GOOD

The GOOD Guide to COP15: Dispatches from the Future, Today

The conference is still a few months away, but we asked several activists to predict what they will be talking about after the conference wraps up. Here is what they think they're going to be saying next January:

Richard Graves, founder of Fired Up Media, blogger for the TckTckTck campaign, and editor of ItsGettingHotinHere.org:

What surprised me was the startling diversity of groups, beyond environmentalists, that got involved-from youth groups to union leaders to the Dalai Lama to the Pope. People realized that this is bigger than polar bears and icebergs.I am disappointed, though, by how little actual work got done. Negotiators dragged their heels all year, and when the wave of civil society crashed onto them, we got some great goals and targets, but a lot of the procedural work still has to be done. The financial mechanisms and the binding provisions need to be worked out and negotiated later.I am damn glad that a people-powered movement was ignited this fall, because so many organizations spent their war chests and best people on this agreement. Now we still need to make this treaty binding and get it ratified at home.

Matt Dernoga, campaign director for University of Maryland for Clean Energy:

I have mixed emotions. COP15 was better than analysts were anticipating six months ago-President Obama arrived toward the end, committing America to targets for which the Senate had just voted. Western Europe did well (aside from Italy). Canada was an embarrassment. China committed to certain reductions in energy intensity, and to emissions peaking no later than 2020. This was earlier than the 2035 they were rumored to be pushing, and helped hold talks together. Interestingly, the real unsung hero was Japan. Fresh off elections in late August, it set a target of 25 percent below 1990 levels. This brought China along, as it wasn't about to lose the clean energy race to a regional rival. It reminds me of the debate over the bill the United States passed. Most politicians and some environmental organizations are calling it a win. Greenpeace, 350.org founder Bill McKibben, and NASA scientist James Hansen say the framework in place doesn't reduce emissions fast enough to avoid runaway climate change. My take is that we didn't get enough to declare victory, but we won enough to keep on fighting.

William Becker, executive director of the Presidential Climate Action Project:

It was nearly a disaster. The governments failed, but the people didn't. Delegates bickered and bartered, only to deadlock on the final day.It was the business community, along with millions of young people, that came to the rescue. Youngsters from all over the world marched through the streets in protest, inundating the delegates with emails and tweets. Two dozen of the world's largest corporations pledged to fund the U.N.'s Global Green New Deal. More pledges followed. By day's end, corporations and investment firms had committed hundreds of billions of dollars for energy-efficiency and renewable-energy projects.That final day broke the stranglehold of fossil fuels on the global economy. It was a narrow escape, a historic test of our intelligence as nations and as a species. We barely passed. But we did.


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The problem with American Sign Language (ASL) is that over 500,000 people in the U.S. use it, but the country has over 330 million people.

So for those with hearing loss, the chances of coming into contact with someone who uses the language are rare. Especially outside of the deaf community.

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Looking back, the year 1995 seems like such an innocent time. America was in the midst of its longest streak of peace and prosperity. September 11, 2001 was six years away, and the internet didn't seem like much more than a passing fad.

Twenty-four years ago, 18 million U.S. homes had modem-equipped computers, 7 million more than the year before. Most logged in through America Online where they got their email or communicated with random strangers in chat rooms.

According to a Pew Research study that year, only 32% of those who go online say they would miss it "a lot" if no longer available.

Imagine what those poll numbers would look like if the question was asked today.

RELATED: Bill and Melinda Gates had a surprising answer when asked about a 70 percent tax on the wealthiest Americans

"Few see online activities as essential to them, and no single online feature, with the exception of E-Mail, is used with any regularity," the Pew article said. "Consumers have yet to begin purchasing goods and services online, and there is little indication that online news features are changing traditional news consumption patterns."

"Late Night" host David Letterman had Microsoft founder and, at that time the richest man in the world, on his show for an interview in '95 to discuss the "the big new thing."

During the interview Letterman chided Gates about the usefulness of the new technology, comparing it to radio and tape recorders.

Gates seems excited by the internet because it will soon allow people to listen to a baseball game on their computer. To which Letterman smugly replies, "Does radio ring a bell?" to laughter from the crowd.

But Gates presses Letterman saying that the new technology allows you to listen to the game "whenever you want," to which Letterman responds, "Do tape recorders ring a bell?"

Gates then tells Letterman he can keep up with the latest in his favorite hobbies such as cigar smoking or race cars through the internet. Letterman shuts him down saying that he reads about his interests in magazines.

RELATED: Bill Gates has five books he thinks you should read this summer.

The discussion ends with the two laughing over meeting like-minded people in "troubled loner chat room on the internet."

The clip brings to mind a 1994 segment on "The Today Show" where host Bryant Gumbel and Katie Couric have a similar discussion.

"What is internet anyway?" an exasperated Gumball asks. "What do you write to it like mail?"

"It's a computer billboard but it's nationwide and it's several universities all joined together and it's getting bigger and bigger all the time," a producer explains from off-stage.





Culture
Photo by Li-An Lim on Unsplash

The future generations will have to live on this Earth for years to come, and, not surprisingly, they're very concerned about the fate of our planet. We've seen a rise in youth activists, such as Greta Thunberg, who are raising awareness for climate change. A recent survey indicates that those efforts are working, as more and more Americans (especially young Americans) feel concerned about climate change.

A new CBS News poll found that 70% of Americans between 18 and 29 feel climate change is a crisis or a serious problem, while 58% of Americans over the age of 65 share those beliefs. Additionally, younger generations are more likely to feel like it's their personal responsibility to address climate change, as well as think that transitioning to 100% renewable energy is viable. Overall, 25% of Americans feel that climate change is a "crisis," and 35% feel it is a "serious problem." 10% of Americans said they think climate change is a minor problem, and 16% of Americans feel it is not a problem that worries them.

The poll found that concern for the environment isn't a partisan issue – or at least when it comes to younger generations. Two-thirds of Republicans under the age of 45 feel that addressing climate change is their duty, sentiments shared by only 38% of Republicans over the age of 45.

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