The Dire State of Our Environment

On November 23rd, the U.S Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) released the Fourth National Climate Assessment, a Congressionally-mandated report about global warming and related issues.  The document detailed the findings of more than 300 scientists, with input from 13 federal agencies, concluding that the planet is getting warmer, humans are greatly contributing to that warming, and without mitigation efforts, the effects will be devastating.  With warnings concerning an overall decrease in the American quality of life and substantial damage to the U.S. economy and human health, it is a severe…

A Culture of Ignorance: How Humans Are Bringing About Their Own Demise

We hear the word “climate change” thrown around a lot today, but when asked to define it, few can speak beyond “global warming, right?” In reality, climate change is far more complex. The phrase refers to the alteration of aggregated patterns of weather, meaning averages, extremes, timing, and spatial distributions of what we consider the different aspects of weather. The reason global warming is most people’s immediate go-to on the subject is that global average temperature is one way to check the state of the holistic climate. Climate change accelerated…

The Personal is Political: The Power of Local Activism

Our current state of hyper-connectivity through social media allows us to stay connected to socio-political movements on the national level—#MeToo, Black Lives Matter, etc.—and to remain informed, within seconds, of the latest domestic and international news. Interestingly, our use of social media encourages us to take the personal and make it political—by hashtagging, tweeting our own story, sharing a thought-provoking picture, and so on. At the same time, however, it fools us into thinking that we should prioritize change at a national level, rather than at a local level. In…

The Unequal Distribution of Waste Processing Sites in the U.S.

Imagine being unable to walk your local streets without feeling a tightness building up in your chest. Imagine looking outside your window and seeing mountains of waste seemingly extending up to the clouds. And, finally, imagine being unable to escape the constant noise and exhaust of diesel trucks passing through your community to feed those ominous trash mountains. These scenarios are just the tip of the iceberg for people living in countless minority communities across the United States, where waste processing facilities are disproportionately situated. Unbeknownst to many, this injustice…

#ExxonKnew

For decades Exxon Mobil has funded climate change dissenters. These dissenters have varied in profession from lobbyists, politicians, and other carbon industry promoters to MIT and Princeton trained scientists. This climate change denying machine has spent millions and has successfully prevented widespread acceptance of the realities of climate change among the American people. In the process, Exxon and other oil and energy companies have done so much to exacerbate the destruction of this planet. The very nature of their business, the extraction of carbon based fuel sources, causes massive production…

Sharks and the Countdown to Extinction

Sharks are fundamentally misunderstood creatures. For centuries, sharks have been feared because of their sharp teeth, ominous fins, and vicious visage. However, sharks are not a danger to humanity. In fact, they’re not even on the “Top 100 Greatest Threats to Humans” list. The top spots on that list go to heart disease, cancer, car accidents, and suicide. However, sharks only kill an average of five people per year and injure an average of thirteen people per year. To put that number in perspective, lightning kills 24,000 people per year.…

Going Green in Greensburg, Kansas

In the wake of disaster, communities face many pressing questions. One such question is how to go about the rebuilding process. When a tornado destroyed 95 percent of Greensburg, Kansas, that process included a concerted effort to rebuild sustainably. Greensburg, Kansas—population of just over 1,300—used to be known for little more than having the world’s largest hand-dug well. Then, on May 4, 2007, an EF5 tornado (the largest possible) struck the town. The tornado, measuring an estimated 1.7 miles across, destroyed 95 percent of the town and damaged the other…