President Donald “Covfefe” Trump has decided to have the United States exit the Paris climate treaty pertaining to carbon emissions. The goals of the Paris Accord involve lowering emissions to halt or reverse rising temperatures around the world. Climate scientists — the only people worth listening to about climate science, if you ask me — agree that climate change is real, it’s driven by humans, and reducing carbon emissions is a good idea.
So why does Trump think the U.S. should back out of the treaty? Damned if I know. Dude is whack. (OK, there’s more to it than just whackness. Trump thinks it’s a bad deal for America, since we’ll have to spend money on something other than him and his family. Read all about it here.)
Anyway, even though Trump has led us away from the rest of the developed world on climate progress, there are things we can all do as individuals to reduce our personal carbon footprints. Since every little bit helps, I’m pledging to try and reduce my carbon footprint by 2%, and here are some ways you can get in on the action too!
Figure out your carbon footprint. I used this calculator from the Nature Conservancy. It requires you to know what you spend on heat and electricity as well as your travel and shopping habits, so make sure to have that info handy!
- Eat less meat. Meat is a carbon-heavy industry. Livestock farming may account for up to a 5th of the greenhouse gas emissions. Cutting some meat out of your diet in favor of plant based foods can reduce your carbon footprint.
- Change your lightbulbs. Compact fluorescent lightbulbs or LED lightbulbs (the spiral shaped ones) last longer than the old-school bulbs and use a lot less energy. They’ll save you money on your electric bill AND you won’t have to replace them as often.
- Stop buying bottled water. Seriously, stop. Those plastic bottles are so wasteful and they have to be shipped and the energy used to fill them is significant. Just get a filtered water pitcher for your fridge and a reusable water bottle. Fill it at home or at the water bottle filling stations that are starting to pop up.
- Plant stuff. Back in 7th grade or so we all learned that humans breathe out carbon dioxide, which plants absorb, then the plants emit oxygen, which humans breathe in, creating a delightful, life sustaining symbiosis for all of us. So adding plants to your environment helps suck up your personal carbon emissions and adds to the oxygen supply. You can turn your green space into a carbon-neutral utopia, if you know what you’re doing! So plant a tree! Plant flowers! Get a houseplant! Grow edible plants and get a double whammy by not needing to buy veggies! Be a part of the circle of air-life!
There are other ways to get greener in your everyday life, but I picked these as my top five because they’re reasonably affordable and not too complicated. We can all do our part for a healthier planet, even if we just start with planting a single seed.
Also, vote next election. VOTE.