Climate change is not a partisan issue. So, let's stop treating it like one.

As a staunch Independent, partisan bickering over pretty much everything these days drives me batty.

So many issues that should barely be considered “political” much less “partisan” have divided Americans among party lines and become man-made mountains both Democrats and Republicans are willing to die on.

But the issue of climate change in particular has become increasingly partisan, which makes no sense whatsoever. I mean, I know Al Gore making himself the face of global warming was probably enough to create a partisan divide all by itself, but when you look at the core of the issue, there’s nothing particularly "progressive" or "liberal" about protecting our planet.


In fact, in some fundamental ways, environmentalism and fighting climate change fit more neatly within a conservative worldview than a liberal one. Here's why:

1) Conservation and limiting change are literally conservative ideas. It’s right there in the name.

Conservation is about conserving the environment, keeping our natural heritage in tact, taking responsibility, and subscribing to the traditional value of stewardship. It’s about maintaining the earth's status quo, keeping her resources balanced and sustainable. Action on climate change is about trying to keep too much change from happening too fast, which is the primary idea that conservative ideology embraces.

When you remove the Republican/Democrat labels and look at the ideologies that underlie them, fighting climate change and working for conservation actually seems like a more logical fit for conservatives.

2)  The National Parks Service and United States Forest Service were started by a Republican President.

Teddy Roosevelt is known for his focus on the protection of our natural resources and his love of the environment. His passion for conservation is what prompted the establishment of our National Parks the USFS.

He also encouraged Americans to think about the impact of our habits and what the future might hold if we insist on relying on deforestation and fossil fuels to sustain us:

“We have become great because of the lavish use of our resources. But the time has come to inquire seriously what will happen when our forests are gone, when the coal, the iron, the oil, and the gas are exhausted, when the soils have still further impoverished and washed into the streams, polluting the rivers, denuding the fields and obstructing navigation.”

3) The Environmental Protection Agency was started under Republican president. So was the NOAA.  

The EPA was proposed and established in 1970 by Richard Nixon as a response to the obvious air and water pollution that had developed around the nation. In his State of the Union Address that year, Nixon said:

Restoring nature to its natural state is a cause beyond party and beyond factions. It has become a common cause of all the people of this country. It is a cause of particular concern to young Americans, because they more than we will reap the grim consequences of our failure to act on programs which are needed now if we are to prevent disaster later. Clean air, clean water, open spaces-these should once again be the birthright of every American.”

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which  was also established on Nixon’s watch. That government agency has done research on climate change throughout Democratic and Republican administrations, because science is not a partisan activity.

4) The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change was launched by a Republican U.S. president.

Are we seeing a pattern here?

George H.W. Bush said in a campaign speech in Michigan in 1988,

“Our land, water and soil support a remarkable range of human activities, but they can only take so much and we must remember to treat them not as a given but as a gift. These issues know no ideology, no political boundaries. It’s not a liberal or conservative thing we’re talking about.”

Four years later, Bush signed and ratified the United Nations Convention on Climate Change, making the U.S. the first industrialized nation to do so. In his official presidential statement, Bush wrote:

“The Climate Convention is the first step in crucial long-term international efforts to address climate change. The international community moved with unprecedented speed in negotiating this convention and thereby beginning the response to climate change.

As proposed by the United States, the convention is comprehensive in scope and action-oriented. All parties must inventory all sources and sinks of greenhouse gases and establish national climate change programs. Industrialized countries must go further, outlining in detail the programs and measures they will undertake to limit greenhouse emissions and adapt to climate change and quantifying expected results. Parties will meet on a regular basis to review and update those plans in the light of evolving scientific and economic information.”

It’s only recently that conservative politics has moved away from addressing or believing the science about climate change.

5) Traditionally conservative American pastimes are directly threatened by the impact of climate change.

Hunting and fishing are generally seen as hobbies enjoyed by folks in rural/conservative areas. If those were things I enjoyed doing, I’d be doing everything I could to make sure they remained sustainable. Ensuring the protection of land and water seems like a logical desire for folks who rely on them for food or for sport. And considering the impact unchecked climate change has on forest and waterway ecosystems, I'd think hunting and fishing enthusiasts would be totally on board with trying to mitigate it.

6) Scientists around the globe have come to the same conclusion, so it’s clearly not a Democrat/Republican issue.

Take America’s political parties completely out of the equation, and you still end up with the same answer to the question of whether climate change is real and accelerated by human activity. Thousands of scientists from all around the world contribute to climate change research and advise the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which gives reports on the scientific consensus. Despite working in their respective regions of the world, these scientists are widely in agreement on the issue because, again, science is not a partisan activity.

Now, there are definitely some political debates to be had for how we go about addressing climate change. There's just no room for debate about whether we do so.

Meet the conservatives who are actively engaged in the fight to slow climate change.

The group Conservatives for Responsible Stewardship states on its website that climate change is real, that it is influenced by human activity, and that “There is nothing remotely conservative about ignoring or rejecting all of this scientific evidence.” These “conservatives stewards” do not reject the science of climate change and the proven need to reduce emission to mitigate it.

They do, however, assert that conservatives should be engaged in addressing the issue wisely:

“Because how we choose to reduce these emissions matters greatly, it is important that conservatives be constructively engaged in efforts to address climate change. Throughout the nation’s history, conservative leadership has produced the most effective, efficient and enduring solutions to our environmental problems—from smog and water pollution to ozone depletion and acid rain, conservative leadership has been instrumental to finding the best solutions.”

While that statement may not ring true for our most recent history, it has clearly been true in the past and there’s no reason it can’t be again. We need to get back to the place where we all embrace the science so we can have productive debates and work together to find solutions to our civilization’s most looming threat.

The effects of climate change don’t care where you live, how you vote, or what you believe. And our planet is too precious to let partisan politics keep us from protecting it for ourselves and our children, no matter what side of the aisle we lean toward.

Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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The battle between millennials and older generations isn't exactly a generational war—it's more a case of mistaken generational identity. A decade ago, whining about millennials being young adults unprepared to make their way in the world at least made sense mathematically. But when people bag on millennials now they end up looking rather foolish.

A marketing researcher with a doctorate in social psychology wrote an op-ed for the Chicago Tribune titled "Post-pandemic, some millennials finally decide to start #adulting." And when the Tribune shared it to Twitter, their since-deleted tweet read, "Writer Jennifer Rosner predicts COVID-10 lockdowns will force easy-breezy millennials to grow up."

Hoo boy.

Interestingly, the writer of the op-ed is a millennial herself, but she repeats generalizations about her entire generation that seem like they mainly apply to her own social circle. Read it yourself to decide, but regardless, the tweet of the op-ed itself set off a firestorm of responses from millennials who are tired of being painted as irresponsible young people who don't know how to "adult" instead of what they actually are.

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2020 was difficult (to say the least). The year was full of life changes, losses, and lessons as we learned to navigate the "new normal." You may have questions about what the changes and challenges of 2020 mean for your taxes. That's where TurboTax Live comes in, making it easy to connect with real tax experts to help with your taxes – or even do them for you, start to finish.

Not only has TurboTax Live helped millions of people get their taxes done right, but this year they've also celebrated people who uplifted their communities during a difficult time by surprising them with "little lifts" to help out even more.

Here are a few of their stories:


Julz, hairdresser and salon owner

"As a hairdresser and salon owner, 2020 was extremely challenging," says Julz. "Being a hairdresser has historically been a recession-proof industry, but we've never faced global shut down due to health risk, or pandemic, not in my lifetime. And for the first time, hairdressers didn't have job security."

Julz had to shut down her salon and go on unemployment benefits for the first time. She also had to figure out how she was going to support herself, her staff and her business during this difficult time. But many other beauty industry professionals didn't have access to the resources they needed, so Julz decided to help.

"My business partner and I began teaching basic financial literacy to other beauty industry professionals," she says. "Transitioning our business from behind the chair to an online academy was a challenge we tackled head-on so that we could move hairdressers into this new space of education, and create a more accessible curriculum to better serve our industry.

Julz connected with a TurboTax Live expert who helped her understand how unemployment affected her taxes and gave her guidance on filing quarterly estimated taxes for her small business. "I was terrified to sit at a computer and tackle this mess of receipts," Julz says, so "it was great to have some virtual handholding to walk me through each question."

In addition to giving Julz the personalized tax advice she needed, TurboTax Live surprised her with a "little lift" that empowered her to help even more beauty professionals. "When my tax expert Diana surprised me with a little lift, I was moved to tears," says Julz. "With that little lift, I was able to establish a scholarship fund to help get other hairdressers the education they deserve."


Alana, new mom

Alana welcomed her first child in 2020. "I think my biggest challenge was figuring out how to be a mom, with no guidance," she says. "My original plan was to have my mom by my side, teaching me the ropes, but because of COVID, she wasn't able to come out here."

She was also without a job for most of 2020 and struggled to find something new.

So, Alana took it as a sign: she decided to launch her own business so she could support her new baby, and that's exactly what she did. She started a feel-good company that specializes in creating affirmation card decks — and she's currently in the process of starting a second, video-editing business.

TurboTax Live answered Alana's questions about her taxes and gave her some much-needed advice as she prepared to launch her businesses. Thanks to their "little lift," they provided her with a little emotional support too.

"I got my mom a plane ticket to finally [have her] meet [my daughter] for her first birthday," Alana says. "I was also able to get a new computer," which helped her invest in her new business and work on her video editing skills. "It's helped my family and me so much," she says.


Michael, science teacher

When schools shut down across the country last year, Michael had to learn how to adapt to a virtual classroom.

"As a teacher, I had to completely revamp everything," he says, so that he could keep his students engaged while teaching online. "At the beginning, it was a nightmare because I had no idea. I had to go from A-Z within a couple of weeks."

Michael's TurboTax Live expert answered his questions about how working from home affected his taxes and helped him uncover surprising tax deductions. To top it all off, his expert surprised him with brand new science equipment and supplies, which allowed him to create an entire line of classes on YouTube, TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook. "Now I can truly potentially reach millions of children with my lessons," he says. "I would never have taken that leap if not for the little lift from TurboTax Live."



Ricky, motivational youth speaker

As a motivational speaker, Ricky was used to doing his job in person, but, he says, "when COVID-19 hit, it altered my ability to travel and visit schools in person [because] schools moved to fully virtual or hybrid models."

He knew he had to pivot — so he began offering small virtual group workshops for student leadership groups at middle and high schools.

"This allowed me to work with student leaders to plan how they would continue making a positive impact on their school community," he says. He wasn't sure how being remote would affect his taxes, but TurboTax Live Self-Employed gave him the advice and answers that he needed to keep more money in his pocket at tax time — and the little lift he received from them has helped him serve even more students.

"[It] has been a major blessing," he says "There will be multiple schools and student groups from across the country that I can hold leadership workshops with to empower them with the tools to be inspirational leaders in their school, community, and world."

Plus, he says, it was great knowing he had an expert to help him figure out how being remote affected his taxes. "I felt confident and assured in the process of filing my taxes knowing I had an expert working with me, says Ricky. "There were things my expert knew that I would not have considered when filing on my own."

Filing your taxes doesn't have to be intimidating, especially after a year like 2020. TurboTax Live experts can give you the "little lift" you need to get your taxes done. File with the help of an expert or let an expert file for you! Go to TurboTax Live to get started.