Climate Change: What You Can Do
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People have heard the mantra to be ‘green’ and help save the environment, but it’s a common occurrence for many to feel as if their actions won’t make a difference in the long run, and even if it does it won’t affect them. According to statistics collected by Yale and Utah State University residents of more than half of the U.S. counties aren’t worried about climate change.
With the ever-present denial of climate change by politicians, namely President Trump, educating people about our rapidly changing climate due to human pollution is an increasingly important cause.
“Global warming is not only the number one environmental challenge we face today, but one of the most important issues facing all of humanity,” said Leonardo DiCaprio in his 2007 climate change documentary “The 11th Hour.” “We all have to do our part to raise awareness about global warming and the problems we as a people face in promoting a sustainable environmental future for our planet.”
Some would say that it’s up to the politicians running the country to make the steps to turn our planet around. But even this seems far-fetched now. Trump’s administration has announced plans to repeal Obama’s climate change plan. So, with a wavering faith in politicians to make the right steps to a better earth, we the people have to step up. To do this is to completely change the American lifestyle, there are many small changes that people can do to help our planet.
Reduce energy use
This is one of the easiest ways you can help out. Try to turn off light bulbs when you leave rooms and electronics when they’re not in use. And if you’re really feeling like a friend to the planet that day, unplug them as well. You can also replace standard light bulbs with compact fluorescent one that are more energy-efficient. These can be found at most local hardware stores, like Ace Hardware. This reduces carbon dioxide emissions that are given off by power stations.
Get fit while saving the planet
To reduce your carbon footprint bike and walk whenever possible. This is good for your health as well as the planet’s. Carpool and take public transportation whenever possible. Driving the speed limit and avoiding rapid acceleration and braking reduces your carbon footprint as well. Doing any of these things can reduce the amount of carbon dioxide emitted into the atmosphere
Change the way you wash your clothes
Wash clothes in cold water and air dry. Clotheslines and indoor drying racks are especially useful for this. By doing this you will save major bucks on your energy bill, make your clothes last longer and help the environment!
Thrift stores are your friends
Instead of throwing out gently used clothes that you no longer like, drop them off at your local thrift shop. This is also the case for household appliances. Another option is to give your clothes away to friends and family. By doing any of these things the amount of waste being dumped in landfills is reduced, and no energy is being used to recycle things that don’t need to be. In addition, donating clothes results in other people benefiting from your earth-saving habits.
Make every drop of water count
Most people are fans of long showers: according to the American Standard survey 70 percent of 18 to 34 year-olds shower for longer than 10 minutes. But by shortening your shower— even by a few minutes —can save water. Try to turn of the water while brushing your teeth too. The transportation and treatment of water requires a lot of energy. But by using minimal amounts of water it conserves energy, which leads to reduced carbon emissions.
Planting a tree provides shade and also takes in carbon from the atmosphere. When deciding what to plant pick ones that are native to your area and that require minimal water.
Recycle, recycle, recycle!
Recycle everything you possibly can. Try to buy things with minimal and recyclable packaging. You can also recycle electronics at a number of stores and facilities, such as your local Best Buy.
Organize your community
Aside from individual steps that everyone can do, some have taken it a step further by organizing climate-friendly initiatives in their communities and schools.
Courtney Kiley, a science teacher at Community High School, runs an ecology club that meets once a week. This year their focus has been on how to reduce waste. “Any way that you can reduce plastic consumption [helps],” Kiley said. “Because there’s a 6 to 1 ratio in the oceans of pieces of plastic to natural organisms. There’s more plastic in the ocean than live creatures.”
In addition to just discussing ways to help the environment, Kiley’s ecology club has installed a rain garden on Community High School grounds. Rain gardens are especially useful in urban environments because they catch runoff from the school’s parking lot that would otherwise flow into the nearby storm drains and the Huron River. “It’s pretty, I know people call it a weed circle and a lot of people hate on it, but I’ve seen a hawk in there and in the summertime there are goldfinches and really beautiful wild flowers,” Kiley said.