What Happens Now After the Climate Change Conference

And so it’s a wrap.  The UN Climate Change Conference in Lima, Peru, dubbed as COP 20 (Conference of the Parties, the twentieth session so far) had finally ended last Sunday, spilling over for some 36 hours behind schedule.

The delay wasn’t because the 196 participating countries had so much to share and contribute.  It was simply because they couldn’t agree to some of the clauses in the agreement.  In other words, irreconcilable differences.

An exasperated man throws up his hands, while Chinese factories nonchalantly spew out toxic fumes in the sky.  (Image from PressTV.ir)

An exasperated man throws up his hands, while Chinese factories nonchalantly spew out toxic fumes in the sky. (Image from PressTV.ir)

From the beginning the Climate Change talks had been criticized for its many ironic aspects.  Mainly, it was the huge carbon footprint dedicated to creating the conference venue from scratch.  The United Nations itself assessed that the Lima conference has more than eight times as much carbon as the 2009 Copenhagen talks and twice that of the Cancun, Mexico conference in 2010.

Other critics point out that these climate change talks have always been eternally a stepping stone, in preparation for a future round of talks.  But this is already the …

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How to Give the Best Holiday Gifts and Still Keep Your Sanity

Maybe you don’t really need anyone to tell you, but the holiday season is actually the most stressful time of the year. All that racking our brains, deciding the perfect gift for friends and family, jostling our way amidst crowds in the shopping malls, then getting heartbroken when that last lovely pair of handcrafted silver tongs had already been sold out.

Newspaper as an eco-friendly gift wrap. (Photo from Hongkiat.com)

Newspaper as an eco-friendly gift wrap.
(Photo from Hongkiat.com)

 

Yes, the holiday season is a very mentally, physically, and emotionally-challenging time.

So in lieu of a holiday gift guide—all the other reputable websites have already got you covered—we’ll just give you five tips on how to give perfect holiday gifts while beating holiday stress. All it takes to keep your sanity is five easy steps. Read on.

 

  1. Make a List.

    Before you head out of the house and into the wilderness of the malls,…

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Seven Ways to Green Fashion

New clothes, new jeans, new bags, new shoes—they’re inevitable this holiday season because, after all, we’re all in a festive, buying mood.  In this age of selfies, it’s especially natural to want to always look our darn best.  But in our quest for the trendiest fashion, we lose sight of some of the ugly facts.

Opt for organic cotton always. (Image courtesy of  http://mswandas.co.uk)

Opt for organic cotton always. (Image courtesy of http://mswandas.co.uk)

 

Facts like: major clothing chains produce as much as half a billion garments per year worldwide.  And that as much as 13 million tons of textile waste are created in the US every year.  That’s according to Elizabeth Cline’s book Overdressed, which reveals lots of other fascinating yet alarming truths about the clothing industry.  Even the simple fact about how fussy cotton is, how water-intensive and pesticide-intensive it is as a crop, is unknown to most people.

Most people aren’t aware of the environmental impact of clothes, probably because we think they’re benign.  …

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LEED 2009 Extension and Other Stories | November Roundup

The Link Between Global Warming and Crop Nutrients

Global warming might produce less-nutritious crops.  That’s the conclusion of a six-year study released earlier this year.

Studies report crops and their nutrients don't fare well amidst global warming.

Studies report crops and their nutrients don’t fare well amidst global warming.

According to Samuel Myers of Harvard School of Public Health, who leads the research, nutritional content of crops are being compromised as a result of increased atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2).  The study focused on wheat and rice grains which are the staple food of some two to three billion people in the world.

In wheat grains, there were reduced levels of zinc (9.3%), iron (5.1%), and protein.  Zinc is a very important mineral responsible for maintaining organ functions, immune system, growth, and overall health.  As many as 800,000 deaths of children under five happen each year because of zinc deficiency. Meanwhile, iron deficiency is the main cause of anemia, a condition that contributes to one in five maternal deaths worldwide.

Another biologist, Irakli Loladze, has also linked global warming with nutrient loss in crops.  Aside front nutrient loss, one other effect of high CO2 levels is increased levels of starches and sugars in those same plants which are losing their mineral and protein content.  “In other words, with increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide, the valuable nutrients in these food crops are scarcer, and carbohydrates are more …

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Rethinking the Food Crisis and Solutions

If you look past the awesome CGI special effects and mind-boggling time dilation shenanigans of Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar, you’d remember that the basic premise of the film is that the Earth is dying and no longer able to produce food for humans.

 

Scene from Interstellar

Scene from Interstellar

Food crisis is a real global threat.  But it’s a lot more complicated now than what sociologist Thomas Malthus worried about back in 1798.  Back then, his theory is that food production won’t be able to keep up with the exponential growth of population.  Today, lots of other factors are contributing to food shortage.

Climate change is the biggest of them: crops are at the mercy of rising temperature, drought and floods.  Also, heavy fertilizer use has messed up the natural chemical balanced of soil.  Land that should have been used for growing crops are being devoted for growing corns for biofuel.  Even our endless …

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