If you’re planning a family trip to Glacier National Park in Montana, make sure to schedule it within the next 22 years. Scientists estimate that by 2030 there may not be a single glacier left – that is how quickly the ice is melting. In this way and many, many others, global warming affects us all. And while the United States is only four percent of the world’s population, we are responsible for 22 percent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. We especially, then, have a responsibility to reduce our emissions and concentrate on stopping climate change.
Global warming is the result of too much of a good thing. Greenhouse gases such as CO2 are natural and necessary to an extent, but too much causes the atmosphere to thicken. This thickening causes more heat to be trapped within the atmospheric blanket and temperatures to rise, resulting in climate change. The problem impacts us all, and it is happening right now. Every person emits their share of CO2 and other greenhouse gases through daily activities. This share of CO2 can be greatly reduced if certain simple steps are consciously taken. Every small reduction in CO2 emissions makes a big difference because WE ADD UP. Here are 10 simple steps that anyone can take to reduce their emissions:
Recycle. Recycling is something simple that anyone can do everyday – from recycling the morning’s newspaper to the plastic bottle from lunchtime. One ton of recycled paper saves 17 trees and 7,000 gallons of water. Plus, trees actively remove CO2 from the atmosphere. Amazingly enough, recycling just one aluminum can saves enough energy to power a television for three hours.
Buy Local. Before arriving at your plate, the average meal travels more than 1,200 miles – all the while using precious energy and CO2. Make an effort to buy as many products as possible that are locally produced – from food and clothes to furniture. It will ensure that the energy consumed by transportation is as low as possible.
Eat Less Meat. Livestock is responsible for 18 percent of global warming emissions. The millions of cattle being raised around the world release enormous amounts of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas. Limiting one’s meat consumption will encourage cattle growers to raise smaller herds, which will help cool our planet.
Bike. Make a significant contribution to stop climate change by biking to do your errands, attend school and work. You will save one pound of CO2 for every one mile you don’t drive.Additionally, you will enjoy the benefits of increased health and vitality.
Demand Change. You can demand that your elected leaders make the climate a priority. Create change by writing letters, making phone calls, voting and campaigning for officials and policies that help ensure our earth’s recovery. You can make a difference!
Lights Off. If you’re using compact fluorescent light bulbs, turn your lights off anytime you leave a room for more than 15 minutes. This will ensure you save energy and prolong the life of the bulb. If you’re using incandescent bulbs, turn your lights off every time you leave a room. You will be surprised at the energy you save.
Drink Tap. Bottled water produces up to 1.5 million tons of plastic waste each year, which takes about 47 million gallons of oil to produce. The vast majority of plastic bottles end up in landfills. So make sure to filter your tap water and drink up.
Unplug. Appliances and chargers (including MP3 player and cell phone chargers) left plugged in drain electricity, even when they’re not in use. Forty percent of all household electricity used to power home appliances and electronics is utilized while the devices are turned off. Using power strips and unplugging unnecessary electronics can save a great deal of money and energy.
Go Organic. Organic agriculture produces soil that is excellent at storing carbon and keeping it out of the atmosphere. Organic fields are also more resistant to intense droughts and floods (a consequence of global warming) than conventional fields. Purchasing organic products supports the increase of organic acreage, thereby keeping even more CO2 out of the atmosphere.
Switch. Compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) last 12 times longer than incandescent bulbs and require far less energy to run. If every home in the United States switched just one incandescent bulb to a CFL, it would be the equivalent of taking one million cars off the roads.
Everyone can do something to fight global warming, and simple steps are all it takes to make a difference. If each of us does our part to reduce our greenhouse emissions, we can create a healthy, thriving planet for generations to come. The majority of scientists agree that in order to continue living comfortably on this planet, we must reduce our carbon emissions by 80 percent by the year 2050. That’s only a two percent reduction per year if we begin now. Remember, no one can do everything, but everyone can do something. WE ADD UP.