The climate change fight isn’t all-or-nothing _ good

I now live in San Francisco, one of the most environmentally progressive cities in the country, and the majority of people around me have good intentions when it comes to addressing climate change. Climate change effects on water But my friends and I are a mere specks on a giant rock teeming with 7 billion more of us, and our new President-elect has threatened to withdraw the from the Paris Climate Agreement, tapping a climate change denier to lead the White House’s environmental transition. History of global climate change How can our idealistic energy make any sort of actual, tangible difference? And who am I to dare call myself an environmentalist when my lifestyle is laden with contradictions—washing my reusable water bottle with mass-produced detergent, Instagramming photos of my CSA’s urban farm with a smartphone made out of rare-earth metals?

“To be an environmentalist at all, you have to accept the fact that you’re going to be a hypocrite,” my friend Cory Shaw, who has worked in the clean energy space for nearly a decade, tells me. Climate change affecting weather “Let’s say I have a bottle and I want to recycle it. Causes of past climate change But wait—if recycling uses a ton of energy to turn my bottle into something else and then transport it to 12 different locations, is it actually more sustainable to just throw it away and create the next one from scratch?”

In order to come to terms with our collective hypocrisy without being paralyzed by guilt, I’ve begun to accept a sobering truth: It’s impossible to promote sustainable behaviors without acknowledging, and ultimately embracing, our profoundly unsustainable world.


Climate change real or fake I call it the sustainability paradox.

Those who like to point fingers at sustainability hypocrites may not be able to deal with the reality that it would be impossible to flip a switch and become fully fossil-fuel-free beings overnight. How does climate change affect business Margaret Atwood imagines that reality in her groundbreaking essay “ A Future Without Oil”:

“Everything would immediately come to a halt. Climate change is a hoax facts No cars. Un climate change conference 2015 No planes … Food would cease to flow into the cities, water would cease to flow out of the taps. Climate change sea level rise projections Panic would set in. Evidence that climate change is happening We’re hooked on oil, and without it, we can’t do much of anything.”

We’ll need to build up our biofuels step-by-step, establish proper infrastructure, and train our workers to adapt to new industries. Greenhouse gases cause climate change It’s only natural for humans to require some time to mentally ease into an future without oil, as well.

That attitude might seem dangerous, given our propensity to discuss our climate future in doomsday terms. How do greenhouse gases affect climate change A recent Google News search for climate change brings up headlines like “Dead Coral Reefs Mark The Beginning of Dangerous Climate Change,” “We’re Speeding Toward a Climate Catastrophe,” and “Climate Change Is a Danger to Our Health.” But this kind of thinking puts undue pressure on environmentally conscious individuals with good intentions—warriors in a battle we’ll need to wage for decades. How does climate change affect weather patterns Amanda Ravenhill, a longtime environmental activist and the executive director of the Brooklyn- and San Francisco-based Buckminster Fuller Institute, argues that in order to fully understand our potential for addressing climate change, we should flip this attitude on its head.

“The whole angsty, ‘You should feel guilty about things,’ narrative about environmentalism is off,” she tells me. Climate change jobs washington dc “There’s a lot that we need to fight against, but there’s so much good news out there. Climate change or global warming There’s an opportunity for climate change not to be the demise of civilization, but the spark for innovation,” Ravenhill says. Co2 climate change “We get to redesign all these industries. Climate change india How exciting is that?”

Ravenhill mentions a number of exciting recent developments: batteries made from material the thickness an atom; tools that sequester carbon from the atmosphere and then repurpose it; products designed to mimic leaves that capture rainwater; and light reflective paints

Her mindset certainly appears to be seeping into the larger consciousness. Climate change images Earlier this year, Al Gore released a TED talk in which he touted the explosion of recent investments in the clean energy sector and proclaimed that “we are solving this crisis.” Bill Gates followed suit, predicting in his annual letter that “an energy miracle” will occur within the next 15 years. Climate change what is In April, 175 world leaders signed the Paris Agreement, the largest collective commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions in history. Climate change refers to Last month, that same group continued climate talks at the 22nd annual Conference of the Parties in Morocco.

Meanwhile, the private sector is already stepping up in areas where governments are falling short, says Paul Bledsoe, a former energy advisor in the Clinton administration. Climate change mitigation examples “We will need additional governmental support to meet the Paris targets … but climate action has become a key measure of international moral and diplomatic standing.”

“These new markets will continue to expand regardless of politics,” adds Danny Kennedy, the co-founder of the solar firm Sungevity and managing director of the California Clean Energy Fund. How do people affect climate change “The solar industry added 30,000 jobs in the last year alone. Earth climate change history We can’t be stopped. Evidence that climate change is not happening These businesses are going to succeed.”

Kennedy, who attended the Marrakech climate talks, has invested in a number of promising startups, including Advanced Microgrid Solutions, which is developing energy storage technology that can operate on an industrial scale, and Power Hive, which builds solar-powered microgrids in rural areas of Kenya that have never had access to electricity. Climate change biodiversity And those are just two of the tens of thousands of organizations dedicated to climate solutions that have cropped up in recent years.

Which leads to another paradox. How is climate change affecting biodiversity Is it possible that climate change itself can actually be viewed as a positive thing? One that forces us to come together over a shared cause—our own survival—and create sustainable systems that actually work? One that allows us to focus on our greatest resource of all: human capital?

Michelle Thaller, a NASA scientist, takes a more pragmatic stance. Climate change theory or hypothesis “In the next hundred years—in our children’s lifetimes—we may have to deal with something one hundred times the scale of the refugee crisis in Europe.” She added that if the most alarming current predictions come to fruition, places like Florida will experience continued flooding in the near future, and entire low-lying nations like Bangladesh will be at risk over the coming centuries.

“This sort of mass migration has never happened in human history,” she says. Climate change in developing countries “Borders may need to be rewritten. Carbon dioxide and climate change This is as big a deal as the fall of Rome.” Meanwhile, life on earth will continue to regenerate for millennia with or without the human race. How does climate change affect hurricanes When we say we want to save the planet, what we really mean is that we want to save ourselves.

But Thaller also shared evidence as to why we might, indeed, have the capacity to save ourselves. Is global warming a serious problem In the 1980s, humans discovered that the hole in the ozone layer, the layer of atmosphere that protects the earth’s surface from the majority of the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays, was being largely caused by chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs). Climate change discussion questions The scientific community rallied for a solution, and enough research, lobbying, and awareness campaigns led to the 1989 Montreal Protocol, which banned the use of CFCs in appliances worldwide.

By 2003, ozone depletion had begun to slow down. Climate change models According to Thaller, NASA recently produced computer simulations to show what would have happened if we hadn’t banned CFCs. Climate change weather “The ozone would have completely diminished,” she says. Climate change mitigation definition “Humans wouldn’t have been able to be outside for long periods of time, and we wouldn’t be able to grow crops. Is climate change and global warming the same It would have decimated the human population.”

“We’re in awkward times,” Ravenhill adds. Ipcc definition of climate change “We don’t have access to products and services designed to produce zero waste. Climate change sea level rise It’s inherently hypocritical. Climate change deniers arguments But that’s not a reason to give up. Earth climate change timeline That would be such a waste of our human potential.”

Conversations, knowledge exchange, and a willingness to ask questions are the seeds that will eventually lead to policy changes and industry shifts. How does climate change affect economy Our species’ survival on this planet depends on us embracing the sustainability paradox, shedding our guilt, coming together, sharing information, and moving forward.