Hurricanes, floods, fires, tornadoes, sweltering temperatures, the polar vortex, melting ice sheets, hungry polar bears, dead coral, and on and on and on. Politicians can deny and ignore climate change, they can erase web sites and scientific data, they can discount the 97% of scientists who stand united that human activity is changing the climate of our one and only habitable planet, but it will not change the reality of what it happening to earth and all its living creatures.
It's all a bit overwhelming, isn't it?
It's easy to stick our heads in the sand, assume that someone else will clean up the mess, but that's not what we teach our kids, is it? We don't teach them to trash their home. We don't teach them to not take responsibility for their actions or their messes. So why do we excuse ourselves, our elected officials, and our own contributions to what is happening to our world?
Here are 25 things you can do to help combat climate change in your own little corner of our collective home. Feeling helpless is only making things worse. Stop relying on others and start doing something positive. Today. Now. No excuses.
- Recycle. I wash my garbage, yes, I do. Call me crazy, but it makes me feel better. It's nothing for me to rinse out a milk jug or a can of beans knowing that it won't end up in a landfill.
- Compost. Food scraps = food for growing things. Do it.
- Shop off virtual yard sales. Does little Timmy really need a brand new train table when your neighbor is selling one in like new condition for $25?
- Buy clothing second hand. Yes. So important. For your kids, for yourself. I wrote about it here. Oh! And I am a convert to Thred Up. Have you see The True Cost documentary about fast fashion? It's on Netflix. Watch and learn.
- Use metal straws. This one was a bit of a challenge for me, but learning the impact of plastic straws on the environment was a revelation for me. Now I have to sew a little cloth bag so I can carry a couple with me in my purse.
- Ditch those paper plates. Sure, if you're hosting a big barbecue, carry on, but for every day? Nope.
- Vote for candidates that acknowledge the reality of climate change.
- Eat less meat. Reduce beef in favor of chicken, fish, eggs, or vegetables.
- Change out your incandescent light bulbs to LED or flourescent. This one hurts, too, but Mother Nature needs it.
- Change your energy to "green" by contacting your electricity or utility company and switching to green alternatives or "green pricing," that ensures all your electricity is provided by clean and renewable sources.
- Clean or replace your HVAC filters every three months.
- Use a programmable thermostat. Why heat or cool an empty home?
- Wash your laundry in cold water. Seriously. The sky won't fall down. And hot water does not make things any cleaner.
- Stop wasting water in your home.
- Line dry your clothing. This is one of those times I wish I had a back yard.
- Stop buying bottled water. Just say no.
- Keep your car tires properly inflated. Who knew? Tires inflated properly run more efficiently and contribute to less gas.
- Bring your own bags to the grocery store.
- Introduce your kids to NASA's Climate Kids website. It's super cool!
- Read books from the library. Read all the books! They're free!
- Start listening to the Warm Regards podcast. It will make you smarter.
- Watch and discuss Wall-E with your children. You can get it from the library! It's really all about the environment.
- Celebrate Earth Day and Arbor Day with family. Together. Celebrating our earth.
- Plan a local vacation -- no planes and close to home. We did it this year and it was both more relaxing and cheaper.
- Use cloth napkins. So simple. We're still using some we got for our wedding, sixteen years later.