For so long, the climate movement was simply about carbon, parts per million, and degrees of warming. Not that there’s anything wrong with that — those data are vitally important to understanding the climate crisis. But science alone is not enough to inspire people to action. How do you make people care about climate change through facts and statistics? Increasingly, climate activists are answering: You don’t. They’re popularizing an interesting alternative, by making people care about climate change through art.

Paris would not be Paris if it weren’t for its rich artistic history... Read More

Saturday marked the “last day” of the 21st Conference of the Parties in Paris, the UNFCCC climate change negotiations that have been hailed for years as the “last chance” for the global community to come together on an agreement to address the climate crisis. Tens of thousands of activists, delegates and observers had passed through the gates of Le Bourget, the compound housing the conference, during the previous two weeks. Before the COP began, most reports about the potential ambition of the negotiations danced around the 2˚C-warming cap; many high-emitting rich nations have pledged to... Read More

50% renewable by 2030! What is it about California that they are able to set these targets and achieve them? Or is it simply because of the forward thinking people of Silicon Valley? They set a target for businesses to achieve 20% renewable by 2020 and they have already achieved 25%. It is at least partly due to Governor Jerry Brown, who has managed to mobilize the entire state into a frenzy about climate change and the need to start using renewable energy. Utilities and businesses that usually consider a renewable portfolio standard to be a burden are embracing the change in California... Read More

I’m a self-proclaimed optimist.

While I appreciate all the “realists” out there, I charge you to take a moment and consider how everything in life is just a matter of perspective, and in this case, framing the conversation.

Ok, sure; getting 185 people — or in this case entire countries — to agree on anything is inherently difficult. Heck, getting a handful of people to agree on what type of pizza to order is a challenge. (See what I did there? Full circle.) So the question is: How do we convince people to mobilize around the biggest existential threat humanity has ever... Read More

In the weeks leading up to COP21, the UN Climate Negotiations, I had fantasized about walking the cobblestone streets of Paris, filling my nose with the smell of pastries, and feeling the romantic rhythm of Paris’s bustling energy. Then, the horrific terrorist attacks occurred just days before my flight was to arrive. As I boarded the shuttle to attend my first day at COP21, I pushed inside the tight confines of the shuttle’s interior with hundreds of other climate activists, I couldn’t help but feel a nagging sense of fear: What if somebody decided to attack the conference? What if... Read More

Something’s different about COP21. We can all feel it in the air — the sheer number of people, the various art installations dotting the city, the businesses and local governments that are here to show their support, and the romantic beauty of Paris also doesn’t hurt. People are finally having conversations about the relationship between the science and the human rights impacts of climate change, and the private sector is getting involved to drive innovative solutions in a warming world. While the final Paris agreement may not be ground-breaking, it will undoubtedly be a step in the right... Read More

What's the difference? Life or death for millions of people, if you ask island nations and poor countries.

In the years leading up to COP21 in Paris, poor countries have been pushing for a 1.5˚C warming cap instead of the 2˚C cap that rich countries feel much readier to agree to; however, 2˚C (an already ambitious and possibly unrealistic ambition) is associated with rapid sea level rise of “several meters” in coming decades, according to Jim Hansen and his colleagues in the 2015 paper “Ice melt, sea level rise and superstorms: evidence from paleoclimate data, climate modeling, and... Read More

Imagine an earthquake has destroyed your house, leveled the homes of all your neighbors. The nearest clinic, which is not very near at all, has suffered structural damage, and landslides make the roads nearly impassible. Even more importantly, the clinic is without electricity and has no mechanism of back-up power.

For those in the direst need of immediate treatment — women giving birth, those with grievous injuries — there is no prospect of good help without light. Search and rescue, too, operated largely by friends and neighbors, must halt when the light fades. Without light,... Read More

Last week, over 150 world leaders gathered together in Paris for the launch of the 21st Conference of Parties (COP21), indicating that climate change is finally becoming a forefront issue in global policy. And the vast majority of these world leaders were men.

As 50% of the world’s population, it’s obvious that women need to be a part of the conversation surrounding climate change. But even more importantly, many groups of women disproportionately feel the impacts of climate change, which makes it even more critical that their voices be heard in the COP negotiations and that the... Read More

“Imagine Earth without an ocean. We’d look a lot like Mars,” says Sylvia Earle, oceanographer and explorer. Discourse surrounding the perils of climate change is largely confined to the reduction of carbon emission without proper links to the ocean, even at COP21 where hundreds of nations made calls to action on mitigating the effects of fossil fuel consumption.

Earle and a community of marine biologists argue that relegating oceans to second-class citizens on the climate agenda can have deep implications on the planet’s chemistry. Perhaps it’s the very "mystery" of the ocean that... Read More