If the danger doesn't motivate you, maybe the price tag will.

Extreme weather in either direction means my Facebook feed is filled with jokes about climate change. (I make them, too.) But let's talk about what's actually happening when I have to wear short sleeves in the winter or my friends in Chicago end up with their eyes frozen shut two seconds after stepping outside.

I live in Arizona. It's generally on the warm side, but those of us who were born and raised here reminisce about the good ol' days when summer actually came to an end in October and we got to wear sweaters and jeans in December.

These days, when many parts of the country are nearing the end of a legit fall season, temperatures in sunny Phoenix remain in the 90s. And lately, our "winters" have involved a lot of T-shirts and flip-flops.


I hear people around here joking about climate change being real — because that's the only way to explain this never-ending heat.

At the same time I was complaining about how it was too hot for me to wear my out-of-style Uggs last winter, a polar vortex hit parts of the country.

And some people were seriously saying that the cold weather meant climate change couldn't be a thing.

Fact: Climate change means we're experiencing extreme weather conditions on both ends of the spectrum, often at the same time (in different places) — unseasonably warm weather and unseasonably frickin' freezing weather, floods, and droughts.

So yeah, I can joke that climate change is interfering with my shoe game...

...but in addition to making us irritatingly hot or toe-numbingly cold, climate change is putting at risk things we depend on, like water, food, and energy.

It's putting people at greater risk for infectious diseases (can we please put a fraction of the energy into caring about that as the media put into trying to make us panic about Ebola?) and heat-related deaths. I called 911 over the summer when I saw a homeless man sprawled out on the side of a freeway access road. The temperature was 116 degrees. Heat-related deaths will only increase as our temperatures do. The CDC found that between 1979 and 2002, 4,780 people died from hyperthermia that could be attributed to the weather. It scares me to think of the data that we'll have from the next 23-year period.

If these things aren't enough, let's talk about the one that motivates a lot of people (like, say, politicians): money. The aftermath of Hurricane Sandy cost $65 BILLION.

Farmers are struggling to grow crops, thanks to endless droughts and floods. (Cost to farmers in the Midwest: $10 billion.) Water supplies in Arizona, California, and Nevada are at risk. California wildfires in 2014 have cost taxpayers $260 million.

Let's not forget that climate change is affecting everyone, everywhere. And it really hits hard in developing countries, where resources are often scarce to begin with.

So it's on all of us to do something. We can't ignore the problem, deny the problem, or assume someone else will figure it out.

Heroes
True
Unilever and the United Nations
Courtesy of Houseplant.

In America, one dumb mistake can hang over your head forever.

Nearly 30% of the American adult population — about 70 million people — have at least one criminal conviction that can prevent them from being treated equally when it comes to everything from job and housing opportunities to child custody.

Twenty million of these Americans have felony convictions that can destroy their chances of making a comfortable living and prevents them from voting out the lawmakers who imprisoned them.

Many of these convictions are drug-related and stem from the War on Drugs that began in the U.S. '80s. This war has unfairly targeted the minority community, especially African-Americans.

Keep Reading Show less
Culture

Climate change is happening because the earth is warming at an accelerated rate, a significant portion of that acceleration is due to human activity, and not taking measures to mitigate it will have disastrous consequences for life as we know it.

In other words: Earth is heating up, it's kinda our fault, and if we don't fix it, we're screwed.

This is the consensus of the vast majority of the world's scientists who study such things for a living. Case closed. End of story.

How do we know this to be true? Because pretty much every reputable scientific organization on the planet has examined and endorsed these conclusions. Thousands of climate studies have been done, and multiple peer-reviewed studies have been done on those studies, showing that somewhere between 84 and 97 percent of active climate science experts support these conclusions. In fact, the majority of those studies put the consensus well above 90%.

Keep Reading Show less
Nature
via James Anderson

Two years ago, a tweet featuring the invoice for a fixed boiler went viral because the customer, a 91-year-old woman with leukemia, received the services for free.

"No charge for this lady under any circumstances," the invoice read. "We will be available 24 hours to help her and keep her as comfortable as possible."

The repair was done by James Anderson, 52, a father-of-five from Burnley, England. "James is an absolute star, it was overwhelming to see that it cost nothing," the woman's daughter told CNN.

Keep Reading Show less
Heroes

I live in a family with various food intolerances. Thankfully, none of them are super serious, but we are familiar with the challenges of finding alternatives to certain foods, constantly checking labels, and asking restaurants about their ingredients.

In our family, if someone accidentally eats something they shouldn't, it's mainly a bit of inconvenient discomfort. For those with truly life-threatening food allergies, the stakes are much higher.

I can't imagine the ongoing stress of deadly allergy, especially for parents trying to keep their little ones safe.

Keep Reading Show less
popular