gw-in-2019/" target="_blank">17.5 percent increase</a> compared to 2018. What's more, estimates predict that by 2024 the price of solar should drop by another <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/oct/21/renewable-energy-to-expand-by-50-in-next-five-years-report" target="_blank">15 to 35 percent</a>, spurring growth even further!</p><p>12. Wind energy also saw record-breaking growth this year. Specifically, by having a little under 2 GW installed from July 1 – Sept. 30, this was the highest third quarter on record for wind installations in the U.S. This push brought the country's total wind supply to more than <a href="https://www.cnbc.com/2019/10/31/us-wind-energy-capacity-now-over-100-gigawatts-says-new-report.html" target="_blank">100 GW of power</a> — enough to power "the equivalent of 32 million American homes." What's more, 2019 estimates predict that global <a href="https://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/global-wind-power-capacity-to-grow-by-60-over-next-5-years" target="_blank">wind power capacity</a> is expected to grow by 60 percent over the next five years.</p>
Technological and Economic Growth<p>13. Battery power, which is crucial for economically feasible electric vehicles (and renewable energies like solar and wind), <a href="https://about.bnef.com/blog/battery-pack-prices-fall-as-market-ramps-up-with-market-average-at-156-kwh-in-2019/" target="_blank">made some serious strides this year</a>. Largely thanks to increased production, battery prices for EVs went from costing over $1,100 per kilowatt-hour in 2010 to $156 per kilowatt-hour in 2019. By 2023, average prices are estimated to drop to close to $100/kWh — making EV's of all kinds even more affordable. </p><p>With that cost decrease in mind, it's hardly surprising that 2019 is expected to see a record <a href="https://about.bnef.com/blog/transition-energy-transport-10-predictions-2019/" target="_blank">2.6 million EVs</a> sold globally — about a 40 percent growth rate compared to 2018.</p><p>This year also saw automakers commit a whopping <a href="https://qz.com/1762465/2019-was-the-year-electric-cars-grew-up/" target="_blank">$225 billion</a> to car electrification over the next five years.</p><p>14. The building energy retrofit market — a rapidly growing sector that shows great promise for emissions reductions — is another big reason for climate hope. In 2018, New York City was spending just $235 million on building improvements to save energy. However, a <a href="https://www.urbangreencouncil.org/sites/default/files/urban_green_retrofit_market_analysis.pdf" target="_blank">groundbreaking new law</a> passed this year is expected to grow that market to nearly $25 billion over the next decade — a 13-fold increase over today's spending. </p><p>Experts estimate this measure will cut the city's emissions by <a href="https://www.urbangreencouncil.org/sites/default/files/urban_green_emissions_law_summary_v3_0.pdf" target="_blank">26%</a>, roughly the equivalent of San Francisco's, and will create <a href="https://www.urbangreencouncil.org/sites/default/files/urban_green_retrofit_market_analysis.pdf" target="_blank">141,000 new jobs</a> in the New York City metro area by 2030! </p><p>15. This year the U.S. <a href="https://www.cnbc.com/2019/10/16/us-green-economy-generates-1point3-trillion-and-employs-millions-new-study-finds.html" target="_blank">green economy</a> employed more than 9.5 million people, who together generated a whopping $1.3 trillion in annual sales revenue —nearly 7 percent of annual US GDP. The importance of green jobs and green growth in the U.S. has never been clearer!</p>
Local Wins Are Adding Up<p>A number of the world's countries with the highest emissions showed a lack of climate ambition this year. Now, that's certainly cause for concern and frustration, but fortunately this doesn't tell the full story. </p><p>16. <a href="https://www.unenvironment.org/news-and-stories/story/lost-decade-climate-action-hope-emerges" target="_blank">According to the UN</a>, as of this December "around 7,000 cities from 133 countries, 245 regions from 42 countries, and 6,000 companies with at least US$36 trillion in revenue have pledged to cut emissions themselves." National leadership might be faltering, but local leaders are taking up this fight like never before. </p><p>17. Natural solutions to the climate crisis saw an inspiring amount of global effort this year. Take reforestation in Ethiopia: This year, the country planted <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/30/world/africa/ethiopia-tree-planting-deforestation.html" target="_blank">350 million trees</a> in what the government said was the largest one-day tree-planting effort in history. Ultimately, local wins like these are adding up to make a difference for the whole planet. </p><p>18. This year, a total of 4,527 new Climate Reality Leaders were trained in Atlanta, Brisbane, Minneapolis and Tokyo. That's 4,527 activists who now have Climate Reality training and tools to mobilize their communities for action in a decisive year.</p><p> 19. Our new take on the annual <a href="https://www.climaterealityproject.org/blog/24-hours-reality-truth-action-most-inspiring-moments" target="_blank"><em>24 Hours of Reality</em></a> program also saw great success this year. More than 1,500 Climate Reality Leaders gave more than 2,000 presentations on the climate crisis and how we solve it to audiences across 82 countries, on all seven continents, and in all 50 U.S. states. </p><p>20. Just this December, Climate Reality organizers mobilized the <a href="https://www.climaterealityproject.org/press/los-angeles-unified-school-district-commits-100-percent-clean-renewable-energy" target="_blank">Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) Board</a> to sign a resolution committing the school district to transition to 100 percent clean, renewable electricity by 2030, and all other energy uses, including boilers, HVAC and transportation, by 2040.</p>
Hurricane season is upon us — and this one could be a doozy.
Adding Fuel to the Fire<p>Carbon pollution from burning fossil fuels like coal, oil and natural gas is warming our planet and driving climate change. It's throwing natural systems out of balance — to often devastating effect.</p><p>One result among many is that average global sea surface temperatures <a href="https://www.epa.gov/climate-indicators/climate-change-indicators-sea-surface-temperature" target="_blank">are rising</a> — and when sea surface temperatures become warmer, hurricanes can become more powerful.</p><p>"For a long time, we've understood, based on pretty simple physics, that as you warm the ocean's surface, you're going to get more intense hurricanes. Whether you get more hurricanes or fewer hurricanes, the strongest storms will tend to become stronger," Dr. Michael Mann, distinguished professor of atmospheric science at Penn State University and author of <em>The Hockey Stick and The Climate Wars</em>and <em>The Madhouse Effect</em>, <a href="https://www.climaterealityproject.org/blog/dr-michael-mann-extreme-weather-we-predicted-long-ago" target="_blank">explained to Climate Reality</a>.</p><p>"Empirical studies show that there's a roughly 10-mile-per-hour increase in sustained peak winds in Cat 5-level storms for each degree Fahrenheit of warming."</p><p>Warmer oceans – especially deep ocean waters — can also allow storms to intensify quickly. So a once-relatively weak storm can cross the right stretch of (warm) water and become a major hurricane in a matter of hours.</p><p>With storms and forecasts changing fast, people can be under-prepared for the true intensity of the actual hurricane that makes landfall, potentially resulting in greater damage and even loss of life.</p><p>But looking at increases in sustained wind speed alone doesn't paint the full picture of a storm's destructive potential. A hurricane is more than just its winds — it's a major rainfall event accompanied by dangerous storm surge.</p><p>>> Free Download: <a href="https://www.climaterealityproject.org/extremeweather" target="_blank"><em>Extreme Weather and the Climate Crisis</em></a> <<</p>
More and More, Water is the Real Story<p>"Other influences being equal, warmer waters yield stronger hurricanes with heavier rainfall. The tropical Atlantic Ocean has warmed over the past century, at least partly due to human-caused emissions of greenhouse gases," <a href="https://www.climate.gov/news-features/climate-qa/could-climate-change-make-atlantic-hurricanes-worse" target="_blank">according to NOAA</a>. "Most models agree that climate change through the twenty-first century is likely to increase the average intensity and rainfall rates of hurricanes in the Atlantic and other basins."</p><p>The bottom line: warmer temperatures create a greater chance of more intense storms.</p><p>This makes a lot of sense when you consider two facts:</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">1. Warmer air holds more moisture.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">2. Higher temperatures evaporate more water from the surface of our oceans.</p><p>Taken together, these factors mean there's more water vapor for hurricanes to suck up as they travel over the sea surface, and more capacity to hold on to it. So when they make landfall, all that extra moisture returns to the Earth's surface as heavy precipitation.</p><p>At the same time that hurricane winds are getting exponentially stronger and the rain they carry is becoming heavier, sea levels are rising too. With higher seas, the storm surges from hurricanes (think: abnormally large waves driven to shore by hurricane winds) get higher too and move further inland.</p><p>The result: More water falling from above and more coming in from the ocean, hitting the coast harder and harder from both directions.</p><p>In the case of the Category 4 Hurricane Harvey last year, "<a href="http://www.climatesignals.org/headlines/events/tropical-storm-harvey-2017" target="_blank">sea surface temperatures in the Gulf of Mexico that [were] 2.7 - 7.2°F (1.5 - 4°C) above average</a>" helped power a storm that <a href="https://www.nhc.noaa.gov/data/tcr/AL092017_Harvey.pdf" target="_blank">dumped more than 60 inches</a> of rain over parts of southeastern Texas. The highest-reported storm surge from Harvey (in Port Lavaca, Texas) was <a href="https://www.wunderground.com/cat6/heavy-damage-texas-harvey-now-tropical-storm" target="_blank">7 feet</a> above the mean sea level.</p><p>After all was said and done, the resultant catastrophic flooding and other storm damage <a href="https://www.nhc.noaa.gov/data/tcr/AL092017_Harvey.pdf" target="_blank">made Harvey</a> the second-most costly hurricane in U.S. history, behind only Hurricane Katrina. Plus, 68 Texans lost their lives, the most direct deaths from a tropical cyclone in the state since 1919.</p><p>The National Hurricane Center <a href="https://www.nhc.noaa.gov/data/tcr/AL092017_Harvey.pdf" target="_blank">called the storm</a> "the most significant tropical cyclone rainfall event in US history."</p><p><em>Learn more: <a href="https://www.climaterealityproject.org/blog/climate-change-and-health-hurricanes" target="_blank">Climate Change and Health: Hurricanes</a></em><em> </em></p>
Take Action<p>So, is climate change really making hurricanes more dangerous?</p><p>The simple answer is yes.</p><p>But it's not all bad news — because we can solve the climate crisis. And we will.</p><p>Learn how in Climate Reality's™ free e-book, <a href="https://www.climaterealityproject.org/extremeweather" target="_blank"><em>Extreme Weather and the Climate Crisis: What You Need to Know</em></a>.</p><p>In it we explain in plain language how burning fossil fuels is driving a climate crisis and making our weather more intense and dangerous. And it's not just hurricanes, either. Wildfires. Flooding and drought. Extreme heat. This crisis is creating many kinds of wild weather all over the globe.</p><p>We also share stories about how extreme weather is affecting people <em>just like you</em>, in their own words — as well as ways you can join the climate movement and make a difference today.</p><p><em><a href="https://www.climaterealityproject.org/extremeweather" target="_blank">Get your free download now</a>.</em></p>
Picture this: a world where chocolate is as rare as gold. No more five-dollar bags of candy on Halloween. No more boxes of truffles on Valentine's day. No more roasting s'mores by the campfire. No more hot chocolate on a cold winter's day.
Who wants to live in a world like that?
Cacao is in Trouble<p>Cacao, or the cocoa bean, is the main ingredient in chocolate. A rather picky plant, it grows only in the warm, humid regions near the equator, largely in areas designated as rainforests. According to the <a href="https://www.climate.gov/news-features/climate-and/climate-chocolate" target="_blank">National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration</a>, cacao trees require steady temperatures, high humidity, lots of rain, nitrogen-rich soil, and protection from wind to thrive.</p><p>Cacao is grown in the regions highlighted in red below:</p><img lazy-loadable="true" src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMDczOTE0Ni9vcmlnaW4ucG5nIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY0MTE0MjAyNH0.vWDPZoUAaNswdhWGT3VU-p792uNH4QLtSsEr32OYQXg/img.png?width=980" id="346d7" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="4bed20ac0bc3b4e28cb73fc840757ced" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
Impacts on Cacao Farmers<p>The cooperative employs direct trade practices, in which they purchase cacao directly from the local Kichwa people.</p><p>The Kichwa remain true to the traditional farming techniques practiced by their ancestors. They grow cacao in <em>chakras,</em> or jungle gardens, that incorporate the tree into the existing rainforest. The result is a decadent variety of all-natural cacao, with no <a href="https://www.climaterealityproject.org/video/growing-sustainably-24-hours-reality-2016" target="_blank">deforestation</a> necessary.</p><p>Kallari farmers must now travel deeper into the jungle to harvest their plants. This fact – coupled with changing weather conditions making it more difficult to grow cacao in the first place – puts entire communities like the Kallari farmers at risk.</p><img lazy-loadable="true" src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMDczOTE3OS9vcmlnaW4ucG5nIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTU5ODA3OTE1OX0.prpk54jIDMh_p6X0pwcpwIsNltSE2zuJHu8a8BdEdkE/img.png?width=980" id="57a25" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="e5b062f0e0e7c04bff8d189c574c175e" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
Chocoholics Beware<p>All that said, we know what you're thinking, "How will I get my chocolate fix in 2050?" The answer is that you might not at all.</p><p>In an interview with <a href="https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/food-and-drink/features/chocolate-worth-its-weight-in-gold-2127874.html" target="_blank">the<em> Independent</em></a>, John Mason of the <a href="https://ncrcghana.org/" target="_blank">Nature Conservation Research Centre</a> said, "In 20 years, chocolate will be like caviar. It will become so rare and so expensive that the average Joe just won't be able to afford it."</p><p>This has many chocolatiers predicting that while chocolate won't necessarily go away entirely, the market may shift from cheaper, more-accessible candies like Hershey bars and Cadbury eggs toward more luxurious chocolates.</p><p>Chocoholics: get ready to pay top dollar for what's left of the world's chocolate come 2050 – or perhaps even sooner.</p>
Adapting: The Future of Chocolate<p>So how can we avoid this chocopocalypse?</p><p>Farmers in the Bahia region of Brazil have come up with an innovative solution: the <a href="https://www.ars.usda.gov/research/publications/publication/?seqNo115=241235" target="_blank">Cacao Cabruca Agroforestry system</a>.</p><p>Under this system, cacao trees are planted in the shade of other trees, protecting them from sun, wind, and pests. This technique has been used since the early nineteenth century, but has experienced a surge in popularity due to the rapidly changing climate. In some regions, farmers transplant trees solely for the purpose of providing shade for their cacao.</p><p>This system also provides another benefit: it averts deforestation, maintaining the nutrient content of the soil and absorbing and storing carbon from the atmosphere.</p><p>But innovation doesn't stop in Brazil. Farmers in Indonesia are working closely with the <a href="https://www.rainforest-alliance.org/" target="_blank">Rainforest Alliance</a> to implement practices like this as part of a broader commitment to <a href="https://www.rainforest-alliance.org/article/preparing-cocoa-farmers-for-climate-change" target="_blank">climate-smart agriculture</a>, or CSA. Climate-smart agriculture is an umbrella term for a variety of agricultural practices, all designed to combat the climate crisis while preserving farms. Some of these include replacing synthetic fertilizers with organic compost, planting cover crops to improve soil health, digging trenches to control erosion, and using natural pesticides.</p><p>And the good news is that embracing CSA isn't just good for the planet as a whole – it can also be good for individual famers and their crops. Sustainable techniques that focus on soil health <a href="https://www.climaterealityproject.org/blog/what-regenerative-agriculture" target="_blank">have been shown</a> to improve crop yields as well as plant resilience to numerous climate change impacts.</p><img lazy-loadable="true" src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMDc1MDU2OS9vcmlnaW4ucG5nIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYzODE5OTk3MH0.l840UiKrAK9gq7O0p1Wu_IGj0SonP0S53I0zjQysUeE/img.png?width=980" id="26f85" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="fb9674daf58a16e7510d8694bf00c411" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
Take Action<p>Want to take action on the climate crisis and do your part to protect the world's chocolate supply and the farmers who provide it? We're here to help.</p><p>The Climate Reality Project works around the globe to raise awareness of the climate crisis and inspire bold action in communities everywhere. Get involved in your local community <a href="https://www.climaterealityproject.org/content/join-your-local-climate-reality-chapter" target="_blank">by joining one of our local chapters</a> or <a href="https://www.climaterealityproject.org/joinreality" target="_blank">sign up for our email list</a> to find out how you can fight the climate crisis and protect the world's culinary delights!</p>
In addition to a long list of incredible benefits for farmers and their crops, regenerative agriculture practices help us fight the climate crisis by pulling carbon from the atmosphere and sequestering it in the ground.
How it Works<p>In short, regenerative agriculture is a system of farming principles and practices that seeks to rehabilitate and enhance the entire ecosystem of the farm by placing a heavy premium on soil health with attention also paid to water management, fertilizer use, and more. It is a method of farming that "improves the resources it uses, rather than destroying or depleting them," <a href="https://rodaleinstitute.org/wp-content/uploads/rodale-white-paper.pdf" target="_blank">according to the Rodale Institute</a>.</p><p>A great deal of emphasis is placed on looking holistically at the agro-ecosystem. Key techniques include:</p><ul> <li>Conservation tillage: Plowing and tillage dramatically erode soil and release large amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. They also can result in the kind of bare or compacted soil that creates a hostile environment for important soil microbes. By adopting low- or no-till practices, farmers minimize physical disturbance of the soil, and over time increase levels of soil organic matter, creating healthier, more resilient environments for plants to thrive, as well as keeping more and more carbon where it belongs.</li></ul><ul> <li>Diversity: Different plants release different carbohydrates (sugars) through their roots, and various microbes feed on these carbs and return all sorts of different nutrients back to the plant and the soil. By increasing the plant diversity of their fields, farmers help create the rich, varied, and nutrient-dense soils that lead to more productive yields.</li></ul><ul> <li>Rotation and cover crops: Left exposed to the elements, soil will erode and the nutrients necessary for successful plant growth will either dry out or quite literally wash away. At the same time, planting the same plants in the same location can lead to a buildup of some nutrients and a lack of others. But by rotating crops and deploying cover crops strategically, farms and gardens can infuse soils with more and more (and more diverse) soil organic matter, often while avoiding disease and pest problems naturally. Always remember, bare soil is bad soil.</li></ul><ul><li>Mess with it less: In addition to minimizing physical disturbance, regenerative agriculture practitioners also often seek to be cautious about chemical or biological activities that also can damage long-term soil health. Misapplication of fertilizers and other soil amendments can disrupt the natural relationship between microorganisms and plant roots.</li></ul>
The Climate Connection<p>The health and vitality of soil everywhere, from the smallest backyard garden to the largest Midwestern farm, plays an integral role in food production — and it's threatened by the climate crisis.</p><p>In addition to rising temperatures that are themselves changing where and how things can be grown, the climate crisis has fundamentally altered the water cycle around the world. The result is shifting precipitation patterns and increased evaporation that causes more-frequent powerful rainfall events and more severe droughts. In many areas, rainfall has become either increasingly abundant or in desperately short supply, relative to longtime averages. It's a classic case of feast or famine.</p><p>Extreme downpours can lead to polluted runoff and erosion because the ground simply isn't able to absorb the precipitation at the rate it's falling. And at a certain point of inundation, plants can drown. On the other end of the spectrum, less stable precipitation together with increased heat is causing more and more drought, and in extreme circumstances near-desertification, leading to a complete loss of farm production in some areas.</p><p>So, when it comes to agriculture, climate change is doing what it does best: exacerbating existing problems to the point of crisis. But if a farmer is using regenerative methods and not disturbing the soil, he or she is instead mitigating climate change effects by building organic matter. And the more organic matter you have in the soil, the more water-holding capacity you have.</p><p>Not only does adopting regenerative agriculture practices help farmers deal with current climate change impacts by making their farms more resilient and adaptive to what is happening around them now; it allows them to take action to fight it long-term by being part of a larger solution to the crisis, through carbon sequestration.</p>
Farms Are Making the Switch<p>Regenerative agriculture allows farmers to play an active role in mitigating an existential threat to their livelihoods.</p><p>"We don't have to wait for technological wizardry: regenerative organic agriculture can substantially mitigate climate change now," <a href="https://rodaleinstitute.org/wp-content/uploads/rodale-white-paper.pdf" target="_blank">Rodale Institute writes</a>.</p><p>When plants photosynthesize, they take carbon dioxide from the air and — using the sun's energy, water, and nutrients from the soil — transform it into carbon the plant uses to grow leaves, stems, and roots. The excess carbon created through this process is transported down the plant and is stored in the surrounding soil, sequestering the carbon in the ground. This carbon in the soil is known as soil organic carbon and it feeds microbes and fungi, which in turn provide nutrients for the plant. Soil organic carbon is the main component of soil organic matter, providing more structure to the soil and allowing it to store more water.</p><p>Carbon can remain stored in soils for thousands of years — or it can be quickly released back into the atmosphere through farm practices like plowing and tillage, where soil is prepared for planting by mechanical agitation methods such as digging, stirring, and overturning.</p><p>For farmers, regenerative agriculture is thus a win-win — it's an approach that leads to better, more resilient crops grown using sustainable methods that at the same time fight a crisis that presents a threat to all agriculture.</p><p>And that's why some of the biggest brands in the world are going all in.</p><p>General Mills, makers of some of your favorite cereals, granola bars, and other foods, is <a href="https://www.generalmills.com/en/Responsibility/Sustainability/Regenerative-agriculture" target="_blank">taking a multipronged approach</a> to its support of regenerative agriculture. They've partnered with other organizations to develop resources and training to help farmers work toward the widespread adoption of soil health practices, including plans for "2 and 3-day soil health academies where famers will receive education from leading technical experts" and a verified regenerative sourcing program for some of its brands that will "allow consumers to easily identify food that has been sourced from farms verified to increase water, soil, and climate health."</p>
Learn More<p>In the end, <a href="https://modernfarmer.com/2018/04/practicing-regenerative-agriculture/" target="_blank">Modern Farmer sums it up best</a>: "This is how land should be taken care of and food should be grown – with benefits for the environment and the consumer."</p><p>It's just that simple.</p><p>Read more about the climate crisis' effect on the health of our soil – and the future of our food – by downloading our free e-book, <a href="https://www.climaterealityproject.org/content/right-under-your-feet-soil-health-and-climate-crisis" target="_blank"><em>Right Under Your Feet: Soil Health and the Climate Crisis</em></a>. In it, we get you the facts on:</p><ul> <li>The impact of climate change on soil health.</li></ul><ul> <li>What's at stake.</li></ul><ul><li>What you can do to support a world where we can provide people with fresh, healthy food grown in a sustainable soil ecosystem.</li></ul><p><a href="https://www.climaterealityproject.org/content/right-under-your-feet-soil-health-and-climate-crisis" target="_blank">The climate changes, <em>but these facts don't</em>. Download our free <em>Soil Health and the Climate Crisis</em> e-book now</a>.</p>
Most days, the news on climate can be tough. Carbon dioxide levels reaching new heights. Glaciers melting even faster than we thought. White House officials celebrating the prospect of an ice-free Arctic. Not a whole lot of good ways to spin these.
But here's the good news. There are a lot of smart and committed people working to solve this. And if you need a bit of hope, a bit of inspiration, we've got five podcasts with conversations and stories that'll light a fire inside, change how you think about the crisis, and get you ready to fight again.
Because the truth is, sometimes we all need it. Enjoy.
Let's be real: Renewable energy is super cool. Harnessing virtually limitless energy from the natural world? Check. Without releasing dangerous carbon pollution into our atmosphere? Double check.
Around the world, cities, states, countries, and companies are making the switch to clean, renewable energy to help stop climate change. Better yet? It just makes good economic sense.
Here are five eye-opening TED Talks that show how renewables are taking over every corner of the world — from Bhutan to Costa Rica, back to Germany, and more.