According to the experts and non-experts alike, climate change is now and it’s not an isolated event. There are no isolated solutions, which means that everyone must take accountability for their carbon footprint–and take action.
In the big picture, there are several ways to make an impact and minimize additional contributions of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere. There also are ways to help capture carbon from the atmosphere today. Here is a personal action plan (a starter list for now. More to follow).
Deforestation is responsible for about 20 percent of the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. If left standing, those forests could help absorb the remaining CO2 in the atmosphere, so deforestation is a double-edged sword in the fight against climate change. Unfortunately, both edges work against us. Reuse paper bags. Buy recycled paper. Recycle paper. Don’t buy products that are over-packaged and tell those manufacturers to shape up. Don’t buy products that contain palm oil. Even most claims of sustainable palm oil have the blood of endangered species and deforestation on their hands.
Support reforestation programs such as ours. Offset your carbon footprint, while minimizing it. Plants trees and shrubs near homes and buildings to help block the sun and wind, which also can help save energy. Help restore local watersheds to manage water supplies and to promote wildlife conservation and biodiversity. We need the web of life to survive this global event and the web of life needs our help to survive.
Park your car. I did. Ride a bike. I am. Walk. Every day. Carpool. When possible. Use public transportation. Not necessary, but I will. Insulate your home from the elements. Turn thermostats up (AC) or down (heat) to save energy. Reduce. Reuse. Recycle. Unplug something (or several things). Go solar or something alternative. If your electric car is plugged into a coal-fired power plant, you haven’t helped the cause, yet. Get a solar charger.
This is where the majority of people live. Cities are the problem and they are the solution. Demand action and accountability from yours. For more information, visit http://greenercities.org/climate-change-and-cities/
Just think about the energy that goes into your food supply and consumer goods. Everything that you grow, make, or buy local doesn’t have to be shipped by train, plane or truck. It also can save you money.
Keep an open mind and learn as much as possible about climate change and sustainability as it relates to you, your country and the world. Share your knowledge and inspire others to take accountability and action. Teach your children and involve them now. They are inheriting this issue and must learn to deal with it as leaders and defenders.
Innovation doesn’t have to be limited to technology. We just need to be smarter, more efficient and more creative. We also must develop more ways to be resilient in the face of a changing planet.
Climate change is not an isolated problem and there will not be an isolated solution. The time for debate is over and the hope for a silver bullet is futile. Everyone is either part of the solution or part of the problem. I’m sure that you have an even broader list. Please keep the faith and keep hope alive. Once we give up, it will be chaos. If we delay, it will be impossible. One way to help immediate is to help us conserve and reforest thousands of acres across East Africa. It’s one of the largest projects of its kind in the world. We can’t do it without the help of foundations, corporations and donors. It’s ready to go today.