Less frequent flying can make a big difference, too. But not all carbon offset companies are alike. Looking for a silver lining in the harrowing United Nations climate change report? Here it is: We can determine the impact of climate change by the political, economic, and social choices we make today. Short answer: Yes. Even a seemingly slight average temperature rise is enough to cause a dramatic transformation of our planet. Harnessing power generated by the sun reduces your reliance on fossil fuels, but it can come with a price tag.
Considering making the switch? Here's everything you need to know about driving electric cars and hybrids. With minimal effort, you can turn those banana peels and apple cores into gold. Let us break it down. Turn your city into a climate sanctuary, rally on Main Street, and other ways to make change globally by acting locally. We will keep you informed with the latest alerts and progress reports. Global Warming How to Talk to a Paris Accord Skeptic. Should You Go Solar? Of course, it takes a lot of cement, a major source of greenhouse gas emissions, to construct new buildings and roads.
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Mining copper and other elements needed for electrical wiring and transmission also causes globe-warming pollution. But energy-efficient buildings and improved cement-making processes such as using alternative fuels to fire up the kiln could reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the developed world and prevent them in the developing world. Move Closer to Work —Transportation is the second leading source of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.
But it doesn't have to be that way. One way to dramatically curtail transportation fuel needs is to move closer to work, use mass transit, or switch to walking, cycling or some other mode of transport that does not require anything other than human energy. There is also the option of working from home and telecommuting several days a week. Cutting down on long-distance travel would also help, most notably airplane flights, which are one of the fastest growing sources of greenhouse gas emissions and a source that arguably releases such emissions in the worst possible spot higher in the atmosphere.
How You Can Stop Global Warming
Flights are also one of the few sources of globe-warming pollution for which there isn't already a viable alternative: jets rely on kerosene, because it packs the most energy per pound, allowing them to travel far and fast, yet it takes roughly 10 gallons of oil to make one gallon of JetA fuel. Restricting flying to only critical, long-distance trips—in many parts of the world, trains can replace planes for short- to medium-distance trips—would help curb airplane emissions.
Consume Less —The easiest way to cut back on greenhouse gas emissions is simply to buy less stuff. Whether by forgoing an automobile or employing a reusable grocery sack, cutting back on consumption results in fewer fossil fuels being burned to extract, produce and ship products around the globe.
Top 10 things you can do about climate change - David Suzuki Foundation
Think green when making purchases. For instance, if you are in the market for a new car, buy one that will last the longest and have the least impact on the environment. Thus, a used vehicle with a hybrid engine offers superior fuel efficiency over the long haul while saving the environmental impact of new car manufacture.
Paradoxically, when purchasing essentials, such as groceries, buying in bulk can reduce the amount of packaging—plastic wrapping, cardboard boxes and other unnecessary materials. Sometimes buying more means consuming less. Be Efficient —A potentially simpler and even bigger impact can be made by doing more with less. Citizens of many developed countries are profligate wasters of energy, whether by speeding in a gas-guzzling sport-utility vehicle or leaving the lights on when not in a room.
Good driving—and good car maintenance, such as making sure tires are properly inflated—can limit the amount of greenhouse gas emissions from a vehicle and, perhaps more importantly, lower the frequency of payment at the pump. Similarly, employing more efficient refrigerators, air conditioners and other appliances, such as those rated highly under the U. Environmental Protection Agency's Energy Star program, can cut electric bills while something as simple as weatherproofing the windows of a home can reduce heating and cooling bills.
Such efforts can also be usefully employed at work, whether that means installing more efficient turbines at the power plant or turning the lights off when you leave the office. Eat Smart, Go Vegetarian? Some grocery stores stock organic produce that do not require such fertilizers, but it is often shipped from halfway across the globe. And meat, whether beef, chicken or pork, requires pounds of feed to produce a pound of protein. Choosing food items that balance nutrition, taste and ecological impact is no easy task. Foodstuffs often bear some nutritional information, but there is little to reveal how far a head of lettuce, for example, has traveled.
University of Chicago researchers estimate that each meat-eating American produces 1. It would also take far less land to grow the crops necessary to feed humans than livestock, allowing more room for planting trees. Stop Cutting Down Trees —Every year, 33 million acres of forests are cut down. If every American household replaced one regular lightbulb with a C.
A watt C. Although the initial price is higher, C. Californians Against Waste cawrecycles. Made from polyethylene, plastic bags are not biodegradable and are making their way into our oceans and waterways. According to recent studies, the oceans are full of tiny fragments of plastic that are beginning to work their way up the food chain. Invest in stronger, re-usable bags, and avoid plastic bags whenever possible.
According to Consumer Reports, pre-rinsing dishes does not necessarily improve a dishwasher's ability to clean them. By skipping the wash before the wash, you can save up to 20 gallons of water per dishload. At one load a day, that's 7, gallons over the course of the year.
Not to mention that you're saving time, dishwashing soap, and the energy used to heat the additional water. Ignore cookbooks! It is usually unnecessary to pre-heat your oven before cooking, except when baking bread or pastries. Just turn on the oven at the same time you put the dish in. During cooking, rather than opening the oven door to check on your food, just look at it through the oven window. Opening the oven door results in a significant loss of energy. Recycle glass think beer bottles, jars, juice containers either through curbside programs or at community drop-off centers.
Glass takes more than one million years to decompose; Americans generate almost 13 million tons of glass waste a year.
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Glass produced from recycled glass reduces related air pollution by 20 percent and related water pollution by 50 percent. Go to earth Want to have a more energy-efficient home or office? Save green by being green. Purchase appliances and electronics with the Energy Star certification. Begun in by the E. To learn more about Energy Star, visit energystar.
It goes without saying—clothes dryers are huge energy gluttons. Hints to reduce energy use: Clean the lint filter after each load improves air circulation. Use the cool-down cycle allows clothes to finish drying from the residual heat inside. Better yet, abandon your dryer and buy some drying racks, if you don't have a clothesline.
Generally, clothes dry overnight. Standard machines use about 40 gallons of water per wash; most Energy Star machines use only 18 to 25 gallons, thus also saving water. Whenever possible, wash your clothes in cold water using cold-water detergents designed to remove soils at low temperatures. And do your laundry only when you have a full load. If you must do a small load, adjust the water level accordingly. Most paint is made from petrochemicals, and its manufacturing process can create 10 times its own weight in toxic waste. It also releases volatile organic compounds V. They cause photochemical reactions in the atmosphere, leading to ground-level smog that can cause eye and skin irritation, lung and breathing problems, headaches, nausea, and nervous-system and kidney damage.
The best alternative? Natural paints. Manufactured using plant oils, natural paints pose far fewer health risks, are breathable, and in some cases are percent biodegradable. Remember: Never throw your paint away. Check out Earth 's "Paint Wise" section for re-use programs in your community; earth Before embarking on any home remodeling, make sure your architect has green credentials.
Although there is no national organization of green architects in the U. Ask where he or she sources materials, and request that energy-saving devices, such as solar paneling, be installed. Visit directory. A green roof is more than simply a roof with plants growing on it. It functions like a "breathing wall," consuming carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and emitting oxygen. Green roofs generally use low-maintenance, drought-resistant plants. Vegetation is planted or laid down as pre-vegetated mats on a thin layer of soil. More intensive green-roof systems may contain trees and larger plants, but these require deeper soil and are more expensive.
One of the biggest benefits of a green roof is water management: it can absorb more than 50 percent of rainwater, thereby reducing runoff, a major source of pollution in our waterways. Plus, it can help reduce air-conditioning costs during the hot summer months. The vegetation looks after itself through the seasons and creates a habitat for insects, which, in turn, provide food for birds. Green roofs can also last more than twice as long as conventional rooftops. They look better too. For more information, visit greenroofs.
Avoid placing your air conditioner next to a TV, lamp, or other electrical appliance that generates heat. A heat source will confuse the unit's thermostat, causing it to misread how hot the room is and make the air conditioner run longer than it should. You can also program an air conditioner to start running 30 minutes before you arrive home as with heating.
Fifty Ways to Help Save the Planet
There is no need to cool a home if no one is in it. Food is traveling farther than ever. Once upon a time people ate seasonally—artichokes in the winter, cherries in June. Now you can buy most fruits and vegetables practically year-round. The average American meal contains ingredients produced in at least five other countries. The transportation of food and agricultural products constitutes more than 20 percent of total commodity transport within the U. To help reduce CO2 emissions released from trucks, airplanes, and cargo ships , it's best to buy food that's in season, organic, and grown locally.
Go to ams. To produce one pound of beef requires 2, gallons of water—that's 40 times more water than is used to produce a pound of potatoes. Before buying beef, think about the immense cost of energy used to raise cattle and to transport meat to your supermarket shelf. Besides all this, cows consume enormous amounts of antibiotics and are a prodigious source of methane, which is the number-two greenhouse gas; livestock are responsible for almost 20 percent of the methane in the atmosphere. Cardboard egg cartons are normally made from recycled paper, which biodegrades relatively quickly, and are also again recyclable—Styrofoam or plastic cartons take a much longer time to biodegrade and their manufacture produces harmful by-products.
Shade-grown coffee is for the birds, literally. According to coffeeresearch. With increased demand for cheap coffee, many Latin American growers have moved toward full-sun plantations, clearing the habitat of numerous native birds and increasing the use of pesticides and fertilizers. By drinking shade-grown coffee, you can help bird habitats and reduce the need for farming chemicals. Shade-grown coffee beans can be purchased at many grocery stores.
Starbucks offers shade-grown coffee as well. A typical American household uses gallons of water each day. About half that— gallons—is used indoors toilets consume about 30 percent of the indoor total. Unnecessary water usage comes in the form of leaks. Fixing leaky faucets and toilets is a quick and easy way to conserve water. A steady faucet drip can waste 20 gallons of water a day. Leaky toilets are even worse, wasting upward of gallons a day. Since toilet leaks are generally silent, check for them regularly by removing the tank cover and adding food coloring.
If the toilet is leaking and 20 percent of them usually are , color will appear in the bowl within 30 minutes. The average American household consumes about 60 gallons of water a day from showers and baths. To reduce this number, take quick showers and install a low-flow showerhead that uses fewer than 2.
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Baths are relaxing, but it can take 50 gallons of water to fill a tub. By leaving the water running while you brush your teeth, you can waste gallons of water per month—that's 1, gallons a year! Turning the water off while you brush can save several gallons of water per minute.
Also pay attention to this water-saving principle while shaving or washing your face. Good insulation is one of the best ways to reduce your heating bills and cut your CO2 emissions. Heating and cooling make up 50 to 70 percent of energy use in the average American home. Also, replace old windows and be sure to seal holes and cracks in your house with weather stripping or caulk. A well-insulated house can prevent hundreds of pounds of CO2 emissions per year and can cut your heating and cooling bills by up to 20 percent.
For more information, visit eere. If you turn your thermostat down by one degree, your heating costs will decrease by about 3 percent. Turn it down five more degrees for four hours a day and reduce your heating bills by almost 6 percent. If you're going to be away for the weekend or out in the evening, turn your thermostat down.
It's not true that reducing the temperature means it will take more heat to bring it back up to a warm level unless you have a heat pump in your home. Also, turn the heat down if you are throwing a party—every guest will be the equivalent of a watt heater. About 4. The myth that cigarette filters are biodegradable is just that, a myth.