Brandon works in environmental communications in Washington, DC. Opinions are his own.

We’re already halfway through January, and some of us have fallen behind our New Year’s resolutions. One survey shows that a third of Americans will ditch their resolutions by February.

The good news, though, is that January 1 is arbitrary, and you can make resolutions whenever. After all, I should’ve written this post weeks ago, but here we are. Regardless, the New Year gives us a chance to reevaluate some of our own behaviors and change them to better serve our Planet.

With that in mind, these four resolutions will focus solely on cutting the biggest chunk of your individual carbon footprint (sorry, recycling). And because we can’t all just install offshore wind farms, they’ll be easy, cheap, and attainable goals — stuff you can realistically do once you finish reading this post. …

As the sun set on the United States Capitol Wednesday night, electors had yet to certify Joe Biden’s presidential victory — a process that started around 1 pm and usually takes under 45 minutes.

The vote wasn’t only delayed by a group of conservative politicians, however; it was suspended by a pro-Trump mob, which literally stormed the Capitol Building, forcing a lockdown. The rioters were driven by baseless claims of election fraud from a lame-duck president.

These lies have not only fueled the recent riots, putting democracy at risk — they have fueled climate change, putting our Planet in peril. …

When it comes to eating meat, there’s no cutting carbon corners. Grass-fed, organic meat has the same carbon footprint as conventionally produced meat, according to a study published this month.

In the study, researchers looked at the external costs of farming and food, like the associated emissions and pollution, and tried to quantify that number. They found organic and conventional beef and lamb had about the same climate costs, while organic chicken was actually a little worse for the climate, and organic pork was slightly better.

The recent findings don’t necessarily mean eating organic isn’t better for you or the animal you’re eating. It might be. But it does mean that if you’re buying organic meat to reduce your carbon footprint, you should reconsider. …

People are avoiding airports like, well, the plague.

With crowds, long lines, and frequently touched surfaces, airports can increase the spread of COVID-19. And though airplanes generally have good circulation, “social distancing is difficult on crowded flights, and sitting within 6 feet of others, sometimes for hours, may increase your risk of getting COVID-19.”

People are taking heed of these dangers. This year, global air travel is projected to fall 60–70% compared to 2019. And because flights account for about 2.5% …

It’s the holiday season, and this year, the climate community is gifting us a bunch of dire reports.

This week, the United Nations released yet another report, the Emissions Gap Report, which found that the Planet is on pace to exceed 3 degrees Celsius of temperature rise this century — over one degree higher than the limit set by the Paris Agreement to avoid a climate catastrophe.

Unfortunately for humankind, the Emissions Gap Report is just the latest in a string of sprawling studies that warn us of the climate crisis set to unravel in the coming decades. It’s getting so bad that in last week’s “State of the Planet” speech, U.N. …

In a bleak speech delivered at Columbia University, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres declared the state of the Planet “broken,” citing numbers from a troubling new report.

“Humanity is waging war on nature,” he said. “This is suicidal.”

Our unraveling world is already showing us the error of our ways, through record droughts, fires, pollution. And since the environment is connected to all aspects of society, the shockwaves of this suicide are felt everywhere.

“The fallout of the assault on our planet is impeding our efforts to eliminate poverty and imperiling food security,” said Guterres. …

For years, the world has been shifting to electric vehicles (EVs) —without the United States.

Lacking a clear, coordinated plan to decarbonize the car industry, the U.S. has fallen behind in EV sales: In 2019, 1.1 million EVs were sold in China and 539,000 in Europe; only 320,000 were sold in the U.S., a drop of 12% from the previous year.

Meanwhile, American car companies have been hesitant to make big commitments without federal support, though they’ve seen the writing on the wall. …

McDonald’s is late to the plant-based party, but we should be happy they’re here.

On Monday, the fast food chain announced the McPlant, a “plant-based burger crafted for McDonald’s, by McDonald’s,” which customers can expect on the menu in 2021.

The announcement of McPlant seems like it’s a long time coming. Many large chains already have established plant-based meat options — such as Dunkin’ Donuts, KFC, White Castle, and Burger King — which has led some to wonder what took McDonald’s so long, even accusing the chain of trend-chasing.

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But McDonald’s isn’t dumb. It’s a hyper-aware company that moves deliberately, if sometimes slowly, The Good Food Institute’s Zach Weston told Fast Company.

“We did not win every battle, but we did win the war,” United States Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi told her congressional colleagues Thursday, as former Vice President Joe Biden inched closer to winning the presidency.

But for environmentalists, it’s hard not to feel like we lost the most important fight — the one for our Planet.

Even if Joe Biden secures the presidency, this election wasn’t the green wave many environmentalists hoped for. The Senate will likely remain controlled by Republicans, who will prevent Biden from rolling out any significant climate measures, including his $2 trillion climate plan.

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And Republicans have little motivation to change their tactics. After all, despite largely ignoring or denying climate change, they fared well across the board, even in states hit hard by climate-fueled disasters this year. …

The Planet has been under stress for decades. And nowhere is that more apparent than in the decline of coral reefs.

We know reefs have been suffering, but a study published this month hits us in the face with a stark reality: Half the corals in the iconic Great Barrier Reef have died in the last 25 years.

Like the ocean, the amount of corals once provided us with the illusion of indestruction. But man’s reach has exceeded his grasp. In the last century of fueling industry and growth, we’ve ruined the vast resources we once had at our disposal. …

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