Could you live in this delightfully tiny home? Eco-advocates sure hope so.

When you think about climate change, what comes to mind?

I immediately imagine smokestacks billowing black soot, congested highways with idling cars, and millions of unassuming, gassy cows hanging out on the prairie. I don't, however, think about the house I live in — but I should, if you ask a climate scientist.

The housing sector is responsible for over one-third of global greenhouse gas emissions, according to the United Nations.

And that's what makes this amazing tiny house all the more spectacular.


Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images.

This Ecological Living Module — aptly dubbed the "tiny house" — aims to spark fresh ideas rethinking home construction and functionality to fight climate change.

The house, set up in New York City's U.N. Plaza between July 9-18, was built through a collaborative effort between U.N. Environment, U.N. Habitat, and Yale University. And its features are pretty darn remarkable.

Could this tiny house represent the homes of the future?

Many environmentalists certainly hope so.

Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images.

It's a mere 72 square feet (!), give or take, and is truly a work of sustainable art.

Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images.

Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images.

The house was constructed using only locally sourced and bio-based materials. It runs on solar energy, has on-site water collection for in-home use, and uses plants to keep the interior air pure and fresh.

Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images.

Photo by Hind Wildman/U.N. Environment.

The home even has a "micro-farming wall" on its exterior so that potential residents can eat (very) locally.

Photo by Hind Wildman/U.N. Environment.

The tiny home movement has been picking up speed in American culture as more people trade large houses on big properties for a simple, cheap, and sometimes mobile alternative.

But beyond relishing in any short-lived lifestyle trend, the U.N. module home is aimed at helping solve two dire global problems in the long term:

  1. People are in desperate need of more housing, especially in the expanding urban regions of the developing world.
  2. The worsening effects of climate change go hand in hand with a growing world population emitting more carbon into the air.

The tiny home is a two birds, one stone solution.

"We clearly need more housing," explained Erik Solheim, U.N. Environment Head, "but the key thing is that we also need smarter housing."

Homes like this one do the trick.

Photo by Hind Wildman/U.N. Environment.

While this particular tiny house in New York will be moved this month, U.N. Environment plans to build future iterations in different countries to continue pushing for solutions-based design.

"Adequate housing is at the heart of sustainable urbanization," according to Maimunah Mohd Sharif, executive director of U.N. Habitat. "If adopted widely, this practice can create jobs and prosperity with lower greenhouse gas emissions."

Sounds like a win-win for our world to me.

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My husband and I had just finished watching "The Office" for the third time through and were looking for a new show to watch before bed. I'd seen a couple of friends highly recommend "Schitt's Creek," so we decided to give it a try.

My initial reaction to the first episode was meh. The characters were annoying and the premise was weird (pretentious and previously-filthy-rich family lives in a scuzzy motel in the middle of nowhere??). I felt nothing for the main characters, and I hate shows with horrible main characters that I can't root for. Even predicting that they were going to eventually be transformed by their small town experiences, I didn't see liking them. It didn't grab either of us as worth continuing, so we stopped.

But then I kept hearing people whose taste I trust implicitly talk about how great it was. I know different people have different tastes, but I realized I had to be missing something if these friends of mine raved on and on about it. So we gave it another shot.

It took a bit—I don't know how many episodes exactly, but a bit—to start liking it. Then a bit longer to start really liking it, and then at some point, it became a full-fledged, gushy, where-have-you-been-all-my-life love affair.

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People have big feelings about abortion, which is understandable. On one hand, you have people who feel that abortion is a fundamental women’s rights issue, that our bodily autonomy is not something you can legislate, and that those who oppose abortion rights are trying to control women through oppressive legislation. On the other, you have folks who believe that a fetus is a human individual first and foremost, that no one has the right to terminate a human life, and that those who support abortion rights are heartless murderers.

Then there are those of us in the messy middle. Those who believe that life begins at conception, that abortion isn’t something we’d choose—and we’d hope others wouldn’t choose—under most circumstances, yet who choose to vote to keep abortion legal.

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Biases, stereotypes, prejudices—these byproducts of the human brain's natural tendency to generalize and categorize have been a root cause of most of humanity's problems for, well, pretty much ever. None of us is immune to those tendencies, and since they can easily slip in unnoticed, we all have to be aware of where, when, and how they impact our own beliefs and actions.

It also helps when someone upends a stereotype by saying or doing something unexpected.

Fair or not, certain parts of the U.S. are associated with certain cultural assumptions, perhaps none more pinholed than the rural south. When we hear Appalachia, a certain stereotype probably pops up in our minds—probably white, probably not well educated, probably racist. Even if there is some basis to a stereotype, we must always remember that human beings can never be painted with such broad strokes.

Enter Tyler Childers, a rising country music star whose old-school country fiddling has endeared him to a broad audience, but his new album may have a different kind of reach. "Long Violent History" was released Friday, along with a video message to his white rural fans explaining the culminating track by the same name. Watch it here:

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