Why humans are so bad at thinking about climate change

"We are hurtling toward the day when climate change could be irreversible." "Rising sea levels already altering this nation’s coast." "China’s capital is choking in its worst pollution of the year." "5% of species will become extinct." "Sea levels rising, glaciers melting." Okay. Enough. I get it. It’s not like I don’t care about polar bears and melting ice caps. I’m a conservation scientist, so of course I care. I’ve dedicated my entire career to this. But over the years, one thing has become clear to me: We need to change the way we talk about climate change. This doom-and-gloom messaging just isn’t working; we seem to want to tune it out. And this fear, this guilt, we know from psychology is not conducive to engagement. It's rather the opposite. It makes people passive, because when I feel fearful or guilt-full, I will withdraw from the issue and try to think about something else that makes me feel better. And with a problem this overwhelming, it’s pretty easy to just turn away and kick the can down the road. Somebody else can deal with it.

So it’s no wonder that scientists and policymakers have been struggling with this issue too. So I like to say that climate change is the policy problem from hell. You almost couldn't design a worse problem as a fit with our underlying psychology or the way our institutions make decisions. Many Americans continue to think of climate change as a distant problem: distant in time, that the impacts won't be felt for a generation or more; and distant in space, that this is about polar bears or maybe some developing countries. Again, it’s not like we don’t care about these things — it’s just such a complicated problem. But the thing is, we’ve faced enormous, scary climate issues before. Remember the hole in the ozone layer? As insurmountable as that seemed in the 1970s and ’80s, we were able to wrap our heads around that and take action.

People got this very simple, easy to understand, concrete image of this protective layer around the Earth, kind of like a roof, protecting us, in this case, from ultraviolet light, which by the way has the direct health consequence of potentially giving you skin cancer. Okay, so now you've got my attention. And so then they came up with this fabulous term, the “ozone hole.” Terrible problem, great term. People also got a concrete image of how we even ended up with this problem. For decades, chlorofluorocarbons, or CFCs, were the main ingredient in a lot of products, like aerosol spray cans. Then scientists discovered that CFCs were actually destroying the atmospheric ozone. People could look at their own hairspray and say, “Do I want to destroy the planet because of my hairspray? I mean, god no.” And so what's interesting is that sales of hairspray and those kinds of products and underarm aerosols started dropping quite dramatically.

People listened to scientists and took action. Now scientists predict that the hole in the ozone layer will be healed around 2050. That’s actually pretty amazing. And while stopping the use of one product is actually pretty easy, climate change caused by greenhouse gases … that’s much trickier. Because the sources are more complicated, and for the most part, they’re totally invisible. Right now, there is CO2 pouring out of tailpipes, there is CO2 pouring out of buildings, there is CO2 pouring out of smokestacks, but you can't see it. The fundamental cause of this problem is largely invisible to most of us. I mean, if CO2 was black, we would have dealt with this issue a long time ago. So CO2 touches every part of our lives — our cars, the places we work, the food we eat.

For now, let’s just focus on one thing: our energy use. How do we make that visible? That was the initial goal of UCLA’s Engage project, one of the nation’s largest behavioral experiments in energy conservation. What we're trying to do is to figure out how to frame information about electricity usage so that people save energy and conserve electricity. The idea is that electricity is relatively invisible to people. The research team outfitted part of a student housing complex with meters that tracked real-time usage of appliances and then sent them weekly reports. So you can see how much energy the stove used versus the dishwasher or the fridge. We realized, because of this project, the fridge was like the monster. So lucky for them, their landlord upgraded their fridge to an energy-efficient one. They also learned other energy-saving tips, like unplugging their dishwasher when not in use and air-drying their clothes during the summer months. And researchers, in turn, discovered where people were willing to cut back. The Engage project wanted to know what types of messaging could motivate people to change their behavior. We wanted to see over time over a year and with repeated messages, how do people, behave? How does that impact the consumer behavior? And what we found is that it's very different.

Some households were sent personalized emails with their energy bill about how they could save money; others learned how their energy usage impacted the environment and children’s health. Those who received messages about saving money did nothing. It was totally ineffective because electricity is relatively cheap. But emails sent that linked the amount of pollutants produced to rates of childhood asthma and cancer — well, those led to an 8% drop in energy use, and 19% in households with kids. Now, in a separate study, researchers brought social competition into the mix. First, they hung posters around a dorm building to publicly showcase how students were really doing: red dots for energy wasters, green for those doing a good job, and a shiny gold star for those going above and beyond. This social pressure approach led to a 20% reduction in energy use. This strategy was also used at Paulina’s complex, and it definitely brought out her competitive streak. For me, the competition was what motivated me, because seeing your apartment number and telling you that you are doing at the average, but you are not the best, was like, Why? I’m doing everything you are telling me to do.

I always wanted the gold star, because it was like, “Oh, my god, I want to be like the less consumption of energy in the whole building.” And psychology studies have proved this. We are social creatures, and as individualistic as we can be, turns out we do care about how we compare to others. And yes, we do like to be the best. Some people don’t want to say, Oh, I'm like the average. No, my usage is different and I want to be able to act on it. And people can act on it because with these meters, they can now see their exact impact. A company called Opower is playing with this idea of social competition. They work with over 100 utility companies to provide personalized energy reports to millions of customers around the world. Now consumers can not only see their energy use but how it compares to their neighbors’. Like the UCLA study found, this subtle social pressure encourages consumers to save energy.

It’s been so effective that in 2016, Opower was able to generate the equivalent of two terawatt-hours of electricity savings. That’s enough to power every home in Miami for more than a year. And they’re not alone. Even large companies are tapping into behavioral science to move the dial. Virgin Atlantic Airways gave a select group of pilots feedback on their fuel use. Over the course of a year, they collectively saved over 6,800 tons of fuel by making some simple changes: Adjusting their altitudes, routes, and speed reduced their carbon dioxide emissions by over 21,000 tons. These behavioral “nudges” do seem to be advancing how we as a society deal with some pretty complicated climate change issues, but it turns out we’re just getting started. There is no “quick fix.” We need people changing their companies, changing their business models, changing the products and services they provide. This is about broader-scale change. And part of this change includes embracing what makes us human.

That it can’t just be a guilt trip about dying polar bears or driving around in gas guzzlers. We need to talk about our wins, as well — like how we’re making progress, really being aware of our energy use, and taking advantage of that competitive spirit we all have in order to really move us from a state of apathy to action. Global warming is by far the biggest issue of our time. Climate Lab is a new series from Vox and the University of California, and we’ll be exploring some surprising ways we can tackle this problem. If you want to learn more, head to climate.universityofcalifornia.edu..

An Economic Case for Acting on Climate

When you're sitting in Boston with the average temperature is 48 degrees Fahrenheit, three or four degrees of warming in terms of average temperatures, that actually sounds nice. But if I told you that that corresponds to maybe 10, 20, 30 more days a year where it gets too hot to work outside, then it's suddenly a different story. As a student of economics, I see climate change as the ultimate market failure, it's the ultimate global public goods problem, so that's interesting from the intellectual standpoint but probably more importantly from a public welfare standpoint, I see climate change as probably one of the defining challenges of my generation. We're only beginning to understand the extent to which changes in climate, particularly as they manifest in increased extreme events, may affect economic welfare, economic productivity. Looking at U.S. automobile manufacturing plants, a week with six or more days above 90 degrees Fahrenheit results in roughly eight percent reduction in output and, more importantly, that output is not made up in later weeks, right, it's not like they just work overtime on a cooler week to make up for that. There's just so much uncertainty involved and we're trying to make policy on fifty to a hundred year timescale, something that we really haven't done before as a civilization.

And so being able to clarify even small catches, right, of the shroud of uncertainty that surrounds this issue is a hugely valuable task that places like Harvard are uniquely well positioned to tackle..

Trump pulls U S out of non binding Paris Climate Accord — Here’s why he was right to do it

Trump pulls U.S. out of non-binding Paris Climate Accord � Here�s why he was right to do it by: JD Heyes Far-Left Democrats and so-called �environmentalists� who still believe the global warming hoax are furious at President Donald J. Trump for keeping his campaign pledge to withdraw the United States from the �non-binding� Paris Climate Accords signed onto by the Obama administration. But perhaps after they calm down and allow their blood pressure to return to normal, they can take a rational, reasoned look at why the president made his decision; if they afford him that courtesy, there is no way they can conclude that his decision was wrong. In making the announcement from the White House Rose Garden Thursday afternoon, Trump stated that he felt obligated to withdraw from the agreement � which should have been sent to the U.

S. Senate by Obama to be ratified as a treaty, because that�s what it was, in both style and substance � because it is �a bad deal� for American workers, taxpayers and companies. (RELATED: The Paris Climate Accord is GENOCIDE against plants, forests and all life on our planet) Trump also knocked the cost of the agreement � which will rise to some $450 billion a year, much of which would have to come from the U.S. � while major polluters who are also signatories to the deal do not have to comply with the accords� emissions limitations for more than a decade. Meanwhile, the U.S. has to comply immediately. The president also lashed out at his critics who said pulling out of the deal would be a disaster for the country, noting that remaining in the agreement would cost American families and businesses billions per year. Also, he said, the agreement prohibited the U.S. from �conducting its own domestic economic affairs� by preventing the development of our own natural resources, like clean coal and natural gas, both of which create far fewer emissions than other forms of energy.

�I was elected to represent the people of Pittsburg, not Paris,� Trump said. �It�s time to pursue a new deal that protects� the environment, as well as the American people. Trump, according to various experts and analyses, was right to withdraw from the current agreement as written. �Through a litany of regulations stemming from the agreement, Obama has essentially offered up the U.S. economy as a sacrificial lamb to further his own legacy,� Americans for Tax Reform noted Wednesday in a post on its website. �Sadly, the agreement will not just hurt the country�s growth as a whole, but will trickle down to low-and-middle income Americans. As a result of the agreement, energy costs will skyrocket, in turn raising the cost of utility bills for families and increasing the costs of consumer goods.

� (RELATED: UN official actually ADMITS that �global warming� is a scam designed to �change world�s economic model�) A study of the agreement by the Heritage Foundation, released in April 2016, found that the agreement would have resulted in the adoption of government policies that dramatically increased electricity costs for a family of four between 13 and 20 percent annually. In addition, the analysis found that American families would lose out on some $20,000 in income by 2035, regressive (not progressive) economic policies that no doubt would hit the nation�s poorest the hardest. [Meanwhile, we�re sure that Obama won�t have any trouble paying his electric bill, no matter what it costs] Other analysts, as Trump noted in his speech, noted that the loss of U.S. annual gross domestic product would be close to $3 trillion by 2035, while reducing employment in the U.S.

by about 400,000 jobs, half of which would be in manufacturing. But perhaps most galling of all is the fact that even the far Left admitted that the agreement would accomplish virtually nothing � and certainly was not the global carbon emissions destroyer its principle advocates made it out to be. Politico Europe reported: In fact, emissions reductions are barely on the table at all. Instead, the talks are rigged to ensure an agreement is reached regardless of how little action countries plan to take. The developing world, projected to account for four-fifths of all carbon-dioxide emissions this century, will earn applause for what amounts to a promise to stay on their pre-existing trajectory of emissions-intensive growth. As Trump said, �The agreement is a massive redistribution of wealth from the U.S. to other countries.� There is no good reason to remain in it, just as there was no good reason for Obama to have signed it..

 

I’m a Tea Party conservative. Here’s how to win over Republicans on renewable energy.

This is my cell phone, okay? Does that look like that is the cell phone case of a liberal? My dad is a retired baptist minister. He told me that in order to get people to hear your message, you have to get them in the church. That is a mistake that a lot of environmentalists make when talking to Republicans and conservatives about solar, about clean energy. They lead off with climate change. That is the wrong message. If you deliver the message of energy freedom, energy choice, competition, national security, innovation — all of the sudden you have a receptive audience and they will listen to you. If you lead off with climate change, they're not going to pay a bit of attention to anything else you say. They've been brainwashed for decades into believing we're not damaging the environment. Unfortunately, a lot of these fossil fuel interests and giant monopolies have been telling activists for decades that we're not damaging the environment… Everyone agrees that burning fossil fuels releases carbon dioxide, and that such concentrations in the atmosphere are rising.

But it’s a long and dangerous leap to conclude that we should therefore cut fossil fuel use. You have industries that have a lot of money in deep pockets and they're willing to use that money to put out negative facts and bogus studies to convince us that renewables are bad. Get the facts about these out-of-state solar companies at AZSolarFacts.com And by God, they are not going to get away with it. You have to understand one thing: The Republican party has always been, in the past, a party of conservation. Richard Nixon, a Republican president, actually created the EPA to make sure we had clean air and clean water. Each of us all across this great land has a stake in maintaining and improving environmental quality. Ronald Reagan is not actually known as an environmental president. But he was a conservationist. He actually believed man was damaging the environment and he advocated very strongly for and signed the Montreal Protocol that banned fluorocarbons. If Ronald Reagan were alive today and he wanted to ban aerosols, fluorocarbons, because he saw scientific evidence that they were damaging the environment, some of these same groups that are attacking renewables would be attacking the conservative icon Ronald Reagan.

One of the reasons I’m fighting very hard to bring conservatives on board and to educate conservatives to advance renewables: Failure is not an option. This earth is not a Republican earth. It’s not a Democrat earth. This earth belongs to all of us. If you think fossil fuel is not damaging the environment, pull your car in a garage, start up your engine and inhale the exhaust fumes for a few minutes and see what happens..

Storing the Sun’s Energy in Liquid Could Change Solar Forever

The sun puts out a lot of energy, more of it hits the earth in an hour than humankind could use in a year And we’re really not taking advantage of it, the US got less than 1% of its electricity from solar power in 2016. If we could get that number higher, we could run our homes, cars, toaster ovens, all with zero emissions. That’s the dream anyway, some perfect future with limitless free energy. So what’s in the near future for this future? Where does solar power go from here? One of the big problems is what do we do when there’s no sun? Like on cloudy days. Or at night time. If we’re going to go all solar, we need a way to store the sun’s energy.Usually, we’d combine solar panels with rechargeable batteries, but batteries are pricey and they kinda suck. So researchers in Sweden are working on how to catch the sun’s energy in a bottle, or at least in a little tube. Those crazy Swedes developed a liquid with an intriguing property. The molecules in the liquid react when exposed to light and become isomers; meaning they still have the same makeup, but in a different arrangement than normal.

This new arrangement stores energy, and when a catalyst is introduced, it shifts the molecules back to their usual structure and releases the stored energy as heat, which could be used to warm homes at night or generate electricity, provided enough heat is released. Recently the researchers switched from expensive ruthenium to the more common elements carbon, hydrogen, and nitrogen to build their molecules; this makes the process cheaper and easier. On top of that, they’ve actually increased their storage capacity by a hundredfold! Ok so… they could only store 0.01% of the energy that hit it before… and a hundredfold increase means just 1.1%, but still, progress! Storage isn’t the only issue. The panels themselves are also expensive… If we could make the solar panels cheaper that would go a long way to creating a competitive source of energy compared to fossil fuels and other renewables.

90% of photovoltaic cells today use crystalline silicon, making them expensive to manufacture and the process creates toxic by-products. But an entirely different approach does exist: Using perovskites. Perovskites have a crystal structure of tetrahedral arrangements of atoms and molecules, and depending on which elements are used they have different properties. They could be superconductive, magnetoresistive, or photovoltaic. Solar cells that use them are cheap and easy to assemble and could now be on par with silicon cells in terms of energy efficiency. But you may have noticed every rooftop in sight isn’t covered in perovskites. That’s because they have a fatal flaw: the cells are unstable, and extreme light levels, temperature, and humidity cause them to decompose. Even normal weather can destroy them, which is bad because you typically see a lot of weather outside, the place where solar panels need to be. As a result perovskite cells only function for several months, compared to silicon cells which can last more than 25 years. But hey, a decade ago perovskite cells only lasted a few minutes.

Again, progress! Scientists are constantly coming up with new and ingenious ways to make the sun do our bidding, and these are just a couple of things currently in the works that show promise. Though we don’t use much of it now, breakthroughs and innovation could lead to a world powered cleanly and sustainably by sunlight. The future of solar power looks bright. There are crazier ideas for solar like putting panels in space and beaming electricity to Earth, but a massive project like that would be insanely expensive. They’re fun to ponder though, so Trace covers some far our geoengineering projects here. Do you have a favorite renewable energy technology that’s not quite ready yet? Let us know in the comments, so I can see how many of you say thorium reactors, subscribe for more, and thanks for watching Seeker.

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Can We Rely on Wind and Solar Energy?

Are wind and solar power the answer to our energy needs? There’s a lot of sun and a lot of wind. They’re free. They’re clean. No CO2 emissions. So, what’s the problem? Why do solar and wind combined provide less than 2% of the world’s energy? To answer these questions, we need to understand what makes energy, or anything else for that matter, cheap and plentiful. For something to be cheap and plentiful, every part of the process to produce it, including every input that goes into it, must be cheap and plentiful. Yes, the sun is free. Yes, wind is free. But the process of turning sunlight and wind into useable energy on a mass scale is far from free. In fact, compared to the other sources of energy — fossil fuels, nuclear power, and hydroelectric power, solar and wind power are very expensive. The basic problem is that sunlight and wind as energy sources are both weak (the more technical term is dilute) and unreliable (the more technical term is intermittent).

It takes a lot of resources to collect and concentrate them, and even more resources to make them available on-demand. These are called the diluteness problem and the intermittency problem. The diluteness problem is that, unlike coal or oil, the sun and the wind don’t deliver concentrated energy — which means you need a lot of additional materials to produce a unit of energy. For solar power, such materials can include highly purified silicon, phosphorus, boron, and a dozen other complex compounds like titanium dioxide. All these materials have to be mined, refined and/or manufactured in order to make solar panels. Those industrial processes take a lot of energy. For wind, needed materials include high-performance compounds for turbine blades and the rare-earth metal neodymium for lightweight, specialty magnets, as well as the steel and concrete necessary to build structures — thousands of them — as tall as skyscrapers. And as big a problem as diluteness is, it’s nothing compared to the intermittency problem.

This isn’t exactly a news flash, but the sun doesn’t shine all the time. And the wind doesn’t blow all the time. The only way for solar and wind to be truly useful would be if we could store them so that they would be available when we needed them. You can store oil in a tank. Where do you store solar or wind energy? No such mass-storage system exists. Which is why, in the entire world, there is not one real or proposed independent, freestanding solar or wind power plant. All of them require backup. And guess what the go-to back-up is: fossil fuel. Here’s what solar and wind electricity look like in Germany, which is the world’s leader in “renewables”. The word erratic leaps to mind. Wind is constantly varying, sometimes disappearing completely. And solar produces little in the winter months when Germany most needs energy.

Therefore, some reliable source of energy is needed to do the heavy lifting. In Germany’s case that energy is coal. So, while Germany has spent tens of billions of dollars to subsidize solar panels and windmills, fossil fuel use in that nation has not decreased, it’s increased — and less than 10% of their total energy is generated by solar and wind. Furthermore, switching back and forth between solar and wind and coal to maintain a steady flow of energy is costly. Utility bills for the average German have gone up so dramatically that “energy poverty” has become a popular term to describe those who cannot pay — or who can barely pay — their electricity bills. If those bills one day go down, the reason will not be more solar and wind energy, but lower oil and coal prices. There’s no free lunch.

And there’s no free energy. And that very much includes the highly expensive energy from the sun and the wind. I’m Alex Epstein of the Center for Industrial Progress, for Prager University..

Food waste is the world’s dumbest problem

MIT is known for developing a lot of impressive technology. But hidden in the kitchen of MIT’s Media Lab is, perhaps, my favorite MIT invention: the FoodCam. Okay, so it may not look like much but it’s actually quite brilliant. Let’s say you have some leftover food. You put it under the camera and you hit the button. FoodCam posts a photo to Twitter, Slack, and a mailing list. All with a simple message: Come and get it! It looks like a pretty good box of donuts. Yes. It looks yummy under FoodCam. It does. Getting the food can actually be pretty competitive. By the time we got here, just 30 seconds after it was placed, the whole building had swarmed and all the pizza was gone. There’s a mad rush of people that come from, like, every entryway in here to get the pizza. So you got to kind of move pretty quickly. Yeah, it’s a game — it’s like the Hunger Games. Where.

.. Will and Jon invented the FoodCam all the way back in 1999. This was before Facebook. Before Gmail. Before social media as we know it. The idea came from a building-wide leftovers problem. And in some ways, this simple invention gets at the big problem of food waste. I mean that's sort of the serious part of what you have done, really, right? There is no doubt that this completely helped reduce food waste at the lab. Almost all of the catering people know that if they have spare food from their event, they can just hit the button and people will consume that food. And those are not even Media Lab events that are now fueling the FoodCam. When we picture the stuff that’s hurting our planet, what do we think of? We think of, like, smokestacks, cars, oil spills. We don’t really think about all the food we throw away. In the US, roughly 40% of the food we produce never gets eaten. That's over 365 million pounds of food each day. While that’s happening, about one in eight Americans still don’t have a steady supply of food to their tables. And all of this wasted food is a huge contributor to climate change. If global food waste were a country, it would be the third largest emitter of greenhouse gases, just behind China and the United States.

So it really is an enormous problem and one of the easiest ways to address climate change. It takes a ton of resources to produce food. On top of that, you have all of the energy it takes to keep it cold and transport it around the country. And when food decomposes, it isn’t just stinky. It releases potent greenhouse gases. Basically, we’re trashing our planet to grow food that no one eats.But here’s the thing: No one actually likes wasting food. It’s just something that we haven’t been paying much attention to. Of all of the challenging problems out there, reducing the amount of food we're wasting is one of the easiest. In the US, consumers collectively make up the largest portion of food waste. A family of four spends about $1,500 on food that they never eat. Meat is less as a percentage of what we buy but when you consider it in particular, as a greenhouse gas intensive product, meat waste actually has the highest greenhouse gas impact. And you don't have to be an expert to understand why food is going to waste in our homes.

We’re all busy and on the go. Sometimes I buy food without thinking, “Do I really need that?” There's even been a little bit of research to show that once something goes in the refrigerator it's actually worth less to us than before.   Researchers asked people how they would feel if they got home from the grocery store and dropped a carton of eggs. And then they asked, well if your eggs sat in your refrigerator for six weeks and then you didn't use them, how would you feel about that? And people felt a lot less remorse. I think a lot of the waste in our society does come down to choice and wanting to have the option to eat something at any time, whether or not we use it. Part of the reason we over-buy food is that we’ve got tons of space to store it in. Refrigerators have grown about 15% since the 1970s. One of the things we found in our research is that people are uncomfortable with white space when it comes to food. So we love it in buildings, or in design, but when it comes to food, we do not want to see empty space in our refrigerators, on our plates, and so I really believe that in some subliminal way we're just filling everything. And if we had smaller refrigerators, that let us see everything that was in there, that in itself would lead to quite a bit less waste in our homes.

And it isn’t just our refrigerators that have gotten bigger. The average dinner plate has grown by 36% since 1960. When you have a big plate, you tend to put a lot of food on it —  whether or not you can eat it all. This is something Jill Horst noticed at UC Santa Barbara. You have a tray that's 14-by-18 inches and you feel you need to load it up with food. You would see students that had four glasses: water, juice, soda, milk — and you'd go to the tray return and they would still be full. In 2009, the dining halls stopped using trays. Students can take as much food as they want, but there isn’t a tray to pile it onto. The food waste per person, per tray, reduced by 50 percent. I mean so that was huge. Let’s say that the average student wastes six ounces of food per meal.

That may not seem like a lot — but UC Santa Barbara serves 13,000 meals per day. So that’s nearly 5,000 pounds of wasted food. It's like throwing 350 Thanksgiving turkeys into the garbage every single day. And when you take the trays away and it becomes three ounces, that's a significant impact to help with not only the food waste, but food cost. So, it turns out that something very small — like removing a tray or changing the size of a plate — can have this profound impact on our behavior. And it doesn’t take much effort, because the effect is subliminal. The other thing they’re paying attention to at UC Santa Barbara is portion size. Each plate is portioned one portion for a student. They can take as many portions as they like, but we are actually plating the right size, the right amount that we should be eating. We’ve gotten used to these gigantic portion sizes at restaurants. And in a subtle way, it encourages us to overeat and throw away a lot of food. If you look around, there’s not a whole lot of food waste on the plates because of the proper portioning.

I mean that’s somebody’s meal. That’s all they have left. None of us are perfect. Wasting less food isn’t just going to happen overnight. But just having it on our radar can really help us waste a lot less.   And if we do have extra food, then let’s at least try to get it to people who could use it. There is so much high-quality surplus that's wasted, that just needs to find the people that need it the most. Komal is the founder of Copia, a startup that’s trying to recover all of this perfectly good food. If you imagine the world's largest football stadium filled to its absolute brim that's how much food goes wasted every single day in America — and I'm not talking about last night's pad thai or this morning's half-eaten pastries, but untouched, uneaten, perfectly edible food.   So we don’t need to purchase or make more food. We just need to figure out how to get it to the people who need it.

MIT’s FoodCam is great at recovering food. But when you start scaling this up from one building to an entire city or an entire country, it becomes much more difficult. Let’s say you’re a small company and have 200 sandwiches left over from an event. That’s a lot of food — but it takes time and effort to figure out how and where to donate it. Most people really don’t want to deal with all this. It shouldn’t be this hard to do a good thing. Like, how cool would it be if people who have food could say, hey, we have food, and people who need food could say, hey we need food, and we could connect these two people and clear the marketplace? So Komal is trying to make food donation easy and intuitive. If you have some food, you type your info into the Copia app. A driver will then come pick up your food and deliver it to shelters that need it. And during big events, like Super Bowl 50, there’s a ton of extra food. The issue is that it has a short shelf life. Imagine four 16-foot refrigerated trucks filled to their absolute brim — that's how much food we recovered.

We fed 23,000 people in two days. Nobody slept. And it's not you know hot dogs and popcorn. It was lobster rolls and pulled pork sandwiches and $300 cheeses. High-quality food. If we can get food that would otherwise be wasted to people who need it, we’re not only fighting hunger, but we’re actually slowing global warming. It really is a win-win. And Komal doesn’t want to solve hunger in just California. She wants to solve world hunger — period. It's not about optimism or pessimism. I think it's just that we're hell-bent on making it happen. This isn't going to be an overnight thing. It's got to be policy change. It's going to be other entrepreneurs. It's going to be really big companies and institutions also taking a stand and saying that you know what? We don't tolerate perfectly great food being wasted. Look, no one likes throwing out food. So we made a simple guide to help you waste less.

To find out more go to climate.universityofcalifornia.edu..

Can We Reverse The Damage Done To Earth?

Hey there and welcome to Life Noggin! Right now we are living in a dangerous time where many powerful political leaders don’t believe that climate change is caused by human activity. However, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, it is very likely that most of the increase in global temperatures since the mid-20th century is caused by the human-related increases in greenhouse gas concentrations. And if we keep emitting more of these gases, the effects of global warming will continue and may even worsen. But there /are/ ways to help prevent this from happening — including some cool innovations and simple things you can do yourself. To start, let’s talk about one of my favorite topics: gassy cows. See, as part of their digestive process, cattle produce a lot of gas — including a particular greenhouse gas called methane. This gas is emitted by natural sources like wetlands, but is also emitted by human activities like coal mining, landfills, and raising livestock.

And even though it doesn’t last as long in the atmosphere compared to carbon dioxide, it’s much better at trapping heat. That really makes burping and farting cows seem a lot less funny, doesn’t it? But anyway, to prevent all this methane from getting into the atmosphere, researchers at Argentina’s National Institute of Agricultural Technology developed an…interesting accessory. Meet the inflatable backpack — the hottest new trend of the season. Basically, this inflatable bag is connected to a tube running to the cows’ stomachs, which collects the gas the cows emits, which fills the bag. It’s kind of adorable in a weird, weird way… But it’s also really useful because the researchers found that the cows emitted a few hundred liters of methane every day, which can later be reused for other purposes. Go Argentina! Another awesome innovation involves turning the carbon dioxide gas into a common household item — baking soda! So get out your whisks and aprons, folks, because helping the planet is about to get a whole lot tastier! A firm called Carbon Clean Solutions is currently working with a chemical plant in India to strip carbon dioxide gas from the plant’s flue gas.

The chemical they use to do this is apparently less corrosive, less expensive, and more efficient than other chemicals that do the same thing. And even more, Carbon Clean Solutions estimates that they can capture around 60,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year. Previously, a process called carbon capture and storage was used where carbon dioxide is captured from power plants or industrial processes, transported, and stored in deep underground rock formations. However, this process is far from perfect and likely more expensive than it will be to turn the gas into baking soda instead. But even with these two innovations, there’s still a lot left to do. And eventually, we’ll have to stop burning fossil fuels and switch to renewable, clean energy. This will be a long process, but there’s still some simple things that you can do now to help. One is to drive less, take more public transportation, or just walk or bike places. Another is to turn off lights and unplug your electronics and maybe even invest in solar panels for your house.

We need to start saving our planet and every little effort will help. What do you do to help the planet? Let us know in the comments below. If you ever want to know what happens when a planet dies, make sure to check out this video. Make sure you come back every Monday for a brand new video. As always, I’m Blocko and this has been Life Noggin. Don’t forget to keep on thinking!.