STOP CLIMATE CHANGE
Climate change is real. It is happening now. And the consequences are growing.
Anyone can take steps to help. Each step does a little, and each effort inspires others. You can do something important by letting change begin with you.
Six Steps Anyone Can Take …that cost nothing! These steps save money, so they are better than free!
- Turn off electric appliances you are not using or activate their energy-saving features.
- Close curtains and shades in the summer and open them in the winter on the sunny side of the house. Open the windows when it is cool on hot days, and then close them before it warms up.
- Wear weather-appropriate clothing so that you don’t need as much heat in the winter or as much air conditioning in the summer.
- Drive less. Use mass transit. Carpool. Consider modern variations such as Zipcar or Carshare.
- Consume less. Skip shopping. Share. “Reduce, reuse, recycle.”
- Decrease consumption of meat and dairy. Increase the portion of your diet that is plant-based. (Journal of Environmental Science and Technology2008, 42 (10), 1: “Shifting less than one day per week’s worth of calories from red meat and dairy products to chicken, fish, eggs, or a vegetable-based diet achieves more greenhouse gas reduction than buying only locally sourced food.”)
Eight Big Steps that Take only a Little Work or Money
- Plant a tree. Any tree, anywhere. Trees remove carbon from the atmosphere.
- Avoid power tools. If you can no longer rake, shovel, etc., try to hire someone who can.
- Plant a tall, deciduous tree on the south and west side of your house. The leaves throw a cool shadow on your house on hot summer days, but fall off in winter to let the sun warm the house.
- Use cloth bags. Refuse plastic.
- Replace incandescent with LED lights when you can. Usually they use less than a quarter of the energy of regular bulbs.
- Wrap insulation around exposed piping, especially near your water heater. Hardware store employees can show you how.
- Caulk, weatherstrip, fix leaks, insulate.
- Use a clothes line.
Six Bigger Steps
- Go vegan. Eating meat is one of the greatest causes of global warming. By eating lower on the food chain – ideally, an-all-plant-based diet — humankind can take an essential and enormous step to reduce global warming. A 2006 United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) report entitled Livestock’s Long Shadow (www.fao.org/newsroom/en/news/2006/1000448) concludes that global animal agriculture contributes more greenhouse gas emissions (in CO2 equivalents), an astonishing 18 percent of the total, more than all forms of transportation. Furthermore, the global warming potential and effect of these gases is more striking since methane and nitrous oxide are 23 and 296 times more effective than carbon dioxide in trapping the sun’s warmth in our atmosphere. A University of Chicago study found that the average American diet, including all food processing steps, annually produces 1.5 tons of CO2-equivalent more than a meat-free diet. If you would like to learn more about how to try a vegan diet, attend Harford County’s “DineKind-Harford” vegan potlucks on the first Friday of every month.
- Get an energy audit for your home to see what else you might be able to do. Admittedly, most of the auditors will try to sell you something, so be cautious, but… consider their proposals. They might be worth doing. They might save you way more than they cost.
- Consider the advantages of a smaller car or an electric, hybrid or fusion car. You may not need as much car or truck as you think.
- Investigate the benefits of non-carbon energy for your home…including solar and/or geothermal.
- Switch to energy star appliances.
- Ask more from your representatives and from candidates. Ask them what they plan to do to address climate change!
Finally, Get Involved to Stop Climate Change
The above list covers some steps we can take on our own. Ultimately, though, we will have to work together to solve a problem as big as climate change. Harford County Climate Action is a non-profit, all volunteer group working locally to shrink Harford County’s carbon footprint both by supporting individual actions and by pursuing actions and policy change in county government and in the businesses and agencies located here. We decide on actions collectively. We will also at times join forces with state, national, and global organizations to make stopping climate change a priority. We invite you to join us.
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