Feeling overwhelmed when it comes to climate change? Don't fret. The feeling is fairly normal.
So, what can you realistically do to help mitigate the damage done by climate change?
The good news is that you can make small changes and take simple actions that collectively have a positive effect. Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Reduce usage of water: Take shorter showers, turn off the faucet when it's not needed, and run the dishwasher and washer less often. These are just a few examples of how you can reduce your usage of water, which effectively reduces carbon pollution because of the heat and energy it takes to treat water prior to use.
- Wash clothes in cold water: You don't really need to use warm or hot water every time you do a wash. Sure, go ahead for certain load such as your linens. But use cold water as frequently as possible.
- Use LED bulbs: Most have adapted to LED bulbs, but do so fast if you haven't already. They use around 80 percent less energy than traditional bulbs. More good news: they don't get hot, so there's less risk of a fire or getting burned.
- Fuel efficient cars: Hybrids and electric cars are ideal, as where SUVs and larger vehicles require far more gas. Fortunately, it appears that energy efficient cars will become increasingly mainstream in the years to come.
- Public transport, cycling and walking: Leave the car and find alternative ways to get around, such as public transport, or even better, cycling and walking. Even if you skip the car just one day per week, it could make a huge difference. Electric bikes are also worth looking into depending on your typical commutes.
- Use wind and solar power: If it's logistically and financially feasible, power your home with wind power and the increasingly popular solar panels.
- Unplug unused devices: If you have a lamp that gets little use, unplug it. Doing so saves a surprising amount of energy.
- Control AC/heat: Do not leave your heat or air-conditioning when it's not necessary. Always turn space heaters and fans off when they are not needed. A programmable thermostat is a useful addition if you don't have one already.
- Recycle: Take advantage of the recycling programs in your area. You should be a habitual recycler by now, but it's worth noting that recycling is often mandated by law.
- Advocate: Contact elected officials to advocate for government action. Encourage businesses you frequent to take positive actions that protect our environment. Do your part to help shift societal norms in a more environmentally responsible direction.
If we all do our part by incorporating these behaviors into our daily routines, perhaps together we can have as dramatic an effect on climate change as any international agreement.
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