Although the impacts or effects of climate change are already underway, there are many solutions that we can work on together. We’ll review some actions you may already be doing to help protect your health and your finances, and which may also help the planet to cool off! To reduce the effects of climate change you should: Turn off lights when you don’t need them. Turn thermostat down to about 68 degrees (in winter). Change to LED or fluorescent light bulbs. Unplug electronics you are not using. Seal windows so your home keeps warm or cool. Dry your clothes in a clothesline during sunny days instead of using the clothes dryer. Turn off the faucet while you brush your teeth. Take shorter showers (five minutes or less). Wash full loads of clothes or dishes. Fix water leaks. Water outdoor plants early in the morning or later in the day. Sweep the street and driveway instead of using water.
Replace your lawn with native or drought-tolerant plants. When you “buy local” you can save energy and avoid greenhouse gases and pollution from shipping produce from far away. Shop at your local farmers’ market: local produce is fresher and requires less packaging and energy overall. Supporting local, sustainable businesses helps your community creates jobs, know your neighbors and keeps money local. If you can, walk, bike, or use public transportation instead of driving. Carpool whenever possible. Avoid idling (keeping your engine running). Tell your city officials you want better/cleaner transit options. The greenhouse emissions produced by livestock for the meat we eat are almost as much as those from the transportation industry. More land, energy and water are needed to produce one pound of meat than those needed to produce one pound of grains or vegetables.
Eating less meat is also healthier (because meat consumption contributes to heart disease) and less expensive so you’ll save money too! Share or ask for things you need sporadically (like tools and electronics) and donate clothes and things you don’t need. Not only will you be saving energy needed to produce those things (think of less greenhouse gas emissions) but less waste will go to the landfill. It takes 450 years for one plastic bottle to decompose and it takes 10 to 20 years for a plastic bag to decompose in the environment. Producing plastic takes energy and it ends up in landfills as garbage. Plastics also leach out toxic chemicals that contaminate the environment and can harm your health. To reduce your use of plastics: Use reusable grocery bags when shopping instead of plastic bags. Buy items in bulk or with little or no packaging. Re-use glass containers to store food instead of plastic containers.
Make your own home cleaning products. Recycle all plastics instead of tossing them away. You’ll save money and eat healthier than if you eat out! You also save energy and the greenhouse gas emissions needed to drive to and from the restaurant. A lot of energy, water and fertilizer is used to produce our food. But 40% of the food we grow is wasted. Wasted food adds to our greenhouse gas emissions (methane) and contributes to climate change To limit food waste, plan your meals and your shopping, learn to cook with leftovers, and learn how to store produce and food wisely so they don’t go to waste. Don’t forget to share a meal! Coal, gas, and oil are dirty fossil fuels created millions of years ago. These are now the main sources of the greenhouse gases that are creating dangerous climate change.
We have solutions! Clean energy prices are decreasing. Some communities are choosing clean energy, community and rooftop solar. Find out in your city if you are eligible to get a rebate for rooftop solar or participating in “local clean energy” programs..