They say a rising tide lifts all boats, and I’m pretty sure we all could sure use some lifting right now. In my neighborhood in Canada, everything seems to be kind of normal. I mean it seems normal until you turn on the TV or social media. Then the truth becomes a little clearer. Change is coming. The voices of the oppressed are finally being heard, not only by the small men who willingly hurt others but also by the powerful men in suits who control them. I believe that we are currently witnessing the beginning of a social movement that will change the world. It has to. There is really no other option.

Protesters march after the murder of George Floyd. Image courtesy @photovs via Twenty20.

Beyond the racial inequities in countries like the US and Canada, the world’s poor and minorities disproportionately live in regions that will be affected most by climate change. Rising sea levels will displace them, increasingly large storms will destroy their homes. Floods, drought, famine, and fires will force the mass migration of billions of people and cause unmeasurable suffering along the way. These climate refugees will find a place to go (they have to) and this in itself will cause additional hardships to them and to the places that will receive them.

Future climate refugees? Image courtesy @babulalhingala via Twenty20.

We can still avoid much of this potential suffering if we act now. The hardships of the coronavirus pandemic of 2020 have shown that humanity has the fortitude to rally together around a single cause. We were willing and able to shut down the economy to prevent the spread of a disease from nature. Now we must apply the same type of thinking and action to the very real problems caused by humans. We have a unique opportunity to create a world economy that is focussed on fixing the problems of society rather than continuing down the path that got us to where we are today.

The Shift to Low Carbon Energy

Scandinavian countries are the leaders in the transition to renewable energy. Image courtesy @FotoArtist via Twenty20.

In These Countries Are Leading the Transition to Sustainable Energy we learn that not all countries are equal when it comes to taking climate change seriously. Scandinavian countries lead in the transition to clean energy. Of the G20 countries, the UK and France are the only ones that make the list. According to the statistics, Canada and the USA don’t even show any meaningful movement at all (yet). Gains are being made in other countries as well, but this list shows where climate leadership truly originates from.

Dive Operators Supporting Science

Divers restore the reef by planting coral with scientists. Image courtesy @_mis_momentos via Twenty20.

During coronavirus shutdowns by tour operators in Australia, one company that normally offers diving tours on the great coral reef has shifted to plant coral instead. The company, Passions of Paradise, has donated a ship and fuel to be used for a coral planting mission at Hastings Reef. The crew works alongside scientists studying the health of the reefs in the area. This is a great story of good people doing good work despite the additional cost to their business during tough times. Their work will pay dividends later – a healthy reef is also a huge draw for tourism in the region. When the business opens back up after the pandemic, tourists will be able to work alongside scientists planting coral if they choose.

Plant Trees for the Future

Trees are capable of magic for the climate. Image courtesy @parisbracken-via-Twenty20.

I have been writing for years about the powerful benefits of planting trees to combat the climate change problem. In A Climate Solution You Will Think is Magic, But It’s Not, the author explains how in years past people used to think that trees ate the earth in which they were grown in order to increase their size and mass. Modern science knows that the leaves of a tree, using the process called photosynthesis, take in the carbon dioxide and separate the carbon from the oxygen. The plant keeps the carbon for its own use and sends the oxygen back to the atmosphere. Of course, the process of photosynthesis uses energy and this energy comes from sunlight. A truly wonderful and amazing process, the plant cleans the air, capturing and storing carbon, emitting only oxygen – science that seems magical. It is apparent that we humans depend on plants to create oxygen from carbon dioxide. If we plant enough trees (and continue to reduce carbon emissions), we will reverse the effects of climate change in a very short period of time.

Clean My Beach APP

Clean My Beach app connects people and places for beach cleanups. Image courtesy @monkeybusiness, via Envato.

Plastic pollution is a global problem that is completely preventable. Like climate change, reducing the introduction of plastic pollution into the environment is only one part of the problem. We also need to clean up the pollution that already exists. With plastic, much of it ends up in the ocean where it slowly degrades into smaller and smaller particles that create an increasing concentration in the water. Large scale projects like the Ocean Cleanup developed by Dutch teenager Boyan Slat are great, but because they are large they require huge amounts of capital to operate, are often located in far away places and are run by teams of highly trained engineers. They seem pretty much off-limits to the average well-intentioned person who wants to help. Enter another teenager named Arjun Sharma from Hawaii. Arjun has developed an app he calls Clean My Beach that brings together like-minded people to help them organize, track, and monitor efforts to clean beaches near their own homes. The app helps bring like-minded people together in an effort that has an impact close to home and in a hands-on, directly impactful way.

Sustainable Alternatives to Meat

Who could eat one of these ladies? Image courtesy @ernaborghuis via Twenty20.

For almost my entire life I have been a die-hard carnivore. I was brought up on a diet of meat and potatoes and cooked vegetables. As I grew older, I began to realize that you do not need to eat meat at every meal. In fact, it is estimated that up to 18 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions come from meat production. Ethically, it makes sense to reduce the consumption of these foods, not to mention the fact that it is just not needed in order to be healthy. One of the nice things about the world we live in today is that there are so many alternatives to “traditional” food, including meat. We no longer need to consume animal products in order to obtain the protein and fat our muscles and brains require; those can be gained by eating a plant-based diet. But it isn’t all just salads and vegetables, people get bored with those very quickly and the food industry is very responsive to trends in consumer purchases. As a result, there are now more choices than ever when it comes to plant-based meat alternatives. In the article 6 of the Most Sustainable Meat Alternatives, the writer discussed some of the top ways you can eat meat-like products that are sustainable and healthy.

Hopefully, next week will be way more chill. Hopefully, meaningful change is finally here. To all of you who have taken action for change, please do not give up.

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1) These Countries Are Leading the Transition to Sustainable Energy

These Countries Are Leading the Transition to Sustainable Energy

2) Australian dive operators use their downtime to plant coral on the Great Barrier Reef

Australian dive operators use their downtime to plant coral on the Great Barrier Reef

3) A Climate Solution You Will Think is Magic, But It’s Not

A Climate Solution You Will Think is Magic, But It’s Not

4) This Young Man is Revolutionizing the Way We Clean Beaches Around the World

This Young Man is Revolutionizing the Way We Clean Beaches Around the World

5) 6 of the Most Sustainable Meat Alternatives

6 of the Most Sustainable Meat Alternatives

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