Lil Dicky Speaks Out on Climate Change: Here’s Why West Virginians Should Listen

Lil Dicky is a singer/song writer that is notorious for coming out with goofy, not-so-serious music. This past week, he followed his normal trend of releasing a comedic tune, but the song had a serious message behind it.

“Earth” is a cartoon music video where Lil Dicky tells the audience about how much we love the earth and everyone and everything on it. But the main focus is to call attention to Climate Change. Within the lyrics of the song, he discusses that we only have 12 years to change out habits as a society before we see serious, permanent affects to the earth and all the profits from the song are going straight to charity. The song is filled with an all-star cast. Ariana Grande, Justin Bieber and Miley Cyrus are just a few of many celebrities featured. Dicky leave off with encouraging viewers to visit WeLoveTheEarth.org to learn more information and donate.

With a large group of influencers, the message built so directly into the lyrics, and the comedic aspect, it’s the perfect platform to get people aware, which is exactly what he did.

West Virginia is seeing the affects on climate change. Within the last century, majority of the state has warmed up to almost one degree.  One degree may not sound like much, but if we continue to let our climate rise, we will see direct effects such as flooding and health issues. If we don’t make a change, here’s what could happen to our almost heaven.

There has been an increase in precipitation ever since the beginning of the 20th century. Flooding is not a foreign concept to West

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Virginia. In 2016, the state saw the deadliest flood in West Virginia history, and the deadliest flash flood in the nation. It’s estimated that the average precipitation will continue to rise during the winter and spring. This, combined with rising temperatures will intensify flooding.

Health issues can arise due to the heat of some summer days.  Hot days cans be unhealthy and dangerous for everyone, but especially children and the elderly.  The air quality can be harmed due to the rise in temperature. Longer growing seasons means more pollen resulting in allergies, and ground level ozone, a key component of smog, will increase the hotter it gets.  The more the climate changes, the harder it will be to clean the air.

The affects go beyond just flooding a health issues such as

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ecosystems, recreation, and farms.

What can West Virginia Do? We need to drop our greenhouse gas pollution, and burning coal is a huge part of that. Our state is the second largest producer of coal and by reducing how much we burn, could significantly help our climate.

Hopefully Lil Dicky’s message will get people talking and taking action so we can live a longer, healthier life on earth.

Reasonably Sustainable

One of the biggest complaints about being sustainable is that it’s expensive. 

It’s cheaper to buy a cases of plastic water bottles for $3, then to buy a reusable one for $30, and grabbing a free plastic straw is more reasonable than Paying $10 for a reusable one. But where do you cross the line of what is reasonable?

 

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Allbirds is company that sells shoes. But these shoes are special because they’re made out of natural materials. The goal of the company is to be more sustainable.  The shoe is made out of either wool or treefiber and the laces are created from recycled plastic bottles. Even the boxes that they come in are made out of recycled cardboard. The brand was even voted as “World’s Comfiest Shoe”. A shoe that keeps the environment in mind, that can be yours for… $95. And don’t bother looking for a discount code, they don’t exist.

Their pricing is not completely off compared to other shoe brands.  But unlike Nike, Vans, or Adidas, Allbirds isn’t a common name or brand. So when consumers purchase these shoes they’re most likely buying them for what they stand for.

People have different opinions on where to draw the line with what is reasonable and what is not and this video gives great tips on how to save money while trying to be sustainable.

 

Businesses also struggle with the idea of sustainability being pricy. But businesses can actually save money while going green.  The Morgantown Green Coalition was brought together in 2016. Joined with the Morgantown Green Team and Friends of Deckers Creek, their mission was to help local business become more sustainable, while saving money.  31 businesses ranging from bars to boutiques joined the coalition after filling out a survey that took businesses about an hour to complete.  From there they learned tips and tricks from the local expedients on how to be sustainable and saving where they could.

Being reasonably sustainable is truly a person and businesses preference. As a community we find the balance to live a greener life.

 

 

 

 

Recycling is Not One Size Fits All

Recycling seems like an easy task, right? You have a plastic bottle and you come up on two bins, one silver, one blue. You decide to throw the plastic bottle into the blue bin to be recycled and boom, the job is done. Most of the time we don’t think of what happened after we throw our recyclables away. Where do they go? What happens to them?

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First the materials are sorted into categories of paper, plastic, metal, glass, E-waste, and textiles. From there they may be sorted again and then crushed down to make new products. Glass is often repurposed to make more glass, but plastics can be turned into fabrics. All of this starts with the simple idea of throwing that plastic bottle into the right bin. Easy, anyone can do it.

So you’d think. To some surprise, the act of recycling is different for everyone.

The national average of Americans that recycle is 34%, and it been stuck around there since 2010. The average for Charleston West Virginia is even lower at 19.5%, and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania’s recycling rate is lower at 18%. The city of Charleston realized that their program isn’t working and plans to make change. This city currently gives residents clear recycling bags for community members to put recycling in that they

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can leave for curbside pickup. But after this spring, they are doing away with this practice.  Residents will now have to purchase the clear bags from local stores. by getting rid of the practice that has been around since the 70s, the city will save $400,000 a year. Let’s just hope people continue to recycle.

Pittsburgh also struggles with their recycling program. Residents here also use bags like Charleston. The city doesn’t require residents to sort their recycling. The system they use is called “Single Stream Recycling” which is very common around the area, but its not efficient.  If the recycling is contaminated, it’s no good. This means the items get thrown away.

So are people around us recycling? I reached out to my friends on facebook asking about recycling. Majority of my responses were from Pennsylvania, with some from Maryland, Virginia, Connecticut, Florida and of course, West Virginia. Majority of the participants do recycle, in fact 80% of them do, but only 51% of them have a recycling bin in their own home. All users said they recycle plastics and paper came in at second to most popular.  Glass and metal were hit or miss, and only 1 recycles electronics.

Majority of the responses said they would try to go out of their way to recycle. As long as people are trying, we are a step in the right direction.

 

 

 

Humans and Sea Turtles Living in Harmony: Is This the Last Straw?

Let’s talk straws, plastic straws.

Picture this: you’re at a local food joint. You place your order and wait at the next window. Your food comes out and they hand you the drink. You go to the little table where they have napkins, lids and straws. But something is different, something isn’t there. You realize the lid looks

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different, and straws are no where to be found.

Cities like Seattle, Miami, Berkeley and many others have banned the use of straws in the cities along with many other and a few that are waiting for approval. Big companies like Starbucks and Disney are working on reducing their plastic foot print by eliminating straws and even more restaurants, even locally are banning the use of those small plastic sticks we all use to drink out of.

Only about 9% of plastics used end up in recycling and the rest end up in landfill or our oceans.  There is an iceberg named the Pacific Garbage Patch that floats 79,000 tons of plastic through the Pacific ocean.

So why are we starting with straws? Theres so many other forms of plastic like water bottles and tooth brushes but straws are small and can cause harm in ocean life. The most common is that they get stuck in sea turtles noses, causing them trouble with breathing.

Local businesses have joined to no straw movement. Tazikis in the Mountainlair now requires you to ask for a lid and straw and the Evansdale crossing now gives out lids that

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do no require a straw. Although they seem like small steps they are helping with the bigger picture of reducing plastic from the oceans.

Some businesses are dealing with backlash to the movement. Marshalls Hall of Fame Cafe in Huntington eliminated straws this past summer. They experienced backlash from locals

who need to a straw to drink, due to disabilities.

Although plastic straws are disappearing, that doesn’t mean straws are gone forever. Reusable straws made from metal, hard plastic, and even bamboo can be found on amazon or in stores like Walmart for a very cheap price. Restaurants have started to give out paper straws and biodegradable straws are coming into the market.

So don’t think of this as an end to straws but rather a new beginning where our drinking tubes and sea turtles can live in harmony.

Trends that are Saving the Planet

I’m sure you’ve all seen them, Swell water bottles.  If you haven’t, then you might have been walking around with your eyes closed. Swell is a brand that blew up in 2015. The company also donates to different organizations based on the type of bottle purchased and has given every student in New York City a free bottle.  After they started partnering with Starbucks, swell jumped from $10 million to $50 million in sales.  Swell is considered trendy, and it was named the bottle of fashion week, so it didn’t take long for people to jump on this trend.

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These water bottles are a trendy solution to reducing plastic. Plastic has completely taken over our lives. So many items in our everyday lives are made from plastic. It’s easy and coinvent for others while its everywhere and it’s a common use for water. Plastic used for water bottles contain toxins  and take at least 450 years to decompose. So, switching a re-usable water bottle isn’t a bad idea.

Across campus, students are using reusable water bottles. Is this because they are being trendy or because they are actually reducing on plastic? Chyanne Morrison is a student at WVU.  She uses a life is good Tervis bottle. When purchasing her bottle, she says she specifically bought it to reduce on how much plastic she was using with traditional bottles of water.  Water bottles like this can be a pretty penny for a college student. The ever so trendy Swell bottle runs between $12 to $40 and Chyanne paid $30 for her reusable bottle.

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Although that can seem pricy at first, in the long run you’re saving nearly $300 a year.  West Virginia University does a great job of providing students places to refill their water bottles. In 2011, the university installed water bottle refilling station across campus.

Within 2 months of instalment, the station had already saved more than 900 plastic bottles.  Since then the university has installed several more stations. These stations can be found in the Mountainlair, Brooks hall, CPASS, The Evansdale Crossing, The Rec and many more. Chyanne says she

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never has a problem finding a place to refill her bottle.  The station shows in the right-hand corner how many bottles have been saved with that station alone. With the use of reusable water bottles, students are staying trendy and saving the planet.