Saturday, October 15, 2016

What You Can Do About Global Warming

This was originally a Facebook post, but I'm preserving it here in a slightly longer format due to the transient nature of Facebook.

August 2016 was the hottest August ever. So was July. And June. And so on for the last 11 months. Here’s a scary animation. No country is taking this seriously, and if we continue on our current path the Earth will be uninhabitable in 100-200 years.

Global warming may seem easy to ignore, because the effects appear far off and irrelevant to people living in first world countries. Climate change denial (or even acceptance without behavior modification) is perhaps the most extreme example of Hyperbolic Discounting in the history of the human race. Partly this is because it can seem impossible to make any changes yourself that will have an impact. I hope I can convince you otherwise.

I’m sure you’ve heard about global warming causing stronger storms, rising sea levels, and a variety of other long term downsides that may or may not impact you. But did you know that global warming almost certainly contributed to the Arab Spring? Or that the coffee and chocolate crops are at risk? THE COFFEE AND CHOCOLATE CROPS. DO YOU REALLY WANT TO LIVE IN A WORLD WITHOUT COFFEE OR CHOCOLATE?!?!

I could write a long post with doomsday scenarios, but I’m more interested in changing behavior NOW, so we can mitigate the damage. Here are six things you can do immediately, in rough order of impact, that if everyone did would have an enormous impact on the problem:
  1. Vote HillaryI contend that no other issues in the political landscape today really matter. If we don’t solve this problem we won’t have a world to save. And we won’t have coffee or chocolate. Hillary Clinton is the only candidate with a rational approach to climate change (look at question #3)
  2. Fly lessIf you get on airplanes somewhat regularly, it is probably your largest contribution to global warming
  3. Buy an electric car -  As the grid transitions to renewable energy, auto transport will become a larger and larger portion of individual emissions. You don’t have to buy an expensive Tesla (although they are awesome), the Chevy Bolt is coming out imminently, is priced under $30K with tax credits, and has 238 miles of range
  4. Reduce Individual Energy Consumption - Switch to LEDs, get a Nest, keep your house a little colder this winter and put on a sweatshirt. Depending on how much you can change your usage, this could have a minor impact or a significant one. This will also save you money
  5. Stop eating beef/lamb/pork - Agriculture is a significant contributor to carbon emissions, and beef/lamb/pork contribute disproportionately
  6. Buy Carbon Offsets - TerraPass makes this very easy, and for <$200 you can make your family carbon negative. This can have a big impact, but I put it at the bottom because permanently reducing consumption has a double effect: slowing the greenhouse effect and preventing us from needing to offset so much carbon

I’m personally doing or have done all of the above, and I encourage you to do the same.
Remember, only you can prevent forest fires. I mean global warming. And also forest fires. Which are exacerbated by, and then subsequently contribute to global warming!

P.S. Keep those "the temperature has changed before" arguments to yourself. If you read none of the articles linked in this post, at least scroll through the chart here.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

"Composer: Getting Started" Published on Pluralsight

My second Pluralsight course, Composer: Getting Started, just went live! This is another course that's loosely based on a talk I've given in the past, with a lot more of the details fleshed out. The course covers the following topics:

  1. The Basics of Composer
  2. Including Third Party Code
  3. Autoloading Your Code
  4. Composer Scripts
  5. Publishing Your Own Composer Package
Check it out on Pluralsight today, and let me know what you think!