Scientists are now saying we’ve entered into a new age defined by humans’ massive impact on the environment. They call it the Anthropocene. It can be overwhelming to consider humans’ impact on the planet and what we can do to change it, as individual citizens. The key is to focus on what one person can do — what is right in front of them.
Here’s how I am fighting climate change and so can you:
Cheaper rent or a lower mortgage for more land or house can be achieved by living outside of core of a city but the expenses and carbon footprints add up. I chose to live centrally because I can walk or bike to many stores, social events and work. No car and gas necessary to get me where I’m going.
When it’s too far to walk, then I can opt for public transit, which has loads of routes close by my place. This means I am not driving a car and creating unnecessary emissions. In the US, cars are the biggest source of carbon dioxide in the country — opt out of contributing to that.
Eat like an Elephant
Elephants don’t skimp on food but they don’t eat everything in sight either. These herbivores dine on fruits and vegetables and don’t eat meat or diary products.
Meats, cheese and eggs require lots of resources to grow and process before they make to the kitchen table — making them have the highest carbon footprint of foods. Not only that, but livestock farms, where cows, pigs, sheep are raised, created 20-50% of all human-made carbon emissions.
I’ve managed to cut out meat from my diet entirely but I still like cream in my coffee and scrambled eggs on a Saturday morning. By cutting down or cutting out meat and diary items from menus, it cuts carbon emissions too.
I also eat like an elephant by chowing down on the foods that are close by. Eating locally grown fare means it has less distance to travel to get to the plate — translating into less fuel emissions plus other resources to keep it fresh.
Use Stuff until its Done and Gone
Buying the latest gadget or appliance is hard on the environment. Energy and resources were not only used to make the now discarded items, it also has to be used in the disposal of products and making the new ones.
Instead of following the latest craze or trends, I opt for high quality, long term items which will have long life span.
If they break and need repair, I fix them or find someone who can. My default isn’t to just throw them out.
This is especially important with air conditioners. These cooling appliances contain chemicals, which punch holes in our ozone layer. If you suspect your ac is leaking you should have a tech out to fix it as soon as possible.
Turn it down or Unplug
We are using resources and creating carbon footprints without noticing it a lot of the time. For instance a furnace is using power and natural resources to warm up a space. If you throw on a sweater you can turn down the thermostat by a few degrees and reduce your emissions. I make sure to also have comfy slippers on hand.
It may seem like a little thing, but turn off your computer and unplug other electrical appliances as they draw and use power even when they are set to off.
They’re sneaky little things known as energy vampires. These include smartphone chargers who drain power from an outlet even when it’s not charging a phone.
Humans can have a negative effect on the environment around them through emissions and pollution. If you want to not contribute to that negativity, you can take simple steps to lower your carbon footprint. It will make a difference, sometimes big, sometimes small but it is a difference nonetheless.