6 Super-Smart Ways to Fight Global Warming in 2017
In 2017, climate change continues to be big news. Fresh on the heels of reports that 2016 was the hottest year on record (following two more record-breaking years), that an iceberg the size of Delaware is on the verge of splitting off from an Antarctic ice shelf, and that global sea ice is at lower levels than ever previously recorded, our rising thermostats are on everyone’s minds.
It can be hard not to let news like this get you down…and that’s exactly why we’ve compiled six effective ways you can help fight global warming in 2017. Roll up your sleeves, make some green changes to your life, and get ready to rally behind Mother Earth.
1. Educate yourself—and start talking.
First things first: get educated on the issues at hand. Skip the anxiety-inducing headlines — those are more likely to have you curling into the fetal position than getting active—and seek out the experts. Wired has recently compiled a list of Earth scientists to follow on Twitter, so you can be sure you’re picking up some good knowledge in between the Beyoncé updates and puppy pics.
Once you’ve brushed up on the facts, don’t keep that intel to yourself: as researchers at Yale and George Mason University point out, fewer than one in four Americans hear about climate change in the media once per week, which can lead to “a spiral of silence” on the topic, even among those who care about the issue. Solution: don’t be afraid to initiate dialogues with the people in your life. After all, we’ve all got stock in our planet’s health.
2. Lobby your city to do more.
Talking to friends and family is a great way to rally your reserves. Once you’ve done that, direct the conversation towards your elected officials—especially the ones in your city.
As it turns out, cities around the globe are leading the way on climate change initiatives (even when some of the countries they’re a part of are slower to get on board). Look to the C40 Mayors Summit: a conference featuring mayors from prominent cities around the world, with the aim of discussing collaborative ways to tackle climate change. Want to see expanded bike lanes or hybrid buses in your city? Holla at your mayor.
3. Give back.
It’s never a bad idea to give back, whether that means opening your wallet or scheduling a few hours to volunteer. Organizations that fight global warming—like the Environmental Defense Fund, Ocean Conservancy, and Sierra Club—could always use a helping hand.
4. Meatless Mondays — and Tuesdays, and Wednesdays…
If you already do Meatless Mondays, you might want to extend the practice to several more days of the week—or ban meat (especially red meat) from your kitchen altogether.
It’s bad news for meat-lovers, but cutting down has positive planetary implications. Keeping livestock like cows and sheep is highly carbon-intensive—and contributes huge amounts of methane to the atmosphere. If you don’t want to cut out all meat, consider that chicken and fish are both much more environmentally friendly.
5. Make your home greener.
Of course, there are lots of small—but cumulative—changes you can make around the home to help usher in a greener style of life, and most of ’em are pretty simple. If you haven’t swapped out halogen bulbs for LEDs, make that your resolution for the year. Turn off and fully unplug appliances when not in use, hang-dry your laundry, insulate your doors and windows, and try to purchase items that come with minimal plastic packaging. Cloth bags are perfect shopping buddies, and buying locally grown produce and second-hand consumer goods is a great way to keep your carbon footprint low.
6. Change up your transportation.
Speaking of carbon footprints: one of the biggest environmental impacts any individual can make is in their choice of transportation. For city-dwellers, biking, walking, and public transit are all excellent ways to get around town. And on days when you have to drive? Car sharing—especially in electric or hybrid rides—is one of our favorite ways to be green.