The election of 2020 will be the most important year to elect candidates at all levels of government that will work for the systemic changes necessary to avert the worst aspects of the climate crisis. Support candidates that make the need to act on Climate Change a priority in their campaigns, not just in the presidential election, but at state and local levels, too!
Climate Change Tip 2:
Eat a Plant Rich Diet
If cattle were their own nation they would be the third largest emitter of greenhouse gases! And, luckily, a diet rich in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and beans is good for you.
Climate Change Tip 3:
Systemic racism in America reflects an intersection of many issues like health care, food, housing, and jobs but includes environmental racism, as well. People of color will be disproportionately affected by climate change. Be sure to support racial justice groups that include environmental justice in their demands.
Support candidates that make the need to act on Climate Change a priority in their campaigns, not just in the presidential election, but at state and local levels, too!
Climate Change Tip 4:
Reuse and Rethink Your Plastic Use
99% of plastic production is made from chemicals sourced from fossil fuels. 91% of the plastic produced is never recycled. It ends up in landfills, rivers and oceans, or is incinerated. Avoid bags, utensils, straws, and single use containers made of plastic. Bring your own containers to restaurants and for take out. Buy in bulk. Repurpose containers. Consider the impact of the type of packaging at the point of purchase.
Climate Change Tip 5:
Start a Climate Conversation
We need a critical mass of people demanding action to create the required systemic changes. There are plenty of people besides outright climate deniers who are interested and concerned but not involved in any action. Take a risk and engage some of them in your own concerns and actions on climate.
Climate Change Tip 6:
Keep the Clear Skies Clear
The unintended positive byproduct of our locked down world has been blue skies and fresh air. The temporary blip in greenhouse gas emissions from the pandemic shutdown will be a 4% to 7 % drop for 2020. But most of the CO2 deposited in the atmosphere from the burning of fossil fuels since the beginning of the industrial age is still there and will continue to alter the climate for centuries to come. If the worst aspects of the climate crisis are to be averted, greenhouse gas emissions must fall by 7.6 % every year starting in 2020. Did you know that commercial buildings, including churches, account for 40% of energy use? Reductions in driving, flying, and manufacturing have all contributed to the accidental reduction of greenhouse gases in the first half of 2020. As we return to some previously "normal" ways of working and worshiping, what permanent changes can we make in transportation and building use that will reduce our carbon footprint?
Climate Change Tip 7:
Invest Your Values
As the interconnections between issues like climate, health, poverty, and racism become increasingly clear, it is a reminder of the many ways in which our financial actions might add to the disparity of those affected. If you have investment or retirement savings, there are increasing opportunities to align your investments with your values, even if you are in mutual or index funds. As You Sow is an organization that employs shareholder advocacy with companies that have strong environmental, social, and governance principles(ESG). They have a terrific tool to analyze your funds at asyousow.org/invest-your-values.
Climate Change Tip 8:
Reduce Water Waste
It takes a lot of energy to pump, heat, and treat your water. Take shorter showers, turn off the tap while brushing your teeth, and switch to WaterSense- labeled fixtures and appliances. The EPA estimates that if just one out of every 100 American homes were retrofitted with water-efficient fixtures, about 100 million kilowatt hours of electric power would be saved per year avoiding 80,000 tons of CO2 deposited into the atmosphere.
Climate Change Tip 9:
The Sharing Economy
The economic model defined as collaborative consumption or the peer to peer activity of acquiring, providing, or sharing became more popular after the 2008 Great Recession. The need for physical distance from the Covid crisis could set back this climate helpful trend but there is also an opportunity for a major "reset" to keep moving in the right direction as we adjust to "new normals". More working from home might mean less outright car ownership and the use of ride sharing services or bike shares. More use of digital platforms like Zoom could encourage low carbon initiatives like free Wi Fi hot spots. Gas powered equipment that is used infrequently like lawn mowers, leaf blowers, and power tools are also great candidates for the sharing economy.
Climate Change Tip 10:
The average American discards around 80 lbs of clothing each year and 85% of it ends up in land fills where it releases methane as it decomposes, Buy quality clothing that will last! Even better, buy vintage and recycled clothing. Organizations like Goodwill, Salvation Army, and the Society of St Vincent DePaul that will accept clothing for resale will also accept torn and stained textiles for recycling.
Climate Change Tip 11:
Buy Local Produce
Aside from reducing carbon emissions associated with shipping, why buy locally produced, in season produce? Answer: The local economy is supported, beneficial soil practices are more likely to be used on small farms, and eating more produce contributes to less unhealthy consumption of processed food. Even better, plant your own vegetable garden!
Climate Change Tip 12:
At some point more of us will start flying again. With emissions projected to triple by 2050, no other human activity emits as much over a shorter period of time as aviation. And, the CO2 is injected directly into the atmosphere where it is the most damaging! So, try to reduce short haul and connecting flights which are the most polluting. Flying economy on long distance one way flights is the most efficient. Offset projects must be real, verifiable, enforceable, and permanent. Scams abound but ethical sites like carbonfootprint.com have a carbon offset portfolio along with a carbon footprint calculator.
Climate Change Tip 13:
Automobiles are one of the top emitters of greenhouse gases. Drive less by walking more, taking public transportation, carpooling, biking, and combining errands. Avoid unnecessary braking or acceleration and use cruise control on long trips. Be sure your tires are properly inflated. Consider purchasing a hybrid or electric vehicle but be sure to factor in the greenhouse gas emissions from the production as well as the operation of the car you are considering.
Climate Change Tip 14:
Support organizations that educate, protect, and empower girls and women such as Camfed.org, Girls Not Brides (brides.org), Tostan (Tostan.org), and Population Services International (psi.org).
Climate Change Tip 15:
Buy Renewable Energy
Did you know that FUMCOG has a 100% renewable energy contract with its electric supplier? Wind and solar power is now comparable in price to traditional fossil fuel sources. The additional costs in human health and a climate that might not be viable for long term survival by the continued burning of fossil fuel make the switch to renewables cost effective and one of the most important steps in reducing individual carbon footprints. If you have not already switched, details will be coming soon to make it easy to choose and change to a third part renewable energy provider. Let's work toward 100% of FUMCOG members buying 100% renewable energy!