This post is going to be structured completely differently than anything I have previously done because it’s not going to be something you read. It’s something you’re going to watch or listen to.
I am lucky enough to know Jake Levine (@jakeclevine), who I am interviewing in this Vlog. Jake has a wealth of knowledge in climate change and environment but also in politics and law. He has graciously offered his time and brain to me to interview for this post and he was kind enough to also provide us with 5 calls to action that we can start immediately to do our part in reducing our carbon footprint, as well as some legit offset programs you can to look into.
It’s long and the subject matter isn’t light and airy but it’s the most important post I have done to date so I implore you to PLEASE give 30 min of your time to this. The earth depends on it.
Also, as an addendum to the Vlog, we wanted to point your attention to an incredibly engaging — and alarming — article that is required reading for any person considering the use of carbon offsets: https://features.propublica.org/brazil-carbon-offsets/inconvenient-truth-carbon-credits-dont-work-deforestation-redd-acre-cambodia/
As we highlighted in our talk, carbon offsets are not the solution to climate change. They are a solution of last-resort when carbon emissions through travel, eating, fashion, basically-anything-that-we-do-at-all, cannot be avoided. And people need to go into the offset market with eyes open: some offset programs are actually worse than doing nothing at all. It doesn’t mean they’re all bad, and we believe that as the world begins to wake up to the climate crisis unfolding in front of our eyes, carbon offsets can someday become part of a broad portfolio of actions to help address the issue. But they’ve got a ways to go. Who knows, maybe one of you will take this on and make them a little better.
In the meantime Jake has provided us with a list of calls to action we can start TODAY as well as a list of the best offset programs:
Things to start doing TODAY:
1. Eat less meat. Animal agriculture accounts for about 10% of the U.S.’s GHG emissions; some studies suggest that the number is actually much higher. If everyone decided to stop eating meat for even just one meal a day, we could cut our emissions by a third, or a half, depending how much meat you already eat! It’s not that hard, just eat less meat.
2. Walk more. Not only is walking 1000% better for your mind, body, and soul, but if you can avoid a trip in a car or by some other combustion engine, that’s a good thing. Ask yourself the next time you run an errand, Can I walk?
3. If you have to take a car… Do a Shared Lyft or Uber Pool instead of hogging the car to yourself. It’s an extra five minutes. Stop being so selfish. Bonus points if you can request an electric vehicle. Transportation emissions account for more than a third of our emissions in the U.S. and a huge part of reducing those will depend on our ability to stop using gasoline for transportation. So get in an electric car.
4. Put your screen down. Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter use huge amounts of energy to power their data centers. It’s true that they will increasingly be powered by renewable energy but, for the moment, get some serenity and prevent more emissions by detoxing from social media.
5. Buy things that are produced locally. Whether it’s your clothing or your groceries, think about the food and fashion miles you’re paying for when you buy fruit that’s been imported from South America, or pants from China. Support your local economy and lower your carbon footprint at the same time!
6. Elect climate leaders. Voting is free. And it’s pretty easy. If you are a millennial who didn’t vote you have no right to be upset about the fact that our leaders suck at taking on climate change.
7. When you travel… offset:
Best Offset Programs:
3. Cool Effect
Still want to know more you can do? Check these out:
- 100 ways to fight climate change
- 9 things you can do about climate change100 ways to fight climate change
- Ten simple ways to act on climate change