Tag Archives: Climate Change

What You Need to Know About the State of the Union

State of the UnionTalking about politics is a touchy thing (and we don’t try to hide that we’re pretty liberal here at Intent – but we do promote listening to contrary opinions with an open ear and encourage healthy, respectful debate!). However, the annual State of the Union address isn’t really about which side of the aisle you vote for – it’s about civic responsibility to  be informed about the state of affairs of the country.

Last night the President covered several important topics from raging minimum wage, increasing America’s clean energy initiatives, creating greater access to higher education and ending the war in Afghanistan. He repeatedly called out Congress’ tendency to gridlock in debate rather than create legislation to help Americans move out of a recession and lead the way in the 21st century. He also re-iterated on several fronts, including minimum wage and infrastructure policy – that he will take whatever action he can without legislation to promote American progress, circumventing the roadblocks often created by tension in the House of Representatives.

The President’s most powerful moment however came at the end of the address when he called out  Sergeant First Class Cory Remsburg who was severely injured during his 10th deployment to Afghanistan. After being hit by a bomb while on duty, Cory was left unable to speak and barely move. After dozens of surgeries, hours of grueling physical therapy today, Cory has relearned to talk, stand and walk. He still has trouble with his left side but he and his father were both present for the State of the Union address. His presence garnered an extended applause and standing ovation from the entire assembly. “Cory reminds us what is best about America,” the President said.

If you missed the State of the Union, we’ve compiled some of President Obama’s most compelling quotes from last night:

On Congress’s responsibility to the American public: “If our business is shutting down the Government or ruining the good faith and credit in America then we are not doing right by the American people.”

On creating a bi-partisan Federal budget: ‘The budget compromise should leave us freer to focus on creating new jobs, not creating new crisis.”

On American wages: “But Americans overwhelmingly agree that no one who works full time should ever have to raise a family in poverty.”

On American troops and military involvement abroad: “I will not mire our sons and daughters in open ended war entanglements. We must fight battles that need to be fought, but not those that terrorists prefer for us. America must move off it’s permanent war footing.”

Closing statement: “If we work together, if we summon what is best in us, with our feet planted firmly in today but our eyes cast towards tomorrow, I know it is within our reach.”

To see these quotes in context and to hear the President’s point by point plans for energy initiatives, healthcare progress and the path to comprehensive immigration reform you can watch the full State of the Union Address below:

What do you think of the State of the Union? Leave your opinion in the comments below. Remember to be respectful of those that disagree!

*Picture credit to WhiteHouse.Gov

VOD: Bill Nye Tells You Everything You Need to Know about Climate Change

The millenial generation grew up receiving their science facts from a guy with neat curly hair and a wonderful array of bow ties. Many of us are adults now and “Bill Nye the Science Guy” has long been off the air, but that doesn’t stop that magical man of science from trying to save the world anyway. In this YouTube video Bill describes what climate change is, how we got here and what we need to do to stop it.

“This climate science is no longer a matter of opinion, politics or dogma,” Bill says towards the end of the video. By the time the current population of children reaches middle age the human race’s carbon dioxide production will be double the earth’s natural carbon cycle – yet we are already seeing the hazardous effects through higher temperatures and more extreme weather. If we act now we can prevent things from getting worse but we are dangerously approaching the point of no return where we will be forced to recognize a new normal of extreme weather and unbearable temperatures. Why would we ever let that happen when there are so many clean energy sources being made available to us? That’s a question we should probably be taken more seriously.

Did you know this about climate change? Have you tried replicating Bill’s simple experiment? Let us know in the comments below!

What You Can Do To Support The Philippines

Screen shot 2013-11-12 at 3.41.09 PMThis weekend one of the most powerful storms in recorded history hit the eastern side of the Philippines. Typhoon Haiyan touched land with winds estimated at points to be between 195-200 miles per hour. For perspective – Super Storm Sandy that devastated the northeastern United States last Halloween had winds that maxed out at 115mph. Hurricane Katrina reached winds of 174mph.

Thousands are displaced from their homes in the Philippines as aid workers are rushing in to deliver food, water and supplies to survivors. The final death toll is currently estimated to reach 2,500 people.  According to a recent CNN report more than 200 million people are in need of aid – over 300,000 of them pregnant or new mothers. Cities that were once bustling metropolitan areas last week are in heaps of rubble – The Philippines are in trouble.

In times like these there are always an outpour of charities rushing to help those in need, but unfortunately there are also those who use devastating disasters like this as an opportunity to take advantage of people’s generosity. If you are willing and able, we have assembled a list of verified non-profit organizations that could use your donations to help stabilize and rebuild the Philippines after this horrible storm.

 

Red Cross

Emergency responders and volunteers throughout the Philippines are providing meals and relief items. Already, thousands of hot meals have been provided to survivors. Red Cross volunteers and staff were already on the ground delivering preliminary emergency warnings and safety tips before the typhoon hit. The Philippine Red Cross has also already mobilized its 100 local outposts to help with relief efforts. Give by donating online or mailing a check to your local American Red Cross chapter. Learn more and donate here.

AmeriCares

The relief organization is sending medical aid for 20,000 survivors, including antibiotics, wound care supplies and pain relievers. AmeriCares is also giving funds to local organizations to purchase supplies. Learn more and donate here.

UNICEF

UNICEF’s chief concern is a disaster’s impact on children’s health and well-being, and they are working to ensure the safety of children and families affected by the typhoon. Learn more and donate here.

Oxfam

Oxfam has experienced staff on the ground, ready to provide immediate help to people in need. Learn more and donate here.

(Credit to Care2 for links)

If you are looking for non-financial ways to help support then consider adding your name to these petitions to encourage government leaders to take a better look at global warming and instituting practices to slow down the destruction of our planet.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to all those in the Philippines currently suffering through this disaster and to all those who have lost loved ones in this storm.

(Photos from CNN coverage)

7 Telltale Signs You’re A Hardcore Greenie

max-R Outdoor Recycling BinGoing green is a great way to show your love for the environment and to promote a sustainable lifestyle that really helps the planet. It’s also incredibly addictive, so after the first few steps you might find yourself engaged in an increasing number of green activities. You know you’ve become a seriously hardcore greenie if…

You Look for Recycling Bins Instead of Trashcans

Recycling is one of the easiest, most essential ways to go green. It only takes a little effort, it’s great for the environment, and it’s becoming much more widely accepted. If you’re becoming a hardcore green-friendly person, you likely start looking for recycling bins before you ever look for trashcans, because you realize that practically everything is recyclable. Whether you’re out shopping or visiting a friend, you’re loathe to throw away your paper cups, soda cans, or newspapers, and secretly you feel a little appalled when you discover that there aren’t any recycling bins available.

Your Have Reusable Bags Hidden in the Car

You can’t remember the last time someone at a store asked you if you wanted paper bags or plastic ones because your reusable bags are always at hand. You’ve been known to turn around without shopping if you arrive at the store and realize you forgot your fabric bags. To avoid that in the future, you started squirreling reusable bags away in your car.

People who carpool with you (of course you carpool—it’s better for the environment) are likely to find cloth bags in the side pockets of the door, the glove compartment, the trunk, under the seats, and in the hidden cubby console between the front seats. You now use them for everything, from carrying around your gym clothes to carrying your shopping. In fact, you have enough reusable bags that sometimes you lend them to people at the grocery store who insist on using plastic bags.

You Unplug Without Thinking

Many people don’t even realize that their appliances and gadgets still suck up energy even when they’re turned off—but you do. You’ve long suspected that your electricity bills are high and your appliances are wasting energy even if they’re turned off, because they’re still plugged into the wall sockets. Now that you have proof, unplugging is second nature to you.

When you’re a serious greenie, your routine changes. Where once it was enough to simply walk through your home turning off the lights in empty rooms, now you go around unplugging those big energy vampires. You make sure to unplug your computer and all of its components because you know your favorite tech-toy is one of the biggest culprits. You gleefully unplug kitchen appliances, especially the microwave, and you always pull the plug on the TV too.

Of course, if you’re really green, you likely have smart power-strips as well, to save energy even when you’re using your favorite devices.

You Take Marathon Showers

People waste so much water every day! Long baths and showers aren’t special treats saved for stressful days, they are daily occurrences. But you know better. Not only do you turn off the faucet as you brush your teeth so you’re not needlessly wasting water, you’ve turned showering into an Olympic event.

You’ve timed exactly how long it takes you to do everything you need to do in your shower. You don’t waste one single second—or a single drop of water. In addition to installing a low-flow head for your shower and a shower timer, you’ve equipped every faucet with an aerator to conserve energy, water, and heat. You know, as you get all clean and fresh, that you’re doing your part to save water.

You Wanted Solar Energy for Your Birthday

After long dreaming of using solar energy, you finally decided that was all you wanted. You saved up, looked around for the best deals and the most quality work, and decided that solar panel energy was the best choice for you. That’s because you know how efficient solar energy really is. You understand the joy of relying on the sun to give you heat, power, and even hot water. While your panels were your biggest birthday present, you still insisted that anyone who got you a present used recyclable paper, of course.

All Your Gadgets Are Solar-Powered

It wasn’t enough to install solar power on your roof, though. You want everything powered by solar energy because, again, you realize how powerful the sun is. So your kitchen is fully outfitted in appliances powered by solar energy. The fridge uses solar power and all of your other appliances are completely energy-efficient. You’ve got a solar-powered watch and the charger you use for your phone, tablet, and other mobile gadgets is also solar-powered. All your friends are jealous of you when the power goes out because you’re still connected. How cool are you?

You’ve Got the Best Compost Pile on the Block

If you’re a hardcore environmentalist, you’ve been composting since long before it was cool. You’ve discovered a way to compost almost everything. As a result, your grass is lush and all the drought-tolerant plants in your garden thrive. You can easily sustain yourself on the food you grow and you routinely share with your neighbors because you want them to eat healthy too.

Composting is part of your routine. Almost everything that comes out of your home either gets recycled or composted. You try to reuse everything for a good purpose and it works for you. Not only do you know you’re doing your part, but you help to erase your carbon footprint every single day. You even offer to start compost heaps for the neighbors who compliment your lifestyle, your commitment, and your gorgeous greenery.

If you’re a serious greenie who takes the eco-friendly life seriously, then you are unquestionably awesome. You’re kind to the Earth, to your family, and to your neighbors because you know that what you’re doing matters.

 

Image via Flickr by max-R

Behold the US’s Energy Footprint with This Animated Guide

Screen Shot 2013-08-05 at 3.43.55 PMIt’s no secret, the US’s energy usage is staggering. We are the second largest per capita consumers of energy, right after Canada and right before Saudi Arabia. We love our cars, packaged food products, imported goods, and controlled heating, and we unfortunately tend to use and use without discretion. Hopefully much of the problem lies in a lack of education on energy and climate change, which is where this video will come in handy!

Alexis Madrigal, senior technology editor at The Atlantic, outlines the key energy sources we rely on, as well as the larger network of energy waste and efficiency in this brilliantly animated short. Check it out:

Here are the top 10 electrical energy sources, laid out from best to worst by Stanford professor of civil and environment engineering, Mark Jacobson:

  1. Wind
  2. Concentrated Solar Power (CSP)
  3. Geothermal power
  4. Tidal power
  5. Solar photovoltaics (PV)
  6. Wave power
  7. Hydroelectric power
  8. Nuclear power
  9. Coal (even with Carbon Capture and Sequestration, CCS)

Wind energy, as Jacobson’s number one option, is an interesting case. On the one hand, it is a renewable, never-ending source of immense power (more than human beings could ever use). It is space and cost efficient and produces no pollution. On the other hand, wind fluctuates and isn’t necessarily reliable. It’s also noisy, not aesthetically pleasing, and can be a threat to wildlife.

There are bound to be pros and cons with every energy option, but we can probably agree that some are worse than others. Our global lust for fossil fuels has led to wars, oil spills, decimation of forests, mountains and bodies of water, and toxic emissions into the atmosphere. What we might sacrifice by investing in renewable energy sources would surely pale in comparison to the sacrifices we’ve already endured.

What do you think are the best renewable energy options? Tell us your thoughts in the comments section below!

Is There a Human Aspect to the Weather?

Screen Shot 2013-07-11 at 9.47.51 PM

By Julia LeStage, Founder and CEO, Weathermob, Inc.

The recent tragic deaths from the tornadoes in Oklahoma made me pause, again, and think about why the weather is so captivating to human beings. Why we just can’t we get enough of it, even when the weather is so inhuman, often inhumane—and sometimes deadly?

In 2013, despite great advances in technology, we still cannot predict the weather with enough certainty. Even professionals such at 30-year veteran storm chaser, Tim Samaras, his son, Paul and meteorologist, Carl Young, could not predict that a tornado would jag the wrong way – their way – and take their lives.

According to the National Center for Atmospheric Research, Americans check the weather 3.8 times a day. Are we so compelled by weather because it is one of the few things left in our lives that we cannot control?

Perhaps we’re fascinated by weather because of the very fact that it does not submit to us. The weather cannot be persuaded. The weather’s own uncertainty in the face of the increasing pace of climate change, should make us even more worried about its will and its might.

The weather is culturally, geographically, politically, religiously and linguistically impartial. How many things that affect us all every day are impartial? The impossibility of the controlling the weather is an ultimate challenge, an infinite frontier. The appeal of this alone is enough for some people. It is a problem that can never be solved. The allure is in the chase.

Hauntingly, Tim Samaras explained that his initial interest in tornadoes was to, “…witness the incredible beauty of what Mother Nature had created.” He also confessed that at times he had “mixed feelings” about chasing storms because of their destructive and life-changing power. The deaths of high profile and seasoned scientists in an extreme storm remind us that no one can capture or tame the weather.

The practice of storm chasing and meteorology and of weather-casters standing in a studio telling us the day’s forecast is a relatively new way of telling the weather story. Talking about the weather, however, is indisputably primeval. Since time began, human beings – indeed, all beings – have had a profound and spiritual relationship with the weather.

It connects us throughout time and across the world. We notice, enjoy and fear the same conditions that the ancient Egyptians, Vikings and Incas did – and that our contemporaries in countries we will never visit do.

We tell our weather story – chase storms, listen to the weathermen, bring an umbrella, talk about it in the Starbucks line, chat with our Mothers, and look up and out – to try and impose some kind order. In this human attempt to impose order there is some kind of comfort and healing; it is part of human nature. For professionals there is data that might help people be safer in the future.

I am guilty of this, of trying to bring human order. I write about and report on the weather every day. I run a crowd-sourced weather media company called Weathermob. I am not a meteorologist. Then again, neither is Al Roker. He and I are just people, like millions (perhaps billions) who are weather keen. Al and I just happened to be paid for publicly responding, reacting, and describing this force we cannot control.

Weathermob was created to help give ordinary people a place to record and share what they see in the sky and feel in the air and in their hearts. It is tool to contribute to our need for order and storytelling around the weather. We use social media tools to create real-time weather data. Weathermob is a network of weather reporting from the ground up, a human weather army.

We believe that everyone can be a weatherperson and should be, which is why our organization aims to harness the “understanding on the ground” from the people who are in the weather. Everyone has to right to talk about the weather. Weathermob reporters in your local area and all over the world share real-time weather, mood and weather-triggered activity. We do not claim to outsmart the weather, but we are recording it to learn, share, shine, connect and – sometimes – be safer.

The YouTube videos of Tim Samaras facing what we now know to be his killer made me feel profoundly sad and human. He – and we – could not stop the tornado. We can only change how we react to weather, how we adjust and refine our response to it.

Samaras knew, perhaps embraced, the inherent risks of confronting a tornado. He died doing what he loved. His life’s work involved creating tools to increase our understanding of tornadoes, of their devastating power and beauty, and how to be safer in their midst.

We at Weathermob salute Tim Samaras, his son, Paul, and Carl Young and re-commit to our mission to enhance our real-time responses to all weather and to tell the human weather story, to give more relevant, beautiful and safer weather information to each other every day.

In the malevolent eye of a charging tornado, Tim Samaras found beauty and a life well lived. This stark and painful dichotomy is strangely healing, like looking up, again. At the sky.

Photo via U.S. Air Force

Deepak Chopra: Does Climate Change Threaten The Survival Of The Human Race?

We’ve all heard the terrifying statistics that predict the fall of civilization with the progressing decline of the environment. At times we might feel too doomed to even change our ways and work toward sustainability.

In this episode of “Ask Deepak” on The Chopra Well, Deepak Chopra addresses climate change and social action. Joined by David Gershon, founder and president of the Empowerment Institute, the two argue that by taking collective action, we can make an impact on the world and on our environment for the better. Gershon addresses some of the key components of social change, which include protest, personal growth, and education.

What do you think? Do you feel inspired or hopeless about the environment? Tell us your thoughts in the comments section below!

Subscribe to The Chopra Well and don’t give up hope for social change!

Deepak Chopra: A Message to the Future Leaders of the World (Part 1)

Screen Shot 2013-06-03 at 4.04.31 PMBy Deepak Chopra, MD, FACP

From my commencement speech at Hartwick College

Today as you celebrate this major milestone in your life and commence a new stage of your life journey, I ask you to reflect on the gift of life itself. And life, in essence, is nothing but awareness. Furthermore human life, considered the pinnacle of biological evolution, is not just awareness, but self-awareness. Amongst creatures on this planet, we human beings are not only aware; we have the capacity to be aware that we are aware, to be conscious of our consciousness. In that self-awareness lies our potential and power to direct our own future evolution and the future evolution of civilization.

Biological evolution has been summed up in the phrase of “survival of the fittest,” but with overpopulation and over-consumption of resources, the future belongs to “survival of the wisest”. It is imperative for the future of humanity that wisdom becomes the new criterion for sustainable life on this planet. And wisdom is that knowledge that nurtures life in all its dimensions not only for us but also for the generations that follow us.

Today’s age is frequently referred to as the Information Age. The hallmarks of this age are the gifts of science and technology that have created the miracles of molecular medicine, real-time imaging of cellular function, instant accessibility of global knowledge, and social networks. Yet despite this emerging global brain, paradoxically we are beset with the same scourges of war and terrorism, radical poverty in 50% of the world’s population, irreversible climate change, along with deepening social and economic injustice! Furthermore, humanity suffers from massive malnutrition in which half the world suffers from hunger and the other half from obesity leading to inflammatory disorders, increasing the risk of chronic illnesses including many types of cancer and cardiovascular diseases while the hungry die from compromised immune function and infectious diseases. The information revolution has not led to the wisdom needed to solve our world crisis in health and well-being.

If ever humanity had the power of mass self-extinction on planet earth, it is today. And if it happens it will be because we allowed our emotional and spiritual evolution to be outpaced by the evolution of our science and technology. Nuclear proliferation, biological warfare, eco destruction, the extinction of species and the poisoning of our atmosphere, our rivers and waters and the very food that sustains our life and all life loom before us as imminent threats. But just as in other critical phases of transformation, while there is disaster looming on one hand, there is on the other hand the potential to create a radical reorganization into something much greater than was conceived of before.

Today, I ask you my young friends, you who are the future hope of humanity, you who are the future leaders of the world; today, I ask you what Mahatma Gandhi once asked, “Can you be the change you want to see in the world?”

In fact, there can be no social or world transformation unless there is your own inner transformation. Today, I ask you to face a fundamental truth. Today, I ask you to consider that there is no ‘you’ that is separate from the world. The gift of life, your own self-consciousness is your key to inner transformation and wisdom, and that in turn is how you will transform the world. Today, I ask you to acknowledge that you are the world and that your transformation of consciousness will be the future of the word. This self-transformation is the wisdom for our planet’s survival.

As I enter the autumn of my life and you the springtime of yours, I want to leave you with seven skills in self-awareness that I have learned and that I hope will serve you well no matter what profession you choose, or where your life and destiny take you.

 Stay tuned for Part 2 in which I outline the seven skills of self-awareness!

 

www.deepakchopra.com

Follow Deepak on Twitter

Deepak Chopra: Is This the End of the World?

Imagine a world in which a tiny minority owns the majority of the wealth and resources, while billions of others are impoverished and disenfranchised. Sound familiar? Human beings are no strangers to disaster and despair, and if any apocalypse comes our way, it will likely be by our hands.

In this week’s episode of “The Rabbit Hole” on The Chopra Well, Deepak Chopra discusses how humans’ abuse of the planet and the consequential climate change may cause the end of the world as we know it. Is there a way to reverse the damage or has our society already condemned human evolution to move backwards? Watch the episode and let us know what you think:

Climate change may be a ticking clock, but disaster is not inevitable. It in in human beings’ hands to change our ways and chart a course for the better. The planet will continue, regardless. And hopefully we, too, will persist for many ages to come.

Subscribe to The Chopra Well and don’t miss next week’s episode of “The Rabbit Hole”!

photo by: x-ray delta one

7 Amazing Images of Elephants to Start Your Weekend

In the spirit of our new weekly advice column, “The Elephant in the Room,” we thought we’d give you a nice visual to start your weekend with. Beautiful, powerful, moving, and just plain adorable, these images are guaranteed to make an impression on your heart.

There are roughly 450,000  to 700,000 African elephants and 35,000 to 40,000 Asian elephants in the world today. These numbers have drastically reduced since the turn of the 20th century, though, due to poaching, climate change, and habitat loss. Majestic and highly intelligent, elephants live in matriarchal herds and can communicate with one another even over vast distances. They are the “big friendly giants” of the animal kingdom, and certainly worthy of praise.

Have a great weekend!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...