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A globe-trotting activist communicates science and the environment

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Chile Part 2: Meeting Energy Demand in the Skinniest Country on Earth

I´ve very quickly reached the halfway point of my time in Chile, and while I´ve been mostly focused on spending time with family and seeing the sites, my third goal was to learn and write about the state of environmental problems and policy in Chile. Since my last blog post, I´ve visited my grandparents´hometowns of Valparaiso and Viña del Mar, spent a relaxing weekend at the beach, and embarked on a 2 week exploration of the southern lakes region – I´m writing this post from Valdivia. But I´ll save my summaries of these beautiful places for a later post. For now, I´d like to share what I´ve learned about the history of energy resources in Chile from my own research, conversations with locals, and meetings with government officials and industry leaders. Continue reading “Chile Part 2: Meeting Energy Demand in the Skinniest Country on Earth”

Why Silicon Valley Should Support the Paris Agreement

President Trump is on the verge of a monumental decision to withdraw or keep the U.S. in the Paris Agreement. Signed by 194 nations in December 2015, the Paris Agreement establishes the first global goal to limit warming to 2°C above preindustrial levels. But now, the new U.S. administration plans to roll back a suite of environmental measures, and the Paris Agreement is potentially on the chopping block. While this might seem like a distant, bureaucratic matter, the Paris Agreement has immediate, tangible benefits on a local scale. Here in Silicon Valley, the agreement will help create jobs, incentivize innovation, and spur growth in the clean energy sector today – while reducing costly climate impacts tomorrow. We must remind the Trump administration that the Paris Agreement will help, not hinder, our critical slice of the American economy. Continue reading “Why Silicon Valley Should Support the Paris Agreement”

What Trump’s First Week Means for the Planet – and What You Can Do About It

Friends, it’s been a rough week. Every day I’ve woken up feeling discouraged, terrified, pessimistic, outraged, or all of the above. It’s been hard for me to process how utterly destructive Trump’s first week in office has been, and I’ll admit I’ve pretty much failed to stay calm. The news has been hitting me like big, crashing waves – and before I can get up again and recover, another wave comes crashing over me. The blazing pace of news this week about pretty much every progressive issue – women’s rights, LGBTQ rights, immigration – has been utterly astounding and I’ve found it nearly impossible to keep up. So I thought I’d take this opportunity to help myself and those around me by summarizing what exactly happened this week in terms of the environment, what people are already doing in response, and what you can do right now to help. Continue reading “What Trump’s First Week Means for the Planet – and What You Can Do About It”

Water, Water Everywhere, But Not a Drop to Drink

Drink from something other than a plastic bottle, that is. These lines, taken from a poem called “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, describe our modern bottled water industry fairly well. While water distribution is varied across the planet, you can drink clean water for free from the tap in most places in the U.S. And yet, bottled water products, including brands like Perrier and Evian, litter the shelves of every convenience store. Water has become a commodity and a hugely lucrative industry. Continue reading “Water, Water Everywhere, But Not a Drop to Drink”

Why the Electoral College Failed to Surprise

On Monday, December 19th at 9am, I walked up the steps to the Colorado State Capitol. It was 16 degrees and a small crowd had gathered, holding signs that ranged from “Stop Trump” to “Electors: Vote Your Conscience”. My family and I had traveled to Denver on this day to voice our tremendous concerns about President-elect Trump, to show our support for an Electoral College “revolt” (however far-fetched it seemed), and to simply be a part of history. Continue reading “Why the Electoral College Failed to Surprise”

Why There’s Still Hope For Our Environment

No, it’s not all doom and gloom.

You see, last night’s election result was a deep disappointment to those of us who believe in acting on climate change, protecting our environment, celebrating our differences, and creating an America where everyone is welcome and accepted. But the truth is, there are a lot of things that Donald Trump can’t change in this country. Continue reading “Why There’s Still Hope For Our Environment”

A Scary New Source of Energy

Deep below the crashing waves, the ocean rumbles. Away from the boats, away from the people, away from the species we are familiar with – the ones we eat, the ones we admire on snorkeling trips to coral reefs. Down here, the enormous pressure would blow a human to smithereens in a fraction of a second. Down here, it is dark and vast. But it is not empty – there are creatures we could not even dare to dream of, like 20-foot-long worms and gigantic crabs. There is something else here though, something we are daring to dream of, and something some people want desperately. They are called methane hydrates. Continue reading “A Scary New Source of Energy”

Last Day of COP 21: Emma’s Guide to the Paris Agreement

On the last day of COP 21, and I got to meet two of my environmental heroes, Bill McKibben and Xiuhtezcatl Martinez. There were fewer people in the Green Zone, which meant shorter lines for the Creperie inside (my favorite food source during the conference this week), but the space was still buzzing with energy. Later on in the day, I did some more Paris sightseeing and visited the Louvre and the Arc do Triomphe. Continue reading “Last Day of COP 21: Emma’s Guide to the Paris Agreement”

Day 3 at COP 21: Blue Heads and Murals

Another great day in Paris! I started the day by going to Montsauris Park in the south of the city with Christina, another Conergy Solar Ambassador. We were there to see one of many art installations that have been put up around the city of Paris in conjuction with the climate talks. This one was titled “Where the Tides Ebb and Flow”, and featured many blue heads positioned in a curve, sticking up out of a pond, to represent the impact of rising sea levels on the human race. Continue reading “Day 3 at COP 21: Blue Heads and Murals”

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