By Nicole Block, Climate Communications Student Writer
We all care about saving the environment, but how can we help when the problems are so overwhelming and often far away?
University of California, in partnership with Vox, is connecting people to climate action through a series of videos on the UC Climate Lab website, as part of the UC Carbon Neutrality Initiative. Every Wednesday through May 24, conservation scientist and UCLA visiting researcher M. Sanjayan addresses the latest research on a climate change issue and potential solutions that everyone can take part in. He and other experts discuss a broad range of topics including food, climate science, clean energy, and technology.
The debut episode, “Why humans are so bad at climate change,” shares some of the psychological and behavioral factors that make climate change a uniquely difficult concept to talk about and act upon.
April 26: “Going green shouldn’t be this hard” M. Sanjayan discusses the amount of waste and pollution that the U.S. produces and the ways we could reduce that– by banning plastic bags, implementing policies and regulations, and requiring businesses to be responsible for their waste.
May 3: “Why your old phones collect in a junk drawer of sadness” While we all love our phones and electronics, they require a lot of energy and resources to produce, transport, and repair. M. Sanjayan looks at ways that we can fix our phones ourselves and make them last longer. We can also dispose of old electronics responsibly so that toxic materials don’t leach back into the environment, while we’re waiting for improved cell phone designs that are being researched now.
May 10: “Food waste in the world’s dumbest problem” Almost half of the food produced in the U.S. never gets eaten, adding up to over 365 million tons of food wasted each day. This is the third biggest emitter of greenhouse gases, after China and the U.S., and yet 1 in 8 Americans don’t have a stable supply of food. If we can figure out how to get our extra, wasted food to those who need it we can solve two problems at once: reducing greenhouse gases and hunger. Watch to see the creative solutions that people are coming up with!
May 17: “The fight to rethink (and reinvent) nuclear power” Nuclear power has some negative connotations, but it is one of the cleanest energy sources at our disposal because it doesn’t emit CO2. While nuclear power has its dangers, scientists are researching ways to make it safer and how to reduce the amount of used, radioactive fuel created. However, one of the biggest problems is the lack of popular and economic support for building nuclear reactors. If we can get past that and use the innovative research being developed, we could stop using CO2-emitting energy sources and eliminate our contribution to climate change.
May 24: “Scientists really aren’t the best champions of climate science” Even though there are plenty of facts and studies that prove climate change is a dangerous threat, sometimes this isn’t enough to convince everyone. Scientists aren’t the best at explaining these numbers and just what it means for our future, but people who connect it to stories and real life experiences help make it more accessible and make people care. Plenty of other voices can advocate for climate science and solutions. Politicians, stakeholders, and even the Pope are communicating these problems and their potential solutions to their communities.