In the wake of the COP21 climate talks in Paris that ended last week, the conversations I’m hearing about climate change on my campus and social media ring stoutly pessimistic.

But I’m not buying the doom and gloom.

The non-binding nature of the agreement between 195 countries to limit warming to 2 degrees Celsius weighs heavily on many Americans’ shoulders, and rightly so. When the negotiations began in Paris on November 30th, President Obama had already made crystal clear that any climate agreement reached couldn’t be binding, because the Republican-led Senate would have... Read More

“This is a movement of the people; we should…” As the words left my mouth and observers took out their phones to film the young man speaking out against the corporate dominance of the environmental movement, two French military men had appeared by my side. Within moments, I felt my arms grabbed by the gendarmes as they hurriedly whisked me away from the cameras and toward a hidden room full of other protestors, pushed me against a concrete wall, and searched my body as men held their rifles feet away, watching me with deep suspicion.

It was the 9th day of COP21, the UN climate... Read More

Something really exciting happened at COP21, and it wasn’t the actual climate deal. Don’t get me wrong, the Paris Agreement is historic and a good first step in the right direction, but something happened in Paris that is much more significant and carries a lot more hope for the future of the planet.

On the last day of the COP negotiations, December 11, hundreds of youth gathered in front of the entrance to the Blue Zone, forming a human chain by holding hands, chanting, and singing in unison. We demanded a more drastic change than was decided in the Paris Agreement, and talked... Read More

It is up to us to solve climate change.

The human species has evolved into the most powerful species on the planet. After a long evolutionary journey and after our achievements, we are now facing the single greatest threat to human existence. And when people ask me if I am being melodramatic, I am not. There is a reason why climate change has been referred to as "global warming" and "global cooling." There is not a single country or person in the world this does not affect. Even with mountainous evidence, there are those people who deny the existence of... Read More

When I walked into the Climate Generations Area at COP21, I was in awe. Water bottles refill stations were widely accessible, power outlets were charged by bicycles, and much of the building was constructed out of renewable materials. The building truly felt like I was peering into the future — one that I would be extremely proud to live in.

So, I’ll pose this question to you: What do you think of when you hear the word “sustainability?” If you’re anything like me, maybe you will think of recycling, composting, or forks and spoons made entirely from recycled materials. Maybe you’ll... Read More

Dear Congress,

Thank you. The extension of the Federal Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC) in the Omnibus Bill looks great. We have been picking up our phones to call and ask you for this and are elated to see you respond. Today feels like a day where democracy worked.

If you vote the ITC extension into law, then you can rest assured that you are saving our jobs and those of the 200,000 other solar workers in America. Installations under the extended ITC are projected to increase 54% between 2016-2020 (GTM Research). That means 54% more work and hundreds of thousands of... Read More

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