Dealing with climate change is an enormous challenge. Only a unified global effort, involving all governments, will be enough to prevent the consequences, and the individual action of every person is crucial. Since climate change in general is a complex issue, it is best to dissect the problem into smaller manageable segments.
One segment that we will focus on is carbon emissions, and ways to reduce the CO2 contribution from every one on the planet. You may be wondering what you, or your family can do to make a difference in the overall picture? Following are my top action tips; these are simple to accomplish and have a definite impact.
1. Consume less red meat which is usually associated with cattle or sheep. These particular animals tend to produce larger amounts of methane gas (a greenhouse gas). Instead choose other sources of meat, for instance chicken and pork tend to produce far less emissions. You don’t need to eliminate red meat entirely, but a few less steaks equals less CO2.
2. Create an energy efficient home. Several changes to our everyday actions can help reduce the carbon footprint; we just need to be sensible about how we consume energy. A few examples:
- Turn off lights when we leave a room
- Turn off a Television when no one is using it
- Put on additional clothing instead of using a heater
- Open windows instead of using the AC
Many of these actions are force of habit, but with a little thought these habits can be eliminated. Other actions we might consider is adding insulation to our homes and using energy efficient light bulbs.
3. Purchase appliances that are energy and water efficient. Besides a behavioral change, we can choose to buy more sensible technologies which help us in our day lifestyles. When purchasing electronic appliances, washing machines or televisions, research their energy and/or water usage. The more efficient they are, the more you’ll save over time, and they’ll have a lower CO2 impact. Quite often your ‘payback period’ for energy efficiency appliances, is only a few months to a couple of years.
4. Walk, bicycle or use public transport. We all know that cars are a major user of oil (which is dwindling globally and becoming more costly), choosing to walk or ride a bicycle when feasible not only helps the environment, but is a healthy alternative. We often spend our weekends at a beach on Tybee Island just outside of our home in Savannah, Georgia. Tybee’s local government is doing their part to help the environment; over the last few years they have creating several biking and walking trails to help reduce CO2 emissions on the island. Most of the residents and visitors on the island make use these trails which is definitely greenhouse friendly.
5. Recycle and Re-purpose. Our society tends to throw too much away and re-cycle far too little of items we must dispose of. Make sure to use local recycling services, for all plastics, cardboard, metal and paper. Attempt to have appliances and tools repaired rather than replaced, it requires a smaller carbon footprint to have items fixed as compared to producing them from scratch.
6. Telecommute and/or teleconference. Is it required for you fight your way through rush hour traffic every day, to sit at a desk and work on a computer? Do you have to fly to another city or country just to meet with colleagues? It appears more employers are realizing the benefits of telecommuting and accepting the concept. Working from home can be an efficient and effective method of doing paper work from a home office. Air travel creates a massive CO2 burden and teleconferences can help reduce the burden. Personally, my job as a tax lien and deed investor used to required constant travel. The only way to attend tax sales throughout the country was via a car or plane. However, over the last few years many states began hosting the tax auctions online, allowing me to make my investments from my home. Telecommuting has a big impact on the environment when you consider that every gallon of unleaded gas used generates around 20 pounds of greenhouse gas.
Reducing CO2 emissions is not something that can be accomplished by one person or government. However, following the simple tips described above is the most direct way to reduce the CO2 impact on our planet.