It seems impossible that the average person can make an impact. Should you just give up? Change starts with you. Every human on earth—even the most indifferent, laziest person among us—is part of the solution. Fortunately, there are some super easy things we can adopt into our routines that, if we all do it, will make a big difference. Click here for a PDF download of some of the actions. Have a look at just a few of the many things you can do to make an impact! Level 1 Level 2 Level 3 Level 4. Level 1. Things you can do from your couch Save electricity by plugging appliances into a power strip and turning them off completely when not in use, including your computer.
Stop paper bank statements and pay your bills online or via mobile. Speak up! Turn off the lights.
Report online bullies. If you notice harassment on a message board or in a chat room, flag that person. Stay informed. In addition to the above, offset your remaining carbon emissions! In this way, you help reduce global emissions faster!
3. Don’t Pre-Rinse the Dishes
Level 2. Things you can do at home Air dry. Let your hair and clothes dry naturally instead of running a machine. If you do wash your clothes, make sure the load is full. Take short showers. Bathtubs require gallons more water than a minute shower. Eat less meat, poultry, and fish. You can also do this with take-away or delivered food, if you know you will not feel like eating it the next day. You will save food and money. Compost—composting food scraps can reduce climate impact while also recycling nutrients.
Buy minimally packaged goods. Avoid pre-heating the oven. Unless you need a precise baking temperature, start heating your food right when you turn on the oven. Plug air leaks in windows and doors to increase energy efficiency Adjust your thermostat, lower in winter, higher in summer Replace old appliances with energy efficient models and light bulbs If you have the option, install solar panels in your house. This will also reduce your electricity bill! Get a rug.
Carpets and rugs keep your house warm and your thermostat low. If you use a dishwasher, stop rinsing your plates before you run the machine. Choose a better diaper option.
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Swaddle your baby in cloth diapers or a new, environmentally responsible disposable brand. Shovel snow manually. Avoid the noisy, exhaust-churning snow blower and get some exercise. Use cardboard matches. Level 3. Things you can do outside your house Shop local. Supporting neighbourhood businesses keeps people employed and helps prevent trucks from driving far distances.
Shop Smart—plan meals, use shopping lists and avoid impulse buys.
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Though these may be less expensive per ounce, they can be more expensive overall if much of that food is discarded. Why is it so difficult to accept that our climate has been altered and humans are responsible? If only polar bears, distant future generations, and people who live far away will be harmed, why bother going vegan or buying expensive electric cars—solutions we think will be unpleasant at best, painful at worst?
The planet has warmed nearly 2 degrees Fahrenheit since the Industrial Revolution began, and after carefully examining all the natural reasons why the climate has changed in the past, scientists have no doubt that this time humans are the culprits.
So what can we do? Finding solutions feels overwhelming, I know. But the good news is that there are solutions, and if we act soon enough, we can avoid many of the worst outcomes. Our attitudes and decisions matter. But now our future truly is in our hands. Climate : the average weather conditions, typically measured over years.
Fluctuations in temperature, precipitation, or other variables that last for an extended period of time are called climate change.
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Greenhouse Gases: any gasses that trap heat in the atmosphere, including carbon dioxide; methane; and hydrofluorocarbons, which are used in refrigerants, aerosol propellants, and fire retardants. The more present they are, the hotter the planet can get. This molecule is produced by the exhalations of oxygen-breathing animals and, more catastrophically, by the burning of oil, coal, and natural gas. In, the United States released about 5. Emissions : Greenhouse gases or other pollutants released into the atmosphere, often through burning fossil fuels. Carbon-neutral : If an activity that releases CO2 say, driving to work is balanced by the reduction or offsetting of emissions elsewhere say, a CO2-absorbing endeavor like planting trees , that activity is said to be carbon-neutral.
Fossil Fuels : Decayed plants and animals think those from the T. Rex era transformed by hundreds of millions of years of heat and pressure into natural gas, crude oil, or coal. At last count in , the U. Currently, wind and solar energy provide intermittent power that must be supplemented by other sources to maintain consistent supply; those backups are often coal or somewhat-cleaner-but-still-a-fossil-fuel natural gas.
Until there are enough solar and wind power plants to go around, cleaner energy is really the best we can hope for. Conservation: Protecting or restoring natural environments, resources, and wildlife. Sustainability: The maintaining of conditions that guarantee human society and the natural world can continue to coexist including through practices like the three Rs: reducing, reusing, and recycling.
Or take a page from those who do. To wit: these game-changing ideas coming to a city or coastline near you.
Save the World on Your Own Time
Rain, Rain, It's Okay! When dry, the squares serve as public gathering spaces where people can lounge, lunch, or play sports. Growing Up Public gardens are good for the earth the vegetation can help filter out air pollution and our personal well-being a study suggests proximity to nature can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. The structures also give birdlife cozy spots to call home and provide shade to pedestrians below.
And 11 of the 18 trees harness power via embedded solar cells to illuminate themselves after sunset. Talking Trash When landfills are overrun with organic material onion skins, lawn clippings , they belch methane, the heat-trapping greenhouse gas. In April , the metropolis built a shiny, industrial-size compost facility to turn food and green debris into rich fertilizer. The system is currently converting 55, tons of waste annually, allowing the city to divert 33 percent of its rubbish from landfills.
As more Phoenicians climb aboard the compost train, the facility can be scaled up to tackle , tons. Since , the World EconomicForum has identified water shortages as a huge threat— think cyberattack-level huge— to global security. Who ya gonna call? But both cities are embracing flood prevention plans that include erecting levees to hold back storm surges, turning alleyways into waterways, and elevating buildings above sea level. As a pioneering lawsuit makes clear, they're the ones who will be cleaning up our mess.
Imagine you're a teen again. Say you live in Oregon, where wildfires annually consume large tracts of land, choking the air with pollutants and sometimes torching homes. You wonder: Will the wilderness you explored as a child someday be gone? Kelsey Juliana has asked herself just that.
So when she had the chance to become the named plaintiff in a federal lawsuit, she eagerly signed up. Juliana v.
UnitedStates represents 21 youths—a. Whatever it takes, the Climate Kids are in it to win it. Despite homes being washed into the ocean and wildfires destroying lives, many people fail to make that personal connection. Being part of this case lets me feel like I'm protecting my home. As the generation that did nothing in the face of adversity and chose profits over people?
Or as the generation that despite all odds came together to give this problem our best shot? Dial back your water heater and fridge.