And the realizations that would change my perspective forever

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

When I was born in 1991, the concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere was 356 ppm. This year I turned 30 and the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere now stands at about 416 ppm.

For the majority of my 30 years on earth, those numbers were meaningless to me.

Now, they’re the most important numbers I pay attention to.

While economists focus on GDP growth and investors focus on ROI, I focus on greenhouse gas (GHG) concentrations.

GHG concentrations are now higher than during the Pliocene period over three million years ago — a time well before…

A vision of a sustainable future told through a compelling story is far more powerful than scientific facts and figures

Photo by Kevin Erdvig on Unsplash

Crafting a vision for the future

Imagine it’s the year 2050 and we’ve successfully been able to hold global warming below the 2°C threshold (and ideally 1.5°C) the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) scientists have been warning us about.

What does that future world look like and feel like when you imagine it?

Are we more connected to nature or more connected to technology, or both?

How do we communicate and treat one another?

Do our political and economic systems function the same as they do now, or are they drastically different?

Is there more inequality than exists now or less?

Is it an extractive…

And giving minimalism a much-needed makeover

Photo by Samantha Gades on Unsplash

We are all addicts. To varying degrees.

Not in the drug and alcohol sense, but in terms of consumerism.

The perpetual desire to buy more and more to fill our lives. All the while, our lives become more empty.

The magic of marketing and advertising tells us that what we’re really missing in our lives is that new big screen TV with images so vivid you think you’ll be transported into whatever movie or show you’re watching. Or, what you really need is the latest smartphone so you can take professional selfies with its new and improved camera.

And don’t…

An interview with the City of San Rafael’s Sustainability Program Manager

The Richmond-San Rafael Bridge. Photo by Jim Harris on Unsplash

Federal legislation such as the infrastructure bill and reconciliation bill making their way through Congress currently tend to get most of the mainstream news coverage when it comes to climate action. What tends to get very little coverage, if any, are the significant actions cities in the U.S., and all around the world, are taking to address the climate crisis and become more sustainable and resilient. The local level is where real climate action is happening — and much quicker than most might expect from government.

I had the opportunity and pleasure to speak with Cory Bytof who is the…

Labels are simply a distraction that keep us from implementing the solutions the majority agree on

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

Capitalism vs. Socialism

Our society has a strange obsession with trying to label and categorize everything and everyone. Perhaps, it’s because it makes it simpler to talk about things or others, but by doing so we overgeneralize and overlook the vast complexity of our world.

Nowhere is this more evident than with the labels “capitalist” and “socialist.”

Britannica defines capitalism as an “economic system, dominant in the Western world since the breakup of feudalism, in which most means of production are privately owned and production is guided and income distributed largely through the operation of markets.”

In contrast, it defines socialism as a…

Don’t follow the road well-traveled — carve your own.

Photo by Bogdan Kozlovskyi on Unsplash

Following the Playbook

I followed the American playbook for most of my life until I realized the power of throwing it away.

The playbook that says get a good education so you can get a good job that pays well so you can live a good life — and some might add — the more it pays the better your life. This playbook is mostly the same across the world, each country with its own cultural artistic flair but with most of the same pages.

I stopped following that playbook the day I realized it had a critical flaw that actually hindered my…

It’s a slippery slope to losing hope

Photo by Stormseeker on Unsplash

In 2018, I thought humanity was doomed.

Doomed as in we would eventually succumb to being wiped out by the forces of climate change and there was nothing we could do to stop the trajectory we were on.

In other words, I had become a climate doomer.

Fast forward to this year, and I have just graduated with my MS in Environmental Sciences and Policy and am devoting the rest of my life to taking on the climate crisis.

So how in the world did I go from believing that we were all doomed to now believing that it’s not…

Almost no debate is black and white — bitcoin’s energy consumption is no different

Photo by Brian Wangenheim on Unsplash

The recent hot debate over bitcoin is its energy consumption. In this case, the debate is between the environmentalists and bitcoiners (i.e., those who own and believe strongly in bitcoin as an important technological innovation).

And as is the case in many debates, either side is largely refusing to hear the other out and be open-minded towards the other's concerns.

As both an environmentalist and bitcoiner myself, I believe it’s important to parse through the nuance of this debate rather than simply present a black and white view of it. …

What kind of advanced species destroys its own home?

Photo by Ingo Stiller on Unsplash

The (un)wiseness of our actions

Homo sapiens means “wise man”, but how wise are we really?

Sure, we discovered fire, designed the wheel, split the atom, sequenced our own genome, and landed on the Moon.

But we also lost half our wilderness, destabilized our climate, and are accelerating the sixth mass extinction. Not to mention, we’ve nearly destroyed ourselves several times now.

Would an advanced superior species actively go about destroying their own home and thus, themselves?

And when confronted with the devastating consequences of their actions, double down on them?

As just one example, the cumulative carbon dioxide emissions potential within current and planned…

If Biden is serious about dealing with climate change, then he’ll need to get to work quickly and take full advantage of his executive powers

Photo by René DeAnda on Unsplash

Joe Biden has officially been inaugurated as the 46th President of the United States today, and consequently, will chart a course for this country not only for the next four years, but decades to come.

Many news outlets called the 2020 presidential election the most consequential in history. And such a statement was not unfounded. Indeed, when it comes to dealing with the threats posed by climate change which are numerous and significant, President Biden could mark a crucial turning point from the past four years under Donald Trump.

The real question will be just how far Biden will go…

Sean Youra

Former engineer now focused on solving the climate crisis and building a better future | Founder and editor-in-chief of Climate Conscious

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