Global warming is largely caused by carbon dioxide emissions. Unfortunately, the modern global economy is tied to carbon-based fuels. Because of this, taking on global warming might seem overwhelming. However, there are many things you can do to help reduce its effect. By changing your consumption habits, taking steps to save energy, and organizing with others, you’ll be able to take a real stand against global warming. In the end, you’ll not only help save the planet, but you’ll have fun raising awareness and making a difference.
EditChanging Your Consumption Habits
- Eat less animal products. Since animal meat and animal products take a lot of energy, water, and other resources to create and transport, you can lower your carbon footprint by reducing your consumption of them. Instead of eating animal products, consider adopting a vegetarian or vegan diet. To do so, refocus your diet on fresh fruit and vegetables.
- Buy locally-sourced products. By minimizing the amount of products you consume that are made far from you, you’ll not only help your local economy, but reduce your overall carbon footprint. Look around your community for products made locally.
- Visit farmers markets for locally-grown produce and other food.
- Buy products, like furniture, from local craftsmen.
- Recycle and reuse what you can. Since it requires a lot of energy to create certain materials from scratch, recycling and reusing will lower the amount of energy needed to make new products. Use recycle bins provided by your local government. If you don’t have access to them, collect plastic, aluminum, and paper products and periodically bring them to a recycle center near you.
- Donate items you don’t want instead of throwing them away.
- Use cloth towels, reusable plates, and silverware instead of paper towels, paper plates, and disposable silverware.
- Drive less. Since driving is one of the biggest ways people contribute to global warming, minimizing how much you drive will make a huge impact. There are many ways you can do this:
- Carpool to work with others.
- Using mass transportation. Consider riding the bus, using the subway, or taking a train.
- Plan weekly or monthly shopping trips, instead of going out whenever you need something.
- Ride a bicycle. Buy a new bicycle, a used one, or refurbish one. While you don’t need to bicycle everywhere, you can use it to get around town, exercise, and to visit friends. In the end, you’ll save energy and get in shape.
- Maintain your automobile. If you can’t live without a car, then use it in a way that minimizes global impact. By regularly maintaining your vehicle, you’ll save money on gasoline and on future repairs.
- Keep your car tires adequately inflated. Under-inflated tires can reduce fuel economy by up to 3% and are subject to increased wear and tear. Check them monthly.
- Change your air filter. Check your car’s air filter monthly. Cleaning your air filter improves your mileage and reduces pollution because it makes it easier for your car to take in air and maintain a proper fuel/air mixture.
- Insulate your home and major appliances. Insulate anything that uses energy to stay a different temperature from its environment. You can buy insulation from hardware stores and in many varieties.
- Keep your water heater insulated to save up to 1,000 lbs. of carbon dioxide a year. Avoid using units fitted with continuous pilot lights, and you will save 200 kilograms of greenhouse gas emissions yearly.
- Re-insulate your whole home to reduce heating and cooling costs. If your insulation is old or inefficient, replace it. Consider the attic, crawlspaces, basement, walls, and ceiling. If you have awkward spaces, be aware that cellulose or fiberglass insulation can be blown in by a professional contractor.
- Weather strip your home. Weather strip your doorways, windows and HVAC system. This could save up to 1,700 lbs. of carbon a year.
- Use compact fluorescent or LED bulbs. Walk around your home and count how many incandescent light bulbs you have. Then, go to the store and buy compact fluorescent or LED bulbs to replace them. By replacing your old lightbulbs, you’ll save a lot of power.
- A standard compact fluorescent bulb will save around one third of a ton of greenhouse gas over its life.
- LED lightbulbs are the most efficient and can save a lot of power. However, they may be costlier.
- Consider substituting as many energy efficient bulbs as you can, and give them as gifts to family and friends. Donate a set to a local charity to refit their office.
EditEngaging in Activism
- Contact your representatives and urge them to fight global warming. Since political leaders have a lot of power to change the system, one of the most effective ways to reduce global warming is to pressure them to do something about it. Start by finding out who represents you at the local, state, and national level. Then, contact them and share your concern about global warming. Ask your representatives to:
- Promote mass transportation projects.
- Help fund alternative energy projects.
- Support regulation that limits carbon emissions. For example, let your representatives know you support a tax on carbon emissions.
- Enter agreements with foreign nations to limit carbon emissions, like the Kyoto Protocol.
- Inform people about the dangers of global warming. Take initiative and share your concern about global warming with the people around you. Simply by talking about it, or mentioning it, you may inform others about how it could impact their lives or the lives of their children or grandchildren.
- Tell people why you do certain things, like adopting a vegan or vegetarian diet.
- Let people know about things they can do to reduce their carbon footprint – like insulating their home or reducing the amount they drive.
- Don’t be pushy. If someone doesn’t want to talk about global warming, that’s okay. There is no reason to alienate people who don’t share your perspective.
- Join an advocacy group. Look around your community for organizations and groups that share your concern. Chances are, there are many groups around you that work to educate the public and make real change to reduce global warming. Some national and international groups that take action to fight global warming include:
- Green Peace
- Citizens Climate Lobby
- The Environmental Defense Fund
- Green America
- The Sierra Club
- Idle No More
- Commute on Earth Day
- Buy Clean Energy
- Reduce Energy Use in the Kitchen
- Find Reliable Information on Climate Change
- Challenge People About Global Warming Theories
- Help Save the Environment
- Create Urban Rainforests
- Help Save the Earth
- Help Reduce Global Warming (Kids)
- Best Educate the Children to Change a Corrupt Society
- Do Your Bit to Save the World