3 dire reasons why I'm so mad the debates didn't bring up climate change.

The epic, dramatic three-part saga known as the presidential debates is finally over.

Coincidentally, our supply of good whiskey is also done. Photo by Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images.

They were some of the craziest debates we’ve ever seen, but one glaring, ozone-sized hole stood out: climate change. None of the moderators asked about it.

Here's the thing: Climate change factors into nearly every topic the candidates spoke about. Climate change is about our planet, about conflict, about health, about science, about jobs, about international relations — so it's wild that we didn't hear about it at all. As science-loving dudes, we're frustrated.


In honor of the debates ending, here are some examples of why talking about how our planet is changing really, really matters. This is the stuff that should have been discussed:

Take national security and the refugee crisis, for instance.

Refugees in Germany. Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images.

Our politicians may still be making up their minds about the validity of the warming of our Earth (real talk: Scientific consensus around this is real. It's not a political issue.), but our armed services divisions are already calling climate change a "threat multiplier" and "accelerant of instability." They're integrating it into all their plans.

What does an "accelerant of instability" mean? Take the Syrian refugee crisis: The conflict in Syria is a massive, messy tragedy, but climate change played a role in at least part of it, according to Columbia University professor Marc Levy. Severe drought and ruined crops — both potential effects of climate change — exacerbated Syria's already unstable system prior to the crisis.

The rest of the world is not immune, either. There are already climate refugees in places like Kiribati, Vanuatu, and, yes, even the United States.

OK, that was one thing, but there was another big topic on everybody's mind: jobs and the economy. Well, guess what...

Floodwaters flow into the Carey Tunnel in New York during Hurricane Sandy. Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images.

Climate change costs a lot. Superstorm Sandy cost New Yorkers $50 billion. This year alone, at least 12 over-a-billion-dollars-lost weather and climate disasters have hit the U.S. And, yes, climate change is likely contributing to these kinds of storms, wildfires, and droughts.

Other costs include funding the Federal Emergency Management Agency and building climate-proof infrastructure like seawalls and flood control — all of which takes considerable dough. By 2100, the U.S. could be paying nearly $2 trillion every year because of climate change.

It's not all bad news, though: Renewable energy could also create a ton of new jobs. While the shrinking opportunities in unclean energy are rightly on some people's minds (lookin' at you, Ken Bone), new initiatives could help workers make the transition to renewable jobs.

Climate change could even affect our health care.

Photo by Valery Hache/AFP/Getty Images.

It’s a good thing that Obamacare got rid of that stuff about pre-existing conditions, because climate change is now a pre-existing condition that makes health issues worse for certain people.

Warmer temperatures may mean more mosquitoes and ticks and more habitable places for the little blood-suckers. That might also mean more insect-borne diseases like malaria and Zika. Heat stroke could go up too, as well as air pollution.

So why do we need to talk about climate change? Because it affects our health. It could even make our allergies worse (noooooo).

Let's get real: There’s a reason the entire United Nations met in Paris last year to talk about our changing planet.

Photo by Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images.

195 nations came together at the 21st Conference of the Parties, and the fact that they all actually agreed on something was historic. That puts climate change directly at the center of international diplomacy.

Regardless of who is sworn into office on Jan. 20, climate change will be a huge part of the job for the next four years.

If we can’t even talk about our planet, maybe the current debates aren’t the best way to help us live more informed lives.

We deserved a chance to hear the candidates talk about climate change, to at least hear whether Donald Trump still thinks climate change is a Chinese hoax (except when he doesn't). And we deserved to hear about what Hillary Clinton plans to do to help us adapt as our planet changes.

We can’t be discussing our kids' futures without also discussing what kind of future we’re giving them. That's why the climate change conversation matters.

Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash
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Alone, hungry, and scared, Glenda dialed 2-1-1 for help. The person on the other end of the line directed her to the Houston-based nonprofit Bread of Life, founded by St. John's United Methodist pastors Rudy and Juanita Rasmus.

For nearly 30 years, Bread of Life has been at the forefront of HIV/AIDS prevention, eliminating food insecurity, providing permanent housing to formerly homeless individuals and disaster relief.

Glenda sat in her car for 20 minutes outside of the building, trying to muster up the courage to get out and ask for help. She'd never been in this situation before, and she was terrified.

When she finally got out, she encountered Eva Thibaudeau, who happened to be walking down the street at the exact same time. Thibaudeau is the CEO of Temenos CDC, a nonprofit multi-unit housing development also founded by the Rasmuses, with a mission to serve Midtown Houston's homeless population.

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Glenda moved to Houston from Ohio just before the pandemic hit. She didn't know that COVID-19-related delays would make it difficult to get her Texas driver's license and apply for unemployment benefits. She quickly found herself in an impossible situation — stranded in a strange place without money for food, gas, or a job to provide what she needed.

Alone, hungry, and scared, Glenda dialed 2-1-1 for help. The person on the other end of the line directed her to the Houston-based nonprofit Bread of Life, founded by St. John's United Methodist pastors Rudy and Juanita Rasmus.

For nearly 30 years, Bread of Life has been at the forefront of HIV/AIDS prevention, eliminating food insecurity, providing permanent housing to formerly homeless individuals and disaster relief.

Glenda sat in her car for 20 minutes outside of the building, trying to muster up the courage to get out and ask for help. She'd never been in this situation before, and she was terrified.

When she finally got out, she encountered Eva Thibaudeau, who happened to be walking down the street at the exact same time. Thibaudeau is the CEO of Temenos CDC, a nonprofit multi-unit housing development also founded by the Rasmuses, with a mission to serve Midtown Houston's homeless population.

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O'Leary didn't have a huge Twitter following, but somehow his tweet started getting around quickly. Response after response started flowing in from all over the world, even from some famous folks. Thousands of people seemed to resonate with Edmund's sweet and honest call for help and rallied to send him support and good cheer.

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With the election quickly approaching, the importance of voting and sending in your ballot on time is essential. But there is another way you can vote everyday - by being intentional with each dollar you spend. Support companies and products that uphold your values and help create a more sustainable world. An easy move is swapping out everyday items that are often thrown away after one use or improperly disposed of.

Package Free Shop has created products to help fight climate change one cotton swab at a time! Founded by Lauren Singer, otherwise known as, "the girl with the jar" (she initially went viral for fitting 8 years of all of the waste she's created in one mason jar). Package Free is an ecosystem of brands on a mission to make the world less trashy.

Here are eight of our favorite everyday swaps:

1. Friendsheep Dryer Balls - Replace traditional dryer sheets with these dryer balls that are made without chemicals and conserve energy. Not only do these also reduce dry time by 20% but they're so cute and come in an assortment of patterns!

Package Free Shop

2. Last Swab - Replacement for single use plastic cotton swabs. Nearly 25.5 billion single use swabs are produced and discarded every year in the U.S., but not this one. It lasts up to 1,000 uses as it's able to be cleaned with soap and water. It also comes in a biodegradable, corn based case so you can use it on the go!

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