Wildfire smoke could turn this weekend’s full Buck Moon an ominous blood red

blood moon auckland
A total lunar eclipse turns the moon red in Auckland, New Zealand on May 26.

A full Buck Moon is rising this weekend, and it may appear orange or blood red in skies across North America.

Normally, the moon turns orange or red during an eclipse, when Earth blocks sunlight and our atmosphere reflects red light onto the lunar surface instead. But this time is unusual. Instead of being eclipsed by Earth’s shadow, the moon may be eclipsed in many places by layers of smoke.

Wildfires have exploded across the Pacific Northwest over the last month, fueled by dry vegetation and a series of heat waves made possible by the warming climate. The largest, Oregon’s Bootleg Fire, has grown to nearly twice the size of New York City and started generating its own weather.

The blazes are sending smoke roiling across the continent, prompting air-quality alerts from Minnesota to North Carolina and tinting skies orange as far east as New York and Washington, DC.

north america map shows black carbon soots across northwest northeast central US
A map shows the concentration of black carbon particulates (aka soot) over North America on July 21, 2021.

That’s because the particles in wildfire smoke block shorter wavelengths of sunlight – the blues and greens – and allow the longer, redder wavelengths to pass through. The moon will be no exception to this paintbrush of sweeping smoke.

“When you do have wildfire smoke, especially high up in the atmosphere, you typically do see your moon kind of turn reddish or orange,” Jesse Berman, an assistant professor in environmental health at the University of Minnesota, where he studies extreme weather and air pollution, told Insider.

If the smoke is low and thick enough, it could block out the moon entirely. But, Berman said, “it’s very likely that any area experiencing a wildfire-smoke exposure can see this red or orange moon.”

orange moon next to empire state building spire
The moon, appearing orange due to smoke haze from forest fires, passes the spire of the Empire State Building in Manhattan, New York City, July 20, 2021.

The moon will appear full Thursday night through Sunday morning, peaking on Friday night, according to NASA.

In the month of July, the full moon is often called the Buck Moon. According to the Old Farmer’s Almanac, this name comes from the Algonquin peoples, who share a family of languages and originate from the area that today ranges from New England as far west as Lake Superior. The name refers to buck deer’s antlers emerging in summer.

Widespread wildfire smoke could become common

oregon bootleg fire burns trees hazy skies
The Bootleg Fire burns through vegetation near Paisley, Oregon, July 20, 2021.

Wildfires that produce continent-sweeping smoke clouds could become annual events, if not occurring “multiple times every single year,” Berman said.

“We do expect these events to become not only more frequent, but possibly more severe in the future as our climate tends to shift towards drier conditions, to hotter conditions, to areas where you have less frequent rainfall,” he added. “Every one of these wildfire events is an opportunity for that smoke to travel long distances and affect not only the people nearby, but also those very far away.”

bootleg fire oregon pyrocumulonimbus clouds
A drone photographed this pyrocumulus cloud, also known as a fire cloud, over the Bootleg Fire in southern Oregon on July 14, 2021.

If smoke stays high in the atmosphere, it probably won’t affect air quality for people on the ground. However, it sometimes falls back down and fills the air we breathe with hazardous particles – hundreds or even thousands of miles from the fire that created it.

The microscopic particles in wildfire smoke can penetrate deep into the lungs and even the bloodstream. Research has connected wildfire-particle pollution to an increased risk of heart attack, stroke, and premature death.

In healthy people short-term, it can irritate the eyes and lungs and cause wheezing, coughs, or difficulty breathing. Young children, the elderly, and people with preexisting conditions like asthma or COPD are particularly vulnerable to more serious effects.

As smoke wafts over his Minnesota home, Berman has had his two young children play inside instead of going to the park. The US Environmental Protection Agency recommends keeping doors and windows closed when wildfire smoke is impacting air quality, and designating a “clean room” with a portable air cleaner and no cooking, smoking, or candle-burning.

“Right now, nothing has shown that the conditions are going to become markedly better in the future,” Berman said. “Instead, we’re really predicting that conditions are going to continue to get worse.”

“It doesn’t matter where you’re living,” he continued. “You can be affected by these events the same as anyone else.”

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A family of bears marched past a crowd to cool off in Lake Tahoe – a cute, but terrifying, example of our climate-crisis dystopia

black bear cubs
Black bear cubs.

  • A beachgoer earlier this month spotted a family of bears swimming in Lake Tahoe near tourists.
  • But video of the encounter reveals how the growing dangers of the climate crisis are taking effect.
  • As the planet’s warming creates more and more extreme weather, humans aren’t the only ones fleeing.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Video showing a family of bears trudging past beachgoers and straight into Lake Tahoe may look cute, but it’s actually terrifying.

The video, captured earlier this month by local beachgoer Heather Blummer, shows a hefty bear with three cubs marching right past a crowd of humans on the beach. The bear family was likely trying to cool down: It reached 91 degrees Fahrenheit in that area of Lake Tahoe on Sunday, July 11, when the video was taken. A record-breaking heat wave was sweeping the area.

Though the fluffy mammal family may look adorable, splashing and wrestling in the water with one another, bears are wild animals and a potential danger to humans, who should never be so close to the species – especially when cubs are present.

Imogen Cancellare, a conservation biologist, tweeted about the potential dangers of getting too close to a mama bear and her cubs.

“A black bear with cubs can be VERY aggressive, and what she will/won’t tolerate isn’t always clear,” Cancellare said. “If she hurts someone, the state will euthanize her, and her cubs will either starve or (if caught) spend their life in cages.”

It’s not just about humans and bears, either. Changes in species range patterns, changes in human land use, and the unpredictability of climate events will further exacerbate the challenges, according to the World Conservation Congress.

As the planet’s warming creates increasingly extreme weather, humans aren’t the only ones fleeing. Climate refugees come in all shapes and sizes. In Russia, polar bears have invaded towns in search of food as their ice-sheet habitats melt. In Australia, wounded and frightened animals have rushed out of gargantuan brush fires and into residential areas. In drought-stricken Zimbabwe, elephants have raided human communities for food and water.

Heat waves can be particularly dangerous for animals and humans

Heat waves can make both humans and animals desperate, and scientists are confident climate change is making heat waves worse.

Since the beginning of June, a series of record-setting heat waves have rolled over the US West, Southwest, and Pacific Northwest. In particular, the late-June heat dome that sat over Washington and Oregon for days has astonished scientists.

Earlier this week, scientists determined the blazing heat wave killed more than one billion sea creatures, as marine life in the Pacific Northwest was cooked to death in the unrelenting sun. Scientists expect the number of dead to increase as their count continues.

Experts told Scientific American losing such substantial numbers of creatures could destabilize parts of the ocean, eventually resulting in a decline in biodiversity.

This type of extreme heat is becoming more common and more severe as humans burn fossil fuels, like coal and oil, that release heat-trapping gases into the atmosphere. The planet is warming, and that’s bringing more extreme heat events.

Heat waves are occuring three times more often and lasting about a day longer than they did in the 1960s, according to records of such waves across 50 US cities. They also start earlier and continue later into the year. The heat-wave season is 47 days longer than it was in the 1960s.

But even that understanding may be outdated. The research center World Weather Attribution found the July Pacific-Northwest heat wave would have been virtually impossible without the global warming caused by human activities.

“This is something that nobody saw coming, that nobody thought possible. And we feel that we do not understand heat waves as well as we thought we did,” Geert Jan van Oldenborgh, who co-authored that study, said in a press briefing.

“We are much less certain about how the climate affects heat waves than we were two weeks ago.”

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Biden says US and Germany are launching climate and energy partnership including joint plans to slash carbon emissions

President Biden and German Chancellor Angela Merkel
  • President Joe Biden announced that the US and Germany were planning to enter into a new climate and energy partnership.
  • German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s visited the White House on Thursday.
  • He also addressed protests in Cuba.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

President Joe Biden revealed that the US and Germany are planning to enter into a new climate and energy partnership, an announcement made during German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s visit to the White House on Thursday.

“Today, we’re launching a climate and energy partnership to support energy security and the development of sustainable energy,” Biden said at a joint press conference with Merkel.

According to a fact sheet distributed by the White House, the partnership will be co-chaired by John Kerry, the special presidential envoy on climate, and Jennifer Granholm, the energy secretary, as well as their German counterparts. It will focus on three areas of cooperation: developing joint plans to slash carbon emissions; collaboration on new green energy technologies; and assisting developing countries in addressing climate change.

Under the Paris Agreement, the US and Germany have committed to achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 at the latest in an effort to avoid environmental catastrophe.

The partnership also aims to address the use of energy supplies as means of strong-arming nations, a topic Biden touched on at Thursday’s press conference.

Noting concerns about the Nord Stream 2 pipeline project, which would transport natural gas from Russia to Europe, Biden said that Moscow “must not be allowed to use energy as a weapon.” Both leaders also addressed the extreme flooding in Germany that has left at least 45 people dead.

At the end, Biden was questioned by reporters about the protests going on in Cuba. “Communism is a failed system,” he said, “and I don’t see socialism as a very useful substitute, but that’s another story.”

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The launch of a Fox News weather channel has climate crisis experts concerned, report says

Tucker Carlson on climate change
Tucker Carlson reporting on global warming on Fox News.

  • Last year, Fox News unveiled plans to create a 24-hour weather channel.
  • But as its debut date approaches, climate experts are worried that it could adopt a similar tone to Fox News.
  • The popular right-wing network has previously perpetuated climate misinformation.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The upcoming launch of a new weather channel run by Fox News Media has some climate crisis experts deeply concerned, according to multiple reports.

The network, owned by media mogul Rupert Murdoch, announced in December 2020 that it would debut Fox Weather, a 24-hour channel devoted to all things meteorological, by the end of the year.

The channel promises “cutting-edge display technology” with “forecasting experts surrounding every major weather event,” according to a press release.

The channel will be led by six meteorologists, including Jason Frazer, Britta Merwin, Craig Herrera, Brigit Mahoney, Nick Kosir, and Stephen Morgan, the New York Times reported. Shane Brown, a meteorologist from The Weather Channel, already defected to Fox last month.

Read more: We identified the 125 people and institutions most responsible for Donald Trump’s rise to power and his norm-busting behavior that tested the boundaries of the US government and its institutions

As its debut date approaches, climate crisis experts are concerned that the network’s weather arm will adopt the same rhetoric of its sister channel.

They say that Fox News has spent years undermining the idea of a man-made climate crisis with its biggest hosts, including Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham, repeatedly downplaying the global threat of the climate crisis.

A Public Citizen analysis in 2019 found that 86% of climate segments that aired on Fox News in 2018 included claims dismissing or casting doubt on the global threat.

“Fox News has access to and is highly trusted by a wide range of conservative Americans – which is precisely the audience that least well understands the serious threats that climate change poses to the safety, security, and health of all Americans,” Edward Maibach, director of George Mason University’s Center for Climate Change Communication, told the Guardian.

“If Fox chooses to use its access and credibility to inform viewers about the realities of climate change and its impacts on the weather, it could be a game-changer. Conversely, if it opts to perpetuate misinformation to advance political goals, it will be a huge disservice to all Americans – conservative, liberal and moderate,” Maibach added.

Michael Mann, another climate scientist at Pennsylvania State University, told E&E News that Fox News has been “the greatest promoter of climate change disinformation over the past two decades.”

A Fox Weather spokeswoman told the Times: “While the Weather Channel is focused on trolling FoxNews.com for unrelated stories, Fox Weather is busy preparing the debut of our innovative platform to deliver critical coverage to an incredibly underserved market.”

According to a Fox News statement sent to The Guardian, Fox Weather will “provide in-depth reporting surrounding all weather conditions.”

“We are excited to showcase to viewers what a full-service comprehensive weather platform can deliver beginning this fall,” the statement read.

The move by Fox News comes amid increasing demand for weather updates, the New York Times reported.

In the past week alone, temperatures in the Pacific Northwest broke records and New York City’s subways became flooded after a night of heavy rain caused by Tropical Storm Elsa.

A rapid attribution study published this week concluded that the heatwave across the Pacific Northwest, which has killed more than 100 people, would have been “virtually impossible” without climate change, CNN reported.

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Climate change has already started reshaping the economy and it’s only going to get worse

Man sets up bed in cooling shelter in seattle
Roberto Cedomio prepares his bed at a cooling shelter run by the Salvation Army at the Seattle Center during a heat wave hitting the Pacific Northwest, Sunday, June 27, 2021, in Seattle.

  • Summer 2021 is a climate crisis, from the Florida condo collapse to the Northwest heat dome to NYC’s tropical storm.
  • Experts say people are becoming more aware of the climate crisis as a force, but not its wide-ranging effects.
  • Meanwhile, a potential infrastructure package with pared-down climate measures looms on the horizon.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The toll of the climate crisis on daily life has become increasingly clear. Just ask President Joe Biden.

“Interesting to me – I didn’t raise it – but how many of the survivors and how many of the families talked about the impact of global warming,” Biden told reporters after meeting with the families of victims in the Surfside, Florida condo collapse.

The tragedy in Southern Florida that killed at least 18 people and left as many as 145 missing wasn’t the only sudden catastrophe with climate at its root this summer. Just days earlier, temperatures reached record-breaking highs in the Pacific Northwest amid a deadly “heat dome” that local medical officials eventually declared a “mass casualty event.” Then, New York City’s streets and subways flooded during a tropical storm that recalled Hurricane Sandy’s devastation not too long ago.

The climate crisis – long a far-off warning or even political talking point – is suddenly a deadly reality. And it’s starting to have what one expert called local effects, meaning it’s really changing the way people live, hitting the food they eat, places they live, and especially their health. Climate change is an economic issue, now more than ever.

“People are talking about it as if it’s now something we should be considering when talking about the risks that we face as a society – risks to infrastructure, risks to human life,” Amir Jina, an assistant professor at the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy, told Insider.

Going outside will look different. UCLA environmental law professor Sean Hecht said the climate crisis changes “the parameters that have defined our built environment.”

The climate crisis is already in your backyard, or your local store

In the Pacific Northwest, some grocery stores stopped selling perishables, and restaurants and other businesses temporarily shuttered due to the heat. Globally, a UN report finds that the world’s food supply will be gravely impacted by the climate crisis without intervention, and that extreme weather could disrupt food supply chains.

“We are going to be seeing roads that aren’t placed in places that make sense,” Hecht said. Communities might not be equipped for less beach or snow, and farmers may need to adjust the crops they’re planting. For instance, California’s booming $6 billion almond industry was hit hard by a historic drought this year, The Wall Street Journal reported, with many farmers forced to simply raze trees they can no longer water.

“When the world changes around [climate change], these basic legal and then really human expectations start to not match the physical environment. And that creates a lot of conflict,” Hecht said.

That was apparent for the New Yorkers wading through several feet of water to finish their commutes. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tweeted a video of the flooding and said it makes the case for her Green New Deal, which hasn’t yet become law: ‘The Green New Deal, which is a blueprint to create millions of good jobs rebuilding infrastructure to stem climate change & protect vulnerable communities, is unrealistic. ‘Instead we will do the adult thing, which is take orders from fossil fuel execs &make (sic) you swim to work.'”

The economic impacts have already started, and they’ll be unequal

While these extreme weather events illustrate the larger-scale impact of the climate crisis, the smaller-scale impact will hit your wallet soon.

On a macro scale, climate change cost the US economy $500 billion over the previous half-decade, according to a Fed official, and potentially over $1.775 trillion since 1980, according to the NOAA. Research by Tatyana Deryugina in the American Economic Journal found that the economic costs of hurricanes may be greater than previously thought – since the distribution of measures like unemployment insurance goes up.

On the individual level, Jina said the costs add up, too. “There’s a set of risks involved in anywhere we choose to live or any economic activity we choose to engage in that we need to start thinking about a little bit more,” he said.

And, of course, the costs aren’t felt equally. As Hecht said, whenever there’s disruption, people with more resources can better afford to address the disruption.

Woman wheels away air conditioner during heat wave
Sarah O’Sell transports her new air conditioning unit to her nearby apartment on a dolly in Seattle on Friday, June 25, 2021. O’Sell snagged one of the few AC units available at the Junction True Value Hardware as Pacific Northwest residents brace for an unprecedented heat wave that has temperatures forecasted in triple-digits

Hecht says research “very consistently” shows that disruptions are harder on communities with fewer resources, which creates inequity by class, something that “also is correlated in large part with race.” Research from Jina and other members of the Climate Lab finds that the poorest counties will take the largest income hit from the crisis.

As Healthline reports, the climate crisis disproportionately impacts people of color, such as comorbidities linked to racism exacerbated by rising temperatures, to being redlined into areas more likely to be impacted.

Infrastructure spending is (maybe) on the horizon

Meanwhile, climate measures – or lack thereof – have come to the forefront in President Biden’s infrastructure proposals.

The bipartisan deal that the president struck with a group of senators omits some of his original climate proposals, and pares down spending on others. Democrats have already sent a list of climate demands for inclusion in a reconciliation bill, including equity for low-income communities and communities of color impacted by pollution, along with a carbon-free grid.

Joe Biden climate change
Climate change protesters disrupt candidate Joe Biden during a campaign event on October 9, 2019 in Manchester, New Hampshire.

The federal government can be instrumental when it comes to addressing how we produce and consume energy, the experts said. Actually creating that infrastructure is one important step.

Biden has floated his infrastructure deal as one way to both generate jobs and address the impact of climate change, Insider’s Ayelet Sheffey reported.

“We gotta make lemonades out of lemons here,” Biden has said. “We have a chance to do something that not only deals with the problem today, but allows us to be in a position to move forward – and create real good jobs, by the way, generate economic growth.”

Even though Biden has proposed spending up to $4 trillion on rebuilding infrastructure, not all of that is focused on climate initiatives. Meanwhile, although Ocasio-Cortez did not initially put a price tag on the Green New Deal, she later clarified its cost would be much higher. “It’s not a fun number to say, I’m not excited to say we need to spend $10 trillion on climate, but … it’s just the fact of the scenario,” she said in 2019.

“Let’s make sure that when we build a house or rezone an area, that it’s not just going to be repeatedly flooded every single year – where the potential insurance costs or the reconstruction costs are going to completely dwarf the construction costs,” Jina said. “That just makes simple economic sense.”

A big part of addressing the situation is in more “mundane” aspects, like updating building codes, Jina said.

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Mussels, clams, and other shellfish in Canada’s seas boiled to death in its record-breaking heat wave

mussels
A photo of rock-bound mussels are exposed at low tides. Not the ones found in Vancouver.

  • A marine biologist found thousands of dead mussels, clams, and starfish on a Vancouver beach Sunday.
  • They died as a result of the heat in the record-breaking heatwave that hit Canada in June.
  • He estimates that more than a billion seashore animals died on Canada’s Salish Sea coastline alone.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Tens of thousands of clams, mussels, sea stars, and snails were found boiled to death in a Vancouver, Canada, beach during the country’s record-breaking heat wave.

Chris Harley, a marine biologist at the University of British Columbia, was alerted to the deaths when he smelled a foul stench coming from Vancouver’s Kitsilano Beach on Sunday.

He told Canada’s CBC news network he was “stunned” to make the discovery.

British Columbia hit record-high temperatures three days in a row in late June, hitting 121.3 degrees Fahrenheit on June 29.

It is not clear when the shellfish died. Harley told the CBC that most intertidal animals can only bear a temperatures of up to 86 Fahrenheit; thermal imaging on June 28 showed that the temperature on the Vancouver coastline hit about 122 degrees.

A map shows the Western coast of Canada and the US. A circle shows the Salish sea.
The Salish sea, on the Western coast of Canada.

The death of these animals will temporarily affect water quality in the area as mussels and clams filter the sea, Harley said, according to CBC.

By calculating how many dead sea animals were found in a small area, Harley also estimated to CBC that more than a billion seashore animals living along the Salish Sea coastline might have died.

This is not the first time a heat wave has killed shellfish. A 2019 heat wave caused the largest die-off of mussels in Bodega Head, a bay on the California coast.

The temperatures in Canada have been so intense that wildfires have been making pyrocumulonimbus, clouds that can generate tornadoes and lightning which can cause more wildfires, Insider’s Aylin Woodward reported.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Biden seizes on extreme weather to tout infrastructure: ‘We gotta make lemonades out of lemons here’

President Joe Biden.
President Joe Biden.

  • Extreme heat is hitting the west coast as experts see increased wildfire potential for the region.
  • Biden met with western governors to tout his infrastructure plan as a remedy to the climate crisis.
  • “We gotta make lemonades out of lemons here,” he told lawmakers about climate change.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Extreme heat is hitting the west coast just as wildfire season is approaching, and experts predict above-normal fire potential for much of the region, which could have devastating impacts.

The record heat wave has melted power cables in Portland and hospitals in the west are seeing an influx of patients due to heat, prompting President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris to meet with western governors to discuss best methods for wildfire preparation and prevention.

Biden said his bipartisan infrastructure deal could be part of the solution.

“We gotta make lemonades out of lemons here,” Biden said during a Wednesday roundtable with Western governors. “We have a chance to do something that not only deals with the problem today, but allows us to be in a position to move forward – and create real good jobs, by the way, generate economic growth.”

Last week, Biden reached an agreement with a bipartisan group of senators on a near $1 trillion infrastructure proposal, including $579 billion in new spending largely focused on rebuilding physical infrastructure. But as Biden noted during the roundtable, the plan also includes $50 billion to build resilience to extreme weather events, like wildfires, along with increasing firefighter pay to $15 an hour to ensure they are “fairly paid for the grueling work they are willing to take on,” according to a White House fact sheet.

Although Biden is promoting the bipartisan deal as a climate remedy, Democratic lawmakers have criticized the plan for cutting many climate-related elements out of the president’s initial proposal. For example, as Insider previously reported, $213 billion for affordable, green housing was cut from the plan, along with $35 billion in climate research.

That’s why many Democrats are calling for the bipartisan deal to be passed alongside a reconciliation bill that would include the care-economy measures cut, like affordable housing and free community college, along with substantial climate-related measures.

“I’ve said all along: no climate, no deal,” Democratic Sen. Ed Markey wrote on Twitter last week. “The bipartisan framework doesn’t get us there. So I agree with our leadership that this must be resolved in reconciliation. Until then, I’m still no climate, no deal – let’s get this done.”

The White House’s domestic climate adviser, Gina McCarthy, said during a forum held by Punchbowl News on Wednesday that the reconciliation bill should include robust climate investments, saying that they “do have some bottom lines in this.”

A memo written by McCarthy and White House senior adviser Anita Dunn said that Biden remains committed to “using all the tools at his disposal” to fight the climate crisis.

They wrote: “As we work to pass the Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework, we will also continue to advance the full suite of proposals in the American Jobs Plan and American Families Plan through additional congressional action, including budget reconciliation, to ensure we build back our economy and country better.”

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Employees revamping their office wardrobe could have big effects on the environment

clothes clothing shopping mall shopper dublin
  • With the return of in-person work, consumers are expected to spend more on office clothes.
  • Plastic-based clothing items and the practice of “bracketing” contribute to landfill waste.
  • Resale sites such as Poshmark and ThredUp help alleviate fashion’s harmful environmental effects.
  • Subscribe to our biweekly newsletter, Insider Sustainability.

For many workers, a return to in-person work means trading in-house clothes and sweatpants for new business-casual outfits. Companies are reporting sales also being driven by summer outings, size differences, and vaccination-related comfort with in-store shopping. In the UK, clothing sales rose by 70% in April and are expected to rise by 78% in the US over the summer, driven largely by back-to-school purchases.

While these increases are indications of an economic recovery for the global fashion industry, there are also significant environmental downsides to new clothing purchases. And the popularity of fast fashion has only exacerbated matters.

According to a report from the World Economic Forum, the fashion industry produces 10% of “all humanity’s carbon emissions and is the second-largest consumer of the world’s water supply.” In addition to toxic chemicals, dyes, and noxious emissions from the production process, modern global textile production is primarily not biodegradable, with more than 52% of fabrics being made from polyester in 2019, according to an industry report from Textile Exchange.

After production, clothing and textiles are transported from facilities in developing countries to stores worldwide. But many of the common office-attire items sold – blouses, dresses, suits, and accessories – are made of harmful plastic-based materials like nylon, acrylic, and fleece. The unsustainable impact of these materials is worsened by bracketing, a common practice in which consumers buy several items with the intention of returning most of them. Bracketing contributes to billions of tons of nonbiodegradable landfill waste, higher restocking costs, and carbon emissions from additional transportation.

Cleaning clothing also has a dirty side. Every time plastic-based textiles are washed, it results in the release of microplastics, many of which aren’t caught by wastewater-treatment facilities. Moreover, dress shirts and other officewear sent to the dry cleaner often involve the use of a chemical known as PERC, which has “serious environmental effects” and is a known neurotoxin.

According to the EPA, when consumers are tired of their clothing, including their go-to office garb, only 15% of it gets recycled. And donations to charities such as Goodwill, The Salvation Army, and TRAID? Those often end up in landfills. It all contributes to textiles being the second-largest source of global plastic waste at 42 million metric tons.

While some might go back to their prepandemic spending habits, others might be more conscious of their shopping routines. More sustainable options that help reduce the production of new clothing items include shopping on online resale sites like Poshmark, Mercari, ThredUp, and Grailed. There are also rental services like Rent the Runway, Nuuly, as well a variety of mall chains and brands. These offer consumers the option of new looks with lower environmental footprints, a choice that’s always in style.

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This 19-year-old climate advisor who started her own nonprofit and worked on Greta Thunberg’s youth strikes spends her days meeting UN officials and grabbing pizza with friends

Sophia Kianni Day In The Life
Sophia Kianni.

Days are busy for Sophia Kianni, a climate activist and founder of the nonprofit Climate Cardinals.

Much of her work centers on the climate crisis, a topic she has been interested in since visiting Iran, her parents’ homeland, seven years ago and discovering her extended family knew nothing about the subject.

Launched in May 2020, Climate Cardinals translates information about the climate crisis into over 100 languages, including Swahili, Bulgarian, Mongolian, and Portuguese. Kianni, 19, had realized that most of the research was in English but that most people in the countries most affected by the climate emergency don’t speak English.

Climate change is a global issue that disproportionately affects communities that don’t speak English,” Kianni told Insider. “It’s critical to translate climate information into as many languages as possible to make sure that these mostly-minority communities are informed.”

Kianni made headlines in 2019 after joining the activist Greta Thunberg’s Fridays For Future to organize climate strikes and protests with high-school students. She became a national strategist for the group and a partnership coordinator for the environmental advocacy group Zero Hour.

Last year, Kianni was named a spokesperson for another climate-crisis organization, Extinction Rebellion.

She’s also a climate advisor at the United Nations and the American Lung Association; a board advisor for the tech startup CommunityX and the charity EarthPercent; and a senior partner at the Gen Z marketing firm JUV Consulting.

When she’s not working, she’s studying public policy and environmental science at Stanford University.

Kianni was hailed as one of Vice’s humans of the year in December. She was selected as a National Geographic Young Explorer and the Select Committee on the Climate Crisis tweeted about her advocacy.

Kianni broke down what a typical Friday looks like, including taking meetings with UN officials and getting pizza with friends.

She wakes up around 5:30 a.m.

Kianni wakes up in her home in McLean, Virginia, and eats breakfast: a banana, a homemade rice pudding, and a protein shake. She styles her hair, packs her computer and a few professional blazers for her meetings, and checks her calendar to see what her day looks like.

Sophia Kianni Day In the Life
Kianni heading to Union Station.

On this day she headed to New York City to visit the UN and JUV’s headquarters. Last year, all of Kianni’s events were virtual, but since being vaccinated she’s been traveling to attend meetings in person.

“My relatives in Iran knew very little about climate change because there’s very little information available in Farsi, which is their native language,” Kianni said. “The United Nations only provides climate information in six languages that account for less than half of the world’s speaking population.”

Kianni, who is bilingual, began translating articles about the climate crisis from English to Farsi and sending them to her family via WhatsApp. Last year, she decided to further her work by launching Climate Cardinals, where she and 8,000 volunteers translate climate information and upload the documents online for anyone to access.

Climate Cardinals also works with organizations such as Unicef and the UN Environment Program.

At 7 a.m., her friend’s mom picks her up

Her friend is also headed to New York City, so they take the train together. Kianni lives about a 30-minute car ride from the nation’s capital. She and her friend arrive at Union Station at 8 a.m. and buy bagels as they wait to board their train.

Once seated, Kianni reads “The Martian” by Andy Weir, a science-fiction novel that was made into a film starring Matt Damon in 2015. “My friends and I have a mini book club,” she said. Now that school is out for the summer, she said, “I have time to read again.”

Still on the train, she virtually attends a UN meeting at 10 a.m.

Kianni calls into a UN meeting with Jayathma Wickramanayake, the UN secretary-general’s envoy on youth, and six members of the UN Youth Advisory Group on Climate Change.

Kianni was invited to join the group last summer as the only US, Middle Eastern, and Iranian representative – and its youngest member. As part of the group, Kianni attends meetings with António Guterres, the UN secretary-general, and gives him advice on things like which UN documents to translate and when to emphasize environmental racism.

Sophia Kianni Day In The Life
Kianni.

During the call, they all give updates on their projects. In December, the group published a report outlining six key actions young people wanted world leaders to take regarding the climate crisis.

“Our generation is going to be disproportionately affected by climate change,” Kianni said. “There is a need for young people to be involved in decision-making spaces, so we can really convey the work we’ve been doing for the past few years.”

Next she answers emails

Kianni coordinates speaking engagements and confirms her attendance for an ocean-conservation gala in Washington, DC.

Kianni also goes over updates from Climate Cardinals, which has chapters in over 41 countries.

As she’s just transferred to Stanford from Indiana University, Kianni posts an introduction message in the Stanford 2025 Facebook group to connect with classmates. “It’s a great success,” she said. “Students from Stanford follow and direct messages to me on Instagram.”

At noon she arrives in New York City

Kianni walks from Penn Station to her hotel to drop off her luggage, then takes the bus to the UN building in midtown. She’s greeted by Esther Agbarakwe, a UN program officer.

Sophia Kianni Day In The Life
Kianni at the UN.

They head to the office of Selwin Hart, a special advisor to the secretary-general on climate action.

Kianni said that in the beginning she was a bit nervous about meeting big names. “But now I really believe that I belong at the table and that my voice is important to UN discussions,” she said. “I’m no longer nervous but more so excited to share my experiences and perspective on climate justice.”

Sophia Kianni Day In the Life
Kianni and Selwin Hart, a special advisor to the secretary-general on climate action and the assistant secretary-general for the climate-action team.

Kianni and Hart discuss strengthening the UN’s commitment to youth participation and the role of young people in advocating the delivery of the $100 billion that countries pledged in 2015 to help combat the climate crisis.

“You really need money in order to fund the infrastructure needed to have a sustainable transition away from fossil fuels,” Kianni said, adding that it was “critical” to prioritize frontline workers. “We need to make sure they can now work in the clean-energy sector.”

After the meeting, she goes on a brief tour of the UN building.

At 2:30 p.m. she heads to her next job

She walks to the nearest bus station and heads to JUV Consulting’s headquarters to meet the rest of the senior executive team.

Sophia Kianni Day In The Life
Kianni visiting colleagues at JUV Consulting.

Cofounded in 2016 by Ziad Ahmed, 22, the firm works with over 20 Fortune 500 companies on everything from major research projects to full-scale marketing campaigns. Last summer, Kianni applied to work at JUV as a consultant, and she was promoted to junior partner before becoming a senior partner in January.

At JUV she advises clients on social media and sustainability and how to use TikTok to reach Gen Zers.

After meetings, the team takes a break. “We make some fun TikToks and also head to the rooftop to have coffee and enjoy the beautiful weather,” Kianni said.

At 4 p.m. she meets with friends

She walks across the city to meet up with some friends at Madison Square Park.

Kianni says she walks everywhere because it’s better for the environment and more affordable than pricey Uber rides in New York.

“Honestly, I got a blister after a few days ’cause I was walking so much,” she said.

She walks back to the hotel at 6 p.m.

Back at the hotel, Kianni takes a nap before continuing work. She schedules a Zoom call with a BBC reporter about the climate emergency and a call with a new JUV client.

Around 8 p.m. she meets up with another friend. They walk to an Italian restaurant and order a margarita pizza.

Finally, around 10 p.m., it’s bedtime

Kianni walks back to her hotel to answer a few more emails.

She texts her younger sister to help her find a prom dress. Kianni scrolls through TikTok and Instagram for 20 minutes before she gets drowsy and falls asleep.

On Monday she’ll head back home and continue to do it all virtually.

Read the original article on Business Insider

A market-analytics expert says it’s too early to gauge how reopening offices might affect transportation and energy consumption

Office covid 2
The return to traditional office life could shed a light on corporate responsibility in the climate crisis.

  • The return to in-person office life could fuel changes in transportation and energy consumption.
  • How those changes might reflect corporate roles in the climate crisis remains to be determined.
  • Jan Freitag, a market-analytics expert, says an accurate assessment can be made around Labor Day.
  • Subscribe to our biweekly newsletter, Insider Sustainability.

With more people getting vaccinated in the US, discussions about employees physically returning to offices (whether full time or in a hybrid of remote and in-person work) are well underway. Signs of getting back to traditional office life raise the question: How might transportation and energy usage be affected?

Before COVID-19, Americans spent an average of 200 hours a year commuting to work. And although most of the country went into lockdown last year, causing people to ditch their regular commutes, demand for larger vehicles continued to grow, in part because of consumer perceptions about safety and greater cargo capacity. The International Energy Agency’s 2020 report said that “transportation is still responsible for 24% of direct CO2 emissions from fuel combustion.”

Traditional corporate travel for in-person meetings, conferences, and events has also been a massive source of annual CO2 emissions. For example, in 2019, Salesforce staff traveled enough to generate 146,000 metric tons of CO2, equivalent to the output of 17,500 homes in a year.

Jan Freitag, the national director of hospitality market analytics at CoStar Group, said it’s too early to tell if work-related expeditions will drastically increase this year. “After Labor Day, we expect a clear demarcated line in the sand about whether people will return to the office or not, restart business travel, as well as whether group travel will happen,” Freitag said.

The Labor Day benchmark is used in relation to the beginning of the school year when parents and children will return to the drop-off, pickup schedule. “That drives employers to say, ‘You’re back to where you were because your kids are back to school, so let’s go back to normal where you commute to work,'” Freitag said.

Purchase trends showed that regardless of commute changes, the pandemic hasn’t deterred Americans from hitting the road. Not only did electric-bike sales grow by 145% between 2019 and 2020, but this past April, 18.5 million light vehicles were sold – the highest number since 2005 – and electric-car sales saw a 249% increase compared to the same period last year.

One report predicted that electric-car sales will grow significantly in 2022 because of greater affordability and price parity with nonelectric vehicles. The sustainable effects of these trends may depend largely on subsidies and infrastructure investments, such as additional bike lanes, EV charging stations, and parking spaces at office complexes.

Regarding energy usage, as more people return to the office, the biggest difference may pertain to air-conditioning. Out of all commercial buildings, offices consume the most cooling energy. And that’s expected to intensify, as a recent report from the US Energy Information Administration predicted that energy consumption for air-conditioning will rise by 29% between 2020 and 2050 because of expectations of warmer temperatures.

Hopefully, companies will focus on sustainable business operations, including preferable work arrangements for employees, that lead to responsible corporate influence on transportation and energy usage. Otherwise, they’ll risk significant talent drain.

Read the original article on Business Insider