The looming threat of climate change appears to grow ever larger with each passing year. News comes through regarding melting glaciers near the poles. Temperatures reach record levels around the world. Violent storms become the norm every year.
It is easy to feel helpless and to assume climate change is an inevitable impact on the world. But it does not have to be. And each person can make a difference. Here are three easy ways to limit a person’s carbon footprint.
- Eating Less Meat
The first step is probably the most challenging for most people. The food culture in most nations is centered around meat, but it is meat that is a huge problem for the climate. The greenhouse gases that come from agribusinesses are even greater than what fossil fuels produce!
Red meat is the worst offender, as it requires 10 times as much water and results in five times more emissions than poultry farming. If each person were to cut out meat from their meals for a single day in the week, it would make a tremendous difference to the environment. Going vegetarian is even better, of course.
- Driving Less
Driving a car is a necessity depending on where a person lives. Some cities are incredibly un-walkable. But there are many cities where both public transit and cars are viable. In these cities, people must try to limit how often they use their vehicle.
Using the train or bus, walking or cycling are all options. Bikes are an increasingly popular option, especially in cities that are embracing them by adding dedicated bike lanes on major roads.
Public transit in the United States saves around 37 million tons of carbon emissions. It would be even more if the popularity of public transit increased. And if more people push their local governments to improve public transit, change can come even faster.
- Buy Clothes That Last
Fast fashion is a massive problem for the environment. Most people do not realize it, but when they are buying cheap clothing every few months, they are contributing to an industry that produces a great deal of waste.
Massive heaps of clothing end up in landfills – over 15 million tons of textile waste to be precise. And much of the cotton and other materials worn are sprayed with pesticides and other chemicals that are harmful to the environment.
The ethical solution is to purchase high quality clothes that will last for years. Choose shoes that will last more than a year. Try to go for clothes that will stay in fashion longer, as compared to outfits that will look dated in a couple years.
It is not easy to make a change to the way one lives. These are habits ingrained into a person from a young age. Foods consumed, cars driven and clothes bought. Habits learned from parents, friends, colleagues and the media.
But only through meaningful change in the way people live can society help save the environment. And steps as simple as consuming less meat, taking the car out for fewer trips and buying clothes less often can make a tremendous difference.