A slew of scary, doom-portending articles have been spreading like wild fire across the internet lately – NASA recently proclaimed that the day after tomorrow may well come sooner than we think, and Mother Jones reported that the melting of the polar ice caps has now become irreversible. It’s enough to make you anxious, to say the least.
So is there anything we can do at this point on a citizen’s level to reduce what’s called our “collective carbon footprint”? We know about Hybrids and light-switches and turning the water off while we brush our teeth, but now that Mother Nature’s gotten more vehement, maybe our tactics ought to follow suit. Here are a few average Jane tips for being a doubly mindful advocate for our fading planet. In addition to, you know, taking mass transit and unplugging the TV once in a while.
Consider going veg-head.
According to a recent Slate article, “The meat industry is one of the top contributors to climate change, directly and indirectly producing about 14.5 percent of the world’s anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions, and global meat consumption is on the rise.” My Dad’s gumbo would be a hard loss, but for those of us who have always been skeptical of tofu, maybe now’s a good time to rethink at least cutting back on our meat intake. If this seems a daunting transition, try a “No Meat Monday,” or “No Meat Before 6pm” regimen. And always be mindful of where your products come from, when you can be.
If you have the luxury of a backyard garden, consider creating your own soil! Composting is one of those things that’s NOT AS GROSS OR DIFFICULT AS YOU THINK IT IS. Relatively inexpensive starter kits like this one can set you on the right path, and from there it’s a mere matter of developing good habits. Reducing your waste output is akin to reducing matter in man-made landfills, which are one of the biggest sources of fossil fuels.
Avoid the Plastics.
A recent documentary about plastic in America drew some uncomfortable attention to all of our worst habits: the constant acqusition of tossable plastic products. Think about it: I for one buy plastic water bottles more than once a week. I rarely remember my tote bags when venturing to the grocery store. It’s easy enough to start carrying around a reusable bottle, or even invest in a soda-making machine (or a bigger purse…) Go here for even more ways to be conscious about your plastic intake.
Make a stink!
At this point, the environmental lobby has become a fully political issue. Resources like Take Part and the Sierra Club can help point you towards petitions, grassroots movements, and local politicians championing an interest in climate change. For instance, May 17th is the Sierra Club’s Day of Action Against Dirty Fuels. It takes less than a minute to sign an online petition, and all of a half an hour to get thee to a poll. Even if you’re not especially partisan on other issues, make your voice heard for this one! I know you’ve heard this one before: be good to Mama Earth, as she’s the only one we got.