TUCSON, AZ (KOLD News 13) - With climate change as a growing threat, Earth Day is the perfect time to learn how you can leave your mark, and not in footprints.
Earth Day is a global event each year where more than one billion people in 192 countries now take part in what is the largest civic-focused day of action in the world, according to Earth Day Network.
In a recent report from Pew Research Center, they found that a majority of people viewed climate change as a major threat and that concern of this threat has grown since 2013. In another report, they found that more Americans today say protecting the environment should be ranked among top priorities for the president and Congress.
Earth Day Network outlined some ways to act on climate change:
Get informed. Knowledge is power – learn more about the science behind our climate challenge and the responsibility that all sectors hold in addressing the issue.
Hold yourself accountable.Take a personal inventory of your own personal impact on the planet. Click here to calculate your carbon footprint – it may surprise you.
Unplug. Unplug items when they aren’t in use, buy goods with high energy-efficient standards and consider making the switch to renewable energy. Record your Acts of Green here.
Travel smarter. Transportation is now the largest source of carbon emissions in the United States. No matter where you live, travel by car or airplane contributes heavily to our shared carbon footprint. Take public transit, biking, or walking when possible – it’s good for your health, your wallet, and the planet.
Climate action, one bite at a time. Your food’s carbon footprint, called its foodprint, is the greenhouse gas emissions produced by growing, harvesting, processing, transporting, cooking and disposing of the food we eat.
Additionally, food waste is an enormous ‘hidden’ contributor to climate change. In fact, if global food waste were a country, it would be the third largest greenhouse gas emitter, behind China and the U.S. The carbon footprint of this wasted food is about 3.3 billion tons of CO2. Enjoy more plant-based meals, reduce your food waste altogether, and compose your food scraps.
Vote Earth. Consider climate issues on local, national and global levels – examine the climate and environmental platforms of your candidates, engage these candidates to understand their ambition, and, ultimately, vote at the ballot box for the candidates with clear, ambitious and convincing plans to protect our planet.
Organize. One person can make a difference, but together, we can make a movement. Consider the communities that you are a part of, whether its your neighborhood, your school or PTO, your company or organization, your faith institution or yoga group or football team. Consider how you can gather support by mobilizing a larger group for action!
Invest and divest. If you are lucky enough to have investments or a pension, pledge to separate them from exposure to fossil fuel assets and increase your stake in clean energy companies. Join a movement of millions of individuals from dozens of countries representing trillions in assets who are avoiding the investment risks of climate change and lightening their carbon footprints. And it doesn’t stop at your individual portfolio – ask your university, your company, and your organization how they invest their money.
Show your support. Show your support for programs and organizations including community and citywide actions that are fighting climate change, and organizations working on the ground to make a difference. Consider EDN’s Reforestation program; our Urban Tree Canopy Project; or climate change campaign.
People march, sign petitions, meet with their elected officials, plant trees and clean up their towns and roads as a way of participating in Earth Day, but what about the simple daily efforts?
HERE are some simple tips to help you participate in Earth Day, every day:
- Join Earth Day Network’s campaign to Protect Our Species.
- Join Earth Day Network’s campaign to End Plastic Pollution.
- Plant a tree or donate a tree through our Canopy Project.
- Join a local park, river or beach clean-up.
- Use environmentally-friendly, non-toxic cleaning products.
- Replace inefficient incandescent light bulbs with efficient CFLs or LEDs. Reduce your carbon footprint by 450 pounds a year.
- Carpool, ride your bike, use public transportation or drive an electric or hybrid car. Reduce your carbon footprint by one pound for every mile you do not drive.
- Keep your tires properly inflated and get better gas mileage. Reduce your carbon footprint 20 pounds for each gallon of gas saved.
- Change your car’s air filter regularly.
- Teleconference instead of traveling. If you fly five times per year, those trips are likely to account for 75% of your personal carbon footprint.
- Stop using disposable plastics, especially single-use plastics like bottles, bags and straws.
- Recycle paper, plastic and glass. Reduce your garbage by 10% and your carbon footprint by 1,200 pounds a year.
- Donate your old clothes and home goods instead of throwing them out. When you need something, consider buying used items.
- Use cloth towels instead of paper ones.
- Change your paper bills to online billing. You’ll be saving trees and the fuel it takes to deliver your bills by truck.
- Read documents online instead of printing them.
- When you need to use paper, make sure it’s 100% post-consumer recycled paper.
- Set your office printer to print two-sided.
- Collect used printer, fax, and copier cartridges to recycle.
- Convince your school district or office building to choose reusable utensils, trays, and dishes in the cafeteria.
- Use reusable bottles for water, and reusable mugs for coffee.
- Bring reusable bags when you shop.
- Pack your lunch in a reusable bag.
- Organize to have healthy, locally-sourced food served at in your school district.
- Buy local food to reduce the distance from farm to fork. Buy straight from the farm, frequent your local farmers’ market, or join a local food co-op.
- Buy organic food to keep your body and the environment free of toxic pesticides. Support farmers and companies who use organic ingredients.
- Grow your own organic garden, or join a farm-share group.
- Reduce your meat consumption to curb carbon emissions from the livestock industry.
- Compost kitchen scraps for use in your garden — turning waste into fertilizer.
- Take a shorter shower and use a water-saving shower head.
- Fix leaky faucets and shower-heads.
- Run your dishwasher only when it’s full to save water and energy.
- Conserve water outdoors by only watering your lawn in the early morning or late at night. Use drought-resistant plants in dry areas.
- Wash your clothes only when necessary, use cold water and line dry.
- Form a “green team” at your office to find cost-effective ways to conserve resources and promote sustainability.
- Volunteer for a local environmental group and/or make a donation.
- Pull out invasive plants in your yard or garden and replace them with native ones.
- Turn off and unplug electronics you’re not using. This includes turning off your computer at night.
- Turn off lights when you leave a room.
- Install solar panels on your roof.
- Take the stairs instead of the elevator to save energy (and get exercise!).
- Move your heater thermostat down two degrees in winter and up two degrees in the summer to reduce your carbon footprint by 2,000 pounds.
- Lower the temperature on your water heater.
- Contact your utility company and find out about renewable energy options.
- Use energy-efficient appliances and electronics.
To learn more about Earth Day campaigns and how you can act on climate change, click HERE.