ISSUES

Gucci Is Going Carbon Neutral, and Fossil Fuel Corporations Should Follow Suit

We're looking at you, ExxonMobil.

Gucci has announced that it wants to go carbon neutral.

hypebeast.com

The company's CEO, Marco Bizzarri, just confirmed that the company will be purchasing carbon credits that cancel out the emissions of all the people who attend its upcoming Milan fashion show.

The high fashion brand has been working on their eco-friendliness for a while, launching a ten-year sustainability plan in 2018 and swearing off fur products the year prior.

Next up, the 100 fossil fuel companies that are responsible for 71% of the world's global emissions should go carbon neutral, shutting down or changing their product from fossil fuels to reusable energy.

Particularly, the 25 companies that are responsible for half of global emissions in the past three decades should consider offsetting their toxic effects (from selling a deadly substance that will kill us all, slowly and painfully) by paying a few trillion dollars in carbon credits and reparations to the communities they have destroyed.

It's great that eco-friendliness is fashionable now. It's awesome that high fashion companies are trying to go carbon neutral by buying carbon credits, even though carbon offsets are definitely not going to be enough to stop the climate crisis.

It would be even greater if ExxonMobil, Shell, BP, ConocoPhillips, Suncor, Saudi Aramco—and all the other companies bankrolling politicians that deny climate change, obfuscating decades of scientific research, and making it virtually impossible to stop climate change no matter how many models strut around in faux fur—would do the same.


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I'll admit it, I should do more to save the planet. Although I recycle and refuse to use plastic straws anymore, I'm constantly looking for new ways to be more environmentally conscious.

I always wanted to switch to a sustainable energy alternative but was afraid that it would be expensive or time-consuming to sign up. Like, I want to go green, but I can't afford higher utility bills. Recently, I was talking to a co-worker about the amount of plastic waste our office produces, and she told me that she feels guilt-free since she'd signed up for Arcadia Power. It's a free service that partners with your current utility provider to connect you with sustainable energy options.

She went on to tell me that signing up for an Arcadia Power account is a breeze and can be done entirely online. Best of all, it's lowered her utility bills. I politely nodded, assuming she'd gotten it wrong. But after checking out their site, I was shocked to see that it's not too good to be true! Here are 5 things I was surprised to learn…..

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I Never Thought Sustainable Energy Was Affordable Until I Tried Arcadia Power

I'll admit it, I should do more to save the planet. Although I recycle and refuse to use plastic straws anymore, I'm constantly looking for new ways to be more environmentally conscious.

I always wanted to switch to a sustainable energy alternative but was afraid that it would be expensive or time-consuming to sign up. Like, I want to go green, but I can't afford higher utility bills. Recently, I was talking to a co-worker about the amount of plastic waste our office produces, and she told me that she feels guilt-free since she'd signed up for Arcadia Power. It's a free service that partners with your current utility provider to connect you with sustainable energy options.

She went on to tell me that signing up for an Arcadia Power account is a breeze and can be done entirely online. Best of all, it's lowered her utility bills. I politely nodded, assuming she'd gotten it wrong. But after checking out their site, I was shocked to see that it's not too good to be true! Here are 5 things I was surprised to learn…..

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I never imagined that green energy could be so easily attainable, let alone affordable. But Arcadia Power's process is simple. I logged into my online utility account, provided basic information about my location, and they identified green providers in my area. They'll implement changes to your monthly bill only if they find clean energy that costs less. Arcadia Power is a convenient and effective way to make a real difference. Save yourself some money, while saving the world.

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POLITICS

There's a Green New Deal on the Horizon, and It Just Might Be Our Only Hope

This week, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Senator Ed Markey will be proposing the most ambitious plan to fight climate change yet.

Recycle. Take shorter showers. Turn the lights off.

Over the past several decades, most of us have heard these diatribes repeated over and over, and have perhaps become numbed to these mantras, which promise that tiny droplets of collective action could potentially save the planet from environmental ruination.

It's true that small changes are important, and that each person contributes to the growing levels of waste and pollution that are killing our ecosystems and raising the planet's temperatures so dramatically that Manhattan-size gaps are forming in Antarctic ice. But it's also true that 71% of carbon emissions come from just 100 companies. It's also true that the scale of the crisis has grown unmanageable, and poses an unprecedented threat to human life.

That's where the Green New Deal comes in.

Image via The Intercept

"It's the only plan that matches the scale of the crisis," said Naomi Klein of the proposal, speaking on livestream yesterday night to thousands of activists tuning in across America. The livestream was hosted by the Sunrise Movement, a millennial-founded organization dedicated to supporting and fortifying the Green New Deal, especially as it's proposed in Congress in the coming week. Klein is the author of This Changes Everything, a book that argues that impending climate catastrophe actually presents an extraordinary opportunity to revamp the world's economic systems for the better. "I believe we were born for this moment," she told viewers.

Named after FDR's New Deal—which revolutionized the entire country on a tremendous scale, planting three billion trees and establishing hundreds of national forests in addition to catalyzing widespread economic, agricultural, and social reforms—the Green New Deal seeks to implant reforms on an equivalent scale in a time when it seems like there is no other option.

Image via Vice News

The plan has gone through several phases, but the one that's being proposed in Congress this week focuses on several fundamental points. First: achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2030, and transition to renewable energy on a huge scale through initiatives like the creation of a nationwide electrical grid. Second: institute a living wage for all, in tandem with the creation of unlimited numbers of green jobs. These are the plan's main tenets, but its ideological aspirations stretch much further. It hopes to generate thousands of jobs in the form of start-ups and maintenance, and to start a wave of international trade in the renewable energy sector.

The original plan focused on a switch to 100% renewable energy by 2030, but a recent five-page draft obtained today by Bloomberg didn't mention this point, perhaps as a nod to moderates, though the omission is still subject to change. The draft proposes large-scale investment in green technology, the restoration of threatened lands, waste removal, and "massive growth in clean U.S. manufacturing, removing pollution byproducts and greenhouse gas emissions from that sector as much as technologically feasible."

The term "Green New Deal" is not a new one, though it has been going through different iterations since its inception. It was coined in a 2007 column by Thomas Friedman, and Barack Obama included it in his 2008 platform. Britain also took note, but a surge of Republican/Tory victories stymied its momentum.

Image via theintercept.com

The GND has found new life in Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the Bronx electorate whose rise to political success has been accompanied by widespread social media fame. Ocasio-Cortez showed up in person to support a Sunrise Movement sit-in in Nancy Pelosi's office, demanding the creation of a committee dedicated to developing and pushing the GND, and since then she has become one of its biggest proponents. Now she will be proposing it in Congress this week, alongside Massachusetts senator Ed Markey. The plan has also garnered support from Rep. Ayanna Pressley, as well as 2020 presidential candidates Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, and Bernie Sanders.

The Sunrise Movement began in 2015, when it was founded by climate activists Sara Blazevic and Varsini Prakash, and quickly gained momentum, taking notes from the heady drive of the 1963 civil rights protests of Birmingham, Alabama. Its founders gathered activists, reached out to politicians, and pulled together the finer points of the Sanders campaign and other recent social movements; the successful Pelosi sit-in was the product of months of organizing.

The movement is appealing in a narrative sense: the vision of young people fighting against bloated fossil fuel behemoths has a definite draw to it. There's also the fact that science says the fate of the entire world requires unprecedented global change over the next few years, otherwise catastrophes like Hurricane Sandy and the California wildfires will become the stuff of the everyday.

Image via theinsurgent.com

But the GND is still just an idea, and it could remain that way. Its lack of specific policy has been subject to criticism, though an official draft has yet to be unveiled, and conservative news sources have labeled it as a hoax, an amorphous idea without policy to back it.

While the GND might seem like an impossibly ambitious proposition, humans have revamped and reshaped the world before a hundred times over, and we are nothing if not creative and adaptive. We've created technologies that connect the globe and turned empty landscapes to highway-lined cities in a matter of years. Now—unless you like the idea of joining Elon Musk's exclusive Mars colony—it's time to turn all of our collective energies towards the future of the home we share.

70 leading Democrats have signed on in support so far, and momentum is building for its official proposition. The Sunrise Movement is planning on facilitating office visits to congress people across the country this week, as well as a rally in Washington on February 26th.

In an age of doomsday threats and constant headlines about plastic oceans and refugee crises facilitated by environmental droughts, the idea of a Green New Deal—something that could actually, genuinely make a difference that touches every aspect of life—seems like a light at the end of the tunnel. Now it's just a matter of getting there.

Image via radioopensource.org

Environmental crisis affects the poor and vulnerable at disproportionate levels; it catalyzes mental and physical illness, economic decline, and overall devastation. Irreparable damage has already been done—but the fight is not quite over yet, though time is running out.


Eden Arielle Gordon is a writer and musician from New York City. Follow her on Twitter at @edenarielmusic.