Member Priscilla Feral has put together a straightforward guide to Ten Things You Can Do Right Now to Fight Climate Change. Learn how to get involved, cutback on your waste, change the way you travel, make every drop of water count, switch to “green power,” think about what you plant, make smart food choices, repurpose more, save the trees and make your backyard a wildlife sanctuary.
Climate change is without a doubt the biggest threat facing our planet right now. The enormity of the situation can be daunting and dispiriting. What can one person, or even one nation, do on their own to slow and reverse climate change? Especially when progress to slow climate change seems to be under attack by members of our own government. But the fact of the matter is that there are personal lifestyle changes that you can make too that, in some combination, can help reduce your carbon impact. Check out our top 10 below and consider implementing them into your life as best you can in order to make a difference for the entire planet.
1. Get involved
Please consider joining us at the People’s Climate March on April 29th in Washington, D.C.! Visit peoplesclimate.org to learn more. You can also take a few minutes to contact your political representatives and the media to tell them you want immediate action on climate change. Remind them that reducing greenhouse gas emissions will also build healthier communities, spur economic innovation and create new jobs. And next time you’re at the polls, vote for politicians who support effective climate policy
2. Cutback on your waste
Garbage buried in landfills produces methane, a potent greenhouse gas. Keep stuff out of landfills by composting kitchen scraps and garden trimmings, and recycling paper, plastic, metal and glass. Let store managers and manufacturers know you want products with minimal or recyclable packaging.
3. Change the way you think about transportation
Walk or bike whenever possible. Not only will you reduce your carbon footprint, but your overall level of health will improve and you will save money on parking and gasoline. Take public transit or carpool whenever possible. When purchasing a vehicle look for one with better mileage. Increase your fuel economy when driving by sticking to posted speed limits and avoiding rapid acceleration and excessive braking. Plan and combine trips and errands. This will save you both time and money as well as reduce wear and tear on your vehicle. When travelling long distances, try to take a train or bus rather than flying or driving.
4. Make every drop count
Conserve water by fixing drips and leaks, and by installing low-flow shower heads and toilets. Challenge yourself to a speed shower. Turn off water while brushing teeth or shaving. Treating and transporting water requires energy, while water conservation results in reduced energy requirements and carbon emissions.
5. Switch to “green power”
Research where your power is coming from – wind, water, coal, or solar – and talk to your power provider to determine if a greater percentage could be coming from renewable resources. Encourage power providers to switch to green power and, if possible and/or economically viable, switch to a company offering power from renewable resources.
6. Think about what you’re planting!
When gardening, select plants that are well suited to your climate and require minimal watering and attention. Better yet, plant a tree, and it will provide shade and soak up carbon from the atmosphere.
7. Make smarter food choices
Meat and dairy production are both contributing greatly to climate change. Methane is the second most significant greenhouse gas and cows are one of the greatest methane emitters. Their grassy diet and multiple stomachs cause them to produce methane, which they exhale with every breath. We recommend adopting a plant-based lifestyle!
Rather than discarding or recycling clothing and household goods, give them a chance at a second life. Gently used clothing can be donated to charity or exchanged with friends and family. Old T-shirts can be repurposed into rags for cleaning. Household goods can be donated to charity or sold at a garage sale. Through repurposing, the amount of waste being sent to landfill sites is reduced, there is no need to use energy for recycling, and others can benefit from your used items.
9. Stop Cutting Down Trees!
Every year, 33 million acres of forests are cut down. Timber harvesting in the tropics alone contributes 1.5 billion metric tons of carbon to the atmosphere. That represents 20 percent of human-made greenhouse gas emissions and a source that could be avoided relatively easily. And when purchasing wood products, such as furniture or flooring, buy used goods or, failing that, wood certified to have been sustainably harvested. The Amazon and other forests are not just the lungs of the earth, they may also be humanity’s best short-term hope for limiting climate change.
10. Make your backyard a sanctuary for wildlife.
Climate change will disrupt and possibly decimate half of North America’s birds, which asks us what will happen to all the insects they eat? Halting the use of harmful pesticides to kill insects and making your backyard inviting to birds for nesting, feeding, and cleaning are all ways you can help mitigate the effects of climate change on birds and wildlife.