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Carbon dioxide (CO2) has been given a bad name lately. When we hear about it in relation to climate change it’s often talked about as if it’s an inherently harmful gas. But in reality, carbon dioxide occurs naturally in the earth’s atmosphere and is necessary for keeping our planet at a livable temperature. The problem is that humans started producing carbon emissions from industrial activities — the last time there was this much carbon in the atmosphere, human beings did not exist.

It should be clear: the problem isn’t carbon (CO2) itself, it’s the excess CO2. …

GeneticPsyche aims to explore the expression of our genes through human behaviors — from our likes and dislikes to our mannerisms and idiosyncrasies.

OUR MISSION is to change the way we view both human behavior and the role that our genes play in society.

OUR VISION is to create changes in policy to measurably affect the world in a positive way.

We base all of our research on science, while also exploring the areas where science cannot or has not been able to go.

We believe that our research must be firmly based on science because we are passionate about…

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Photo by Drew Beamer on Unsplash

On December 31, 2019, a novel virus was named that was causing respiratory problems in people it had infected. You’ve probably heard of it. Or, I should say, you’ve probably heard about nothing but it for most of 2020.

But this isn’t about the virus. This is about the other massive threat to humanity that had been — and continues to be — steadily creeping into our everyday lives.

You see, although developing a vaccine or treatment takes a lot of time, there are still direct measures that can be taken to curb a viral pandemic.

We all experienced them…

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Photo by engin akyurt on Unsplash

The response was incredible.

Borders closed. Flights grounded. Billions of people ordered to stay at home.

It was something almost unthinkable, that the world could be put on hold at the expense of the global economy in an effort to save the lives of vulnerable people everywhere. Yet we did it.

Amidst all the strict and unprecedented measures, a popular meme began circulating: “Climate change should hire coronavirus’ publicist!”

Comments and responses to this meme were, to say the least, varied. People threw in their two cents, which ranged from angry attacks on human beings (as if they weren’t a…

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This handwritten sign was posted outside a doctor’s office before COVID-19 was classified as a pandemic. Notice the date shifts to fit their claim (swine flu started in January 2009, for example), the false contagion factor (it’s closer to 3 than 2, which is a huge deal), the blatantly false assertation that the “coronavirus spread is leveling off” (this was claimed weeks before cases surged exponentially) and the dangerous proclamation that this worldwide problem is just being “hyped” before an American election.

It was the middle of March. I was in South Africa, exploring the Western Cape on a Vespa, debating if I would go to Uganda to trek with gorillas or stay around Cape Town for a while.

Less than a week later I was on a flight to Canada, on a hectic dash to beat the border closures that were imminent.

My good friend was trapped in Panama, unable to leave — and unable to go to the beaches or buy alcohol, both of which were shut countrywide. Other friends were stuck in Peru and Spain on total lockdown. …

We are making some progress — but before we pat ourselves on the back we need to take a look at where we really are.

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I recently saw a list of key myths in the energy and climate sector posted by Alessandro Blasi, Special Advisor to the Executive Director at the International Energy Agency. Some of them seemed straightforward, but many of them were surprising, even to somebody in the environmental and sustainability field. Because of this, I thought it would be beneficial to explore these misconceptions to see where we currently sit in our efforts to minimize carbon emissions — and which areas we need to address better, especially if we believe that the situation is better than it really is.

Electricity Does Not Equal Energy

Electricity makes up…

If we are serious about halting carbon emissions, there is another option to go along with wind and solar

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This ball has the potential to provide enough energy for the rest of your life — but is it worth overcoming the obstacles to utilize its power?

Somewhere along the line, “renewable” became synonymous with carbon-free. But solar and wind are not the only means to produce energy without CO2 emissions. Renewables are important, and they should definitely be a part of every country’s energy mix. However, they should not be the entire focus of our shared energy future. Renewables are intermittent, requiring mega battery storage and massive tracts of land or consumer responsibility to install on their own properties. The exception to this is hydro power, which may be the best overall form of energy due to its carbon-free, reliable power. Yet even hydro has its…

Behavioral change is important, but it’s not enough. We also need innovation and policy changes to get us where we need to be.

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The three legs of the Tripod of Environmental Progress

A tripod is a valuable piece of equipment and fits nicely as a metaphor. With three equal legs, no one leg is more important than the other — if one fails, the entire unit falls to the ground. I didn’t intend on using a tripod as the most fitting metaphor for how we need to think about environmental progress. It came to me as I realized that one approach is not more important than the others. …

How can ‘nothing’ make sense?

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Photo by Jeremy Thomas on Unsplash

How could there be nothing?

What was before the Big Bang?

Some people say that asking what was there before the Big Bang is akin to asking what is north of the North Pole: there simply isn’t and wasn’t anything. But how could that be? It’s hard to wrap my mind around it. It’s just as hard to wrap my mind around the fact that everything we see around us, including the things that are too far away to see, was once contained in an impossibly tiny point, surrounded by nothingness.

Or at least this…

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Can hurricanes be blamed on climate change?

I’ll admit it.

I don’t understand climate change.

I have two Master of Science degrees in environmental engineering and sustainable resource management, with climate change being a major focus of both. Still, I don’t really understand this complex and confusing phenomenon.

But I do know it’s real.

I know you can’t put centuries’ worth of carbon dioxide into the air and not have an effect on the global climate. Some people think we don’t have the power to alter the global atmosphere, but I doubt these people know that we pale in comparison to what an ancient species was able…

Jordan Flagel

Jordan is an environmental policy specialist with graduate degrees in resource management and enviro-science. He has worked for think tanks, NGOs, and the UN.

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