Posts Tagged ‘listical’

posted by | on , , , , | Comments Off on 5 Books to Inspire Climate Action in 2021

By: Sydney O’Shaughnessy

With the first 100 days of the year successfully put behind us and Earth Day rapidly approaching, now is the best time to crack open a new book, dig deep, and recommit ourselves to climate action. 

However, with a crisis as large as climate change, it can be challenging to know where to start. To help inspire you, we’ve curated a list of five books, written by women, on the state of the climate, the solutions in play, and the pathways forward. The novels provide scientific, political, and ecological insights without sacrificing the unique human elements that make the fight against climate change so dire. 

So grab some tea and let’s get reading!

#1 – All We Can Save: Truth, Courage, and Solutions for the Climate Crisis

Edited by Dr. Ayana Elizabeth Johnson and Dr. Katharine K. Wilkinson

All We Can Save puts women at the heart of climate change discussions by highlighting the work of dozens of women environmental leaders. Self-described as “the feminist climate renaissance,” this anthology of essays and poems hopes to challenge the status quo on how to tackle the climate crisis.  

“It’s time to wholeheartedly support those who are lighting the way to a just and livable future and to grow feminist climate leadership across all genders and in every corner,” the website states.

Edited by two climate leaders, this novel is an excellent way to get your feet wet about the breadth of climate change and the solutions in place to move forward.

#2 – Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants

By: Robin Wall Kimmerer

A household favorite, Braiding Sweetgrass is a must read for those wanting to feel more connected to the natural rhythms of the planet. Author Robin Wall Kimmerer connects her experiences as an Indigenous woman and mother with her career in botany to illustrate how to listen to the lessons other living beings have to offer.

“In a rich braid of reflections that range from the creation of Turtle Island to the forces that threaten its flourishing today, she circles toward a central argument: that the awakening of a wider ecological consciousness requires the acknowledgment and celebration of our reciprocal relationship with the rest of the living world.” 

From flowers to fruit and sweetgrass to frogs, this novel pushes the reader to hear the language of the Earth and live in harmony with the natural world.

#3 – On Fire: The Burning Case for a Green New Deal

By: Naomi Klein

From bestselling author and activist Naomi Klein, On Fire, brings the climate crisis to the here and now. Often discussed as a future problem, climate change is impacting communities around the world. This series of essays details the very real and present threat of climate change while also presenting valuable insights for how to combat this issue. 

“With dispatches from the ghostly Great Barrier Reef to the smoke-choked skies of the Pacific Northwest, to post-hurricane Puerto Rico, to a Vatican waking up to the case for radical change, recognizing that we will rise to the existential challenge of climate change only if we are willing to transform the systems that produced this crisis — On Fire captures the burning urgency of the climate crisis, as well as the fiery energy of a global movement demanding a catalytic Green New Deal.”

#4 – What Can I Do?: The Truth About Climate Change and How to Fix It

By: Jane Fonda

A biography by Jane Fonda, What Can I Do details Fonda’s journey from climate despair to climate action. This novel combines speeches from community organizers and climate scientists with Fonda’s personal reflections on her life as an activist. 

“This is the last possible moment in history when changing course can mean saving lives and species on an unimaginable scale. It’s too late for moderation.”

A call-to-action, this novel also sets the tone for the future of environmental activism and details specific step-by-step ways individuals can join the fight.

#5 – No One Is Too Small To Make A Difference

By: Greta Thunberg

No One Is Too Small is a collection of speeches given by Thunberg throughout her quick rise as a youth climate leader. Thunberg has inspired millions of people to act through her global Fridays for Future protests and has spoken with numerous governments urging them to take immediate action on climate change.

“Her book is a rallying cry for why we must all wake up and fight to protect the living planet, no matter how powerless we feel. Our future depends upon it.”

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Sydney O’Shaughnessy is the Communications Associate for the Environmental and Energy Study Institute. She has degrees in environmental science and journalism and primarily focuses her work around highlighting community-driven climate change solutions.

posted by | on , , , | Comments Off on 7 Ways to Make Sustainable and Ethical Fashion a Wardrobe Staple

By: Camille Bangug

The first time I Marie Kondo-ed my wardrobe, I remember the sheer horror I felt at the pile of clothes sitting in front of me. What was I going to do with all these clothes? I couldn’t just throw them out, and even if I did, where would they even go? 

After a frantic Google search to figure out what happens to discarded clothing, I found myself falling down a dizzying rabbit hole as I learned about fashion’s impact on the environment and its history with labor abuse and exploitation. Fashion is responsible for producing 20% of global wastewater, 10% of global carbon emissions, and 92 million tons of textile waste annually. On top of that, the industry is guilty of some of the most horrifying modern workers’ rights violations including the 2013 Rana Plaza collapse in Bangladesh and rampant wage theft due to COVID-19 disruptions resulting in millions of garment workers around the world struggling to survive.

My first reaction was to research my way out of the problem. I spent hours trying to find ways to make more sustainable and ethical purchases. I scoured secondhand retailers, developed lists of ethical brands and potential clothing rental sites, and tried to educate friends and family members. After years of finding piecemeal solutions, I realized I was not addressing the issue’s root cause: unchecked consumerism. To be truly sustainable, I needed to completely rethink my mindset, rather than rely on finding alternative ways to overconsume.

To save you from your own Google rabbit hole, I’ve compiled some tips I’ve learned along the way to help you support a more sustainable and ethical fashion industry:

1.       Love what you have

The fashion industry spends billions of dollars each year in designs and marketing to convince us that our current wardrobes are outdated.  However, the most sustainable wardrobe is the one in your closet right now. (Even those fast fashion items!) Take care of the clothes you already have, including the ones from fast fashion brands, and they’ll have the potential to last you years to come.

2.       Learn to mend

Learning to mend my clothes has been one of the best lessons I’ve learned in quarantine. Even my fast fashion items that seem to tear easy can be easily mended by learning just a few stitches. Although there are no shortage of online tutorials on how to sew, one of my favorite sustainable fashion non-profits Fashion Revolution, has multiple ‘How To’ guides on how to mend clothing that can be found here.

3.       If you want to wear something new, try to borrow or rent first

While I’ve missed having excuses to get dressed up in quarantine, in the pre (and post!) pandemic world, dressing up doesn’t have to mean buying a new outfit. Borrowing from friends or renting from sites like Rent the Runway or Nuuly can help give you a standout, trendy look without having to buy something new.

4.       Can’t borrow? Try secondhand first

Visit local consignment shops, charity shops, or even thrift stores to find unique, gently used clothing. Some of my favorite sites in the DC area include Current Boutique (14th St or Clarendon locations), Frugalista, and Meeps Vintage. If you don’t feel comfortable going in person, sites like ThredUp and Poshmark make secondhand shopping much easier online, allowing you to sort by brands and your sizes.

5.       If you buy new, buy clothes that you know will last

If you need a new basic item, consider investing in an item that you know will last. Sustainable shops can be great options to buy those longer term, investment pieces. Good on You, for example, is one of my favorite online sources to find high quality, sustainable brands that replace common fast fashion brands.

6.       Remember that donations are not a dumpster

Although the clutter of unused clothes can be draining, remember that donations are only helpful when they satisfy a real, community need. Sort out your items in great condition and consider selling to consignment shops or donating needed items to mutual aid groups and non-profits in your neighborhood. Facebook Marketplace and Buy Nothing groups are also great places to give your clothes new life elsewhere. For older, poor quality items that you’ve worn to their full life, visit this article from Trash is for Tossers for potential options on where to recycle old items (disclaimer that some of these may be better than others – H&M’s textile recycling program has often been accused of greenwashing)

7.       Don’t sweat the occasional fast fashion purchase, but take time to learn about activism efforts to create a more sustainable and ethical fashion industry

While each of these tips are important in their own ways, this is my most important takeaway for those who hope to create a more just and sustainable fashion industry. In the grand scheme of things, buying that one fast fashion sweatsuit for a serotonin boost mid-quarantine is not going to change too much about fashion’s impact on the environment. However, critical evaluations of personal consumption habits will be meaningless unless we simultaneously advocate for an ethical and sustainable fashion industry. Individual actions, coupled with advocacy for systemic change, will help us reimagine a fashion industry that serves all individuals along its value chain – from garment workers producing goods, to consumers purchasing items in store. To learn more and plug into existing efforts, some great places to start include Garment Workers Center LA, Fashion Revolution, and the ongoing #PayUp Fashion campaign

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Camille Bangug is an Analyst within Deloitte’s Startup Innovation and Ecosystem practice, focusing on Industry 4.0 technologies and startups. She is passionate about sustainability, circularity, and environmental justice. Prior to joining Deloitte, Camille graduated from Georgetown University with a major in International Politics and Development, and these days can be found scouring the city for its best pastries and green spaces. 

posted by | on , , | Comments Off on 6 Ways to Federally Aid the Adoption of EVs

By: Jane Marsh

People look forward to a future with flying cars and hovercrafts, but the future of transportation is already here. Electric vehicles have begun to cut down natural gas consumption that hurts the environment for those who can afford them. Many now wonder how the government could fuel the adoption of electric vehicles so they become the mainstream option for the average consumer.

These strategies are the latest ideas from environmentalists and federal experts. Some may take years to implement, while others could happen immediately. They would all open up the world of electric vehicles and get the world closer to a pollution-free existence.

1. Address Rising Oil Costs

Even though anyone can stop by a gas station whenever their car needs a refill, fossil fuels are running out. Industry experts estimate that the world will run out of fossil fuels by 2060, rendering all traditional vehicles useless.

The federal government could create campaigns to stress the importance of finding new fuel because of this approaching deadline. It’s in the consumer’s best interest whether or not they’re concerned about the environment.

2. Invest in Fuel Research

Electric charging stations aren’t currently widespread, so people may not switch to electric vehicles because they’d feel limited in where they could drive. The government could fuel the adoption of electric vehicles by investing in alternative types of charging stations. 

Water already powers 7% of U.S. electricity, so it could charge electric cars by local rivers and waterfalls. The charging stations would be strategic, but they would expand electric vehicle use into rural areas that didn’t previously have access to them.

3. Educate the Public About Emissions

Consumers may see electric cars as a luxury because of their price tag, distracting people from their necessity. The government could educate the public about carbon emissions by comparing electric and gas cars. They could point out that electric vehicles produce 50% fewer emissions than cars that run on gas, even when used for decades.

It would also help to make the problem personal. It’s easier to wave off climate concerns when people hear that emissions will create lasting damage in a few decades. Instead, they should know critical information about how greenhouse gases like carbon cause the following health effects:

  • Cancer
  • Developmental issues
  • Respiratory diseases

People will live a healthier, potentially longer life by switching to electric vehicles, but they won’t know that until it’s a well-known fact. The federal government’s access to news networks and international publications could get that started.

4. Expand Tax Credits

Anyone who buys an electric vehicle gets a federal tax credit, but it doesn’t apply to people who lease their cars. Currently, leased electric cars give the tax credit to the leasing company, providing no extra benefit to consumers.

Expanding this credit to leased cars would add incentive and fuel the adoption of electric vehicles. It would meet consumers where their financial abilities can take them and give them a tax discount that would further improve their living conditions.

5. Buy EVs for Federal Purposes

Advocates and experts can tell people to use electric cars, but actions speak louder than words. If those same people don’t use electric vehicles, it speaks to how practical they really are. The government should lead by example, which may begin soon.

The current presidential administration vowed to replace the federal vehicle fleet with electric vehicles. It would require 645,000 vehicles and doesn’t currently have a timeline. However, getting this effort started would normalize their use and make electric cars more conventional.

6. Introduce Federal Rebates

Rebates are similar to tax credits in that they give money back to the consumers, but rebates make that happen much faster. If federal rebates existed for electric vehicles, people would immediately get part of their purchase back in their pocket. It would make ownership possible for many moderate to low-income individuals, especially since they won’t match traditional vehicle affordability until closer to 2030.

Government Action Could Change the Game

If the government utilized these strategies, they could fuel the adoption of electric vehicles and greatly reduce U.S. carbon emissions. It would save people from a future with no fossil fuels and make electric cars affordable instead of remaining a dream for the average citizen.

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Jane Marsh is an environmental writer. You can keep up with her work on her site Environment.co.

posted by | on , , , | Comments Off on 8 Ideas for Eco-Friendly New Year’s Resolutions – And How to Actually Stick to Them

By: Ellie Long

If you’re anything like me, you’re starting out 2021 more than a little exhausted from the events of the past year. Yes, we’re surrounded by messages of “brighter days ahead,” but with COVID-19 still raging, an economic crisis disproportionately hurting the most vulnerable among us, and, oh yeah, a climate crisis spiraling out of control, “Happy New Year” can feel a bit premature. 

While it’s easy to become overwhelmed by all this, taking small, concrete steps toward positive change can have a big impact on lending a sense of control, and even more importantly: hope. Once you accept that you’re not going to single-handedly stop the earth’s temperature from rising or save every tree in the rainforest, you can start focusing on what you CAN do in 2021. Here are a few ideas to get started – and tips and tricks for sticking with it. 

1. Vow to volunteer. 

Whether your schedule allows for once a week, once a month, biannually, or anywhere in-between, setting a firm, realistic target for when you can commit to giving back will help you stick to volunteering more in 2021. In-person opportunities can be harder to come by during COVID-19, but there are still many organizations across the D.C. area that could use extra helping hands – here are just a few to look into: 

  • Washington Parks and People has virtual, in-person, and group volunteer opportunities available with safety precautions in place, including a park cleanup on the 3rd Saturday of every month. 
  • EcoAction Arlington is hosting intermittent in-person cleanups around Arlington County, as well as virtual volunteer social events to connect with your fellow eco-enthusiasts. 
  • Capital Area Food Bank is playing a critical role in providing food to those who need it most around the region. Opportunities include driving to collect and distribute food, sorting and packing, and staffing their community marketplaces. 

2. Make 2021 your year of composting. 

Composting is a win-win for the environment: by sorting out your food waste, you reduce landfill emissions while creating a nutrient-rich soil for gardening or agriculture. Make a resolution to sort out your compostables, such as vegetable scraps, grains, and egg shells, into a separate container, then drop off them off at one of the D.C.’s collection sites (there are also locations in Virginia). Or, if you want to use the compost in your own garden, consider starting an at-home composting system – local governments including D.C., Arlington, and Montgomery County offer bins discounted or free. 

3. Plastic is so 2020. 

COVID-19 can make it feel like we’re making backward progress on eliminating the wasteful use of plastic in our daily lives. Counter the trend when the use of plastic isn’t necessary for health and safety with simple steps such as always carrying your own reusable grocery and produce bags to the store (most stores allow this, but may ask that you bag your own items), purchasing a reusable straw, or requesting restaurants to reduce plastic in takeout when possible (e.g., asking that plastic utensils are not included). 

4. Eat for two – the planet and you! 

Eating healthier is a common New Year’s resolution, but how about eating healthier for the planet? Set goals in 2021 based on your current diet; for example, if you already eat largely plant-based, maybe you’re ready to commit to being vegetarian or vegan (going vegetarian can roughly half your food carbon footprint, while veganism lowers it by about 60%), but if you currently eat a meat-heavy diet, starting small with “meatless Mondays” may be more effective at creating lasting change. You can also think about goals for eating more organic, local, or sustainably sourced food, e.g., “I will only eat seafood that is on SeafoodWatch’s recommended list.” 

5. Make Mother Earth the center of attention by informing others. 

If you’re reading this, chances are you’re probably already fairly interested in and informed about environmental issues. Confront disinformation and disinterest by spreading the word – a few examples of resolutions could include “I will always speak up when I hear or see climate disinformation this year,” “I will share at least one environmentally educational article on my social media each week,” “I will invite a friend or family member to every environmental event I attend,” or *ahem* “I will write a blog for DC EcoWomen!” 

6. Learn about the ongoing shadow of environmental racism. 

The past year brought the terrible toll of racial injustice front and center. In 2021, continue to listen, learn, and act – one way to start could be by reading up on environmental justice and how we can ensure our planet’s resources are enjoyed equally, that environmental catastrophes are not felt disproportionately, and that the movement for justice is all-inclusive. Here are a few resources to start:

7. Don’t forget to donate. 

If you have the means, helping to support the fight for a cleaner planet through donating can make a big difference. Consider establishing a certain amount of money you intend to donate each month, then setting a reminder on your phone so you don’t forget to make it happen. Or for an easy solution, set up a recurring donation with your favorite organization. 

8. Take care of yourself with nature. 

Resolutions around giving back are great, but in these stressful times, never forget to give back to yourself as well. If you have trouble finding the time, resolutions such as “I will hike once a month,” “I will join a birdwatching group,” or “I will go for a lunch walk every day” may help you make space for yourself. 

I hope you’ll find in these ideas some inspiration for a resolution that will work for you in the year ahead. 2021 may not be the brightest dawn we’ve ever seen, but there’s still hope in new beginnings, and setting goals for the benefit of yourself, your community, and the planet can provide a ladder to keep moving forward – step by step by step.

*** 

Ellie Long is a Communications Associate with the Alliance to Save Energy, a Washington D.C.- based nonprofit that advocates for energy efficiency policy. In this role, she assists with content development, media relations, grassroots advocacy, social media, and other marketing efforts for the Alliance. Ellie graduated in May 2020 from California Lutheran University with degrees in Political Science and Global Studies, and previously interned in a Senate communications office.