Young people don’t flock to the poll like older Americans do. In 2016, only 46 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds voted compared to 71 percent of those over 65; in 2012, those numbers were pretty much the same.
Narratives around the youth vote have long centered around apathy — that young Americans just aren’t showing up, even though elections increasingly impact them on issues such as climate change and educational debt. Michelle Obama said on a recent podcast episode, “I understand the people who voted for Trump. The people who didn’t vote at all, the young people, the women, that’s when you think, man, people think this is a game.”
Others insist that young people don’t vote because the candidates offered to them don’t represent their political views. This was a key argument behind Bernie Sanders’s 2020 candidacy for the Democratic presidential nomination, which was built on the idea of a political revolution of youth voter turnout inspired by his socialist-leaning political agenda. (Youth voter turnout disappointed Sanders in the 2020 primary: “Have we been as successful as I would hope in bringing young people in? The answer is no,” he said.)
But the reality is that most young people are neither apathetic nor ideologically disengaged. They aren’t turning out to vote because their lives are not set up for it.
Young people are attending college, often in a different location from where they grew up. They’re working full-time or part-time while attending school, often at low-wage jobs that can have unstable work schedules. They don’t have access to transportation. They move around a lot, change schools, or study abroad. They don’t know where they’ll be living three months in the future.
“You think about the fact that most 40-year-olds … have a stable workweek where you kind of know when you’ll fit voting in on that first Tuesday in November,” said Sunshine Hillygus, a political science professor at Duke University who co-wrote a book on young voters, on the EdSurge Podcast. “Whereas young people have a far more fluid and unstable schedule and lifestyle.”
Registering to vote — and figuring out where and how to vote — can look easy on paper. But for many young adults, getting clear instructions, along with all the variables that can change at the last minute, is more challenging than you might think. Hillygus suggests reforms that ease the process of voting, such as preregistering young people to vote in high school or when they get their driver’s license at 16, as well as better overall civic education in schools that connect government and politics with teens’ everyday lives.
Vox spoke to three young people who encountered logistical difficulties that prevented or nearly prevented them from voting. All of them wanted to make clear that they and their young peers do want to vote, but that the barriers to making it happen can feel daunting.
“I wondered where my ballot would go, whether it would be mailed back to my address in Atlanta or Shanghai. And my college was in Tennessee, so I had three locations to worry about.”
Angelina Tran, 26, just graduated with a masters in education policy, Georgia
For the last presidential election, which would have been my first time voting for president, I was in Shanghai, China, for a college semester abroad.
I signed up for an absentee ballot when I was home in Atlanta, Georgia. But I didn’t know which address to put, and I think I ended up sending it to the generic study abroad office in Shanghai. It was really confusing. There wasn’t a lot of information on what it’s like to vote when you are living abroad, especially in a country that may have more barriers when it comes to receiving mail from your home country.
I wondered where my ballot would go, whether it would be mailed back to my address in Atlanta or Shanghai. And my college was in Tennessee, so I had three locations to worry about — typical millennial, moving all over the place. I remember calling and asking my mom at home if she received an absentee ballot, but my mom doesn’t speak English so she said no; I wasn’t sure if that was actually the case. I literally was like, “Can I just vote online?”
There was a group of us from across the US all studying abroad. We were really sad when we heard the election results. From my college, there were about 15 of us — I don’t think anyone abroad voted via absentee ballot. China was just confusing, just receiving any mail in general was confusing. The study abroad program, which assigns us to housing, that all wasn’t finalized until late in the process.
It just sucks that I couldn’t vote. There’s definitely a sense of pride and accomplishment when you vote, especially since that was such a historic election — even though Georgia is pretty much conservative, so I knew which way it would go. But I think the idea of voting, just as one person making a difference, was important to me. As soon as I got back to the states, I was voting in local elections because that was so much easier to navigate. But it was disappointing that the absentee ballot abroad was really confusing. I wish there were easier ways for people abroad to vote.
“I requested my absentee ballot months in advance. It never came. ”
Lucas Carroll, 20, college student, Massachusetts
I’m registered to vote in southwest Michigan but go to college in Massachusetts, and in this year’s primary, I requested my absentee ballot months in advance. It never came. I lived with four siblings along with my mom, my aunt, and my little cousin, so it’s kind of a crazy house and I wasn’t sure if it was my fault I never got my ballot or if it got thrown away. This problem is only going to be amplified by a million come November.
I called the clerk and she promised me it was okay to go in and vote in person. I’m not immunocompromised, and I live with people who are generally young and healthy, so I wasn’t too worried, though I did wear gloves and a mask. But I wondered if everybody else would feel just as comfortable to do so.
I was able to end up voting in the primary, but it was really confusing. Especially with the news coming out of Georgia that 1,000 people had voted twice. I question if that’s really what happened or if they requested an absentee ballot that never came and went in person as well.
The coronavirus has made everything a million times more difficult. I called my clerk and I talked to her about that. I mentioned that I was going back to school in the fall, but I have no idea what’s going to happen or if we’ll still even be in school by November or if we’ll be sent home because of an outbreak. She just said, “Don’t worry about it, just let me know where you’ll be by the first week of October.” And I was like, “I have no idea.”
I didn’t even know what my school address was going to be until a couple weeks ago because I was supposed to be studying abroad and that got canceled, so they were waiting to see what opened up before putting me into a new dorm. It wasn’t anybody else’s fault, it was just the logistical nightmares that Covid has caused. But that happened to a bunch of people I know who are still trying to find places to live, on or off campus. All of these barriers that have already been present are being amplified at a time like this. Luckily, it all worked out and I was able to vote.
What really worries me is that all of those students are registering for absentee ballots at their college address. And we’ve already had, what, a dozen colleges who have closed down schools and sent the kids home? Is their first priority really gonna be, “I need to call my clerk and get my address changed”? Or is it gonna be, “Where am I gonna live for the next several months? How am I gonna do school? How am I gonna get all my stuff home?”
This election, everyone I know is really motivated to vote in. In 2018, the conversation was like, “How do I get a stamp? Where should I mail my absentee ballot?” This year it’s like, “I have no idea what’s going on. I don’t even know where to start.” It’s not about apathy. It’s not about having a clear choice in November. It’s all about this situation which has made preexisting roadblocks to voting 10 times more difficult to overcome.
I have friends that are like, “I will make my mom come and drive to pick me up to take me home to vote if I have to. If I have to book a flight to go home, I can’t really afford that, but I will figure it out.” This election is too important to sit out.
“I was registered to vote at my home for the primary, which was about 45 minutes away from my campus, but I didn’t have a car”
Erika Neal, 22, graduate student in California
During the 2016 election, I was a freshman. I had just moved in on campus. There was so much going on. I was a work study student, I was an honors student, I had a full class load. Unfortunately, my school did not close for Election Day, and I had so many tests and assignments that were due that I wasn’t able to figure out how to vote.
I was registered to vote at my home for the primary, which was about 45 minutes away from my campus, but I didn’t have a car to go back home. I didn’t know that you had to re-register to vote in your locality. It was really hard to know where to go for that information as a 17-year-old.
It’s not that voting wasn’t important to me. It was. But because I already assumed I was registered to vote in Virginia, where my college was, I didn’t realize I had to vote in my home polling place. Making that assumption definitely could have been combated with Google, but also making sure that educational gap is filled by the university, and holding my alma mater accountable for it, has become important to me because some people don’t know this stuff. They don’t know where to look. I didn’t know there was such thing as an election registrar. It really comes down to that gap in education. We have students coming from all kinds of school systems. And at 17 years old, 18 years old, you’re not thinking about four years ahead of you. You’re thinking about now.
I was a full-time student. On top of that, my school is heavily dependent on financial aid, and that includes work study. Freshman year, tuition was a significant expense for me and my family, so I wanted to use as much of that work study money as possible to defer those payments. That was my No. 1 priority.
I was really fortunate to have a work study position that was on campus because I didn’t have transportation. But not having a car made it even harder to try and get home. I would have had to take the train and I didn’t always have time to do that, and my parents didn’t necessarily have time to pick me up from the train station so I could go vote before my polling location closed. That was definitely a hurdle. My priority at the time was my school and my work.
I think not all, but many school systems are failing to connect the importance of civic engagement with our daily lives. For a lot of young people who are getting ready to vote in this election or are just barely too young to vote now, they are starting to see how politics is involved in every single aspect of our lives. So many young people of color are starting to understand the impact that voting can have, especially with Black Lives Matter, LGBTQ rights, or any other movements going on. We have the power in voting who represents us in these spaces.
When it comes to young people voting, an added hurdle is worrying about having enough money to have a roof over your head. You are considered a young adult, you graduate college, and you just want to make sure you have everything to stay alive — like food, water, and shelter. The cost of living is so expensive. It’s so hard to find time to vote for a lot of people who fit into that demographic.
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The lightweight new iPad Air is heavy with features
Unlike the eighth-gen iPad that only got some retooling under the hood with the A12 Bionic chip, Apple gave the latest iPad Air a full face-lift and rethinking. For starters, the home button is gone and the screen stretches fully to the edges, delivering a 10.9-inch display.
And after five days with it, we’re really liking the iPad Air — especially with a starting price of $599.99 for 64GB of storage, it’s a great option for anyone looking to go beyond what an entry-level iPad can do. The 10.9-inch screen feels expansive and gives you plenty of room for multitasking. And for movie nights, this display excels at color reproduction. We also found that the A14 Bionic chip lets you breezily accomplish nearly any task.
Sure, the iPad Air might seem like a mishmash of different features, but it also plants itself as midrange. There’s no Face ID or a remarkable refresh rate with this display like you’d find on an iPad Pro. But select higher-end features have trickled down, and the iPad Air (in this form) feels like the Pro option for the masses.
Not light as air, but still very light
As the name hints, the iPad Air is known for being ultra portable. It’s very comfortable to hold in just one hand even with its nearly 11-inch screen. The 2020 iPad Air measures in at just over a pound, so it’s lighter than a bottle of water. And its thickness (6.1 millimeters) is akin to four credit cards stacked atop each other.
The Air’s aluminum design really lets the respective colors (Sky Blue, green, silver and Space Gray) shine as light hitting the backside at different angles displays a brighter or darker hue. The Smart Connector is on the back for easy pairing with accessories like the Smart Keyboard. Atop the Air is a spot where you can magnetically attach a second-generation Apple Pencil. Like on the iPad Pro, this not only holds the Apple Pencil in place but will wirelessly charge it. It’s nice to see this feature trickle down from the iPad Pro.
There’s also no Lightning port on the iPad Air; Apple has swapped in a USB-C port to replace it, and we’re fully on board with it. To a degree, it’s a more Pro port with support for charging, data transfers and even the ability to extend your display.
Our favorite part of the design would be that Apple tucked a Touch ID sensor into the power button. It’s the first time Apple’s featured a fingerprint sensor on an iPad’s home button. On the engineering side of the house, the power button’s outer shell is a glass finish, which contains the smaller fingerprint sensor that Apple has produced.
In our testing, Touch ID was just as fast in this new form as in a home button. If anything, most of the time it felt about a half second or so faster. Just more prompt for unlocking, authenticating purchases and autofilling passwords.
Face ID is a lot easier, as you don’t really need to do anything except look at the True Depth Sensor at the top of the iPad, but it’s also clear that Apple is reserving that tech for its flagship iPads. We imagine that Face ID on the iPad Air would have jacked the price up. All in all, though, we’re happy with this implementation of Touch ID, and it only took us a day to really get the hang of it.
A closer-to-bezel-less display
In comparison to the previous generations of iPad Air, Apple is giving you a slightly larger display — a 10.5-inch is swapped for a 10.9-inch. The big difference to get that 0.4-inch increase? Removing the home button and slimming down the bezels.
And while 0.4 inches is a relatively small increase, in combination with this refreshed design and slimmer bezels, the iPad Air feels more expansive. You can more comfortably fit two apps side by side with a picture-in-picture window for consuming content.
The display is Liquid Retina, which is Apple’s name for an LCD screen. Essentially, it’s not being lit on a pixel-by-pixel basis like an OLED, but rather it has a backlit panel that goes through filters to create an image. Still, it creates a vivid and sharp image at a 2360 x 1640 resolution that delivers 264 pixels per inch. It also supports True Tone and, especially good for creatives, it meets the Wide Color P3 standard.
Apple tries to minimize finger smudges across the screen with a fingerprint-resistant oleophobic coating, which we found certainly succeeds at hiding a majority of fingerprints, although potato chip fans are warned — overly greasy fingers will still leave a mark and sometimes residue. The screen also features an anti-reflective coating, which aids in helping to block views of smudges, especially under fluorescent lights or outside.
In our testing period, text came through crisp, and we didn’t notice any pixelation around individual numerals or letters, a problem that often plagues some lower-end screens and even LCDs. Viewing emails and reading text on the iPad Air was comfortable on the eyes, thanks to True Tone.
With streaming content, we tried out Springsteen’s “Letter to You” documentary, which arrives on Apple TV+ on October 23. It’s part studio sessions, panning outdoor shots and the E Street Band together all in black and white. The iPad Air reproduced the picture with proper color shading across grays and blacks for a compelling experience. In comparison to watching on an iPad Pro, you’d be hard-pressed to really notice a difference in image quality.
And while this doesn’t have ProMotion (an adaptive refresh rate that goes up to 120 Hz), we didn’t notice any milling or issues with production. That same comment also extends to gaming in Real Racing 3 and War Robots or with watching superhero movies like “Captain Marvel” or “Guardians of the Galaxy.”
We’d also like to call out the stereo speakers that flank the left and right sides when the iPad Air is held horizontally. They pack a punch and deliver a pretty robust sound experience that’s only bested by the iPad Pro. We didn’t experience any additional noise or tinny audio effects, either.
A14 Bionic is a very capable chip
The iPad lineup has a clear entry point with the eighth-gen iPad and a high point with the iPad Pro. With the A14 Bionic inside, the iPad Air really cements itself as the midrange option — a next step above the eighth-gen iPad not quite up to scale with the iPad Pro with the A13Z inside.
For instance, you can run through a series of photo edits in Photoshop or Pixelmator (two leading editing apps) at three or four times the speed as the eighth-gen iPad. And by meeting that mark, the iPad Air falls nearly in line with the iPad Pro — thanks to Apple’s latest Silicon processor inside.
The A14 Bionic is also being used in the iPhone 12 Mini, 12, 12 Pro and 12 Pro Max. It’s the first 5-nanometer chip made in-house by Apple. Inside it contains a six-core CPU, four-core GPU and a neural engine that’s made up by 16 cores. Safe to say it’s a powerful chip that’s also quite efficient and knows when to speed up or put intense tasks on a higher-powered core.
And thanks to this setup, the iPad Air outpaces the previous-generation device — the eighth-gen iPad — and the iPad Mini with nearly any workflow or task. From gaming to writing to communication, the iPad Air just gets the job done faster.
In many cases, we found it to be nearly on par with the iPad Pro for completing those tasks. When we used it for a day of work with Outlook, Mail, video calls, Slack, web browsing and lots of writing, we didn’t experience any slowdowns. For instance, with multitasking, it was easy-going for running two applications side by side and a third, like Messages, floating above.
Graphic- and processor-intense games like War Robots, Real Racing 3 and Call of Duty: Mobile performed as expected. There was no noticeable latency occurring either on the device or via the internet. The only qualm we experienced here was at full brightness and volume at max, the power did drop by about 5% during the first match in Call of Duty. It might have been that it was the first time playing, which could have pulled in extra resources. That proved true again when using Shadow, a service that lets you remotely use a high-powered PC for games like Microsoft Flight Simulator and Grand Theft Auto V.
Rendering and exporting a 4K video in iMovie happened pretty quickly, with no noticeable slowdowns. It produced a result much quicker than the eighth-gen iPad by several minutes. We also pushed the iPad Air with Adobe Photoshop and Pixelmator in an effort to engage the neural engine for tasks and processes that involve Machine Learning.
The iPad Air also works with the Magic Keyboard (specifically, the smaller model, which originally launched for the 11-inch iPad Pro). It snaps magnetically onto the iPad Air and adds the same function (with the same weight and thickness). If you want a computer-like experience complete with a trackpad, this is the best experience for now on the iPad Air. The keyboard feels just as great as it did when we reviewed the Magic Keyboard a few months back.
The connection between Magic Keyboard and iPad Air is still powered by the Smart Connector on the back. It’s extremely simple and doesn’t require you to fumble around in settings and manage multiple power cords. The A14 Bionic inside is plenty to handle inputs from your fingers and the Pencil, let alone a keyboard and trackpad as well.
You get a wall plug in the box
Unlike the iPhone 12 family, the box doesn’t just include a USB-C to USB-C cable along with the iPad Air. But there’s a 20-watt USB-C wall plug here as well, and it’s great news. This is the same $19 brick that Apple recommends purchasing for fast charging on the iPhone 12. We’re thrilled it comes in the box on the iPad and it gives you the complete package right out of the gate.
And that brings us to the battery on the iPad Air — and truthfully it has been great over the past five days. We’ve encountered long standby times and the joy of it providing enough power to get through a full day. Even when those days drag on with some videos, FaceTime calls and gaming.
Apple promises around 10 hours of surfing the web on Wi-Fi or when watching a video. And we ran the iPad Air through the CNN Underscored battery test. With this we run a 4K video on a loop with the brightness set to 50%, the volume at 30% and airplane mode engaged on the device. We monitor the test with two cameras for redundancy. The iPad Air lasted for six hours and 45 minutes. That’s behind the eighth-gen iPad, which lasted for nine hours and 45 minutes.
There’s a chance you might have been sold on this iPad Air from the start, or maybe when we wrote about the color choices. It’s a bold design that feels like it can hang with the flagships, and the hardware inside means it can generally hang and stay for a while with them.
The iPad Air performed up to Pro levels. With the A14 Bionic inside, we were easily able to perform work and play tasks. For those productivity-centric tasks, pairing it with the Magic Keyboard gave us the affordance of classic interfaces to work with — namely a keyboard and trackpad. It runs iPadOS 14 well and can speed up for more intensive tasks.
At $599.99 for 64GB of internal storage, you’re getting a pretty complete package with plenty of storage for apps and documents as well. Whether you’re a student, a remote worker or someone looking to upgrade from an entry-level tablet, the iPad Air deserves a look.
24 of the best gifts for every woman in your life
Gift-giving season is fast approaching — Amazon, in fact, already launched its holiday gift guides earlier this month — and so if you’re looking to cross holiday shopping off your list sooner rather than later this year, you’ve come to the right place.
If you don’t want to go through the hassle of shopping in person, you can snatch these editor-approved items below from the comfort of your own home. Whether you’re looking for the perfect gift for your significant other or something sentimental for Mom, we’ve rounded up some stellar picks so you won’t find yourself scrambling come December 24 (we’ve all been there).
For the fashionista
(Re)sourced Cashmere Mockneck Midi Sweater Dress ($178; madewell.com)
Cashmere is one of those incredibly soft fabrics that many of us consider buying, only to look at the price tag and think, “No, not this time” (aka: a perfect gifting option). This gorgeous cashmere sweater dress is such a timeless piece that will quickly become a wardrobe staple.
Naadam The Essential $75 Cashmere Sweater ($75; naadam.co)
Cashmere is a classic wardrobe essential but typically comes with a high price tag. For only $75, give the gift of comfort with this plush and top-rated (over 1,200 5-star reviews!) cashmere sweater.
Bombas Socks (starting at $12; bombas.com)
Switch up the usual cheap fuzzy socks in her stocking this year and pick up a pair of everyday cotton socks to gift instead. With a smooth and seamless design and blister protection (hallelujah!), these will remain like new in the sock drawer for a long time to come.
For the beauty lover
Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner ($22; stilacosmetics.com)
If your giftee is a beauty junkie, trust us — she’ll appreciate this liquid liner whose name doesn’t lie. (In fact, we crowned it the best liquid eyeliner of 2020 in our tests.) It’s a truly stay-all-day, pigmented, easy-to-apply liquid liner that’s certain to become a makeup bag staple.
Billie Smooth Operator Kit ($35; mybillie.com)
Billie, whose razor was our winner for best women’s razor of 2020, is celebrating the holidays with several gift sets. We were impressed by the Billie razor’s user-friendly design, close shave and remarkably low price, and now you can gift one, along with a refill pack, Billie’s Shave Cream and Billie’s Dry-Bye Lotion, in one cute and practical kit.
Dyson Supersonic Hair Dryer ($399.99; dyson.com)
If you’re looking to splurge on a special woman in your life, this Dyson hair dryer, engineered for all different hair types, is a worthy investment. It’s been known to drastically reduce hair-drying time without using extreme heat, and its cool space-agey design is a nice bonus to boot.
For the home decorator
Bearaby Cotton Napper (starting at $249; bearaby.com)
Here’s the thing: Anyone might be hesitant to drop big bucks for an impossibly cozy luxury blanket for themselves, but anyone would also be thrilled to receive this as a gift. Available in a variety of colors, this weighted, chunky-braided blanket provides the coziest cocoonlike feel, void of artificial colors and synthetic beads. They’ll be thanking you all winter long.
The Sill Succulent Trio (starting at $45; thesill.com)
Twee succulent accents aren’t likely to go out of style anytime soon, so give the gift of the cutest succulent trio this holiday season, perfectly petite for her desk, windowsill or kitchen counter.
Small Corgi Planter ($22.99; etsy.com)
If she loves dogs and plants, this small corgi planter is calling her name. The handcrafted piece is perfect for housing succulents and other small plants or flowers.
Bedsure Satin Pillowcase for Hair and Skin, 2-Pack ($8.49, originally $9.99; amazon.com)
Everyone appreciates the gift of self-care, and these affordable satin pillowcases will be a welcome addition to her sleep routine. Ideal for keeping hair tangle-free and skin devoid of pillowcase-induced creases overnight, these are available in 25 colors to match any bedding situation.
GlobeIn 3-Month Gift Subscription ($114; globein.com)
For the woman in your life who is constantly shopping at HomeGoods or Pier 1 Imports, this three-month subscription of home decor items is a no-brainer. Featuring carefully curated products from around the world, this box can be tailored to her tastes so she receives the pieces that match her aesthetic. We tried it ourselves and instantly fell in love with the beautiful, handcrafted items.
Parachute Linen Sheet Set (starting at $149; parachutehome.com)
We don’t know about you, but when it comes to buying new sheets, the saying “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” comes to mind. Since it may not be a priority for your loved one, treat her to these lovely linen sheets — the sheets, in fact, that we named best linen sheets on the market in our tests.
Baggu Standard Reusable Shopping Bag ($36; amazon.com)
It’s 2020, and if your loved one hasn’t gotten on the reusable shopping bag train, now’s the time to get them started. For some people, spending money on a nylon bag may be low on their priority list, which makes this a great eco-friendly gift idea.
T-fal Nonstick Dishwasher-Safe Pan With Lid ($39.99; amazon.com)
Cooking has been a stay-at-home pastime for many people in this strange year, so what better way to harbor a newfound hobby than to give the gift of what we found to be the best nonstick pan of 2020? This T-fal pan is titanium-reinforced and dishwasher-safe, and its durable nonstick design makes it the perfect gift to pair with one of Amazon’s favorite cookbooks and personalized apron (*chef’s kiss*).
For the sentimental
Knock Knock What I Love About Mom Fill-in-the-Blank Journal ($10; amazon.com)
Who says cute fill-in-the-blank prompts to give Mom are reserved for a Mother’s Day breakfast in first grade? Nestle into the nostalgia of what you used to give to your mom years ago with this sweet journal for a heartfelt holiday keepsake. It’s the perfect size for a stocking stuffer.
Botanicals Notebook Collection ($12.17, originally $12.95; amazon.com)
If your giftee is type A and notorious for her morning to-do lists, this notebook bundle is the perfect stocking stuffer. Featuring a beautiful floral design by Rifle Paper Co., the set of three paperback notebooks is under $15 and ready for your shopping cart.
Simple Elephant Undated Planner 2021-2022 ($17.99; amazon.com)
There’s nothing like starting the new year with a new planner, and this simple yet spacious daily, weekly and monthly productivity planner will have your giftee ringing in 2021 the right way (after 2020, we could all use it), with dedicated sections for recording goals and reflections as well as an undated calendar.
For the tech-savvy
Galaxy Buds+ (starting at $129.99, originally $149.99; amazon.com)
Maybe you missed the Amazon Prime Day deal on AirPods, but you’re in luck since these compact Bluetooth and top-rated Galaxy Buds+ are still on sale. Versatile and discreet, the buds are great for calling into a work meeting, listening to a podcast while applying makeup or going on a neighborhood jog.
Away Carry-On ($225; away.com)
Though travel is theoretically on standby this year, this carry-on is perfect for weekend getaways and for the future Caribbean vacation you’re dreaming about. Compact yet still designed with sufficient storage, this durable and TSA-approved suitcase is perfect to pair with a personalized travel pillow for a thoughtful touch. Oh, and did we mention we named it the best carry-on suitcase of 2020?
Theragun Mini (RED) ($199; therabody.com)
While a personal massage therapist would be a wonderful gift, this portable massager is a more practical solution to alleviate muscle tension. We tried the line of Theragun products, and the Mini stood out to us as an accessible and effective way to massage out any soreness. Plus, if she’s working in front of a desk all day, she’ll surely appreciate this pocket-size problem solver.
Breville Super Q Blender ($499.95; breville.com)
If you’re thinking of something for the smoothie-obsessed person in your life, this blender is the way to go. We found it to be the best of the best when we tested blenders: It’s perfect for smoothies, batters, soups and all other blending needs.
Elago W3 Apple Watch Stand ($9.99; amazon.com)
Some Apple watches have a price point of around $430, yet at the end of the day, they’re often flung on the dresser, void of a decent home until worn again. For under $10, this adorable Apple watch stand is the gift that will have her thanking you for keeping her tech gadget protected and organized in her bedroom.
For the caffeine-addicted
Atlas Coffee 6-Month Subscription ($109, originally $120; atlascoffeeclub.com)
This gift subscription is a must-have for anyone obsessed with new and exciting coffees. For a little over $100, she’ll be set for six months with delicious, gourmet coffees from all around the world. When we tried it out for ourselves, we especially enjoyed the little notecards sent with each shipment detailing the coffee’s history.
Nespresso VertuoPlus Deluxe by Breville ($167.50, originally $179.95; amazon.com)
On the topic of coffee: This premium coffee maker is our pick for the best single-serve coffee maker on the market and includes a milk frother feature (perfect for coffee-shop-esque lattes). Plus, it’s incredibly simple to use.
Ahead of US election, Europe eyes an ally in climate change fight
For countries hoping to avoid the worst of climate change, next month’s United States presidential election will be pivotal in determining the course of global climate action, experts say.
A win for the Democratic candidate, former Vice President Joe Biden, would inject new life into global cooperation in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, according to past climate negotiators.
A second term for President Donald Trump, on the other hand, could prove more disruptive than his first by emboldening climate-sceptic countries.
“The US needs to get back in the game,” said Kelley Kizzier, a former European Union climate negotiator who now works at the non-profit Environmental Defense Fund.
Under the 2015 Paris Agreement, almost 200 countries pledged to work towards limiting global warming to 1.5 Celsius (2.7 Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels. That goal has since slipped further away, as climate-warming emissions continued to increase.
Trump rejected the agreement altogether and the US is set to exit it on November 4 – the day after Americans go to the polls.
A Biden win, experts say, could help put those efforts back on track.
Biden wants to spend $2 trillion over a four-year term towards reaching net-zero emissions by 2050 in the US, currently the number two emitter of greenhouse gases. Committing further to slashing emissions this decade could nudge China and other high-polluting countries to follow suit.
“If the United States, China and the European Union move in that direction, then I believe we can take the rest of the world along with us,” Frans Timmermans, the EU’s top climate official, said during a Reuters news agency event last week.
Countries have been asked to update their Paris pledges this year. So far only 14 have done so, including Norway, Chile and the tiny Marshall Islands. The 27-country EU plans to upgrade its pledge in December.
China, the world’s largest emitter, says it will become carbon neutral by 2060, but has not yet revised its climate plan for the next decade.
United Nations scientists said in a major report last November that without steep emissions cuts by 2030, the world will be unable to prevent catastrophic climate change.
Biden, who would take office in January if he wins the November 3 election, has pledged to immediately rejoin the Paris Treaty. That would oblige Washington to make a fresh emissions-cutting pledge well ahead of the next UN climate summit in November 2021.
“Biden will have to move forward in the early days of the administration,” said John Podesta, a counsellor on climate and energy to former US President Barack Obama who is now an informal adviser to Biden.
“Other countries will begin to judge the administration’s level of ambition based on that,” Podesta told Reuters.
While many US states, cities and businesses are already cutting emissions, the country is still falling short on the Obama-era pledge to cut emissions by 26-28 percent by 2025, against 2005 levels.
Trump, who has rejected mainstream science on climate change, has unravelled Obama-era regulations, seeking to free the energy and auto industries from the costs of regulations meant to protect health and the environment.
China’s surprise pledge last month to aim for carbon neutrality by 2060 could curb global warming by 0.2-0.3 Celsius this century, researchers say.
But that “needs to just be the starting bid”, said Thom Woodroofe, a former diplomat in UN climate talks, now a senior adviser at the Asia Society Policy Institute.
A “united approach” from the EU and the US could push Beijing to go further, particularly on near-term emissions cuts, he said.
Podesta suggested that the EU and the US imposing carbon taxes on imports could work towards that end. Brussels will propose a policy next year to impose such costs and Biden has pledged to introduce one.
Maintaining pressure on China will be especially important as Beijing decides on funding for coal plants under its next five-year economic plan.
“The discussions with China are not over,” said Laurence Tubiana, a former French diplomat instrumental in brokering the Paris accord, who now heads the non-profit European Climate Foundation.
But restoring diplomacy on climate could face obstacles, not least because of the frictions between the US and China under Trump on other issues.
This week, Beijing published a stinging document on the US environmental record, calling Washington a “consensus-breaker” and a “troublemaker” and saying the Trump administration’s measures had undermined global climate cooperation.
Global climate negotiations have floundered in recent years. Most countries at last year’s UN summit in Madrid snubbed calls for bolder emissions-cutting pledges.
“Nobody did, except Europe,” said Nils Torvalds, a Finnish lawmaker who was part of the European Parliament’s delegation at the event.
The summit coincided with the EU striking a deal to slash emissions to net zero by 2050. Meanwhile, the UN event failed to reach agreement on rules for international carbon trading.
A second term of Trump will be exponentially worse for climate than the first.
“We were unable to get as many decisions as we would have liked, because we were alone,” Torvalds said.
A Trump win could slow this further, some experts worry. Dutch lawmaker Bas Eickhout, who led the European Parliament’s delegation to Madrid, said it could embolden Russia, Brazil or other countries to disrupt climate collaboration.
“Trump’s unpredictability has become a bit more predictable,” Eickhout told Reuters. So “countries who didn’t like climate anyhow might seize the opportunity to put more brakes on the process of Paris.
“A second term of Trump will be exponentially worse for climate than the first.”
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