Category Archives: Environment

Get Down With Your BAD Self: Blogging for Climate Change

This post is part of Blog Action Day (BAD) ’09, which currently has almost ten thousand bloggers pledged to write in support of action on climate change. Check out for more details.

Climate change isn’t my regular “beat,” but you have to be pretty out-of-touch (or George W. Bush) not to realize what a massive problem global warming is. Hence, I wasn’t surprised that the winning cause for Blog Action Day was Climate Change–a recent college grad, environmentalism is the hottest topic amongst student activists across the country.

I think Blog Action Day is an amazing, well orchestrated event (and it just happens to be run this year by my new employer, What was it that those anonymous White House aides said about supporters of LGBT rights? Something about “internet left fringe” and “need[ing] to take off their pajamas”? And here we are, at it again, wearing our monkey-print pajamas and failing to realize “governing a closely divided country is complicated and difficult.”

Know what else is difficult? Governing a country when rising sea levels start submerging parts of that country. (I’m in New York City! We’re going to be among the first to go!)

Okay, that’s an oversimplification of the problem of climate change. It’s much more COMPLICATED and DIFFICULT–and Mother Nature doesn’t wait just because Obama has a tough gig.

Our country has tons of problems–like I said, global warming isn’t my regular beat, and I’m a layperson in the issue. My pajama-clad energy usually goes to LGBT rights, feminism, freaking out about the Religious Right, etc. I’m more than aware of the other issues to pay attention to. But that’s not a valid excuse.

Today, we put our keyboards to use for climate change. Tomorrow, who knows?

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Counter Climate Change With Condoms

Mother Earth wants you to use a condom.

That’s right: these little latex wonders are the newest old green technology. “Fewer Emitters, Less Emissions, Less Cost,” a report from the London School of Economics, checks out what would happen to our carbon footprint if all the “unmet need” for contraceptives was, well, met.

The Alternet article asks the question: “Can Condoms Save Us From Climate Change?” The Optimum Population Trust, which commissioned the report, states in their press release: “The 34 gigatonnes of CO2 saved in this way [providing contraception] would cost $220 billion – roughly $7 a tonne. However, the same CO2 saving would cost over $1trillion if low-carbon technologies were used.” Providing contraception for unmet need is cheaper per ton than a host of other environmentally-friendly technologies, such as solar power, wind power, and hybrid or electric cars. Of the various sustainable lifestyle choices individuals can take, not having kids trumps–especially in developed countries, where the monetary and carbon costs of raising a child are far greater than in developing countries.

A key point here is that no one is suggesting we take a page from China’s book and institute kid quotas. The study considers the benefit of decreasing the number of unplanned, unwanted pregnancies by providing contraception to women who want it, but don’t have it. Furthermore, the study’s findings are underestimated because “unmet need” is only measured in married couples–and obviously there are many single, sexually active people out there, who are just as likely to face the problem of obtaining contraception as unmarried women.

Increased access to birth control for those who want it should already be a top priority in developing countries, since it combats other current problems: i.e. AIDS, hunger, poverty. Our contraception-distribution efforts and legislation such as PEPFAR (the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief) have been severely weakened by conservative religious meddling that insists on teaching abstinence-only for the unmarried, creates a stigma around condoms, and ignores the gendered power imbalances that often make it impossible for women to abstain from sex or insist on a faithful husband who wouldn’t put her at risk for sexually transmitted diseases.

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