The global changes set in motion by the past century of carbon production can seem irreversible, but this month’s climate conference in Paris reminds people that personal choices still matter. The Union of Concerned Scientists, an advocacy group in the fight against climate irresponsibility, says our daily decisions make a real difference.
What you have for dinner may seem an impossibly micro contribution to the solution (or the problem) but “collectively they have a big effect,” say scientists. Each of your micro decisions really does effect the macro scenario. Here are the four most important things you can do right away, according to scientists. Most of them actually work to save you money too.
- Your car. Make it just one, if you can. And get one that gets good mileage. Even if you hardly use your second car, the making of it hits the environment hard.
- Your home. Don’t waste heat or air conditioning. You can get a home energy audit. It’ll save you cash immediately and may save lives later. Also: get a programmable thermostat — generally they reduce waste by up to 20%.
- Here’s a tough one for many. Do what you must, but know this: the production of beef creates 18 times more emissions than its equivalent weight in pasta. (It’s feeding the animals and more. Beef production uses more land than all other food sources — combined.)
- Distribute your power usage with smart power strips wherever you use multiple outlets. 8 percent of total household electricity consumption is eaten up by devices on standby that don’t need energy. New smart power strips don’t deliver unneeded power to dormant machines.
Oh and if you can manage it: buy less stuff. Because it costs energy to make stuff. And if it’s stuff you don’t need… For more info check out these books by the Union of Concerned Scientists.