Solar energy is the poster-child of the new, environmentally friendly, economically feasible world of the 21st century. Lightning-fast technological innovation in the private sector and complementary government tax credits have brought about the rapid ascent of the low-impact energy source, much to the chagrin of oil and gas executives.

Less than 9 years ago, the New York Times worried solar would forever remain a “boutique energy” because of a dearth of federal R&D funding that instead went to the powerful coal, nuclear, and corn (ethanol) lobbies. Even without much financial... Read More

It’s been a few weeks since the announcement of the “historic” COP21 agreement, wherein a majority of the world settled on goals for mitigating and adapting to climate change. Since then, I’ve been asked by countless family members at holiday gatherings how my experience in Paris was and what I think of the agreement that came out of the conference. I’ve struggled to convey my feelings to them, unsure of how to put into words the mixed feelings I have about COP21. This article is my way of articulating what I couldn’t quite convey to all my relatives.

While I was in Paris, I saw... Read More

Just ten years ago, very few companies had a sustainability page on their website. Now, it is ubiquitous. The word "sustainability" has woven itself into marketing and branding strategy such that companies use it to market themselves. This is a matter of pride. While there are multiple meanings for the word "sustainability," the focus here is environmental consciousness.

I find myself questioning whether these companies practice what they preach on their sustainability pages. Do they stand by what they say or is it simply a buzzword they use because their competitors are using it?... Read More

“Just keep it up. You’re doing the Lord’s work, and we’re going to win this thing together,” proclaimed a U.S. Senator in Paris during COP21. Ironic as it may be, these words were not those of a delegate in the COP21 negotiations nor those of a protestor in the streets of the French capitol. They were the words of Oklahoman Senator Jim Inhofe at a "counter-conference" for climate change deniers.

Organized by the vociferous Heartland Institute of Chicago, the not-so-popular event (touting around 30 attendees) took place merely a couple of kilometers away from the official... Read More

Contemporary American culture idolizes the wilderness, but how exactly do we protect this Eden-like places? As public sentiment shifted to the protection and conservation of these Eden-like refuges against human contamination, a vast array of different (and often conflicting) conservation development approaches began to emerge. Currently, there is a global trend towards conservation development and a variety of different approaches have emerged. In the past century, protected areas have become increasingly employed as the venue in which people visualize and experience the... Read More

In the aftermath of COP21, the conversation is dominated by talk of INDCs (Intended Nationally Determined Contributions), emissions reductions, and energy transitions, and while these are some of the most important steps to achieving the goals laid out by the Paris Agreement, they definitely don’t tell the full story. While there are other international bodies assigned specifically to conservation, it is an extremely important topic for COP conferences as well because our planet’s ecosystems are a huge factor in the global carbon budget and climate change.

The biggest victory for... Read More

When it comes to climate change, Christians get a bad rap.

Studies continue to indicate that in America — and particularly on Capitol Hill — conservative religiousity is closely linked to doubt on climate science. Yet there is a growing cohort of faith groups that seeks to overturn this stereotype.

When I was at COP21 in Paris a few weeks ago, I met with Keith Casto, a San-Francisco environmental lawyer who is a member of the American Bar Association and works with a nonprofit group called California Interfaith Power and Light (CIPL). CIPL was at COP21 to give a... Read More

Although protecting the wilderness has become the status quo in many communities around the world, have you ever stopped to take a moment to question how we got here?

In the context of the human society, the definition and opinion of the “wilderness” has not been inherently consistent. To some, the wilderness is how people approach spaces that are untouched, how people perceive these spaces as being untouched, and how people propose to treat these unique spaces. In this blog post, I hope to explore a polar shift in the last two centuries that digressed Western perceptions... Read More

I didn’t find out for quite some time that being a vegetarian actually helps the environment. It was only after watching Food Inc. that I realized how much energy it takes to produce meat and how harmful it is to the environment. Before that, I never cared where my food came from. And most of us still do not consider it. Maybe we just don’t know because there is no transparency within this industry. Maybe it is because we have heard rumors about what goes on behind our food production, but we just do not want to know. It is only natural. If electricity is deeply... Read More

International climate change negotiations are a painfully slow process. Any observer present at COP21 could attest to that. The recently signed accord in Paris, decades in the making, took thirteen days of relentless deliberation among 195 countries, and even then was only signed at the last second — the evening on the day after the official end of the conference.

Knowing how sluggish these things can be, the conference organizers even preemptively booked the Le Bourget negotiation space for a week after the conference ended, just in case.

But on the opposite side... Read More