A new United Nations report written by 91 scientists from 40 countries is signaling that by 2040 earth will be in a climate change crisis. Seas will continue to rise, affecting between 30-80 million people and marine life including whales and polar bears. Droughts and food shortages will intensify, and coral reefs, which provide food and coastal protection for half a billion people, will die off.
Earth has already warmed by one degree and is on course to warm 2.7 degrees, the report, issued by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, noted. Despite this, the Trump administration signaled it is pulling out of the Paris agreement and continues to push fossil fuel energy over green energy.
It’s frustrating — we know. But there are things every single one of us can do now to help the planet, and that’s empowering.
Here are 10:
1. Get involved Take a few minutes to contact your political representatives and the media to tell them you want immediate action on climate change. Remind them that reducing greenhouse gas emissions will also build healthier communities, spur economic innovation and create new jobs. And when you are at the polls this November, vote for politicians who support effective climate policy
2. Cutback on your waste Garbage buried in landfills produces methane, a potent greenhouse gas. Keep stuff out of landfills by composting kitchen scraps and garden trimmings, and recycling paper, plastic, metal and glass. Let store managers and manufacturers know you want products with minimal or recyclable packaging.
3. Change the way you think about transportation Walk or bike whenever possible. Not only will you reduce your carbon footprint, but your overall level of health will improve, and you will save money on parking and gasoline. Take public transit or carpool whenever possible. When purchasing a vehicle look for one with better mileage. Increase your fuel economy when driving by sticking to posted speed limits and avoiding rapid acceleration and excessive braking. Plan and combine trips and errands. This will save you both time and money as well as reduce wear and tear on your vehicle. When travelling long distances, try to take a train or bus rather than flying or driving.
4. Make every drop count Conserve water by fixing drips and leaks, and by installing low-flow shower heads and toilets. Challenge yourself to a speed shower. Turn off water while brushing teeth or shaving. Treating and transporting water requires energy, while water conservation results in reduced energy requirements and carbon emissions.
5. Switch to “green power” Research where your power is coming from—wind, water, coal, or solar—and talk to your power provider to determine if a greater percentage could be coming from renewable resources. Encourage power providers to switch to green power and, if possible and/or economically viable, switch to a company offering power from renewable resources.
6. Think about what you’re planting When gardening, select native plants that are well suited to your climate and require minimal watering and attention. Better yet, plant a tree, and it will provide shade and soak up carbon from the atmosphere.
7. Make smarter food choices: Meat and dairy production are both contributing greatly to climate change. Methane is the second most significant greenhouse gas and cows are one of the greatest methane emitters. Their grassy diet and multiple stomachs cause them to produce methane, which they exhale with every breath. We recommend adopting a plant-based lifestyle. Check out our guides here.
8. Repurpose Rather than discarding or recycling clothing and household goods, give them a chance at a second life. Gently used clothing can be donated to charity or exchanged with friends and family. Old T-shirts can be repurposed into rags for cleaning. Household goods can be donated to charity or sold at a garage sale. Through repurposing, the amount of waste being sent to landfill sites is reduced, there is no need to use energy for recycling, and others can benefit from your used items.
9. Stop Cutting Down Trees Every year, 33 million acres of forests are cut down. Timber harvesting in the tropics alone contributes 1.5 billion metric tons of carbon to the atmosphere. That represents 20 percent of human-made greenhouse gas emissions and a source that could be avoided relatively easily. And when purchasing wood products, such as furniture or flooring, buy used goods or, failing that, wood certified to have been sustainably harvested. The Amazon and other forests are not just the lungs of the earth, they may also be humanity’s best short-term hope for limiting climate change.
10. Support and donate Please consider becoming a member of Friends of Animals and helping us mitigate the disastrous effects of climate change on our environment and the wildlife who rely on it. You can also join us on social media and sign up for our email alerts here.