7 Ways to Fight Climate Change

Posted by Smita Kishore on

With Earth Day upon us and the 12-year warning issued by the latest U.N. report on climate change, it’s important to pause to ask ourselves how we can reduce our carbon footprint. Over the past few weeks, we’ve talked about conscious eating, sustainable shopping, and saying no to single-use plastics. While it can take time to go fully green in our everyday lives, here are 7 things you can do to fight climate change right now:

1. Inform Yourself. Read the U.N. report and understand what’s really at stake. A half degree might not sound like a lot, but it's quite significant! Stay on top of the issues and learn how your daily choices impact the environment. Here are some good places to start. I recommend signing up for their newsletters to stay informed.


2. Plant Some Trees! Planting one tree sequesters 48 lbs on carbon dioxide yearly, enough oxygen for 4 people to breathe fresh air. Plus, they are a natural habitat for wildlife, beautifully calming, and provide much-needed shade, which can also help you save energy when planted around your home. If you’re physically not able to plant some yourself, try supporting organizations and companies who do. Tentree plants 10 trees for every product purchased and One Tree Planted, a non-profit organization, plants one tree for every dollar donated, and even allows you to start a fundraiser. For tips on how to plant a tree, check out this post


3. Commute Consciously. Transportation is one of the largest sources of carbon emissions in the United States. If you are able to, walk, ride a bike, ride-share, take public transportation, or even go electric! All of these things can help to significantly reduce your carbon emissions. If these options don't work for you, then offset your carbon emissions by supporting renewable energy projects. To understand your carbon footprint check out this calculator. And, if you have to drive, follow these tips to help you use less gas


4. Use Less Energy. Not only does this help reduce emissions but it will also lower your costs! Here are some easy tips to save energy in your home today:

    • Energy-Efficient Light Bulbs. LEDs use less energy and last longer. 
    • Unplug. Hairdryers, electric tea kettles, blenders, computers, and other electronics sip electricity from your outlet even when they are off, so it's important to get into the habit of unplugging them when not in use. Tip: Use power strips to make this easier. 
    • Wash with Cold Water. Washing 80% of your laundry loads in cold water can cut your CO2 emissions by 864 pounds a year. 
    • Hang Dry. Opt for hang drying your clothes when possible or use dryer balls to help reduce dry times up to 30%. One ball can last up to 1000 loads.
    • Go Smart. Installing a smart thermostat not only saves energy but will also cut down your monthly bill. We have a Nest and love it. You can program the heat/air to kick on at certain times and control everything from a user-friendly app on your phone. 

    5. Eat Mindful Meals. So much of what we put onto our plates has an impact far beyond our bellies. By eating mindfully, we can help fight climate change in more ways than one:
      • Know Your Impact. Everything we consume has an effect on the environment. Know what foods are harming the planet and make conscious decisions to reduce your intake.
      • Start Small. Even reducing meat and dairy intake by 1/3 can have a positive impact on climate change. Start by eating one meat and dairy free meal a day.
      • Shop Local + In Season. This not only reduces the carbon footprint of shipping from around the world, but it also supports local farmers. 
      • Buy Organic. If you can afford to, always buy organic. Organic farming uses less water and is free of toxic pesticides, which are bad for us and the planet.
      • Avoid Packaged Foods. Limit your packaged food intake to reduce your use of single-use plastics. 
      • Grow What You Can. There's nothing better than eating fresh vegetables from your own garden. If you have the space, try growing a few of your favorite herbs and veggies at home. City dwellers, get creative with these tips!

      6. Waste Less. More than half of the waste in the U.S. ends up in landfills. From food waste to plastic waste to clothes, the easiest way to waste less is to buy less! Here are some tips to get you started: 
        • Reduce Food Waste. 40% of the food produced never even reaches our plates. Think about the amount of water, energy, and emissions used to grow, store, and transport all of that wasted food! Check out the Save the Food guide by the NRDC to help you reduce your foodprint.
        • Say No to Single-Use. More than half of the plastic produced is intended for single use, much of which ends up in landfills releasing toxins into the environment. Here are 10 simple ways to help you use less plastic
        • Compost. Almost all of the food we waste (including much of our trash) can be composted into sustainable soil. I had no idea how much of what we use, from cotton rounds to tissues and even cardboard, is actually compostable! We throw out less than one bag of actual trash a month. For our Chicago readers, we love Urban Canopy. For non-local readers, find a compost service near you
        • Reuse Your Clothes. So much clothing also ends up in landfills, much of which isn't worn more than once. To learn how you can reduce, reuse, and recycle your clothes, check out this post!


        7. Take Action. It doesn’t have to be Earth Day for us to be active citizens in our community. If you see trash in your parks, pick it up. Reach out to local politicians.  Sign petitions. Vote for science-based policy. Start conversations with those around you. Do whatever you can. Every little bit counts! Bonus: Sign up for the Earth Day 2020 Challenge and stay informed on the latest news. 

        How will you reduce your carbon footprint today?

        Love + Light,
        Smita :)

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