Where to Start with Carbon Emissions

By on March 25, 2020

Alright, you get it! The world is warming, your maple syrup is in danger, our summers threaten to be hotter for much, much longer. Let’s say you’re invested in helping, though perhaps not to a massive extent – just doing your part to make sure the world is healthy, while not becoming the next Greta Thunberg. I understand. So, here are five ways to start lessening your impact.

1. Change your lightbulbs to LEDs. Quality LED lightbulbs can last 25 times longer, are more durable, and use at least 75 percent less1 energy than other bulbs. In the United States, widespread use of LEDs over the next 10 years could save the equivalent annual electrical output of 44 large power plants.

2. Use cold water to wash your clothing. Despite the common thought that hot water cleans laundry better, recent studies have not only found that it didn’t, but that we waste 75% more energy heating water. 2

3. Go for more locally produced food, and try swapping a few red meat meals for things like fish, eggs, and chicken3. Raising cattle and sheep can create a lot of excess methane – a powerful greenhouse gas. 45

4. Bring your own shopping bags. This is especially relevant now in New York, with the recent ban on plastic bags going into effect. While paper bags are bio-degradable and won’t choke out a fish like it’s the WWE, you need to use one three times to even out the higher co2 used in making it versus plastic bags.6 Meanwhile, you need to use one of those woven reusable bags 4 times to make it more friendly than a normal plastic one. If you can stand a long-term relationship, reusable bags are a more environmentally-friendly choice.
5. Finally, and quite possibly my favorite option, you can support organizations like Citizens Climate Lobby. Citizens Climate Lobby, or CCL, is a nonprofit organization that focuses on getting everyday people out making changes by lobbying to governments across the world for a Carbon Fee and Dividend Policy which will charge those with high emissions a fee that will go towards families to assist them in switching to cleaner energy. 71% of global emissions are traced to only 100 companies. 7 A fee for excessive co2 incentivizes bigger corporations to value greener and less wasteful options. You can donate and/or volunteer, which can lead you to exciting opportunities such as lobbying and getting involved in politics.

1 https://www.energy.gov/energysaver/save-electricity-and-fuel/lighting-choices-save-you-money/led-lighting
2 .https://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/17/business/cold-water-detergents-get-a-chilly-reception.html?pagewanted=1&nl=todaysheadlines&emc=tha25&_r=0
3 http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/es702969f
4 https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0022030279834657
5 https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10584-011-0061-5
6 https://digitalcommons.morris.umn.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1002&context=urs_2017
7 https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2017/jul/10/100-fossil-fuel-companies-investors-responsible-71-global-emissions-cdp-study-climate-change