5 Ways You Can Fight Climate Change
5 Ways You Can Fight Climate Change
Climate change is everyone’s problem. Despite that, the United States moves on with a DAPL project in blatant disregard of the Paris summit, people continue to drive vehicles everywhere, and pseudo scientists ignore the facts, instead arguing that the hole in the ozone is all but closed up and that climate change is nothing more than a scare tactic. Meanwhile, NASA shows photos of an earth that is dryer and barer than just 20 years ago, California is in the middle of one of it’s worst droughts in history, and across the globe, actual scientists agree that something must be done and quickly.
For most of us, the barrier to achieving something is not in blatant and willful disregard of what is wrong, but rather in the mistaken belief that we can’t do anything. After all, what can one person do in a sea of 7 billion?
Interestingly enough, that question can be answered with a simple cartoon.
If one person stands up, more people stand up, and if even a tiny fraction of people make changes to improve the energy efficiency of their home, billions of tons of Co2 can be saved every year. If that’s interesting, here are 5 ways you can start to fight climate change at home.
Driving is one of the worst things you can do, simply because cars contribute so much Co2. While you don’t have to sell your car, you can commit to walking or biking wherever possible. For example, millions of people could actually get to work more quickly by cycling than by driving, by avoiding traffic jams and traffic and simply riding in. In fact, in the USA, the average person lives just 22.5 to 34.6 minutes from work by car, which averages out to 2-3x the time, depending on how much of your commute is spend in traffic. For example, if you typically spend 30 minutes driving to work but you spend 10 minutes in traffic every morning, a bike ride will only take you about 40 minutes. Plus, you’ll get in 1-2 hours of exercise every day and you won’t have to worry about spending even more time at a gym. Of course, cycling to work isn’t for everyone, especially if you live 45 minutes or more away by car, but you can still cycle to the grocery store, to friend’s houses, and just about anywhere else that would only take you a short distance via car.
How much can you save? The average car burns generates 20 pounds of carbon dioxide per gallon of gas, and you use an average of .5-2 gallons of gasoline per hour, which means that you could save anywhere from 10 to 20 pounds of Co2 per day.
Eat Less Meat and Dairy
Meat is almost an American pastime, with the average person consuming 104.4 pounds of meat, including 56.3 pounds of beef, 46.8 pounds of pork, and 83.2 pounds of chicken. The average American also drinks 20.4 gallons of milk per year. Milk and meat may be accepted sources of protein, but they aren’t great for the environment. In one study, it was shown that a cow produces 10.13 to 15.6 pounds of C02 per pound. Pork produces an average of 6 pounds of Co2 per pound, and chicken an average of 3.5. Plant based protein sources like beans, legumes, and mushrooms on the other hand produce an average of 0.8 to 1 pounds of Co2 per pound. Essentially, by swapping out half of your meat consumption for vegetable based meals, you could save hundreds of pounds of C02 emissions per year and greatly reduce your carbon footprint. Spread out over a household, that number could reach 4 digits. Of course, you do have to watch your plant based sources, like other processed foods, heavily processed vegetarian foods will have a much higher carbon footprint than minimally processed foods that you prepare yourself, which leads us to our next point.
Purchase Fewer Processed Foods
Processed foods ranging from bottled water to microwave dinners are terrible for the environment for a number of reasons. In addition to the extra factory work put into processing and preparing foods, you also have to consider packaging, plastics, and manufacturing, all of which greatly increase carbon footpring and C02 output. While the exact amount will vary depending on what you are buying, you have to consider packaging, transportation, and many other factors. Simply trying to buy local when you can, filtering your own water if your drinking water isn’t drinkable, and buying fresh ingredients instead of canned or frozen can greatly reduce the impact of your meals.
Change Your Light Bulbs
Did you know that if every American were to replace their light bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs, it would have the electricity usage on lighting in the United States? That’s a big deal for homeowners who want to reduce their carbon footprint, simply because it can save you a great deal of carbon emissions from your light and from the electrical usage. A filament bulb can produce as much as 1,300 pounds of carbon emissions over its lifetime including electricity, but a compact fluorescent can cut that in half.
Watch Your Gadgets
Did you know that most gadgets consume electricity even when you’re not using them? Investing in simple plugs with switches or smart switches that connect to your WiFi will allow you to cut electricity when you’re not using your device, so that you reduce overall electric usage. You can also consider evaluating how much electric each of your appliances use and working to minimize that. While most of us don’t have the money to replace everything in our home with AA rated technology you can make smart decisions to reduce energy usage. Controlling your thermostat, only heating and cooling rooms you absolutely need, and other tactics can help you to reduce energy usage. You can also make choices like switching to a crockpot or a fast electric oven rather than using a gas oven, which takes longer and consumes more energy.
Fighting climate change isn’t something you have no control over, it’s something that everyone can and should contribute to. The environment is important, and simply reducing your impact will mean something. In some cases, it will also have the happy side effect of saving you money (except in the case of buying fresh and local).