States are stepping up for the environment, and it's working. California is proof.

While the federal government sweep climate change under the rug, California leads the way.

The environment has taken a beating in our country the past two years, as the Trump administration has rolled back environmental protections and made clear that the U.S. will withdraw from the first international agreement to curb climate change.

But that doesn't mean nothing is being done. California announced that it has reached its greenhouse emissions reduction goals far ahead of schedule, surpassing the target planned for 2020 in the summer of 2018 — even as the state's economy has grown. These current levels of emissions haven't been seen since 1990.


With by far the largest and most diverse economy in the U.S., California is a testing ground in many ways. This success offers hope for what can be done when the government makes a commitment to positive change.

The emissions goal was set by a Republican governor and pushed along by a Democrat. Yay, bipartisan collaboration!

The 2020 goal was set by Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2006, while current Gov. Jerry Brown has taken broad steps to make sure it was met.

“Surpassing our 2020 emissions goal ahead of schedule while our economy grows by a nation-leading 4.9% and our unemployment rate is at a historic low should send a message to politicians all over the country," Schwarzenegger said in a statement. "You don't have to reinvent the wheel — just copy us. Business will boom and lives will be saved."

States and other nonfederal entities are stepping up to fill the shoes the federal government has kicked aside.

According to Andrew Light, a senior fellow at the World Resources Institute and former state department climate negotiator, about 2,000 U.S. nonfederal entities (i.e., states, cities, and businesses) have indicated they intend to meet our pledge in the Paris Agreement with or without the government's help. That's encouraging.

In fact, three states — California, Washington, and New York — formed the U.S. Climate Alliance immediately after Trump made his withdrawal statement. Now 13 other states and Puerto Rico have joined the alliance, which, according to its website, is "a bipartisan coalition of governors committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions consistent with the goals of the Paris Agreement."

This is what we need more of: bipartisan acknowledgement of our collective responsibility to protect our planet, and willing cooperation in taking action.

Kudos to California and other states for leading the way.

Heroes
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
LUSH

Handmade cosmetics company Lush is putting its money where its mouth is and taking a bold step for climate change action.

On September 20 in the U.S. and September 27 in Canada, Lush will shut the doors of its 250 shops, e-commerce sites, manufacturing facilities, and headquarters for a day, in solidarity with the Global Climate Strike taking place around the world. Lush is encouraging its 5000+ employees "to join this critical movement and take a stand until global leaders are forced to face the climate crisis and enact change."

Keep Reading Show less
Planet
Photo by Annie Bolin on Unsplash

Recent tragic mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton have sparked a lot of conversation and action on the state level over the issue of gun control. But none may be as encouraging as the most recent one, in which 145 CEOs signed a letter urging the U.S. Senate to take action at their level.

Keep Reading Show less
popular