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1. Stop buying things you don't need. In the United States, the transportation sector is the biggest contributor to greenhouse gases. A big part of transportation emissions comes from our frequent shopping trips and the delivery of all of those things that we buy online. Plus, each thing we buy has a carbon cost. We have so much stuff in the United States that we don't need. Just buy stuff you really need and don't give in to the temptations of consumerism. Our thirst for stuff is a major contributor to climate change.
2. Give peas a chance. In other words, go meatless at least once a week. Meat production has a much higher carbon cost compared with other food production. According to this really cool Mathematics for Sustainability assignment from Penn State, you can prevent about 1 ton of carbon each year from entering the atmosphere if you go meatless one day a week. You don't have to be a vegan to make a difference.
3. Pay for your carbon. The average American is responsible for about 18 metric tons of carbon per person per year. Using a carbon offset company that invests funds in carbon capture projects, you can pay for your share (or your family's share) pretty cheaply. Using a site like Terrapass, you can pay around $5.00 for 1000 pounds of offset. This means that you can offset your carbon, assuming you are an average carbon producer, for $180 per year. Go ahead. Do it. You'll feel less guilty about having four times the carbon footprint of the average global citizen. Give climate offsets as gifts. My birthday is coming up. Just saying.
4. Vote, Speak, Teach, and Write. For too long we have ignored the warnings of scientists about the problem of climate change. It is time for all of us to speak up and make sure our voices are heard on the climate emergency we are facing. Find ways to educate your community about climate change.
5. Support preservation of ecosystems and plant trees. The conversion of natural landscapes to developed spaces helps to release carbon to the atmosphere and eliminates that land's ability to store carbon. Find ways in your community to protect natural landscapes. Educate yourself on your local ecology. Start planning for next year's Arbor Day (Friday, April 24) and organize a tree planting event in your community. Trees help to store carbon. Plant one.
What other ideas do you have? Leave them in the comments.