GOOD

While the Weather's Weird, Talk About Climate Change

No one wants to talk about climate change lately. But this might be the perfect opportunity.

President Obama isn’t talking about climate change. Although his campaign used the occasion to ask environmentalists to join up, the president signed an official Earth Day proclamation this year that omitted any mention of it. His campaign website neglects to mention the issue, either. (Update: Obama did mention the existence of climate change in an interview with Rolling Stone published Wednesday.) Dan Farber, a law professor at University of California-Berkeley, set out to compare the president’s proposed environment and energy policies to Mitt Romney’s. And while the president has ideas to share about alternative energy, Keystone XL, environmental policy, fossil fuels, and public lands, Farber found nary a mention of climate change or policies that might address it.


The president isn’t the only one who’s skittish about discussing climate change right now. This weekend, the last episode of Frozen Planet aired. A collaboration between the Discovery Channel and the BBC, the series featured crisp, panoramic shots of fantastic landscapes and curious animals. The last episode, “On Thin Ice,” was about climate change: It showed the peril that polar animals face. But the show did not include an explanation for why, exactly, the ice was melting beneath their feet. This omission wasn’t accidental. To delve into climate science, the series’ producer told The New York Times, “would have undermined the strength of an objective documentary” and scared away prospective viewers.

This is how talking about climate change is perceived—as an action so toxic it could hurt a sitting president’s chances of reelection or prevent potential viewers from soaking in footage of adorable penguins and polar bears. But right now might actually be one of the best times to talk to Americans about climate change, its impacts, and strategies to fight back.

People, it turns out, are not rational about their views on climate. Not at all. Their views change with the weather—literally. A recent survey by the Yale Project on Climate Communications found that Americans are linking the weird weather they’ve experienced this year to climate change, even as scientists caution that making that connection will require more research. One researcher who studies public opinion on climate change has found that while climate-denying campaigns have little influence on opinions about climate change, a bout of weird weather can make a skeptic more likely to believe. People are even more likely to say climate change is a problem if they’re seated in a warm room.

This winter broke high-temperature records across the country. It’s almost May, and this weekend a storm dumped sleet and snow and general nastiness across New York and Pennsylvania. All this weird weather is likely making Americans more receptive than usual to conversations about climate change. It’s too bad that fewer leaders than ever are willing to speak up and press for real action on this issue. If next winter gets chilly enough, this window of opportunity may close.

Photo via (cc) Flickr user Dr DAD

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via The Howard Stern Show / YouTube

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Fortunately, you can cut down on the amount of waste you produce by cutting down on disposable products. And even more fortunately, there are sustainable (and cute) replacements that won't damage the environment.

Coconut bowls


Cocostation

Who says sustainable can't also be stylish? These cute coconut bowls were handmade using reclaimed coconuts, making each piece one of a kind. Not only are they organic and biodegradable, but they're also durable, in case your dinner parties tend to get out of hand. The matching ebony wood spoons were polished with the same coconut oil as the bowls.

Cocostation Set of 2 Vietnamese Coconut Bowls and Spoons, $14.99; at Amazon

Solar powered phone charger

Dizaul

Why spend time looking around for an outlet when you can just harness the power of the sun? This solar powered phone charger will make sure your phone never dies as long as you can bask in the sun's rays. As an added bonus, this charger was made using eco-friendly silicone rubber. It's win-win all around.

Dizaul Solar Charger, 5000mAh Portable Solar Power Bank, $19.95; at Amazon, $19.95; at Amazon

Herb garden kit

Planter Pro

Put some green in your life with this herb planter. The kit comes with everything you need to get a garden growing, including a moisture meter that helps you determine if your herbs are getting the right amount of food to flourish. All the seeds included are certified to be non-GMO and non-hybrids, meaning you can have fresh, organic herbs right at your fingertips.

Planter Pro's Herb Garden Cedar Planter, $39.00; at Amazonedar Planter, $39.00; at Amazon

Reusable Keurig cups

K & J

Keurig cups are convenient, but they also create a ton of plastic waste. These Keurig-compatible plastic cups are an easy way to cut down on the amount of trash you create without cutting down on your caffeine. Additionally, you won't have to keep on buying K Cups, which means you'll be saving money and the environment.

K&J Reusable Filter Cups, $8.95 for a set of 4,; at Amazon

Low-flow shower head

Speakman

Low-flow water fixtures can cut down your water consumption, which saves you money while also saving one of the Earth's resources. This shower head was designed with a lighter flow in mind, which means you'll be able to cut down on water usage without feeling like you're cutting down on your shower.

Speakman Low Flow Shower Head, $14.58; at Amazon

Bamboo safety razor

Zomchi

Instead of throwing away a disposable razor every time you shave, invest in an eco-friendly, reusable one. This unisex shaver isn't just sustainable, it's also sharp-looking, which means it would make a great gift for the holidays.

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