Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type bool in /var/www/wp-content/plugins/convertplug/convertplug.php on line 220

Deprecated: Function get_magic_quotes_gpc() is deprecated in /var/www/wp-content/plugins/convertplug/convertplug.php on line 1470

Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type bool in /var/www/wp-content/themes/Divi/includes/builder/functions.php on line 2421

Our Daily Planet: Millennials Front and Center — Poll Results, Interviews and Issues Highlighted This Week


View this email in your browser

By: Monica Medina and Miro Korenha

Sign Up for Our Daily Planet 

Monday, May 7th, 2018

Forward ODP to a friend!


Millennials Week

This week we're going to bring you content focused on Millennials and how this generation of young people is facing and solving our planet's most pressing challenges. The results of our recently-conducted Environmental Anxiety Index showed that Millennials are the age group most troubled the Trump Administration's deregulation efforts and actions against the environment. They're motivated to vote and they will soon outnumber Baby Boomers as America's largest generation. 

Throughout the week we'll feature original interviews with Millennials who are working across various sectors to shape the trajectory of our country and ensure we're on a more well-informed, sustainable, and equitable path. We'll also focus on the specific ways the stories we cover affect Millennials as a warming planet begins to more rapidly shape the health of people and the environment. 





Lava flows near the Leilani Estates subdivision in Pahoa, Hawaii. Photo: Bruce Omori/Paradise Helicopters/Epa-Efe/Rex/Shutterstock

Kilauea's Violent Wake-Up

On Friday a 6.9 magnitude earthquake struck the Big Island of Hawaii with its epicenter in the newly-erupting Kilauea volcano. At least 10 fissures have opened up throughout residential neighborhoods, spewing magma 100 feet into the air as well as toxic life-threatening gases--forcing 2000 people to be evacuated from their homes. Of these gases, sulfur dioxide is one of the most toxic and has been hampering rescue efforts as it seeps out of the earth causing serious eye, nose and skin irritation as well as coughing, headaches and shortness of breath. The gas is “an immediate threat to life for all who become exposed,” the Hawaii County Civil Defense Agency said in a statement.

So far 21 homes have been destroyed but with new fissures continuing to form, hundreds more are in the literal line of fire. Elena Cabatu, a spokeswoman for the Hilo Medical Center in Hilo, Hawaii, the main hospital that was prepared to treat affected patients, said on Saturday there had not been an increase in emergency room visits, adding that people so far appeared to have stayed away from the areas with the highest concentration of gases.

Why This Matters: As Erik Klemetti, a volcanologist at Denison University, pointed out because of the new fissures that keep forming it's difficult for scientists and the USGS to know when to allow residents to return to their homes. If the new fissures follow a pattern set by other fissures on Kilauea, then the evacuation could “last for a prolonged period of time,” says Klemetti.

Kilauea is “unlike a lot of volcanoes because it’s a shield volcano”—meaning it has long, sloping sides—“and because it’s huge. The scale of it is hard to comprehend until you’re on the volcano and you realize you can drive 20 miles and still be on the volcano," Klemetti says. Shield volcanoes also don't suddenly and violently erupt like composite volcanoes such as the 1980 eruption of Mt. St. Helens, but rather seep out magma from its many chambers. (Click here to learn more about the different types of volcanoes)





Don Blankenship     Photo: Al Drago, The New York Times via Redux

Former Mining CEO Surges in Tuesday's WVA Republican Primary


On Tuesday, voters go to the polls in primaries in West Virginia, Ohio, North Carolina, and Indiana.  One of the most closely watched contests is the Republican Senate primary in West Virginia, which pits a former CEO of a major coal company, Don Blankenship, against 5 other candidates for the right to square off against Democratic Senator Joe Manchin, who is considered vulnerable because President Trump carried West Virginia in 2016.  What makes this race unusual is that Blankenship is a convicted felon, who spent a year in jail (he was released almost exactly one year ago) for his role in the deaths of 29 coal miners in 2010.  He was convicted for taking shortcuts on safety in order to maximize profits for his company, Massey Energy, including failing to properly ventilate the mine. Investigators suspect a buildup of methane gas and coal dust caused the deadly April 2010 blast. 

Blankenship has spent $3.5m personally to win the Republican nomination -- and he has fought against the entire Republican party establishment. Even Donald Trump, Jr. has weighed in urging Republicans not to vote for Blankenship.

According to Politico, Blankenship appears to be gaining ground against his more conventional Republican opponents.  One other factor in Blankenship's surge could be Democratic spending on negative ads about his Republican opponents.  

Why This Matters to Millennials:  The 2018 Midterm Elections are here.  The upcoming primary season is an opportunity for environmentally-oriented millennial voters to make their views known to our leaders in Washington.  As our poll results demonstrate, environmental issues matter immensely to millennials.  Conservative millennials, like Donald Trump, Jr., are likely to be very active in the midterms.  In order to counter them, conservation-minded voters must show up and vote, something that many people do not do during the primaries.  

Memorial to the men lost in the 2010 Upper Big Branch Mine. 
Photo: Ty Wright, The New York Times




 Climate Change

Things Are Heating Up In Puerto Rico

Even as thousands in Puerto Rico still experience power outages, there are many who have begun to live "off-the-grid" there thanks to the installation of solar panels.  Only 2% of Puerto Rico's power was renewable in 2016, but that percentage is likely to be much higher going forward.  Blackouts are a thing of the past for people with solar microgrids, which operate independently of the island’s greater energy infrastructure, and which can often be taken down to protect them when a hurricane hits. Not to mention that solar power is a fraction of the cost.

Earther reports that companies like Sunrun and Sonnen have been donating many new installations, as have local nonprofits, like Casa Pueblo in Adjuntas, Puerto Rico. An environmental group dedicated, in part, to increasing solar power throughout the region, Casa Pueblo has been busy since Hurricane Maria helping families get solar panels on their homes by collaborating with other organizations that have money, like the Puerto Rico Funders Network.  

That is a small bright spot in an otherwise dark picture of Puerto Rico today, with only a few weeks until hurricane season begins again.  Last week, police and protesters (many of whom were students) clashed in the streets of San Juan.  The Puerto Rican public is angry because of the sluggish response to Hurricane Maria and impending budget cuts that leave many citizens with an uncertain future.  An investigation led by National Public Radio revealed many shortcomings in the federal government's response to the hurricane, including a failure to have pre-positioned generators and tarps in Puerto Rico, and failures by numerous government contractors hired to help with recovery efforts.  

Why This Matters to Millennials:  Climate change is likely to cause more supersized storms like Hurricane Maria during the course of the millennial generation's adulthood.  Millennials must learn from the failures of Hurricane Maria and make sure that they are not repeated going forward.  A new generation of leaders can ensure that solutions like solar power and microgrids will increasingly be part of the energy mix in Puerto Rico and in other hurricane-prone areas.  

To Go Deeper Into the Government's failures, watch the NPR story here.  

Protesters in San Juan on May 1.  Photo: Alvin Baez, Reuters via NBC News





Photo: Forbes 30 Under 30

Exclusive Interview with Chadwick Manning, CEO and Co-Founder of ElectrIQ

ElectrIQ manufactures and sells innovative electric components like inverters, storage systems, solar-PV-ready connectors and software, making it easier for homeowners to put together and optimize their own solar power system and integrate with batteries. A 2018 Grist 50 honoree, Manning's 3-year-old has installed systems in some 1,200 houses, collecting $16 million in the process and is now launching its series-A funding round. Miro had a chance to chat with Chadwick, Millennial to Millennial: 

 ODP: Throughout college, our generation was told that major utilization of renewable energy like solar was a pipe dream and that this technology couldn’t possibly compete with coal and natural gas on a large enough scale. Having heard these same naysayers throughout your formative years, what motivated you to start ElectrIQ?
CM: It started my freshman year of high school, I entered a science fair because I was always interested in cars and I built a hydrogen wankel engine that turned me on to the idea that this isn’t just a pipe dream. I grew up in Silicon Valley and saw the birth of the internet age and I knew that technology would progress and there would be more economies of scale that would, in turn, drive the prices of renewables down. There is some truth that renewables by themselves like wind and solar aren’t a complete solution to the grid as they’re an intermittent power source. The biggest missing component of renewables being a large part of our grid was batteries and they have really only become viable this year and their viability is due to the electric vehicle market. For me I wanted to pursue this line of work because I wanted a reason to get up every morning. I was a consultant at PWC for about 3 years and hated my life, it was awful. I started an on-demand laundry service in college and it was my dream to start another company and when I met my cofounder the ability and the timing worked out and this idea came across for an integrated energy storage solution company. 
ODP: What’s your advice to homeowners that want to take the first step to bring solar and battery storage technology to their homes but don’t know where to start?
CM: I would start talking with consultants, there are a number of companies out there like Sunovaor Sunrun that will be able to provide a free consultation on the types of technology that is out there and the different types of financing products. I would highly suggest meeting with a couple of these consultants because it’s daunting to try and understand the solar panel technology or battery chemistry technology or the types of different inverters that are out there. Start with the warranties because you want these systems to be running for a long time, look at the financing product and then look for something that’s going to be easy for you to use and gives you the most information about what’s happening with that system. If you don’t want to talk to a salesperson at first then go to Greentech Media, they have a lot of information, there’s also Utility Drive, Clean Technica but don’t overload yourself with too much information: focus on the price point, the value you get out of it, the warranty, and make sure you get a well-trusted installer. 
 ODP: As our generation begins to move into the phase of life of home-ownership, what are some things Millennials should consider before purchasing their first home if they want a more sustainable lifestyle?

CM: The biggest consideration for energy storage outside of hurricane zoned areas is the rates of each utility. These rates are different for each utility and that’s where it breaks apart by region. Look where there’s the biggest differentiation between off-peak rates and peak rates, that’s where energy storage and energy management makes the most sense. In terms of considerations, if you want an electric vehicle, if you want to be carbon neutral as a family or an individual, you’re best to go into areas like Hawaii and California that also have incentives on top of the federal tax credit (it’s called the Self-Generation Incentive Program). Massachusetts has an incentive on the state level and there are many states out there that provide additional incentives. Look for utilities that are trying to push renewables, and that’s where you’re going to drive the most value out of your energy storage solar system--as well as networking your other appliances to your home hub and having some sort of energy management layer that’s controlling their energy usage. 
ODP: What does success look like for your sector of the cleantech world and for your company in 10 years?
CM: I would define success by having every new home built in the US contain an energy storage and solar system. Really the goal is to become a completely decentralized grid. We want to make this technology as common as the refrigerator in people's homes. This is going to help in a lot of different ways: resiliency, fewer blackouts and it’s going to help shift investment from transmission infrastructure and new power plants to focusing on community and microgrids. This way the grid is more secure from a number of different perspectives: from falling trees and fires to also cyber attacks or physical attacks on any kind of production (it’s a national security issue). For my company, we want to become the largest distributed virtual powerplant in the world. We want to have more systems out there than anyone else. 
ODP: What Millennial stereotype applies to you and what’s one that you defy?
CM: The one that applies is student loan debt and while I’m pretty much totally millennial the one I’d say I defy is that I’m good at relating to other generations in a more empathetic way. 





Photos: Hendrik Freitag, Taxon Expeditions, Getty     Graphic: USA Today

You Know You've Made It When...

Last week, Leonardo Di Caprio received the latest of many accolades for his commitment to conservation -- a newly discovered species of water beetle was named after him.  The discovery was made by citizen scientists working in a remote part of Malaysia.  This year, reports USA Today, is the 20th anniversary of the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation and its efforts towards biodiversity preservation and protecting the world’s last wild places, according to the group's website. The scientists making the discovery said, "Tiny and black, this new beetle may not win any Oscars for charisma, but in biodiversity conservation, every creature counts."

LDC is not the only celebrity that has received this honor.  The Guardian reports that because of the unique dense golden hairs on its abdomen, Australian scientist Bryan Lessard named the Scaptia beyonceae, a rare species of horse fly, after Beyoncé.  And just last year, Dr. Sylvia Earle presented President Barack Obama with a coral reef fish that goes by the name Tosanoides obama and is endemic to the Papahānaumokuākea marine national monument Obama created in his native Hawaii.  More than a dozen species have been named after Obama, including a species of lichen, two spiders, a Cuban bee, and an extinct lizard. 

Why This Matters to Millennials:  Biodiversity loss is an enormous global problem -- millennials may experience a dramatic extinction wave in their lifetimes due to habitat loss and climate change.  Yet, it is a wondrous thing when new species are discovered.  These new discoveries might not make news at all but for their famous namesakes.  Given all the global media coverage this little black beetle received, we suspect more new species will get the "Hollywood" treatment.  

To Go Deeper in the DiCaprio Foundation's excellent work, click here.  

Photo: Brian Skerry, National Geographic




This Week Our Daily Planet Is Brought to You
In Partnership With

Copyright © Our Daily Planet 2018, All rights reserved.

We're committed to bringing you the best stories about people and planet, have a tip or feedback? Send it our way! 

Like what you see? Make ODP part of your morning and sign up.

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.