27 of the world’s largest cities say they’ve drastically reduced their carbon footprints.

While a hurricane ravages America’s east coast, sea levels rise around the globe, and the world’s largest ice shelves begin to destabilize, it’s hard to feel optimistic about the Earth’s future.

But on Thursday, September 13, as part of the Global Climate Action Summit (GCAS) in San Francisco, leaders from 27 of the world’s largest cities announced their climate-harming carbon emissions have peaked and are now on a downward trajectory. The cities — which include some of the world’s largest — also pledged to cut them further.

To qualify, the cities had to have peaked at least six years ago, and the peak had to be at least 10% higher than the most recent emissions data.


Barcelona, Basel, Berlin, Boston, Chicago, Copenhagen, Heidelberg, London, Los Angeles, Madrid, Melbourne, Milan, Montréal, New Orleans, New York City, Oslo, Paris, Philadelphia, Portland, Rome, San Francisco, Stockholm, Sydney, Toronto, Vancouver, Warsaw and Washington, DC have all seen their emissions fall over the last five years.

These cities are home to over 54 million people.

“It is an incredible achievement for these 27 cities, including Paris, to have peaked their emissions,” C40 network chair and Paris mayor, Anne Hidalgo, said. “As the greatest custodians of the Paris Agreement, mayors of the world’s great cities have once again shown that cities are getting the job done.”

via UNclimatechange/Flickr

According to C40 Cities, a coalition of local governments working to fulfill the goals of the Paris Climate agreement, the 27 cities are seeing emissions fall an average of 2% per year while their economies have grown at a rate of 3%.

The tremendous gains by these municipalities proves how emissions can be cut without having to sacrifice economic gains.

For example, San Francisco hit peak greenhouse emissions in 2000 and has reduced them by over 30% since 1990. During this time, the city’s population has grown by 20% and its economy by 111%.

The news comes as scientists warn that global emissions must peak by 2020 to avoid environmental catastrophe.

Reversing the rise in global emissions by the target date is important because it helps meet the Paris Climate Agreement’s goal of “holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2 °C above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels”.

According to Real Climate, the Earth’s temperature has risen 1 °C since the late 19th century. If it were to rise another 1 °C, it would likely result in a massive destabilization of the planet’s ice sheets, causing sea levels to rise significantly throughout the planet.

via geekslop/Flickr

American participation in the C40 network and the Global Climate Action Summit (GCAS) flies the face of President Donald Trump who has  called climate change a "hoax" and pulled the U.S. out of the Paris Climate Agreement.

California Governor Jerry Brown was blunt about his opinion of the president at GCAS. When asked how Trump will be remembered, Brown replied, “I think he'll be remembered, on the path he's now? I don't know. Liar, criminal, fool,” the governor said according to the Santa Rosa Press Democrat.

The work done by Governor Brown and other American lawmakers shows how local governments can work to solve a massive global issue without support from Washington DC.

Actor and activist Harrison Ford gave an impassioned speech at GCAS in which he warned people about supporting politicians who deny climate change science for their own political gain.

“For God’s sake, stop electing leaders who don't believe in science,” Ford said. “Or even worse, pretend they don’t believe in science. Never forget who you’re fighting for.”

Ford also painted a dramatic picture of the consequences we face by choosing not to act.

“We are all, rich or poor, powerful or powerless, we will all suffer the effects of climate and ecosystem destruction,” Ford said. “And we are facing what is quickly becoming the greatest moral crisis of our time. Those least responsible will bear the greatest costs.”

Heroes

I'm staring at my screen watching the President of the United States speak before a stadium full of people in North Carolina. He launches into a lie-laced attack on Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, and the crowd boos. Soon they start chanting, "Send her back! Send her back! Send her back!"

The President does nothing. Says nothing. He just stands there and waits for the crowd to finish their outburst.

WATCH: Trump rally crowd chants 'send her back' after he criticizes Rep. Ilhan Omar www.youtube.com

My mind flashes to another President of the United States speaking to a stadium full of people in North Carolina in 2016. A heckler in the crowd—an old man in uniform holding up a TRUMP sign—starts shouting, disrupting the speech. The crowd boos. Soon they start chanting, "Hillary! Hillary! Hillary!"

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via EarthFix / Flickr

What will future generations never believe that we tolerated in 2019?

Dolphin and orca captivity, for sure. They'll probably shake their heads at how people died because they couldn't afford healthcare. And, they'll be completely mystified at the amount of food some people waste while others go starving.

According to Biological Diversity, "An estimated 40 percent of the food produced in the United States is wasted every year, costing households, businesses and farms about $218 billion annually."

There are so many things wrong with this.

First of all it's a waste of money for the households who throw out good food. Second, it's a waste of all of the resources that went into growing the food, including the animals who gave their lives for the meal. Third, there's something very wrong with throwing out food when one in eight Americans struggle with hunger.

Supermarkets are just as guilty of this unnecessary waste as consumers. About 10% of all food waste are supermarket products thrown out before they've reached their expiration date.

Three years ago, France took big steps to combat food waste by making a law that bans grocery stores from throwing away edible food.According to the new ordinance, stores can be fined for up to $4,500 for each infraction.

Previously, the French threw out 7.1 million tons of food. Sixty-seven percent of which was tossed by consumers, 15% by restaurants, and 11% by grocery stores.

This has created a network of over 5,000 charities that accept the food from supermarkets and donate them to charity. The law also struck down agreements between supermarkets and manufacturers that prohibited the stores from donating food to charities.

"There was one food manufacturer that was not authorized to donate the sandwiches it made for a particular supermarket brand. But now, we get 30,000 sandwiches a month from them — sandwiches that used to be thrown away," Jacques Bailet, head of the French network of food banks known as Banques Alimentaires, told NPR.

It's expected that similar laws may spread through Europe, but people are a lot less confident at it happening in the United States. The USDA believes that the biggest barrier to such a program would be cost to the charities and or supermarkets.

"The logistics of getting safe, wholesome, edible food from anywhere to people that can use it is really difficult," the organization said according to Gizmodo. "If you're having to set up a really expensive system to recover marginal amounts of food, that's not good for anybody."

Plus, the idea may seem a little too "socialist" for the average American's appetite.

"The French version is quite socialist, but I would say in a great way because you're providing a way where they [supermarkets] have to do the beneficial things not only for the environment, but from an ethical standpoint of getting healthy food to those who need it and minimizing some of the harmful greenhouse gas emissions that come when food ends up in a landfill," Jonathan Bloom, the author of American Wasteland, told NPR.

However, just because something may be socialist doesn't mean it's wrong. The greater wrong is the insane waste of money, damage to the environment, and devastation caused by hunger that can easily be avoided.

Planet

Policing women's bodies — and by consequence their clothes — is nothing new to women across the globe. But this mother's "legging problem" is particularly ridiculous.

What someone wears, regardless of gender, is a personal choice. Sadly, many folks like Maryann White, mother of four sons, think women's attire — particularly women's leggings are a threat to men.

While sitting in mass at the University of Notre Dame, White was aghast by the spandex attire the young women in front of her were sporting.

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Men are sharing examples of how they step up and step in when they see problematic behaviors in their peers, and people are here for it.

Twitter user "feminist next door" posed an inquiry to her followers, asking "good guys" to share times they saw misogyny or predatory behavior and did something about it. "What did you say," she asked. "What are your suggestions for the other other men in this situation?" She added a perfectly fitting hashtag: #NotCoolMan.

Not only did the good guys show up for the thread, but their stories show how men can interrupt situations when they see women being mistreated and help put a stop to it.

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