Category: Thoughts

Why Ensuring Ukrainian Victory in the War is Critical for Fighting Climate Change

Why Ensuring Ukrainian Victory in the War is Critical for Fighting Climate Change

Why Ensuring Ukrainian Victory in the War is Critical for Fighting Climate Change


“Why is ensuring Ukrainian victory in the war actually necessary in the fight against climate change?”

The ongoing war in Ukraine is throwing the entire world into a tailspin. Until recently, national borders were thought to have been stable in the big picture. However, Russia’s invasion threatens to upend all of this. If the previous paradigm falls, then more wars will ensue, leading to a ballooning of the global military-industrial complex and carbon emissions. But if Ukraine emerges victorious, then other nations will take note and be discouraged from conducting offensive wars. This will prevent the planet’s focus to shift away from solving the climate crisis. This is Why Ensuring Ukrainian Victory in the War is Critical for Fighting Climate Change.

As a proud descendent of Jews from Odesa, I urge you to please do what you can to help Ukrainians under invasion right now here.

The Economics of Canceling Rent and Mortgages

The Economics of Canceling Rent and Mortgages

The Economics of Canceling Rent and Mortgages


It’s no surprise to anyone that the advent of a global pandemic is inducing a worldwide 

economic meltdown. For months offices have been turned into ghostly shells, busy city streets into silent lanes, and restaurant halls dormant all because coming into close contact with another person holds the potential to be lethal! This has caused upwards of 20.5 million Americans to lose their jobs as of May, marking a 320 percent jump from 3.5 percent unemployment in February to 14.7 percent now. This is particularly felt among the working class

and communities of color, who are experiencing unemployment at higher rates than their more privileged counterparts. 

Although COVID relief legislation has been passed to provide some financial assistance and delay the collection of rent, many are saying that this is not enough. In fact, a sizable number of activists are calling for an entire cancellation on rent! From Organizers in New York to Ilhan Omar’s recently proposed bill to cancel all rent and mortgage payments throughout the pandemic, “cancel rent!” has become one of the latest rallying cries. But how can a cancellation of rent policy be achieved practically?

Well, let’s start with what would happen if rent were to be canceled. Rent payments are usually mandated because the individuals and/or institutions who own the property may need to make payments on the mortgage they took out to purchase everything in the first place. If their source of income is cut off, then the lack of cash flow to the institutions who sold them the physical space could force them into foreclosure, which would be devastating for everyone involved. Given that nearly half of properties are held by individual landlords, a blind rent cancellation without question would bring great consequences. Paired with the fact that a multitude of non-renting homeowners have lost their jobs and would also need assistance, most calls for rent cancellation are usually paired with a mortgage one too, as outlined in Representative Ilhan Omar’s bill. 

So where would things go on from there? Well, a mortgage freeze would lead to a stop of money flow to financial institutions such as banks, credit unions, and non-bank lenders. If these agencies do not receive their funds, then they risk the possibility of going broke and triggering a replay of the 2008 financial crisis. To prevent such a thing from happening, the federal government could instead intervene and cover residential rents and mortgages. According to the table below, the federal government would have to pay around $1.61 trillion to cover the cancellation of all rent and mortgages for a year (barring the administrative cost of implementing the system). Although this may seem like a lot of money, keep in mind that the COVID stimulus package cost U.S taxpayers around $2 trillion, and that canceling rent would help stimulate the economy by letting consumers spend more money on goods and services.  Given that no country in the world has canceled rent or mortgage payments, the U.S can show its leadership by being the first.  


Furthermore, a suspension on city taxes would lead to a drastic loss of revenue for

municipal governments, which are already buckling under the weight of the COVID economic downturn 


Rent Mortgage Total
Number of units 43 million rental units 1 128.8 million households 3 * 64.8% homeownership rate 4 * 62% have a mortgage 4  = 51,425,280 households with a mortgage
Average Cost $1,343 per month 2 $1,486 per month 5
Total payment 12 months $ 692,988,000,000 $917,015,592,960 ~ 1.61 trillion

1Number of renter occupied homes in the U.S. from 1960 to 2019

2Average two bedroom rent in the United States

3Total number of households in the U.S

4U.S Mortgage Statistics

5U.S Average Monthly Mortgage Payment

The total cost of rent and mortgages can be found by taking the number of rental and mortgages housing units in the United States, multiplying them by the average monthly rental price and mortgage price respectively, and then summing their values.


Although the math and economics work out, the idea of canceling rent might seem too extreme to some. In fact, given the lack of support of Ilhan Omar’s bill in congress, this action may never see the light of day. But before one criticizes rent cancellation advocates as being unrealistic, there needs to be recognition that this rhetoric can shift the Overton window of political possibilities towards a more renter-centered stance. “Cancel Rent!” could also be an effective rallying cry for movement Tenants, BIPOCs, and lower-income individuals are facing the brunt of this economic fallout, and canceling rent is the desire for a substantial number of them. Given that the current economic stimulus is fairly minimal by many standards, channeling this fury can lead to a very beneficial outcome.


 So what else can be done to help with the rent burden if it won’t be canceled? Well, the Federal Government could simply cut it for lower-income households. By covering the households that fall under less than 80 percent of the Area Median Income (the normative guideline for lower-income status in the U.S) and covering their rents or mortgages, their fiscal security can be ensured. Another tactic that can be used is for governments to cover part of the salaries of workers who have been laid off. One example can be found in the Netherlands, where the government has pledged to cover upwards of 90 percent of the salaries of employees whose businesses have been experiencing rough times due to the COVID epidemic. Another action that may be taken would be to mandate renters to be able to stretch their repayments over a long period of time. For example, instead of having to pay all of the missed rent at once, they could pay 1/12th of it over the next year.  

The call to cancel rent has been growing fast. The economic crisis induced by the COVID epidemic has disproportionately impacted tenants and Black and Brown communities, and the need for drastic relief is acute. Although canceling rent looks promising to many and could make economic sense, it’s completely experimental in nature. But consider this. The cost of inaction on this could leave millions of Americans with crippled finances and hundreds of thousands on the streets. This could potentially be an even greater strain on public finances than paying for their housing. Whatever action the U.S decides to take will have ramifications for decades to come, whether it be a massive spike in homelessness or civil unrest.

What Are the COVID Rental and Housing Policies, and How Would They Help Los Angeles?

What Are the COVID Rental and Housing Policies, and How Would They Help Los Angeles?

Original article can be found here.

Very few individuals could have foreseen the COVID epidemic. Starting from the arrival of the first officially diagnosed case in Los Angeles County in January, the virus had spread in the population until a state-wide stay at home order was issued for the county on March 19th. Since then, over 60,000 individuals have been confirmed to have been infected, more than 2,500 people have lost their lives, and billions of dollars in economic losses have ensued. Nearly 25 percent of Californian workers are now unemployed, a number matching the height of the Great Depression. Communities of color and lower-income individuals have taken on a disproportionate share of this burden. Black residents of Los Angeles have died from the virus at a rate over 56 percent higher than their share of the population and Latinx residents are forced to work in person at essential jobs at a rate far higher than other ethnic groups. All of this combines to make paying rent much more difficult.

Taking heed of this, the Los Angeles County, Californian, Federal Governments have passed legislative action to assist Californian taxpayers with their bills. The following is a concise list of them.


1. The Federal CARES Act

After lengthy negotiations, the U.S Federal Government signed into law the CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) Act.

This piece of legislation stipulates that

  • Single adults who have a gross income of $75,000 or less on their 2019 tax return a one-time check for $1,200.
  • Married couples who filed jointly will receive $2,400.
  • Families will get an additional $500 for each child under 17.
  • If an individual’s annual income is over $75,000/year, then their payment will shrink by $5.00 for every $100.00 earned over. (For example, an individual that makes $87,500/year would have $625.00 marked off their check and receive $575.00 instead).

Unfortunately, people who typically don’t file a tax return will not receive a package until they file, and individuals without a social security number and U.S citizens who are married to one are excluded from receiving a check. In addition, The CARES act also freezes student loan interests until the end of September and helps expand unemployment benefits by giving individuals an extra $600.00/week for the first month of enacting.

Given that the average rent in Los Angeles is $2,524, this stimulus check will not be remotely enough to cover the cost of living. This pales in comparison to other countries around the globe, where Canada is paying its citizens $1,433 USD per month, South Korea is covering 70% of worker’s salaries, Denmark 75%, the U.K 80%, and The Netherlands 90%. Given the vast number of newly unemployed workers and the high cost of living in Los Angeles, it would only be logical for more action to be taken.


2. Rent Stabilization Ordinance (RSO) Rent Increase Freeze

According to the Los Angeles Housing and Community Investment Department, a building is able to be protected under the rent-stabilization program if it is an apartment that is built on or before October of 1978. This usually means that the rent can only be raised by a maximum of 4% every year. But with the advent of the COVID epidemic, many Los Angeles city residents, particularly lower-income tenants that make a disproportionate share of rent-stabilized apartments, are losing substantial income. On March 30th, 2020, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced a freeze on rent-hikes on all 624,000 units of rent-stabilized apartments. Later the LA City Council had extended this measure to an entire year following the emergency.


3. Evictions Moratorium

On March 16th, 2020, California Governor Gavin Newsome issued executive order N-28-20, banning the enforcement of eviction orders on renters, with certain specifications.

The tenants are required to leave a written notice no more than 7 days before rent is due that they are unable to pay the rent. Eligible reasons for the inability to pay include lost wages due to the Coronavirus epidemic, becoming ill with the Coronavirus, or being forced to take care of someone ill with the coronavirus.

Sensing that complications could arise from having to provide a written notice, Los Angeles County issued an ordinance on March 19th to expand the ruling to all residential and commercial developments in unincorporated Los Angeles County. On April 14th, this ordinance was expanded to all jurisdictions in the county unless they already have adopted their own moratorium. In early May, these were extended to the end of June. What comes after is still up for legislators to decide. Other components of this ordinance include a ban on no-fault evictions (an action where landlords can terminate a tenant’s lease for any arbitrary reason even if they paid rent on time and acted without a problem) and Ellis Act evictions for two months until after the emergency ends (where a landlord may wish to tear down a rent-controlled building to place it off the rental market). Although temporary, these measures will afford extra protection to renters.


With these pieces of legislation, Los Angeles renters will be able to have at least some form of assistance for weathering the pandemic. Although the federal stimulus is too light and the rent stabilization ordinance and evictions moratorium is only temporary, at least some action is being taken. Moving forward, more protective actions will need to be taken to ensure that all residents of Los Angeles will be able to not only survive the pandemic but thrive afterward.

Why the 100% Affordable Housing Project at 480 E. 4th Avenue and 400 E. 5th Avenue in San Mateo Would Increase the City’s Climate Resilience Capacity

Why the 100% Affordable Housing Project at 480 E. 4th Avenue and 400 E. 5th Avenue in San Mateo Would Increase the City’s Climate Resilience Capacity

On April 28th, 2020, the City of San Mateo Planning Commission held an online study session looking for community feedback on a proposed project that would bring 225 affordable housing units to the downtown area. I wrote a letter explaining why the project would increase the city’s resilience capacity towards climate change.


To the City and Community of San Mateo, 

My name is Isaac Gendler. I am a Housing-Climate Resilience Researcher whose work is focused on the San Francisco Bay Area. It has recently come to my attention that Downtown San Mateo may soon be a host to a 100% affordable unit project at 480 E. 4th Avenue and 400 E. 5th Avenue. The geographical positioning of the venture would simultaneously make the city a more just, equitable, and climate-resilient place to live for all.

According to Zillow, the median home value in San Mateo is $1,467,184 and the median rent is $3,357. Given that the minimum wage of the city is $15.38, the cost of living is simply out of reach for many people who would be potential upstanding residents. If the proposed project is constructed according to its current specifications, it will contain 225 units of 100% affordable housing, half of which are designated as low and extremely-low income units. This will allow workers and their families of all backgrounds to enjoy the full benefits of living in the city. A city with ample greenery, clean air, and the most comfortable weather in the world.

Not only would this project provide a phenomenal quality of life and a plethora of economic opportunities for these potential residents, but also insulate them from the effects of climate change. If constructed, this project would provide dense transit-oriented housing in a location that would be safe from the ill effects of sea-level rise. In fact, even the most dire climate models predict that by the year 2100 the site will not be negatively impacted. It would also be a secure distance from the wildland-urban interface, ensuring that residents would be spared from wildfires. The units will be constructed to the most current building codes guaranteeing a safe indoor environment to counteract a hazardous outdoor environment, such as wildfire smoke or a global pandemic.  

It is understandable that some residents are concerned and hesitant about these changes. The height of the buildings is above the average San Mateo home, and the architecture may be seen as unfamiliar. However, at this moment we must consider what San Mateo could lose if this project is downsized or even terminated. The city would lose residents to other towns that will most likely not have access to the same level of provided services. They may be forced to super commute over an hour to work, leading to great financial, psychological, and physiological stress.  If San Mateo strives to be a champion of equity and environmental management, this project would be a pragmatic and forward-thinking avenue to pursue.

I endorse this project for the economic and environmental benefits it will bring to both the current and future community of San Mateo. Maps of the project’s positioning against sea-level rise and wildfires can be seen below.

Thank you for your time.







200 cm sea-level rise map of San Mateo. The location of the project can be seen on the yellow pointer. Mapping courtesy of Our Coast, Our Future (link). 


Wildland-Urban Interface map of San Mateo. The location of the project can be seen on the black dot. Mapping courtesy of Los Padres ForestWatch (link). 


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My Time as a Volunteer for the Global Climate Action Summit

My Time as a Volunteer for the Global Climate Action Summit

My Time as a Volunteer for the Global Climate Action Summit


“What was it like to be a volunteer at the Global Climate Action Summit?”


Things in Washington D.C have changed drastically over the past few years. With the ascent of the new administration, promises that the United States has made to the world have been broken. Chief amongst these has been the withdrawal of the Paris Climate Agreement, a worldwide accord to limit greenhouse gas emissions to prevent global temperatures from rising 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.


Thankfully, this action does not reflect the mindset of the entire United States. This is why several groups and individuals have decided to organize the Global Climate Action Summit, a multi-day gathering of trailblazing leaders from a variety of sectors to discuss their ideas and support for climate change mitigation. The event took place in the majestic city of San Francisco, from September 12th to the 14th, and I was lucky enough to be chosen as a volunteer delegate greeter for the last day.


I started my morning traveling over 77 km (48 miles) from my apartment in San Jose to San Francisco using three different modes of public transportation (light rail → bus → BART (subway)) to keep my journey a low-carbon one.  

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Once I arrived in San Francisco, I quickly made my way over to the Moscone Center where the volunteer check-in was being held.

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I was quickly registered with the system (and got a neet yellow shirt!) and met some of my coworkers for the day.

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We then made our way to a local cafe to get some lunch. I brought my own homemade Rice and Beans, but that didn’t stop me from using my free ticket to get a Dragon Fruit Parfe!

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Once we finished lunch, we scurried back to the registration table where we were then escorted to the rooms where we were assigned to work. I was given a space focused on Climate Change Adaptation (one of my favorite topics in the world!).

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With the help of my fellow delegate greeters, we were able to control the swarm of international leaders coming into the conference room.

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Once everyone was settled in, we were able to join the audience in the seminars. we were able listen to a diverse array of speakers talk about a whole platter of topics related to Climate Change, whether it was a Montanna Wildland Firefighter and Student discussing about how fires are becoming more and more exacerbated, Community leaders explaining how to restore dignity among Indigenous people, (with special emphasis to Girls and Women) against the effects of Climate Change, the President of the American Geophysical Union elaborating on how Scientists need to connect to Policy-Makers, and many more.

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Once the event was done, everyone slowly made their way out of the main building and into the main floor, where some networking and awesome picture taking was done.

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I had an unforgettable experience at the Global Climate Action Summit. The set-up, the speakers, and the volunteers were all many standard deviations above the norm. To meet so many people from so many different countries, work fields, and walks of life focusing on one of the greatest existential threats to humanity was simultaneously humbling yet motivating. I learned so much about what can be done and what I should do. Definitely worth every second spent.

Speaking of not forgetting, I think I should take the time to thank everyone who made this time in my life all possible. Thank you Reshma Singh for making me aware of this opportunity, Nikka Tahan for being such a great organizer, everyone who managed, volunteered, spoke, and attended the summit for making it so cool, and most of all every janitor, security guard, and piece of support who did such a fantastic job at the venue!


Hope to see all of you later, and happy 1,000 posts on the Science Blog!!!


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Some thoughts on how the peculiar but personal effects that Climate Change has had on me

Some thoughts on how the peculiar but personal effects that Climate Change has had on me

Some thoughts on how the peculiar but personal effects that Climate Change has had on me


“A small little note on Climate Change”


Right now in the United States it’s Labor Day Weekend. For many people this means an extra day off to finally relax or catch up on work. But for me it has become a personal reminder of how climate change has affected my life.


Last year, I decided to celebrate by having a lot of fun hanging out at First Fridays in Oakland and cruising down Russian River in Sonoma County. But this was during the greatest heatwave the San Francisco Bay Area had experienced on record. Once the weekend was done I had to travel over 70 kilometers (45 miles) from Berkeley to San Jose on public transportation. The air conditioning (AC) systems onboard malfunctioned, leading me to becoming greatly dehydrated. This condition was only exacerbated when I had arrived at my living space with no AC. Within a few hours, my medical condition had destabilized, leading to a series of painful events that ended with me being thrust into the emergency room for the first time in my young life.

When I had returned home, I had to recover by being in a cooler environment. This meant being stranded in the only room with working air conditioning. However, the water fountain and restrooms were in a completely different room, requiring me to travel. I soon noticed how the temperature would vary widely from room to room, and how if I had left my one area of the house I would be in extreme pain.

In this dark episode, I had came to a stark conclusion. As global temperatures rise, people will become more dependent on their climate control systems. The more these processes are used, the more electricity will be used. If this electricity comes from a non-renewable source, the global temperatures will further rise, making people even more dependent on air conditioning. This creates a positive feedback cycle that will only cause further suffering.

This weekend has brought in much of the same experience. Again there are abnormal climate conditions.  Again I have gone up to Berkeley to see friends. Again I am sick. Again the bad climate has exacerbated my conditions (the air pollution from the wildfires have worsened my runny nose considerably). And heck again I have even eaten too much!


Just a few personal notes on how Climate Change has affected my life.


A brief primer on coal’s demise

A brief primer on coal’s demise

A brief primer on coal’s demise

Isaac Gendler


“Why is it that coal is on a pre-destined trajectory to decline?”


The current president of the United States has promised to return the dwindling coal industry back to it’s pre-post-industrial “glory days”, and has already taken action to lobotomize it’s supposed vanquisher, the EPA. However, despite Trump’s rhetoric, coal is on an inevitable decline regardless of action from regulatory agencies. Instead, the main agents for the decline of coal are simple economic and market factors.

Over a century of mining activity in the Appalachia region of the United States has resulted in a dearth of easy to reach coal. This causes the prices for said item to rise, hamstring their market competitiveness with the ever declining prices for renewable energy resources (which compose of two-thirds of all new generating capacity in the United States). Compounding this with growing international concern for climate change and a decreasing desire to use power supplies to contribute to it, the market for coal is shrinking ever more. So even with the environmental regulations set by the prior administration’s EPA, not much can be done to save coal. Instead of trying to resurrect a dying technology, the United states should move forward with adopting cleaner forms of energy, since a nation walks faster looking forward

U.S investment into sustainable energy

U.S investment into sustainable energy

U.S investment into sustainable energy

Isaac A. Gendler

21 January 2017

“Why should the new U.S president change his current sustainable energy policies?”


The un-maintainable use of nonrenewable energy resources for the operation of our civilization is putting too much stress on Earth’s resources. As a result of this trajectory, the economics and environmental consequences of non-renewable energy sources will become more prohibitive, forcing many countries to become more foresightful about their current actions and invest more into the burgeoning renewable energy sector in tandem with fabricating more environmentally friendly policies. However, by electing a vehemently anti-sustainability president, the response of the United States to this shifting paradigm is flat out ineffective. If the country does not switch paths to renewable energy it is highly probable that it will miss out on future potential and suffer economically as a nation.

Presently, humanity derives over ninety-four percent of its energy from nonrenewable sources such as petroleum , natural gas, and coal. (Key World Energy Statistics 2016). What makes an energy source non-renewable is that there is only a limited amount of the source on the planet, and once used up they are gone for good.

As a result of the irreplaceable nature of non-renewable forms of energy, the economics associated with using the resources is becoming more volatile as time goes on. When the supply of these materials that humanity holds shifts, economic perturbations will take effect that can devastate entire industries. To illustrate, in 2014, as a result of the revolution in fracking technology generated an economic boom of activity in the U.S state of North Dakota. However, this gas fueled economic engine already has seemed to have been exhausted, with the resultant oversupply causing a precipitous plunge in prices, leading to near unprofitability in operations and scores of ghost towns strewn throughout the state. (Scheyder, Ernest.) The coal industry in the United States, once the primary economic driver of the Appalachia region, is in the midst of a complete collapse, with frequent bankruptcies and production levels dropping down to a thirty-five year low (Goldberg, Suzanne.). The oil industry, a resurging power a few years back, has seemed to have again dipped down in unprofitability, with the corporate mega-conglomerate British Petroleum announcing hundreds of thousands of layoffs worldwide (Reed, Stanley.). And this unceasingly pendulum-like fortune of the non-renewable energy industry is in no way a recent phenomena, with the oil and natural gas industry being infamous for its high frequencies of booms and bust (Alsaadi, Nawar) (Mastrangelo, Erin). This extreme volatility is not sustainable for the basis of an economy, and by continuing to rely on it, we will suffer as a nation.

But economic ruptures are not the only form of destruction that non-renewable sources bring. The most used forms of non-renewable sources (Petroleum, coal, natural gas) are major contributors to a most ruinous phenomenon known as global warming (Laikha, Rinkesh). To put it simply, the pollutants emitted by the production of these resources cause an increase in average global temperature, which in turn throws the operation of our planet out of balance by melting polar ice caps, increasing ocean levels, and disrupting weather patterns. This in turn not only causes further economic but also health and environmental devastation. To elucidate on this point, a very recent natural disaster named Hurricane Sandy was tremendously amplified by global warming due to a combination of higher sea levels temperature (Freedman, Andrew. ). Nearly sixty-five billion dollars were lost and countless homes destroyed in the aftermath (Rice, Doyle). Much of this could have been avoided if humanity was more foresightful about the usage of dangerous fuel sources. Events like Hurricane Sandy are only bound to get worse, as anthropogenic temperature change is increasing at an exponential rate, possibly being raised up by over seven degrees by the end of the century! (Friedrich, Tobias et. all) It doesn’t take a rocket scientists to know that negligence to act against such a coming threat would prove disastrous

        So how can humanity get off this eternal nauseating boom and bust cycle of non-renewable sources? The answer is to invest in sustainable energy, systems, and policy. Sustainable energy is energy from natural processes such as wind and solar that differs from traditional sources primarily in that such natural supplies are constantly being replenished, allowing for a “never ending” usage of said resources. If humanity truly wants to ensure an infinite future, it would only be logical to base its infrastructure off sources that could exist for such a time period.

         However, technology alone will not be able to solve the global problems faced by humanity caused by its past negligence of the Earth’s resources, sustainable policies must be put in place. Current examples can be drawn from Portugal’s remuneration system for individuals generating their own renewable energy (Jimeno, Moïra) , California’s “action plan” to obtain 33 percent of its power be based on renewables by 2020 (Elliott, E. Donald) and setting pollution threshold limits for areas of nature (Fenn, M. E). However, we must not settle for what already has been done, and as the climate rises so must our endeavors.

Nations around the world have already taken heed to this call. China, one of the most powerful countries on earth and heaviest polluters on the planet, is pouring money into environmental protection(Janing, Wang) and sustainable energy (Dupuy, Max, and Wang Xuan). The United Arab Emirates, one of the premiere powers of the OPEC group, has admitted that relying exclusively on the petroleum market is unmaintainable for a country in the long term (Saadi, Daania), and is planning to have thirty percent of the nation’s energy come from renewable sources by 2030 (McAuly, Anthony). India, one of the fastest growing economies on the planet, targets to increase the nation’s solar capacity to 100 gigawatts by 2022 (Ross, Katherine.) ( For reference, the world’s solar capacity was 181 gigawatts in 2014 (Renné, David)) For the United States to make a true paradigm shift, the federal government should act similarly and conduct a strategic maneuver by setting up a national sustainable energy target date, and ensure it through tactical action by constructing  new large-scale renewable energy projects and subsidizing existing businesses to use green technology.  Such a move with a sturdy monetary backing would cajole individuals, corporations, and governments to take action to shift the infrastructure of the United States to be sustainable for the long term

But to its own detriment, the United States has decided to select the most anti-sustainability candidate for its future lear, Donald Trump. Trump not only doubts the veracity of climate change (openly calling it “a hoax created by the Chinese” (Trump,Donald)), but also wants his administration to implement a “100 day plan” which include rescinding all Obama-era restrictions on non-renewable resources, going forward with the Keystone pipeline, and canceling billions in payments to the U.N climate change protocols (Pandey, Avaneesh) (Kelly, Amita, and Barbara Sprunt).

In Trump’s viewpoint, investment into sustainable energy and policies (which he directly calls  “an expensive feel-good for tree-huggers” (Trump, Donald 65)) should take a backseat to what he claims are more “proven” forms of energy such as petroleum and coal  (Plumer, Brad), Trump’s policies  goes even further with this mindset by proclaiming that any environmental restrictions created by preceding administrations (specifically ones concerned with coal production) should be abolished, as they supposedly restrict the potential of the United States economy (Trump, Donald J.). In his own words, Trump states that “Obama’s war on coal [implying regulations] is killing American jobs,.. and is creating a great business disadvantage”(Trump, Donald) and that “[He is] going to get rid of the EPA,  of it in almost every form” (Fix, team)

However, Trump is not the only individual with this viewpoint. Many proponents of non-renewable energy like to point out that investment in such industries through projects likes the Keystone pipeline brings jobs, that comparable renewable energy projects are indeed quite expensive (Musial, Walter), and that such systems have to be constructed not only at a large scale to provide a practical amount for civilization but are also limited by geography and times of day (Laikhal, Rinkesh).  According to their reasoning, it would be wise for the United States should go down Trump’s path and invest more into non-renewable sources.

            But to the contrary, investment in sustainable energy and infrastructure has shown to have a great impact on the economy. Such technology has shown the possibility of creating up to one million more jobs by 2030  while increasing the U.S GDP by 145 billion dollars (Muradov, Nazim). Jobs in the renewable energy sector if the United States already have exceeded the number employed in petroleum/natural gas extraction and coal(Hirtenstein, Anna) and  new technologies such as offshore wind turbines will allow for much more flexibility in geographic locations as well as higher efficiency extractions (Iyalla, Atelisika). Not only that, the price for solar panels and wind turbines have been dropping at astounding rates, making investment far less prohibitive (Randall, Tom). One could easily say that green energy implies both types of green, environmental and monetary.

In contrast, jobs created by non-renewable resource industries projects are of lesser quantity compared to ones created by renewable equivalents (Jobs, Bill) (with works such as the Keystone pipeline will only amount to 35 permanent positions (Sanders, Keith)), coal is on a path to death being dictated by market forces (Worland, Justin), and as stated before, the sinusoidal market of non-renewables is too volatile to supplement an economy. As for the question of the beneficiality of imposing environmental regulations over it, economics research has shown that not only do stringent regulations not cause major harm to economies (Dechezleprêtre, Antoine et. all), but that failure to act in unison in preventing further climate has the potential to ravage thirty-six percent of the United States GDP by the end of the century (Burke, Marshall et. all). By no means can old forms of energy provide a new future for our civilization.

To put this theory into practice, a clean energy path is necessary, and only through individual action can this happen. Such change can happen at the grassroots level. Not only can citizens act with their wallet by adopting and installing green technology to support companies and shift the market further into green energy’s favor, but can get out into the streets, join green organizations and lobby government officials to take heed. With such a proactive mindset, people can convince other individuals to change their minds and shift the coming tide into a new, sustainable future, both economically and environmentally.



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Some of my thoughts on environmentalism

Some of my thoughts on environmentalism

Some of my thoughts on environmentalism


“Hey Isaac, what are your thoughts on environmentalism?”

Environmentalism is a word that gets tossed around a lot nowadays. This word probably has more diffuse meanings to different people than the wavelengths of light that we can see. However, I would like to offer my own views on the subject matter, as I think they would be at least somewhat pertinent to the global discussion about this world issue.

For me, environmentalism is not about saving trees, but rather it is about saving us. Fundamentally, human civilization is not a separate entity from the habitat that it inhabits. Therefore, all long term destruction to the surrounding world contributed by our action will in time cause large scale repercussions on us, a sort of natural karma. For example, by overextending the limits on it’s water supply, my beautiful home state of California is now experiencing a drought on a scale that has not been seen in a millennium. As a result, the lives of innumerable farmers have been shattered, wildfires are spreading like a virus,  and billions of dollars have been diverted from other sources, all amounting to a greater loss than was saved because choosing the more supposedly “practical” anti-environmental route.

And to make matters worse, humanity still has not taken heed. Currently, Human generated and consumed energy is on the order of 16 Terawatt-hours per hour and climbing!  And to make matters even worse, over 84 percent of this energy is generated by non-renewable sources. And one must keep in mind that most of this energy is used by the developed world, and with the developing world rising, this could imply that we could go way beyond what it currently is.

“So what must we do?”

Well, what we need to do is have a complete paradigm shift regarding not only the energy source of society but even the basic infrastructure, and at a very quick rate.Think of it in this way: When a child is young, their metabolism is very high, and they can consume as much unhealthy food as they desire without any repercussions. However,as they get older, that metabolism will give way, and they will begin to feel the consequences if they continue their grievous habits. In order to prevent such an occurrence, the child needs to develop proper eating habits as soon as possible. As I can conceptualize it, human civilization for the past few centuries has been a spoiled child devouring as much unhealthy resources as possible, and since we are just on the cusp of adulthood, we are thrusted into a situation (to quote a great mentor of mine) where we need not gradual emancipation but immediate emancipation from fossil fuels.

We need to invest much more time and energy in developing the skills of not only young scientists and engineers but also policy makers, urban planners, and even community members to take action and design such new systems. We need to shift our civilization’s infrastructure and technological paradigm away from relying upon outdated ways of thinking and doing into new ones equipped to handle the issues of the 21st century. But most importantly, we must help guide the developing world through their construction into making the fundamental operations of their society to to be sustainable, so they can have our quality of life without our level of destruction..

So in summation, the current degradation of the environment will cause our eventual destruction, and we need to completely shift our paradigm to prevent our civilization’s. As I like to say, humanity walks faster looking forwards.