President Trump won't address climate change, so Beyoncé will

Beyoncé's been giving back to her hometown of Houston as it digs out from under the disaster that was Hurricane Harvey.

After Harvey left Houston a flooded mess, the singer teamed up with some local organizations to help bring attention to the disaster relief efforts and making a few on-the-ground appearances herself. Disaster relief is nothing new for Beyoncé — in 2005, she set up the Survivor Foundation to help victims of Hurricane Katrina — so it didn't come as a huge surprise that she took such a hands-on approach when Houston needed her.

It was during the Hand in Hand charity telethon, however, that Beyoncé addressed an underlying issue that many in our own government aren't willing to tackle: climate change.

More than $44 million for disaster relief was raised during the Hand in Hand telethon, but it was Beyoncé's powerful statement that made headlines the morning after.

Stating the obvious — that natural disasters don't care about the color your skin is, the religion you practice, or how much money you've got in your checking account — Beyoncé segued into a message about the long-term effects of climate change. Citing a number of recent disasters, which, mind you, aren't in themselves proof of climate change but are what we can look forward to if we don't take swift action, she called on viewers to "come together in a collective effort to raise our voices, to help our communities, to lift our spirits, and heal" before it's too late.

GIFs from Beyoncé/YouTube.

Make no mistake about it: Climate change has been and will continue to disparately harm poor communities and people of color.

Anyone can be hit by a natural disaster, but poorer countries and poorer parts of the U.S. are less equipped to be able to effectively prepare for or recover from tragedy. Many people can't afford to just pack up their belongings and move out of harm's way or rebuild homes destroyed by storm winds and debris. Fights against racism, climate change, and income inequality are inextricably linked; it's why a number of groups have taken an intersectional approach on so many of these topics.

Climate change is very real. In December, more than 800 climate scientists signed a letter urging then-President-elect Trump to address the climate crisis just waiting to happen. Since then, Trump has appointed a climate denier to head the Environmental Protection agency, pulled out of the Paris climate agreement, and rolled back dozens of common sense regulations meant to protect our fragile planet.

If scientists can't get through to deniers, maybe Beyoncé can. We're entering an all-hands-on-deck kind of era when it comes to fighting climate change, so let's get in formation.

Watch Beyoncé's powerful message from the Hand in Hand benefit below.

Here we are, six months into the coronavirus pandemic, and people are tired. We're tired of social distancing, wearing masks, the economic uncertainty, the constant debates and denials, all of it.

But no one is more tired than the healthcare workers on the frontline. Those whom we celebrated and hailed as heroes months ago have largely been forgotten as news cycles shift and increased illness and death become "normal." But they're still there. They're still risking themselves to save others. And they've been at it for a long time.

Mary Katherine Backstrom shared her experience as the wife of an ER doctor in Florida, explaining the impact this pandemic is having on the people treating its victims and reminding us that healthcare workers are still showing up, despite all of the obstacles that make their jobs harder.

Keep Reading Show less
Mozilla
True
Firefox

When I found out I was pregnant in October 2018, I had planned to keep the news a secret from family for a little while — but my phone seemed to have other ideas.

Within just a few hours of finding out the news, I was being bombarded with ads for baby gear, baby clothes and diapers on Facebook, Instagram and pretty much any other site I visited — be it my phone or on my computer.

Good thing my family wasn't looking over my shoulder while I was on my phone or my secret would have been ruined.

I'm certainly not alone in feeling like online ads can read your mind.

When I started asking around, it seemed like everyone had their own similar story: Brian Kelleher told me that when he and his wife met, they started getting ads for wedding rings and bridal shops within just a few weeks. Tech blogger Snezhina Piskov told me that she started getting ads for pocket projectors after discussing them in Messenger with her colleagues. Meanwhile Lauren Foley, a writer, told me she started getting ads for Happy Socks after seeing one of their shops when she got off the bus one day.

When online advertising seems to know us this well, it begs the question: are our phones listening to us?

Keep Reading Show less
Photo by Mahir Uysal on Unsplash

Two years ago, I got off the phone after an interview and cried my eyes out. I'd just spent an hour talking to Tim Ballard, the founder of Operation Underground Railroad, an organization that helps fight child sex trafficking, and I just couldn't take it.

Ballard told me about how the training to go undercover as a child predator nearly broke him. He told me an eerie story of a trafficker who could totally compartmentalize, showing Ballard photos of kids he had for sale, then switching gears to proudly show him a photo of his own daughter on her bicycle, just as any parent would. He told me about how lucrative child trafficking is—how a child can bring in three or four times as much as a female prostitute—and how Americans are the industry's biggest consumers.

Keep Reading Show less

Kids say the darnedest things and, if you're a parent, you know that can make for some embarrassing situations. Every parent has had a moment when their child has said something unintentionally inappropriate to a stranger and they prayed they wouldn't take it the wrong way.

Cassie, the mother of 4-year-old Camryn, had one of the those moments when her child yelled, "Black lives matter" to a Black woman at a Colorado Home Depot.

But the awkward interaction quickly turned sweet when the Black woman, Sherri Gonzales, appreciated the comment and thanked the young girl.

Keep Reading Show less