Stopping Climate Change: What You Can Do Now
by Lauri Cielo
- Cut emissions from fossil fuels. Technology to cut emissions from fossil fuels is available and must be used, and utilities must be forced to use it. National emissions controls for coal, oil and gas are a necessity, not only for the sake of climate change, but simply to curb air pollution so fewer people suffer from asthma and other health problems. Power plants cause mercury pollution (which ends up in seafood), so cleaning up our power plants would go a long way toward cleaner air for everyone! Contact your governor and your Congressperson and demand they enact strong legislation to curb emissions both from vehicles and power plants.
- Cut fossil fuel subsidies. In the U.S., subsidies to oil, gas and coal producers amount to $20.5 billion annually, mostly in the form of tax or royalty breaks. Federal subsidies amount to $17.2 billion annually, while subsidies in a number of oil-, gas- and coal-producing states average $3.3 billion annually. Petition your Senators to end fossil fuel subsidies. Call your Congressperson and demand it. You will probably hear that your utility bills will go up because of new regulations. This is a scare tactic. Mom’s Clean Air Force suggests that you ask: “Since gas is so much cheaper than coal, and since they are using so much more gas these days, why haven’t your bills gone down? Who exactly is keeping those savings? Be a demanding consumer. Know your power, and use it.”
- Become as energy-efficient and sustainable at home as possible: a) weatherproof and insulate your home so heat doesn’t leak out your doors, walls and windows. This is a very big deal that will also save you hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars a year; b) use energy-efficient appliances. Use a clothesline. Deal with your vampire power drains; c) gradually replace your inefficient lightbulbs with LED bulbs, and be mindful of turning lights off; d) live where you can carpool, use public transportation or bike to work, school or errands. Telecommute, if you can. Buy locally produced goods whenever you can, shop online when you can’t (because a few trucks delivering to everyone is more efficient than everyone individually driving to the store).
- Mind your food footprint. Industrial agriculture releases tons of carbon from the soil every year. In fact, industrial production of meat and vegetables rivals automobiles for the amount of carbon and methane emissions it produces. In contrast, small and mid-scale organic farming and holistic ranching sequesters tons of carbon, returning it to the soil, and helps cool the Earth down. Buy the rest of your food from local, organic farms and holistic ranches whenever possible. If you can’t find meat that is produced sustainably, consider eating less of it. Do composting and meal planning. 20% of U.S. methane emissions is caused by food waste going into landfills. Meal planning is the best way to prevent this pollution on the front end, and composting is the best way to prevent it on the back-end.
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