Climate change is becoming more prevalent and more visible all the time. News broke this week that the first mammal species, the Bramble Cay melomys, has gone extinct as a direct result of man-made climate change. The small, mouse-like animal lost its home on an island off of the Great Barrier Reef due to rising sea levels.
The problem of harmful carbon emissions is not one that will be solved quickly or easily. In the mean time, here are some things you can do to reduce your personal carbon footprint.
1. Use environmentally friendly transportation.
For short trips, consider walking or riding a bike whenever possible. For longer journeys, consider using public transportation like the bus or subway, or carpooling.
2. Conserve electricity
Turn off lights and unplug appliances (like your phone charger) when you're not using them. Replace light bulbs with LED ones.
3. Eat locally.
Processing and transporting food uses LOTS of energy. Try to eat locally and organically whenever possible.
4. Participate in "Meatless Mondays."
Factory farms, particularly beef farms, use outrageous amounts of resources to produce the amount of meat needed to meet the demand in the U.S. Going meatless for one day a week is one easy way to combat this.
5. Reduce your water use.
Take shorter showers. Turn off the faucet while brushing your teeth. Only do full loads of laundry. There are tons of ways to reduce your water waste and thus reduce the amount of energy it takes to treat, pump and heat that water.
Not to beat a dead horse, but recycling is one of the easiest ways to save energy. Producing packaging for goods has been estimated to produce 29 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. Make an effort to always recycle plastic, paper and cardboard, glass and aluminum.
7. Buy a reusable water bottle.
Going hand in hand with recycling, use a reusable water bottle instead of purchasing plastic bottles. Brita filters and filter pitchers are also great for home (or dorm) use.
8. Plant a tree.
Throw it back to elementary school and consider planting a tree. It inhales that toxic carbon dioxide and exhales oxygen. And it makes your yard look a little prettier, too.