How to Slow Climate Change: Ten Household Tips
Did you get a chance to watch Before the Flood, a collaboration between Leonardo DiCaprio and National Geographic? If not, there's a link to the movie, below, along with a list of household tips on how to slow down climate change. To say that we can stop climate change is a misnomer, though. We can't stop climate change. It's here. The goal is to slow its acceleration. For more information on the statistics, take a look at this article, which eloquently explains the math.
Do you believe climate change is real? I do, but some of you may feel differently. And that's OK.
Katharine Hayhoe (her blog) is a Christian climate scientist who believes climate change is real. However, she also feels we need to reach out to those who don't believe in the science by talking about the kinds of things that will improve the health of our families, especially our children - instead of talking about climate change. But people do, sometimes,change their minds about climate change, which is why her work is so important.
Meanwhile, part of improving health is reducing pollution, which, yet again, leads us to this list of household tips on how to slow down climate change. All roads lead to this list. The suggestions below the movie are good for Earth and the well being of all her inhabitants, in addition to slowing climate change.
Now, let's watch the movie.
The link keeps breaking, so try this one, which takes you to the National Geographic website.
Oh, there you are! It's good to have you back. This is an off the top of my head list, which focuses on earth-friendly household tips for people looking for actionable steps to help mitigate climate change. These tips are based, however, on the movie and my extensive reading on climate change and the environment. I could write separate blog posts on each one of these points. But for now, I hope this gets you started on being an active participant in solutions, rather than feeling helpless.
Ten household tips on how to stop climate change
1. Stop, or at least reduce, using products that contain palm oil.
EcoWatch has an excellent article on palm oil, which includes a palm oil sustainability scorecard for various companies. In addition, check out the palm oil guide from the World Wildlife Fund. The first step is to read labels. But also, remember that manufacturers add palm oil to other products besides food.
2. Buy shade-grown coffee.
This one's tricky. However, the Coffee and Conservation website dispels some of the confusion with information on the various coffee certification programs and their definitions. The two main programs, which relate to rainforest protection, are the Bird-Friendly (Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center) certification program, which maintains the most stringent standards, and the Rainforest Alliance. I encourage you to explore both of these websites. Even our household will probably switch to a different brand of coffee, soon. As an added bonus, they include links to online roasters in addition to retail sources of shade-grown coffee.
3. Reduce plastic consumption.
Most of you already know that plastic manufacturing uses petrochemicals, both crude oil and natural gas. Here's an excellent summary on the relationship between plastic and climate change on the Plastic Pollution Coalition website. But what can you do to decrease your plastic use? A good place to start is this post on reducing the primary sources of plastic pollution. Also, check out these posts on living plastic-free (almost), along with this resource page, which has a long list of plastic-free products and helpful websites.
4. Source meat responsibly.
As far as some of you are concerned, I go against the grain by even suggesting that it's OK to eat meat. This isn't the post for THAT discussion. But if you or your family members do consume meat, one of the best steps you can take to reduce its effects on the environment is to choose pastured meat - not meat from factory farms.
The EWG website provides information on the benefits of pastured/grass-fed meat,here. Another good website is The Sustainable Table, which also contains a wealth of information on sustainable meat. For a list of farms that sell pastured and grass-fed meats, take a look at eatwild.com and local harvest.org. But you might also enjoy exploring Joel Salatin's website, here, to learn even more.
5. Look beyond organic when purchasing produce.
The organic label doesn't necessarily mean regenerative soil techniques are used to grow produce. The Regeneration International website provides information on how specific farming methods sequester carbon while rebuilding soil. In addition, regenerateland.com has a list of resources to help you locate regenerative farms in your area. Many of these farmers participate in farmers markets and CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) programs. Also, one last resource on the benefits of regenerative agriculture is erdakroft.com. I appreciate his insights on regenerative farming in Arizona. And let's not forget the amazing photos!
6. Support solar and wind technology.
If you're a homeowner, you might want to investigate the environmental and financial benefits of switching over to clean energy. If you rent, however, learn about renewable energy through Arcadia Power. I discovered this renewable energy company on the Big Green Purse—another place to visit for tips and suggestions. Simply go to Arcadia Power and type in your zip code to see if clean energy is available in your area. There's no additional charge to make the switch to 50 percent renewable energy, and your monthly bill stays the same. Of all the household tips I've listed on how to stop climate change, this one is likely to make the biggest difference.
7. Be thoughtful about transportation methods.
When it's time to replace a worn out vehicle, weigh the costs and benefits of a hybrid or fully electric car. Otherwise, you know the routine. Drive less and/or carpool. Use public transportation, if it's available and reliable in your location. Another possibility for some is to move closer to work. And here's the one I like best: Work from home.
8. Compost food waste.
Guilty as charged—we haven't started this practice, yet. But composting can play a key role in carbon sequestration. For renters, like me, here's an excellent guide on apartment composting from EcoWatch. Homeowners might gleam additional tips from the treehugger website, here. Check with your community garbage and recycling collectors. Many already have composting programs in place, and they're usually happy to provide assistance.
9. Vote for politicians who will uphold, if not go beyond, the Paris agreement.
You'll have to sort this one out without my help. One of the most environmentally friendly candidates in our upcoming local election is against charter schools. Even though we homeschool, charter schools play an important role in providing alternatives for kids who have special interests or even special needs. So, that's my dilemma. I'm sure similar conundrums exist for many of you. Just do the best you can. That's true for everything listed in this post!
10. write and/or call your representatives and consider Signing petitions.
Although it requires more effort to write or call your representatives, everything I've read speaks to the power of these actions over signing your name on a piece of paper, or electronically on a website. It's human nature to want to take the path of least resistance, but this is a situation where that's not the most effective solution. But, sometimes, you can't get through by phone, or even leave a voicemail. In these situations, a petition is certainly better than taking no action at all. And who says you have to choose? It's also OK to do both.
Yet, because so many organizations are sponsoring petitions, and not everyone who visits my website will share the same beliefs, I suggest you search the internet for petitions that align with your political affiliations. I did, however, find this article with helpful tips on signing petitions and online safety. I suggest you take a look. After reading the article, I don't want to take responsibility for including petitions on my website. Besides, everyone is welcome here, and I don't want to send anyone away because I pandered my political preferences.
The idea of tackling all ten of these household tips on slowing climate change may seem daunting. So, don't. Take one at a time, and do the best you can. Besides, I doubt many people have all ten points covered. And some of these changes can be expensive for lower income individuals and families. I totally get that.
Next, suggest a few of these household tips on to others who ask the question, What can I do to slow down climate change? Offer your help without judgement.
And one last thought: Remember, we can't stop climate change; it's already here. But, hopefully, we can slow down its acceleration by living with intention—maybe. It's important, however, to carry that intention forward by voting, writing and/or calling your representatives, signing petitions and supporting those on the front lines of action. You don't have to go to North Dakota. Listen to their voices. Share their message in a way in which you're comfortable.