-Greta Thurnberg, 16-year-old Swedish school strike activist
The world is HOT right now. And, yes, I’m talking temperature. The Amazon rainforest is on fire, funerals are being held for melted glaciers, and I’m sweating just thinking about it all. The world temperature is steadily creeping up and, if it continues, scientists predict catastrophic events will start happening. A little scary, right?! But, yes there’s a big but, we are all in this together and this blog is about what WE can DO together to make the world a better place. Contrary to what you may think, there are LOTS of things Everyday People, like you and me, can do to reduce our carbon footprint and help our climate crisis. That’s why, this month, we are adopting the Everyday Eco-Habit of Going Carbon-LESS! I mean, if 16-year-old student Greta Thurnberg is putting her whole education on hold to inspire a global climate strike, we can certainly do a little something too.
I choose October to focus on Going Carbon-LESS because this month also celebrates Clean Air Day on October 2nd and Climate Change Week October 14th-20th. Clean Air Day provides so many helpful tips to put us all on the right track to breathing cleaner air AND reduce greenhouse gases. Every month, I ask you to join me in an Everyday Eco-Habit Pledge. This month, Clean Air Day is making it even easier to do so - just go to Clean Air Day and pick one of their tips as your Pledge to Go Carbon-LESS! They are gunning for 1 million pledges – let's help them make that happen. Can you join me and a million others in pledging today?
What does it mean to Go Carbon-LESS? It means reducing the amount of carbon dioxide, CO2, placed into the atmosphere. We all know carbon dioxide is a major component of the air we breathe and we need carbon dioxide to survive, but too much can cause harm, like global climate change. And we are putting it into the atmosphere at alarming rates. Carbon dioxide is released through burning oil, coal, waste, and wood (like a burning rainforest!). Carbon dioxide recently reached the highest monthly average ever recorded at 411 parts per million (ppm)! Carbon dioxide usually ebbs and flows, but it has increased exponentially since the 1950’s, largely due to industrial causes.
You’ve probably heard a lot about climate change. Climate change is due to an increase in greenhouse gases, and the leading one is…. you guessed it, carbon. Even a slight increase in the global temperature, anything more than 1.5 degrees according to the latest science, could mean catastrophic changes in the earth’s atmosphere. Check out this article from NASA to understand what could happen to the world as we know it in ours and our children’s lifetimes.
Maybe you’re not running a manufacturing plant, but the little things you do - the EVERYDAY choices you make - can affect the carbon going into the atmosphere. You can either have a BIG or small carbon footprint. I am aiming for a small footprint and if you’re reading this, I hope you are inspired to do so too. First things first, check out how BIG or small your footprint is by filling out this simple carbon footprint calculator! You can then start reducing your carbon footprint, and thus your individual impact on climate change, by adopting some of these easy Carbon-LESS Eco-Habits today! Not a believer in climate change? It certainly can’t hurt to adopt these Eco-Habits anyways. Not only will they benefit the earth, but most benefit your health and pocketbook too.
Switch to 100% renewable energy.
“Burning fossil fuels for electricity and heat is, by far, the main driver of climate change.” Roughly 27% of carbon emissions is due to coal. The good news? Renewable energy is now a really easy thing for you to switch to. In fact, the US electricity generation from renewable energy surpassed coal for the first time ever this past April!
Do you live in Southern California? Check out the Clean Power Alliance - if your city is part of the Alliance, opt for the 100% renewable plan – the switch will cost you pennies on the dollar. My own city, Manhattan Beach, is a proud part of the Clean Power Alliance, as is Redondo Beach, Santa Monica, and many more. If your city is not on the list, contact your elected officials and encourage them to join the Alliance or something similar to it!
Don’t live in CA? Check out green-e.org to find Green energy providers.
Go Solar! Not only will it save you money on your energy bills, but there are some pretty amazing rebates offered to make the switch. If you live in California, check out this link to learn how to easily make the switch and save $$. I am partnering with Beach Cities Solar this month to make it even easier for you to do so. Not only will they be happy to talk to you about installing solar at your residence, but they are willing to come talk to any community group about the benefits of going solar for your home, your business, our earth, and your pocketbook.
Agriculture accounts for 11% of global emissions. Giving up meat, especially beef, would greatly help curb greenhouse gasses. Meat production just adds SO. MUCH. CARBON into the atmosphere. Read my blog post for more info.
The fashion industry accounts for 10% of global emissions! Only buy what you need, buy sustainably or from vintage stores, and don’t buy “fast fashion” clothes. Hopefully, you’ve already gone Clothes-LESS from my previous post, but if not, check it out so you can reduce your carbon footprint while staying fashionable. (On that note, I have just 3 more months to go to make good on my Pledge not to buy one single new article of clothing this entire year - wish me luck! Better yet, join me these last 3 months!)
Simply unplug your devices when you’re not using them.
An estimated $19 billion is wasted in “vampire energy” every year. Make some green while saving green!
Eat and shop local.
Imagine all the gas it takes to get your food and “stuff” to your house. If you can, purchase your food from a local farmers market and try to buy from local boutiques or thrift shops to save on resources and on the costs of transportation.
Plant a tree (or a garden).
Everyone knows trees absorb carbon dioxide. Even a little garden in the backyard or on your balcony can contribute to creating a healthier environment. Trees and plants also provide shade on hot days, reducing your need to use energy to cool your home.
Join me in putting out this “fire.” Join me in reducing our carbon footprint. It is the single most important thing we can do right now for the earth.
It may seem too basic, but I promise you these simple, “everyday” changes in your habits, multiplied by millions, CAN and WILL combat climate change and create a healthier environment. YOU have a choice every single day to help or harm the planet. Let’s all help this great big beautiful world we live in. Adopt the Everyday Eco-Habit of Going Carbon-LESS - and then help me spread the word! Forward this to your friend, or two, or all of them, and collectively our positive environmental choices can create a healthier, carbon-neutral planet.
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