Not that you've gotten a better understanding of the causes and effects of climate change, you may be wondering what you can do to help. As we learned in The Story of More, consumption is key. We need to use less non-renewable energy, less land, less meat, and fewer goods in general. Here are a few ideas to get you started.
Both directly and indirectly, many of our various activities lead to the production of different amounts of greenhouse gases being released into the atmosphere. The amount of greenhouse gas release that we are responsible for is our carbon footprint. Things like travel, eating, shopping, and heating our homes all contribute to our carbon footprint. For a person, a household, a business, or even country, knowing what contributes to our carbon footprint can help us reduce it. Carbon footprint calculators help us do this. Here's one to try.
One large part of a carbon footprint is the food we eat. Agriculture makes up about a quarter of all greenhouse gas emissions. About 80% of this is due to animal agriculture, partly because the methane gas produced by animals has a huge impact. Other factors such as water use, deforestation, and transportation play a role as well. All of these impacts together can be calculated to come up with foodprints for various foods. We can use a foodprint calculator to see the difference in climate impact when we choose chicken instead of beef, or see how various fruits and vegetables compare to nuts and beans. Here are some foodprint calculators you can try.
The amount of energy we use is important, but so is the source of that energy. We need to move away from fossil fuels and towards renewable energy sources. Electric vehicles are one way to do this. Adding solar panels to homes and businesses is another. My Green Power from Com Ed provides information about generating your own power and connecting to the power grid.
Another option is switching to a green energy provider that works with Com Ed to supply energy to your home or business. Find out more here.
While the actions of individuals do matter, they are just not enough to solve climate change. The problem is systemic and the real change that needs to happen is at the corporate and the government level. This requires pressure. We need to speak up, or support those who do, and not let others look away from the problem. We can vote for climate candidates and donate to organizations that are holding leaders accountable. Here are some important climate action organizations to be aware of.