Unfortunately, while events such as extreme heat in Phoenix, Tropical Storm Cindy, and Portugal wildfires are illustrating the impacts of climate change, environmental policy in the U.S. is under threat: the Trump administration is proposing to repeal the Clean Water Rule, the U.S. Secretary of Energy denied humans cause climate change on TV, and the head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is setting up a new initiative to critique climate science. The good news is that people are standing up for clean water, Hawaii became the first state to turn the goals of the Paris Agreement into their state’s climate policy, and Los Angeles created a new initiative to push for a carbon neutral city by 2025.
Climate action from around the world
France set in motion plans to stop granting licenses for oil and gas exploration, supporting the ultimate aim of running the country on 100% renewable energy. Norway also showed their dedication to fighting deforestation by warning Brazil that the funds they receive from the Nordic country for safeguarding the Amazon rainforest would halt if forests continued to be destroyed. Halting deforestation is particularly important because cutting down trees releases carbon into the atmosphere and deforestation in the Amazon has actually increased since 2015.
A new study explores the economic damage from climate change in the next century and estimates the U.S. national-level damage to be roughly 1.2% of gross domestic product per 1°C increase in temperature on average. The researchers, who teamed up from various universities including U.C. Berkeley and Princeton, looked at impacts related to agriculture, crime, coastal storms, energy, human mortality, labor, etc. The results show that some states will fare worst than others with the Northeast and West set to fare relatively well and parts of the Midwest and Southeast hit the hardest (see map below). Image and article from New York Times, study published in Science.
“What can one person do to help make cities healthier, more sustainable and more productive?” This article suggests to ask ourselves three key questions and provides inspiring guidance:
- How Do You Move? As an individual, you can take a stand for sustainable mobility by demanding well-connected public transport and safe biking infrastructure.
- What Kind of Building Do You Live In? By demanding better energy performance from your city’s buildings or choosing to live in a lower-emissions building, you can make the case for efficiency.
- How Do You Connect? The last step comes down to asking the right questions of your city. Does your mayor have a climate action plan? How about a resilience plan? Are local emissions being measured?
By Ani Dasgupta at World Resources Institute.
Here at The Sustainability Co-Op, we’re also participating in Plastic Free July, which is a prompt to avoid plastic bags, plates, cups, cutlery, and straws this month. We hope you will too!
For holiday celebrations, cutting down on plastic is particularly challenging, but so important! Please check out our 2014 article 5 Tips to Make Your Fourth of July Sustainable for other ways to reduce your footprint. In the past few weeks, we were also featured by Motherhood Defined in 7 Tips to For Growing a Green Family + Sustainability Made Simple Giveaway.
Quote of the Week: “Thinking ecologically is not a passing fad or the venue of a special interest group; rather it is an emerging belief that all may share and that benefits everyone. It is a perspective that places us in appropriate relation with the rest of life.” -C. McDaniel, Wisdom for a Livable Planet