4 Things You Can Do Nearly Every Day To Stop Climate Change
by Neil Strawski
As communities recover from yet another natural disaster, the threat of climate change is becoming all too real. Science shows that our world is warming, but that same science also tells us that we can do something about it. We can make small changes in our homes and communities that lessen the carbon footprint we leave on the world, so why not make the commitment and decrease our role in climate change? Here are some ways you can start.
Make Greener Changes Around Your Home
We use a lot of energy in our homes, and the processes used to produce this energy can have a huge impact on climate change. One of the best ways for you to help is to choose sustainable home improvements that will allow your family to conserve energy and leave less of a carbon cost on the environment. Think about starting with a home energy audit to assess the areas that need some eco-friendly upgrades. You may need to install new windows or update the insulation in your home to make it more efficient, or you can looks for smaller ways to help, like switching to low-flow faucets or using a smart thermostat, which also has an impact. Many homeowners also find energy savings by updating older appliances to newer ones that carry an Energy Star certification. These appliances are made to use less power and water, which means utility savings for you and even bigger savings for the environment.
Do All of Your Shopping Locally
When you shop online or at mass retailers, you may choose eco-friendly products to buy, but are you really helping the environment? The fuels used in shipping materials and in the transportation of those items can really impact the environment in a big way, especially when everyone shops online. You can help by shopping locally for gifts, clothing, and anything else you need. Buying your produce from local farmers markets is also a smart move for your health and the environment. Not only are you getting vegetables and fresh food packed with the most nutrition, but you are also helping to reduce the massive carbon footprint that commercial food production leaves on the environment. Fossil fuels are heavily burned during the packaging and processing of these foods. The fertilizers and pesticides used in commercial farming also find their way into our water sources. So, choose to shop at a local farmers market when you can to get the tastiest produce, support the local economy, and help stop climate change.
Say Goodbye to Your Plastic Habit
You may already know how bad plastic bags are for the environment, but other plastics can have an impact on climate change as well. The production of plastics often uses fossil fuels, which contribute to global warming, but new studies show that plastic also gives off greenhouse gases in the process of breaking down — which means using plastic in our communities could be adding twice the amount of climate-altering pollution into the world. With as much plastic as the planet consumes, that seems like grim news, but the good news is that you can take steps to reduce your plastic use and help offset some of the damage. If your area has not already banned plastic bags, stay one step ahead by using an eco-friendly reusable bag every time you shop. But don’t stop there. Ditch those plastic bulk bin bags and choose to pack your kids’ lunch in eco-friendly materials as well, including a reusable water bottle.
Walk, Bike, or Take Public Transportation
Transportation has always been a major propellant for climate change. According to UN reports, however, emissions from cars, trains, and airplanes are set to become the biggest driver of global warming by a longshot. To make a major impact, communities must make a commitment to ensure that alternative modes of transportation can effectively be used by citizens. By riding your bike to work or walking to the local store, your emissions savings can really add up over time. For longer distances, think about looking for opportunities to use public transportation, such as trains or buses. Many cities have even started using electric buses to reduce environmental impacts even more. This means less fossil fuels being burned and perhaps less public funds being spent on maintenance and fuels as well.
The prospect of global warming can be frightening, but this is not a situation with no escape, yet. If we all work together to make even the smallest changes in our lifestyles, whether it’s by ditching plastic straws or shopping locally, we can work to leave a much healthier planet behind. Our future as a species may well be counting on it!
Photo Credit: Pixabay