The average person contributes 4.5 pounds of waste to a landfill each day (EPA). So what’s the problem with landfills? Landfills emit between 30 and 70 million tons of methane each year. Methane is a greenhouse gas with 20 times the warming potential of Carbon Dioxide (EPA).
It takes 12 million barrels of oil to produce the number of plastic bags used in the U.S. each year, and 17 million barrels of oil to produce the number of plastic water bottles used (Huffington Post) (Treehugger). This one is simple: reuse grocery bags and water bottles. More than half of U.S. states have adopted a local or state tax on plastic bags. These taxes that range from 5 to 15 cents add up. So, avoid the tax and buy a reusable bag.
Recycling avoided a projected 48 million metric tons of carbon emissions in 2005 alone. This is the equivalent of taking 36 million cars off the road for one year (EPA).
In 2011, transportation represented approximately 27 percent of total U.S. greenhouse gass emissions (EPA). To reduce this number, carpool with a friend or take public transportation. The average single driver emits 1.1 pounds of carbon dioxide per mile, and carpooling can decrease that by two thirds (Green Blogic).
Even better, ride your bike. If 5 percent of New Yorkers commuting by private car or taxi switched to biking, they could save 150 million pounds of CO2 emissions per year, equivalent to the amount reduced by planting a forest 1.3 times the size of Manhattan (Rolling Carbon). When you’re on your bike, the only things burning are calories.
The livestock sector accounts for 14.5 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions (GHG). Instead of that bacon cheeseburger, make a quinoa, raisin, and edamame garden salad. The GHG emissions per unit of protein from beef are 150 times that of soy (Chatham House).
Along with the pig, save a buck as well. Pork prices are up 10 percent from last year, while beef and veal prices have increased 11-12 percent and are expected to go up another 5 percent (NBC News).
The average meal in the United States travels 1,200 miles from the farm to your plate. A small garden can provide a portion of daily fruits and vegetables. Buying locally saves fuel, reduces greenhouse gas emissions, and also keeps money in your community (David Suzuki Foundation).
Planting native shrubs and trees also has many positive effects . Trees absorb carbon dioxide (a greenhouse gas), provide shade to reduce temperatures, attract and support native wildlife, and minimize surface water runoff from storms.
Renewable energy sources have the potential to supply 482,247 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity annually, which is 118 times the nation’s current electricity consumption (NREL).
Solar panels can be installed directly onto residential homes and many standard utility companies offer the option to choose renewable sources like wind and solar. Look into renewable energy options for your home to minimize your carbon footprint and reduce your electricity bills.
LED light bulbs outshine their competition. A LED light bulb uses 65 kWh annually, while a 60-watt incandescent bulb uses 525 kWh. This difference avoids the production of hundreds of pounds of carbon dioxide needed to provide electricity to power a single bulb (How Stuff Works).
Changing to energy efficient appliances, such as energy star certified heating and cooling units, make all the difference in combating climate change. A home energy audit finds areas where you can conserve energy. Plus, it can save you up to 5-30 percent on your energy bill (EPA).
The average family of four can use 400 gallons of water every day (EPA). These gallons of water require energy to clean and convey to you. U.S. water-related energy use is at least 521 million MWh a year – equivalent to 13 percent of the nation’s electricity consumption (River Network). So, let the yellow mellow, share a shower, and do not run the dishwasher until full.
97 percent of the world’s scientists agree that climate-warming trends are due to human activity. If you are a politician, learn the science and if you are a scientist, learn the politics.
The Environmental Film Festival in the Nation’s Capital is the world’s premiere showcase of environmentally themed films. This year’s festival, from March 17-29, features over 150 films and includes a special focus on climate change. Take advantage of opportunities like these.
There are hundreds of environmental organizations, many of which are working to combat climate change. This year, EFF is proud to partner with some of the best. Our partners include, but aren’t limited to:
With Your Wallet: A recent Simmons study indicates that the amount of Behavioral Greens – consumers with the greenest behaviors and attitudes – has risen by 7.3 million since 2006. These green consumers represent 31 percent of the population and consist of more than 34 million adults (Experian). Individuals have buying power and can steer the market toward environmentally friendly products.
With Your Vote: Support candidates that advocate for climate change policy, emissions limits and alternative energy development.
With Your Voice: Share this campaign and encourage those around you to follow your lead in combatting climate change.