Anyone can make these simple changes: They’re easy to implement, and are immediately effective in reducing your carbon footprint. Our actions and choices ultimately make a difference, and we all share the responsibility to do whatever we can to address climate change, big or small.
1: CUT OUT, OR CUT DOWN, MEAT!
It may surprise you, but the single most effective action that you can take on to combat climate change is to limit your meat consumption. The greenhouse gasses emitted from the agricultural industry are even more potent than fossil fuels.
Red meat is especially to blame as it consumes 11 times more water and creates 5 times more emissions than its poultry counterparts. You don’t have to go fully vegetarian, but eating meat less frequently can make a dramatic difference if we all do it together.
One single pound of beef takes over 5,000 gallons of water – animal agriculture is undoubtedly one of the biggest challenges we face when dealing with freshwater scarcity. Furthermore, millions of hectares of rainforest is cut down each year to make room for animal farming. Most are unaware of this connection between agriculture and greenhouse gasses.
2: DRIVE LESS
Walking, biking, using public transport – all are easy decisions and making an immediate impact. Biking to work is becoming more and more popular, there are over 65 million cyclists in the US, a number that is rising dramatically. In the U.S., public transportation saves 37 million tons of carbon emissions every year.
3: UNPLUG YOUR DEVICES
You may not know, but all electronic devices continue to suck energy even when they are plugged in and even if they are powered down. This “vampire power” is responsible for draining up to $19 billion in energy every year in the US. Any time a cord is plugged into the wall, its drawing energy.
4: DO NOT BUY “FAST FASHION”
It is becoming more and more prevalent for fashion retailers to sell an endless cycle of must-have trends at extremely low prices. Because it’s possible to pay only $4 for a t shirt, many do not think twice about throwing it away later down the line, causing incredible amounts of waste at landfill sites, just to move on to the latest style.
Quantity over Quality is emphasised, so that fast fashion retailers can charge next to nothing for mass-produced clothing. Because of this, half of our clothing is made with cotton, but unless its organic, there is a high chance that it has been genetically modified and sprayed with lots of pesticides. This can be damaging to nearby non-GMO crops, cause water contamination, reduce biodiversity, and have negative impacts on human health.
5: LINE-DRY YOUR CLOTHES
The traditional method of drying your clothes is vastly better for the environment. One load in the dryer uses five times more electricity than washing the clothes themselves.
Unfortunately, line-drying seems to be America’s least favourite way to save energy – despite the fact that running a clothes dryer is equivalent to turning on 225 light bulbs for an hour.