When I was a kid, I remember learning about the hole in the ozone layer. Thirty-odd years later, I checked up on how well we humans have done at “repairing” it. Good news! Scientists are optimistic that ozone levels will make a complete recovery! What I remember about the ozone layer in the 80s was that everyone seemed to agree that something had to be done about it. Contrast that with what we’re seeing in connection to the current environmental buzz-phrase of today – climate change. People are completely divided on whether humans are causing it and what to do about it. From my perspective, I see people, politicians, and countries pointing fingers at one another as the culprits behind rising global temperatures instead of working together. If you’re like me, you’re seeing all this news and thinking “How can I help fight climate change? I’m just one person.” There are actually several things each of us can do.
Going vegetarian or vegan
Hoo-boy. Let’s get the tough one out of the way first. Before you get upset with me and start hoarding bacon and beef patties, know that I LOVE meat. This will be hard for me, too. But studies are showing that the meat industry produces over half of the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Even if we take care of all the other factors, meat eating is a HUGE contributor to climate change. So, find ways to compromise – eat meat and dairy less often, maybe give it up for one day each week. Whatever action any of us can take is worthwhile.
While we’re on the subject, whenever possible, buy organic food. Not because you’re some latte-sipping, yoga-pants-wearing hippie (don’t be insulted – I love drinking chai lattes in my leggings), but because organic food doesn’t use synthetic fertilizers. Those bad boys are oil-refining byproducts.
Choose reducing and reusing over recycling
This one made me scratch my head, too. Recycling is bad??? Well, it can be, due to the gas and energy required to both transport and process recyclable materials. Recycling is a better option than buying new, but the stronger choice is to reuse items or reduce the amount that you’re using. Get those nylon shopping bags out! Shop at consignment stores! Take your own cup to Starbucks! We can do it!
Vote with your ballot, and your actions!
It may seem obvious to make sure that you vote for candidates who support green initiatives, but there are other ways to “vote” to fight climate change. Your local transportation department studies how roads are used. If you make a point to walk, bike, or use public transportation, you’re telling your local governments to support infrastructure that benefits those types of transportation.
Reduce the energy you use
My husband and I installed Nest thermostats in our house last year, and they are LIFE-CHANGING. Not only do we heat/cool our home more efficiently, but I actually feel comfortable in my house in the summer because the AC isn’t running all the time! We both drive hybrid cars and love them. I try to ensure that my washer/dishwasher/other appliances use only the amount of water that they need, I’m a bit obsessive about turning off – and unplugging – unused appliances…My point is, there are numerous small actions we can all take around our homes to lower our carbon footprint.
There is no “Planet B”
This is by no means an exhaustive list of how to fight climate change. You can find great information through the United Nations and various environmental nonprofits. We can all do something to help the environment and offset climate change. The hard part is committing to change, but we’ve done it before – we can do it again!