But What Can I do?

Ban Ki-moon, United Nations Secretary-General stated emphatically that: “Climate change is a defining issue of our time and there is no time to lose. There is no Plan B because we do not have a Planet B.” Sounds impressive but it also sounds like something only the rich and powerful can influence. That however, is not true. We can each make a contribution and if enough people make these changes we can reduce our energy consumption and therefore our CO2 emissions by a surprisingly large amount. Here are some relatively easy things to start with.

Reduce, Recycle, Re-Use.

Start by reducing the amount of material that you send to the garbage collectors. The landfills they must use to get rid off your garbage are the third largest source of methane in many developed nations. You can do this by using a composting system. It can be as simple as storing garden and green kitchen waste in a bin that you layer with soil as you fill it up. If you are adventurous, you can try using worms in your house in a special bin. They will compost an amazing amount of kitchen waste. Recycle plastic, aluminum, and glass. If you have old electronics some of the electronics stores will take them back and recycle the valuable rare metal components.

Eat Less Red Meat.

A quarter-pound burger with cheese uses on average 26 ounces of petroleum. That is roughly a 13-pound carbon footprint, or burning 7 pounds of coal. The average American eats about 270 pounds of meat each year. If you cut this by two thirds, that’s like not driving 5,400 miles and saves an enormous amount of CO2 emissions

Be Energy Efficient.

This sounds too simple to be true, but if you switch to LEDs, fill up your freezer with bottles of water if there is not much food in it, make sure your heating and cooling vents are not blocked by furniture, use thermal blocking drapery to conserve heat in the winter and block sunlight in the summer. Go over the doors and windows to make sure they seal well. All these things taken together can reduce your overall energy costs by as much as 30%. Use your stove more efficiently by matching pot to burner size. Even a small gap can waste up to 40% of the heat required. Only use your dishwasher when it is full.

Travel Lightly.

Think about the way you travel. If you are young and fit, can you walk or ride a bike to your destination? When you next consider buying a car, think about a hybrid or even a fully electric car. If you absolutely need to travel by plane, think about buying a carbon offset through TerraPass. You can offset a four hour flight for about US$6.