Does climate change have anything to do with current events in Paris? You bet.

You already know about the brutal attacks in Paris on Nov. 13, 2015.

That senseless tragedy was orchestrated by a terrorist group called Daesh — although they'd prefer it if you called them ISIS, to reinforce their claim to be an independent nation-state made up of parts of Syria and Iraq. (Let's not give them that satisfaction.)

Daesh might be more interested in stoking anti-Muslim hatred for their own insidious ends than they are our warming planet, but the two are definitely connected.


The chaos in Syria helped lead to the rise of Daesh. And climate change played a big role in creating that chaos.

Image by Stolbovsky/Wikimedia Commons.

You read that right: Our increasing global climate has contributed to the spread of terrorism's climate of fear.

Between 2006 and 2009, a massive drought in the Syrian heartland caused an agricultural collapse. Food prices soared, along with nutrition-related diseases. Before long, 1.5 million Syrians abandoned their farms and headed into the city's urban centers, which were already overcrowded with refugees from Iraq.

That drought, of course, was the direct result of global warming. Our rapidly changing climate is creating unprecedented swings in weather that are getting harder and harder to predict or prepare for.

Photo by CIAT/Flickr.

So what happens when you have tons of hungry, desperate folks all crammed together in close quarters and fending off the freaky weather? Chaos.

And what do power-hungry megalomaniacs love more than exploiting civil unrest to further their goals? (That last part was rhetorical.)



This isn't just some crazy far-fetched fringe belief either.

Bernie Sanders knows it. Martin O'Malley knows it. President Obama knows it. Even Prince Charles knows it. (Also the National Academy of Sciences, but for some reason people aren't always that into listening to scientists when it comes to climate talk.)

Climate change and terrorism are arguably the two largest problems that affect the entire world.

In fact, climate change is a major factor in more than 400,000 deaths per year, compared to an average of 18,000 from terrorism across the globe.

But there's a silver lining in the city of love.

Just two weeks after the terrorist attacks that claimed 130 lives, hundreds of world leaders converged upon Paris for the 21st annual Conference of the Parties (COP21), an international climate convention organized by the United Nations.

The timing is pure coincidence, of course. But people also tend to come together in the wake of tragedies.

This sets up COP21 to be as much about solidarity as it is about renewable energy — which makes a whole lot of sense, given the connection between terrorism and climate change.

The City of Lights is a beacon of hope. Photo by Javier Vieras/Flickr.

Dr. Andrew Steer, president and CEO of the World Research Institute, released a statement, saying:

"Our team of experts will push forward in support of a climate agreement in Paris not only because of the urgency of the issue, but to show our deep solidarity with the people of France. Our hope is that this summit will demonstrate unequivocally that the global community can come together around common solutions. We will pursue a climate agreement that enhances safety for vulnerable communities, increases global prosperity, and protects people and the planet for future generations."

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry echoed this, saying, "There is a clear strategy in place, and step by step, I am confident the momentum will pick up. [...] I think that will be an important statement by the world that no one will interrupt the business of the global community — certainly not despicable, cowardly acts of terror."

It's not just political figures behind this sentiment, either. In a recent interview on Boston Public Radio about the attacks, Charlie Sennot of the Ground Truth Project said:

"You have to almost think of this as two narratives: the narrative of ISIS which is about destruction, and violence, and dividing us. And then there's this other narrative about coming together as a world and really trying to focus on this enormous threat to our planet, climate change. I think that latter narrative is much stronger, and has much more ability to pull people together. [...] Climate change is a much larger threat to our planet than terrorism. And climate change, like the war on ISIS, is going to require a global response."

Photo by Le Centre d'Information sur l'Eau/Flickr.

We can't keep looking at these problems in isolation when the world is so interconnected.

Climate change, like terrorism, is a threat to all of us. And it's not something that can be solved on just a local level.

If we're all going to continue living on the same planet, we're going to need to find ways to work together.

The ultimate goal of COP21 is to emerge on Dec. 11 with a legally binding universal agreement to address the climate crisis. So let's unite and demand that our world leaders take action.

Now is the time for solidarity.

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Natural Resources Defense Council
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Should a man lose his home because the grass in his yard grew higher than 10 inches? The city of Dunedin, Florida seems to think so.

According to the Institute of Justice, which is representing Jim Ficken, he had a very good reason for not mowing his lawn – and tried to rectify the situation as best he could.

In 2014, Jim's mom became ill and he visited her often in South Carolina to help her out. When he was away, his grass grew too long and he was cited by a code office; he cut the grass and wasn't fined.

France has started forcing supermarkets to donate food instead of throwing it away.

But several years later, this one infraction would come back to haunt him after he left to take care of him's mom's affairs after she died. The arrangements he made to have his grass cut fell through (his friend who he asked to help him out passed away unexpectedly) and that set off a chain reaction that may result in him losing his home.

The 69-year-old retiree now faces a $29,833.50 fine plus interest. Watch the video to find out just what Jim is having to deal with.

Mow Your Lawn or Lose Your House! www.youtube.com

Cities

The world officially loves Michelle Obama.

The former first lady has overtaken the number one spot in a poll of the world's most admired women. Conducted by online research firm YouGov, the study uses international polling tools to survey people in countries around the world about who they most admire.

In the men's category, Bill Gates took the top spot, followed by Barack Obama and Jackie Chan.

In the women's category, Michelle Obama came first, followed by Oprah Winfrey and Angelina Jolie. Obama pushed Jolie out of the number one spot she claimed last year.

Unsurprising, really, because what's not to love about Michelle Obama? She is smart, kind, funny, accomplished, a great dancer, a devoted wife and mother, and an all-around, genuinely good person.

She has remained dignified and strong in the face of rabid masses of so-called Americans who spent eight years and beyond insisting that she's a man disguised as a woman. She's endured non-stop racist memes and terrifying threats to her family. She has received far more than her fair share of cruelty, and always takes the high road. She's the one who coined, "When they go low, we go high," after all.

She came from humble beginnings and remains down to earth despite becoming a familiar face around the world. She's not much older than me, but I still want to be like Michelle Obama when I grow up.

Her memoir, Becoming, may end up being the best-selling memoir of all time, having already sold 10 million copies—a clear sign that people can't get enough Michelle, because there's no such thing as too much Michelle.

Don't like Michelle Obama? Don't care. Those of us who love her will fly our MO flags high and without apology, paying no mind to folks with cold, dead hearts who don't know a gem of a human being when they see one. There is nothing any hater can say or do to make us admire this undeniably admirable woman any less.

When it seems like the world has lost its mind—which is how it feels most days these days—I'm just going to keep coming back to this study as evidence that hope for humanity is not lost.

Here. Enjoy some real-life Michelle on Jimmy Kimmel. (GAH. WHY IS SHE SO CUTE AND AWESOME. I can't even handle it.)

Michelle & Barack Obama are Boring Now www.youtube.com

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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

The world is dark and full of terrors, but every once in a while it graces us with something to warm our icy-cold hearts. And that is what we have today, with a single dad who went viral on Twitter after his daughter posted the photos he sent her when trying to pick out and outfit for his date. You love to see it.




After seeing these heartwarming pics, people on Twitter started suggesting this adorable man date their moms. It was essentially a mom and date matchmaking frenzy.

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