Want To Save The Environment? Work Fewer Hours, Says UN

Work less—if you care about the planet that is

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According to the United Nations, all we need to do to save the environment is scale back our workweek. Well, it’s a bit more complicated than that, but working fewer hours means reducing our consumption of raw materials and upping efficiency.

In a report released by the U.N.’s International Resource Panel on Wednesday, we’ve tripled our use of raw materials over the past 40 years. But how much is that exactly? According to the report, 70 billion tons of raw materials were extracted from the Earth in 2010, a shocking increase compared to the 22 billion extracted in 1970.

An expanding global middle class means we’ll have to drastically rethink the way we gather resources if we want to prevent total environmental collapse. However, the report explains that gains in efficiency could lead to lower costs, which will only escalate overall demand—something that is not so great for a sustainable economy and environment.

In a statement, panel co-chair Alicia Barcena Ibarra put it this way: “Rethinking the way we use materials is essential if we are to safeguard humanity's future. A prosperous and equitable world that overcomes these problems will require transformative changes in how we live our lives and how we consume materials.” One of those proposals is to price raw materials in accordance with the largely unseen social and economic costs, which would inevitably shift the way we think about this planet’s resources.

So, how soon can we start enforcing a 20-hour workweek? With the global population expanding at its current pace, we’d better put some changes in place by 2050, the year ABC News reports the world is projected to need three times as many raw materials as we’re currently consuming today. And with the world’s most affluent countries consuming 10 times as much as the poorest ones, change has to come swiftly unless we plan on thoroughly depleting the Earth’s natural resources.

The good news? It’s not too late.

via Douglas Muth / Flickr

Sin City is doing something good for its less fortunate citizens as well as those who've broken the law this month. The city of Las Vegas, Nevada will drop any parking ticket fines for those who make a donation to a local food bank.

A parking ticket can cost up to $100 in Las Vegas but the whole thing can be forgiven by bringing in non-perishable food items of equal or greater value to the Parking Services Offices at 500 S. Main Street through December 16.

The program is designed to help the less fortunate during the holidays.

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For more than 20 years. Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) has served the citizens of Maine in the U.S. Senate. For most of that time, she has enjoyed a hard-fought reputation as a moderate Republican who methodically builds bridges and consensus in an era of political polarization. To millions of political observers, she exemplified the best of post-partisan leadership, finding a "third way" through the static of ideological tribalism.

However, all of that has changed since the election of Donald Trump in 2016. Voters in Maine, particularly those who lean left, have run out of patience with Collins and her seeming refusal to stand up to Trump. That frustration peaked with the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.

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via / Flickr and Dimitri Rodriguez / Flickr

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The U.K. is trying to reach its goal of net-zero emissions by 2050, but aviation may become the biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.K. by that same year. A new study commissioned by the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) and conducted at the Imperial College London says that in order for the U.K. to reach its target, aviation can only see a 25% increase, and they've got a very specific recommendation on how to fix it: Curb frequent flyer programs.

Currently, air travel accounts for 2% of global greenhouse gas emissions, however that number is projected to increase for several reasons. There's a growing demand for air travel, yet it's harder to decarbonize aviation. Electric cars are becoming more common. Electric planes, not so much. If things keep on going the way they are, flights in the U.K. should increase by 50%.

Nearly every airline in the world has a frequent flyer program. The programs offer perks, including free flights, if customers get a certain amount of points. According to the study, 70% of all flights from the U.K. are taken by 15% of the population, with many people taking additional (and arguably unnecessary) flights to "maintain their privileged traveler status."

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