This post is intended to be both informative and motivational. My hope is that by sharing some simple information about climate change – plus a few easy changes for a more sustainable lifestyle – you might join me in taking better care of our planet and the animals who rely on it.
According to National Geographic, “The average temperature of the Earth is rising at nearly twice the rate it was 50 years ago.” The planet’s heat naturally fluctuates, however, we’re seeing a consistent rise without natural correction. This atmospheric warming, which impacts the health of our entire ecosystem, is caused by the emission of greenhouse gases (GHGs) like carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide.
Top Producers of GHGs
- Burning fossil fuels (cars & factories)
- Landfills (trash)
- Agriculture (livestock, feed & fertilizer)
- Deforestation (natural air purifier)
Some Climate Change Stats
- Carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels hit record levels in 2018.
- Livestock covers 45% of the earth’s total land.
- 51% of global GHG emissions are due to livestock and their byproducts.
- By 2050, farm animals alone are projected to emit over 2/3 of the amount of greenhouse gasses considered safe.
- 1-2 acres of rainforest are cleared every second for animal agriculture and palm oil.
These are a few of many statistics I could share about the status of our planet’s climate. Growing in popularity, this topic is confusingly controversial. Much like faith, I suppose, people have a hard time believing in something they can’t see. Many argue that climate change is a hoax or political propaganda. This is something I can’t understand because all you have to do is open your eyes to SEE how fragile our climate has become.
Much like our bodies, however, the earth is capable of healing itself. If we start making changes and take responsibility for our lifestyle choices, we can help restore balance to ecosystems around the world. This is no longer an issue that can be ignored or passed on for the next generation to deal with. In fact, if we don’t take action now, the planet won’t be healthy enough to sustain future generations.
Why? Because climates [like polar ice caps and rainforests] will be non-existent, oceans will become increasingly acidic and unable to support life, species of plants and animals – essential to creating oxygen and flourishing ecosystems – will have gone extinct, weather patterns will become increasingly extreme [flooding, droughts, hurricanes, tornados, fires etc.], and the integrity of our water and air will be compromised; paired with extreme temperature changes, this hinders our ability to sustain crops and livestock.
Note: There is already evidence of these climate change effects all over the globe and, without change, all of this is projected to happen within the millennial’s lifetime.
We can do something to prevent further damage and heal parts of our planet that are already deteriorating. Below are 20 simple changes you can make TODAY that will make a huge difference.
- Stop eating (or eat less) meat and dairy.
- Driving alternatives: walk more, bike more, carpool, go electric.
- Shop consignment, recycled, vintage fashion & eco-friendly goods.
- Declutter & recycle or donate unneeded or unused “stuff”.
- Eat local and organic (decrease transportation costs).
- Unplug your devices when not in use (they’re still using energy).
- Switch to reusable water bottles, grocery bags, snack/sandwich bags etc.
- Recycle plastic, glass, paper, cardboard, aluminum, steel, clothing/fabric, electronics and more.
- Swap for LED light bulbs & turn lights off when you leave the room.
- Opt for water-efficient appliances (sink, washing machine, toilet).
- Reduce water use: Don’t leave the sink running & take shorter showers.
- Insulate/weatherstrip windows, doors, and attic.
- Don’t set the thermostat too high or too low. Turn it off when you’re not home. You could also install a programmable thermostat.
- Wash clothes in cold water and hang dry.
- Minimize food waste by planning out meals and freezing as much as possible.
- Compost food waste.
- Consider adding solar panels to your roof.
- Support “green” climate-friendly organizations.
- Take fewer – but longer – vacations (reduce emissions from flights).
- Fly economy. Business class is responsible for almost 3x as many emissions as the economy class.
Finally: VOTE! Pay attention to which community leaders seek to promote and pass sustainability initiatives.