Simple Ways We Can Start Fighting Climate Change
According to NASA, the average surface temperature of the planet has risen 1.62 degrees Fahrenheit since the late 1800s, something that’s primarily driven by an increase of carbon dioxide and other human-made emissions into the atmosphere. The organization reports that the five warmest years on record have taken place since 2010, with the current warming trend of particular significance due to the greater than 95 percent probability that it’s the result of human activity and is proceeding at an unprecedented rate. As individuals, we can help fight climate change by adopting some rather simple daily habits.
Consume less by reducing the amount of new things that you buy, and when you must purchase, try buying reused or recycled items. Take advantage of secondhand markets or search through classifieds. Oftentimes you can find goods that are barely used at a much lower cost than what you’d find new. Instead of tossing out items you no longer need, recycle whatever materials you can, or give them to someone who can make use of them. Changes in material consumption patterns and proper waste disposal not only save money, they can have a significant impact when it comes to slowing the effects of climate change.
There are many ways to reduce emissions. Instead of driving, walk or bike as often as you can; you’ll be benefiting your health and the environment at the same time. Other options include car sharing, public transportation, and switching to a hybrid or electric vehicle. When you must drive, keep in mind that every mile you increase your speed, increases carbon dioxide emissions (and expenses) considerably. Lots of our daily driving involves frequent trips close by our homes. Consider combining trips for errand running or shopping to help reduce the miles you need to travel.
Use Natural Cleaning Products
Chemicals in household cleaning products can significantly harm the environment, contributing to climate change. Whether they are poured down the drain or released into the air, they pollute the air we breathe, the water we drink, and also have toxic effects on aquatic species. Whenever possible, use products with natural ingredients or make your own cleaners using non-toxic household staples like lemon, baking soda and vinegar.
Avoid Farmed Fish
Farmed fish is as bad for the environment as it is for your health, since fish feed on a diet heavily supplemented with antibiotics and other pharmaceuticals. Fish often escape their engineered habitats, which then spreads disease to natural ecosystems. Wild fish are needed as part of an interconnected web, feeding on other species, protecting watersheds and nourishing ecosystems.
Flushing every single time you use the toilet wastes a significant amount of water, causing unnecessary processing with chemical additives at the water treatment facility. Try following the rhyme, “If it’s yellow let it mellow, if it’s brown flush it down,” as one of the easiest good habits to start. Even if you remember only occasionally, it can still make a difference in the amount of water wasted.
Watch That Thermostat
Nearly half of a home's energy consumption is due to heating and cooling. Keeping your thermostat down in chillier weather and higher in warmer weather can make a big difference in energy use and the impact you have on the environment. At night, and while you're away, your thermostat should be set no higher than 55 degrees. During hot weather try to avoid turning on the air conditioning and use fans instead. Keeping shades down and avoiding activities that generate heat such as running a clothes dryer until after sunset can help too.
Eric Adamczyk is a health and environmental writer who enjoys sharing information and helpful tips to increase wellness for people and the planet.