As California roars with fires yet again, I find myself inspired to take all Moonshine and other outlets’ recent coverage of climate mitigation into real consideration. We all know the science and threat of climate change, but what are some intentional and relatively easy ways to reduce carbon emissions to combat climate change in our day-to-day lives? Here are four bits of information and useful tips to put on the fridge.
SINGLE-USE HOUSEHOLD ITEMS:
According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, the total amount of solid waste in 2015 was 262.4 million tons. In the U.S. alone, we throw away 2.5 million plastic bottles every hour. And that’s not including zip lock bags, single-use coffee cups, etc. But there’s an easy way to reduce your plastic use. By and large, society is starting to incorporate reusable water bottles into our daily lives, considering it takes 500 years for an average-sized plastic water bottle to fully decompose, and the energy it takes to make 1.5 million tons of plastic could power 250,000 homes.
TIP: Stop buying single-use items. Instead, invest in reusable baggies (like Stasher bags), glass food storage containers, reusable lunch bags, mesh produce bags, and washable coffee mugs. Have the goal that by 2020, you will have a system to always keep your
reusable items at hand so that you won’t be tempted at the grocery store or coffee shop.
Not everyone can afford to install solar panels or buy all new energy-efficient appliances. However, lightbulbs always run out, and once in a blue moon, you need to buy a new
washing machine or refrigerator. New California energy laws are eliminating traditional lightbulbs in favor of LED lights, which are 90% more efficient than standard light bulbs.
TIP: Exclusively restock your bulbs with LED lights. When shopping for new appliances, pay attention to energy efficiency and ask meaningful questions of experts. New dishwashers
can save up to 5,000 gallons of water a year compared to hand washing. And just as important is your personal efficiency once you have the machine; make sure you have a full load each time you run the dishwasher.
THE FOOD WE EAT:
According to the World Wildlife Fund, an estimated third of all the food produced in the world goes to waste, which is equivalent to 1.3 billion tons of fruits, vegetables, meat, dairy, seafood, and grains that either don’t leave the farm, get spoiled during transportation and distribution, or are thrown away. That is enough calories to feed every undernourished person on the planet. Around 11% of all the greenhouse gas emissions that come from the food system could be reduced if we stopped wasting food. According to the Earth Day Network, in the U.S. alone the production of lost or wasted food generates the equivalent of 37 million cars’ worth of greenhouse gas emissions each year.
Organizers of the “meatless Monday” movement estimated 1,800 to 2,500 gallons of water go into a single pound of beef, and the meat industry generates nearly a fifth of the man-made greenhouse gases. EDN also calculated that if everyone in the U.S. eliminated meat just one day a week, it would be equivalent to taking 7.6 million cars off the road.
TIP: Buy locally grown and in-season fruits and vegetables, and try to only buy the amount
you know you’ll eat. Buying local food directly disrupts corporate food systems that produce all that waste. Also, start incorporating meatless Mondays into your household
On average, sharing a ride with one other person to work and back for a year will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 1,900 pounds, according to GreenCare Community.
TIP: Try making it a point to never show up to the slopes alone this year. Better yet, try to have a full car whenever possible — it makes for good friends and healthy air.
Main Image Caption: SUSTAINABLE LIFESTYLE: These easy changes can make a big impact in reducing your carbon footprint. Peampath/bigstockphoto.com