This time of year, it’s always fun to look back and reflect on how far we’ve come in the past 12 months. At this time in 2022, we hadn’t even lived through Barbenheimer, and Taylor Swift hadn’t ushered in a new Era for concertgoers.
But one thing is clear — after living through the hottest year on record (which also impacted Swift’s Eras Tour), the climate LED light bulb is going off for more people than ever.
In 2023, The Cool Down became one of the fastest-growing media brands, reaching over 25 million people a month. By keeping our pulse on climate news and analyzing trends we’ve seen through our growing audience data, we’re ready to bid adieu to 2023 and predict what will prevail in 2024.
It’s time for TCD’s Second Annual In/Out List for 2024 — your yearly guide to a cooler future — and everything we’re putting in the rearview of our electric vehicle.
IN: Hottest year on record / OUT: Hottest year on record
2023 was officially the hottest year on record while setting new highs in many areas — and unfortunately, NASA analysis predicts that 2024 could be even hotter. That’s one reason why more Americans than ever are “alarmed” or “concerned” about the overheating of our planet, according to Yale’s latest climate research that tracks people’s feelings about the changing climate. That’s why the incredible pace of innovation happening in the climate space was so exciting to see in 2023 — and will likely make people less “dismissive” in 2024.
IN: Refillable / OUT: Plastic
Going to concerts totally rocks, but the amount of waste produced by them does not. Luckily, organizations are taking action, like Reverb with its #RockNRefill program that offers music fans an alternative to single-use plastic bottles by providing free water stations. Fans at a My Morning Jacket show scored reusable water bottles for only $5 so they could rock and refill all night thanks to Reverb — and concerts aren’t the only place single-use plastic bottles are being phased out. LAX banned the sale of the eco-unfriendly bottles, joining SFO in San Francisco as the only airports to prohibit single-use plastic bottles.
IN: Saving food and money / OUT: Throwing away food
We saw an explosion of innovations to reduce food waste while saving people money in 2023. New apps help you score discounted food from restaurants and grocery stores before it goes bad, and companies will even send you imperfect produce or discounted groceries. As we celebrate new ways to save food and money, we hope those companies that were caught trashing loads of edible food will rethink their business practices moving forward.
IN: EV charging / OUT: Range anxiety
One big reason people are reluctant to buy an electric vehicle is range anxiety — the fear of your EV running out of juice and leaving you stranded. But that fear is fading thanks to massive improvements in charging infrastructure. Whether you’re charging your EV while eating at Subway, staying at a Hilton hotel, buying a Jokkmokk from Ikea, or stopping at one of the thousands of new charging stations across the country, range anxiety will become a thing of the past in 2024.
IN: Sustainable flights / OUT: Private planes
People are at the end of their runway with private planes. Irresponsible choices, like John Travolta parking his Qantas 707 jet in his driveway, are giving the Earth a (Saturday Night) fever. A more responsible choice would be to make eVTOLs (Jetsons-style electric helicopters that will start flying in 2024) the cool new status symbol. Meanwhile, people are ready to get on board with sustainable aviation fuel. Virgin founder Richard Branson made headlines when Virgin Atlantic completed a commercial transatlantic flight with a fuel made largely from waste fats, but the more promising advances are in hybrid electric jets and jet fuel made from thin air.
IN: Electric vehicles / OUT: Rolling coal
Electric vehicles are speeding past their polluting, gas-powered counterparts. Improvements in batteries and dropping prices, in part due to tax credits, have made EV sales skyrocket — one report expects a 35% jump from 2022. Hopefully, the rising popularity of EVs will put the brakes on this stupid and dangerous trend — rolling coal — before more people get hurt.
IN: Thrifting gems / OUT: Fast fashion
Saving money has always been cool, but these days, it’s as cool as the Fonz. Buying items from secondhand shops and thrift stores is a great way to save money and still get luxury items. We would much rather spend $18 on a Dolce and Gabbana dress than waste our money on some tacky fast fashion. Social media influencers are even starting to “de-influence” their followers from buying poorly made clothes from cheap fast fashion brands. We think fast fashion is a fad that will go out of style very soon.
IN: Electric lawn equipment / OUT: Gas-powered
Gas-powered lawn equipment has had its day in the sun, but now it’s time to retire those loud, pollution-spewing dinosaurs of lawn care and make room in your garage for some quieter, money-saving, electric lawn equipment. Electric mowers come in all shapes and sizes now — some even mow your grass for you — and the electric leaf blowers on the market will blow your mind.
IN: Saving animals / OUT: Tourons
Good news! Animals destined for extinction are not giving up without a fight. Mammals, birds, dragons, and even trees have proven that their time on this planet is not over — now they just have to avoid being harassed by entitled tourists. These “tourons” — part tourist, part moron — have shown a severe lack of respect for nature (which is an important part of a wider ethos of treating the planet right) and need to go the way of the dodo bird.
IN: Local heroes / OUT: HOAs
We get it — the threat of our changing climate can often be overwhelming. It’s easy to feel like you couldn’t possibly cool down the planet by yourself, but there are local heroes throughout the world — like the couple who cleaned a massive amount of trash in Australia, or the Trash Wolf prowling for litterers — who are making a difference in their communities, which makes a difference to the planet. Some heroes are even taking on HOAs that are trying to prevent money-saving and eco-friendly additions to people’s homes and yards, all in the quest to create neighborhoods that they think look good — and not neighborhoods that DO good.
What’s on your wish list for 2024? Let us know at email@example.com.
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