An estimated tens of thousands of people showed up in Washington, DC this past weekend—in solidarity with an additional nearly 400 sister marches spreading across the globe—to have their voices heard in support of taking bigger steps toward protecting our planet – and our future – from the now inevitable onset of climate change. According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, spanning back over the past 150 years, the United States is the number one cumulative producer of carbon dioxide worldwide and still produces 16% of the current CO2 emissions despite making up just 4% of global population. China currently produces the most CO2 of any country (with the US in second) but the US more than doubles those emissions per capita.
Despite our dominating role in CO2 emissions, the U.S. As a nation has been sluggish to adopt organization and lasting measures to deal with the realities of climate trade. The huge and numerous participation in the Climate March shows that humans are ready for that alternate.
This readiness perhaps comes in part because people in the US and worldwide are already starting to notice first hand the changes brought on by a warming climate. According to the National Climate Assessment, a 2014 report produced by more than 300 experts together with a 60-member Federal Advisory Committee and reviewed by the public, experts, federal agencies, and a panel of National Academy of Sciences, US residents are already regularly observing longer, hotter summers, more intense rain storms, more acidic oceans (sea water which is more corrosive), longer, more severe seasonal allergies, and differences in plants species that thrive in their yard or neighborhood.
Given how steeply global average temperatures are already rising, large-scale policy changes and solutions are necessary to move toward a cooler climate. But does that mean that there’s nothing we can do as individuals other than hope for the best? Let’s look at 20 ways you can have a positive impact on reducing carbon emissions and safeguarding the future of our planet.
1. Be informed. At the start of 2017, the US Environmental Protection Agency provided extensive online information on the results of decades of scientific studies on the impacts and risks of climate change. Now, however, that information has been entirely removed and replaced with a note stating that “we are currently updating our website to reflect EPA’s priorities under the leadership of President Trump and Administrator Pruitt.” However, much of the information is still available (although not maintained and updated) via snapshots of the previous pages. The Canadian government also maintains a site with basic climate change information. Knowing what to expect from rising global temperatures can help you make more informed choices to protect yourself and your family.
2. Choose your information carefully. Despite our shared planet, climate change has surprisingly become a controversial issue so always check your sources. Does a source make claims without citing the research? Who funded that research? For example, if a source cites reliable studies showing that CO2 emissions or global average temperatures are on the rise but suggests that humans are not the cause, does that source propose any mitigating or adaptive action? What is the real motivation behind a call not to act if we can agree that the threat exists?
3. Contact your representatives both locally and nationally to find out their stance on the climate change issues that matter most to you. Ask them, for example, what plans they have to inspire economic innovation or to create new jobs in the face of a changing climate. Do they have plans aimed at mitigation (for example, providing incentives for individuals and corporations to lower CO2 emissions through carbon taxes) or aimed at adaptation (i.e., preparations for cities that are vulnerable to sea level rise? If you’re not impressed by their response, tell them so and consider that response when they are up for re-election.
Four. Donate to causes that are running to address the weather alternate issues that affect or remember to you. Are you a fan of tenting? Donate to a countrywide or kingdom park. Do you choose to hold it local? Find companies that are advocating for river or beach clean up, natural world protection, or cleanser air in your metropolis or city.
5. Tell others what you’re doing. Sometimes the toughest a part of tackling troubles that appear as massive as weather exchange is taking that first step. Let others recognize that you are making that step and that they are able to do it too.
6. Look for the Energy Star label when buying appliances, electronics, and heating and cooling equipment. Reductions in nonrenewable energy use are ultimately reductions in carbon emissions. The EPA estimates that household items with the Energy Star label can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 130,000 pounds, and as a bonus, can lead to savings on your utility bills of $11,000 over their lifetime as well as provide tax credits.
While we watch for massive scale coverage adjustments, lots of us are prepared to make an impact as individuals.
7. Swap out the 5 lights you use the most in your home to more efficient light bulbs, again marked by the Energy Star label. These bulbs not only use ~75% less energy but also last from 10 to 50 times longer.
Eight. Unplug electronics while you?Re now not the use of them as they can nevertheless be an energy drain. One way to do that without problems is to plug gadgets right into a strip that allows you to show all of them off before going to bed or leaving on a journey with one switch.
Nine. Use a programmable thermostat that allows you to automatically set the temperature to exchange when you are both slumbering or not at domestic. Even decreasing (or elevating) the temperature placing by way of 2 stages can cause substantive financial savings to your utility bill.
10. Insulate your house in order that your efforts to chill or warmness your house are not wasted with the break out of all that ?Save bought air? As my brother-in-regulation lovingly calls it. Use window coverings that keep in warmth and seal any cracks.
11. Treating and transporting clean water calls for energy and produces emissions, so use water cautiously. Fix any leaks, installation low waft lavatories, and restriction those long showers. Another easy adjustment is to now not allow the water run at the same time as you are brushing your teeth or shaving.
12. Participate in a recycling program and buy meals with less packaging. Tell shop proprietors you admire the provision of alternatives with less packaging.
13. Remember that what you choose to eat also comes with its own carbon footprint. An estimated 18% of greenhouse gas emissions come from meat and dairy production. Almonds and walnuts are among the largest culprits for inefficient water use.
14. Set up a compost for your food/yard waste. The decomposition of organics sitting in landfills is a major producer of methane, a totally green greenhouse fuel. By composting, this waste can instead provide essential sources and protection to soil.
15. Choose flowers to your garden that are properly-perfect to your climate and hence don?T require an excessive amount of greater watering. If you can, plant a tree to be able to assist take in CO2.
16. Switch to green power for your home with this guide from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. If your options are not so flexible, call and let your utility company know that you would like for them to switch.
17. When purchasing a car, choose one that has a high gas mileage and low emissions. For buyers in the US, the EPA has a helpful green vehicle guide. Don’t idle with your engine running more than you have to and check your tire pressure regularly.
18. Whenever feasible, choose public transportation, on foot, cycling, or carpooling to immediately limit your emissions.
19. If your job allows it, choose telecommuting to keep the emissions produced for the duration of your daily shuttle. Consider whether you may participate in that conference or workshop remotely.
20. If you are in the US, your state may offer incentives for making more energy-efficient choices. Check out the DSIRE database from the US Department of Energy and the North Carolina State Clean Energy Technology Center for details in your area.
As we know, crowd size can be difficult to estimate, but CNN has some great aerial shots of the tens of thousands of Climate Marchers that came out on a day that fittingly matched the current record high for late April with 90 degree temperatures. While we watch for massive scale coverage adjustments, lots of us are prepared to make an impact as individuals. Because, of course, quoting one of the most popular signs from the Climate March, “there is no Planet B”.
Until next time, this is Sabrina Stierwalt with Everyday Einstein’s Quick and Dirty Tips for helping you make sense of science. You can become a fan ofEveryday Einstein on Facebook orfollow me on Twitter, where I’m@QDTeinstein. If you have a question that you’d like to see on a future episode, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Image courtesy of shutterstock.