Millions of people around the world depend on their land for food and income. The problems wrought by climate change - climate shocks, soil erosion, ocean acidification - are disrupting harvest outputs in developing nations, causing hunger and provoking violent conflict between communities worried for their survival.
For them, climate change is not a debate or a hoax, it is a serious threat to their livelihoods. For them, the devastating loss of crops means they cannot feed their families.
But it doesn’t have to be this way.
Our everyday actions have the potential to influence the problems caused by climate change. If you want to impact the environment for good, here are seven practical ways you can take action on climate change:
- Food shopping habits: Change your grocery shopping routine by implementing sustainability into your shopping. This includes buying less meat and sourcing your food from local suppliers. Your local farmer’s market is a great place to check out. Bringing along your own tote bags to carry your groceries instead of using the plastic ones provided at the store is very helpful. Some stores even allow you to bring refillable containers for fresh goods⏤a great method to reduce the amount of single-use plastic containers.
- Clothes: Washing your clothes in cold water instead of hot water for just one year can save up to 500 lbs of carbon dioxide! You can get cold-water laundry detergent that contains enzymes that are made to work specifically in cold washes.
- Household items: When searching for new appliances, look for Energy Star products. All products with this label have been certified and are proven to save more energy. As much as possible try to implement the 3 R’s: reduce, reuse, recycle. For instance, go paperless with your bills and buy things secondhand. Limiting your waste is an easy way to make a big difference.
- Travel: Reduce the number of long-haul flights you take, and if you do fly, look into programs that help offset carbon emissions. Keep your tires inflated; it reduces the need for extra work on behalf of your car’s engine. Also, be a cautious driver. Quick acceleration and braking lead to more fuel consumption, by up to 40 percent!
- Energy usage: How you consume electricity has a big impact on your carbon emissions. You can reduce the amount of electricity you use by unplugging devices when you aren’t using them. Other easy ways to save on electricity include switching to energy-efficient light bulbs and setting your water heater to a lower temperature. An energy audit allows you to see all the ways you consume energy and helps you explore the changes you can make in order to conserve energy.
- Use your voice: Write or call your elected officials to let them know you care about climate change and urge them to strengthen their commitment to the issue. Vote for policies that protect creation. Right now, we’re urging leaders to take a stand against climate change. Add your voice.
- Watch: Check out environmental scientist Katherine Hayhoe’s TED talk about the number one way you can take action on climate change.