Environmental degradation and climate change are common features of the news today. At times, it almost feels hopeless. Yet, there are some simple things you can do every day to help mitigate climate change and make a real impact.
Turn To Renewable Energy
Fossil fuel-powered energy is not renewable. Each time you turn on a combustion engine vehicle or flip a light switch in your home, you are contributing to the depletion of oil, gas, and coal reserves that took millions of years to develop. Although proven reserves of these resources have increased as the technology to extract them has improved, the amounts available are still finite.
Renewable energy, on the other hand, uses resources like the sun, water, and wind to generate power. These are renewable sources since they continue to be produced and using them to generate power does not reduce their total available amounts.
No matter where you are located, there are ways to integrate renewable energy into your lifestyle. Hydropower has long been used in the west, wind turbines have become a fixture in the midwest, connecticut solar is a viable option for powering your home.
Rethink Your Commute
Actively working to reduce your carbon emissions during travel can have a tremendous impact on the environment. Choosing to use mass transit or rail service is preferable to gas or diesel-powered private passenger vehicles. There are great new hybrid and fully electric options on the market, too. Plus, automakers are releasing new models each year to meet the growing demand.
IN addition to how you travel, when you choose to go can also impact the climate. Instead of running out every time you need or want something, try to condense trips. Keep a running list of things you have to pick up and go once a week. If your destination is relatively close to home, consider walking or taking a bike instead of driving.
Practice the Three Rs
No, you don't have to go back to grammar school. There are three big Rs in conservation, too, and practicing them can really make a difference in your climate impact.
This is a pretty basic tenant. If you want to lower the environmental impact of your lifestyle, see what aspects of it you can make smaller. Focus on purchases that have a bigger carbon footprint in manufacturing and distribution in order to make the biggest impact.
You don't have to stop at changing what you purchase either. Ask yourself if purchases are really necessary before you commit. If it is a bigger item, wait a few days and think about whether you really need and want the item.
You should also consider buying things second hand if possible. This keeps household goods out of landfills and reduces resources tied up in their production. Thrift stores, consignment and antique shops, and yard sales can hold a treasure trove of perfectly useable and attractive items from furniture to clothing.
When you do purchase things, because you will, try to make them serve multiple purposes. Sometimes thinking a little bit outside the box can help you come up with really creative ideas for reusing common items.
It's perfectly fine you don't want to reuse the stuff yourself, just remember that someone else may. Donate serviceable goods to charities or take them to consignment stores where you can make a little extra money selling them.
For all of the stuff that isn't going to get reused, see if there is a way to recycle it. Most places offer curbside pickup or community drop stations to make recycling easy and convenient. Some grocery stores even have oversized recycling bins outside the entrance to encourage the practice.
Not all plastics, metals, glass, and paper are recyclable. Take a few minutes to learn what can and can't get recycled where you live.
If you have larger recycling items, like appliances or scrap metal, you may find a local plant that will pay you for dropping it off. While it doesn't often amount to a whole lot, it is a nice bonus, and a direct way to show that recycling does pay.
The environment is everyone's responsibility. Act on that responsibility by making choices that can help to reduce the effects of climate change.