Freckles in April: A Week of Helping to Make the World a Better Place - Climate Change

Thursday, September 10, 2015

A Week of Helping to Make the World a Better Place - Climate Change

Another Aaron snap from our road trip

Climate change is one of those things that I was relatively unconcerned about until recently. When I lost my religion I started thinking about all the various post-mortal options now open for my consideration, including reincarnation. When I thought about that one I had an immediate negative reaction. "Oh I sure hope not," I thought, "It's only going to get more polluted and melty around here."

That was a big lightbulb moment for me.

Even if reincarnation is not a thing, we should still be treating the earth as though we have to come back to it in 60 years. Because no one wants to live on a planet that's polluted and melty.

Once I realized that I actually AM concerned about climate change I had a " what?" moment. I'm not a big factory. I don't dump chemicals down storm drains. Aaron works from home and my boys take the bus to school so we don't drive much. What can I, suburban housewife in Mesa Arizona, do to help climate change? I need a list!

So I googled. And I made a list.

Turn off lights. You've heard this one before (and so have I) but sometimes I need a reminder. I stopped in the middle of typing that sentence and went to turn off three lights. It's really easy to just forget but it's also easy to get back in the habit of turning off lights when you leave the room. I've heard of parents charging their kids for electricity when they forget to turn off a light, which I think is a genius way to help them realize that they are consuming something of value and they need to be mindful of that.

Replace your bulbs with energy efficient ones. Not all at once or anything, but as they burn out just start to replace them. You'd be putting in new bulbs anyway so you may as well put in ones that help cut your energy costs and aren't so hard on the environment.

Recycle, reduce, reuse. We were visiting friends at some point in the past year and their city didn't recycle. That blows my mind a little. Recycling isn't a perfect process but it's still a good way to reduce waste! Also, please enjoy this Recycle Rex video.

Recycling is important but I think reducing and reusing might be even more so. Be mindful about what you spend money on. Think about the energy and environmental cost. A more minimalist life makes for a cleaner house, a happy budget and less pollution and waste.

Compost. We had a compost bin in our last house and I loved taking all our vegetable peelings and stuff out there. Time to get another one! Our city will drop a compost bin off at your house for $5 (which is refundable when you give the bin back). Your city might have a similar program- call and ask!

Be smart about your transportation. If you live in a city with awesome public transportation, great! Use it! If not, carpool whenever possible. Or ride a bike! It makes a difference. When the weather is nice here we like to walk or ride bikes to visit friends. Exercise + environmentally friendly!

Eat less red meat. Last year The Guardian wrote an article about how giving up red meat would be better for reducing carbon emissions than giving up your car. The environmental cost of raising cattle for meat is staggering! It's also a change that's not too difficult to make. I need my car to function but I do NOT need red meat. We eat it once a month, if that, and we don't particularly miss it.

Be conscious in your food choices. Organic, local produce can be hard to find (I feel you) but the environmental impact is way lower. As demand grows, so do the options! Ask your local grocery store to carry more organic options. Shop at farmer's markets for local produce. If you're in the Phoenix area, check out Backyard Farmer! Fresh, local, seasonal produce delivered to your door by the people who grew it. It's phenomenal.

If you have the budget, take a look at your house. Did you know that you can use a blower to shoot more insulation into your walls and attic if there isn't much in there? You can also switch out windows for more energy efficient ones. It will help reduce heating and cooling costs AND energy loss.

Pick up garbage. Last year my neighbor friend and I gave our kids some plastic grocery bags and latex gloves and took them around the neighborhood to pick up garbage. We talked to them about being community helpers and helping the earth. They had a great time, the neighborhood got cleaned up, and our kids got to do a good service. It's a good way to get your kiddos involved! Just watch out for broken glass- it's freaking everywhere.

What are you doing to try to lessen climate change? Anything you'd add to the list?


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  1. I love all these ideas! I've been a real stickler about the lights lately, pretty much anything longer than a quick bathroom break means they go off. And recycling...that's always been a biggie for me. I agree reducing is better but...recyclables in the trash really irritate me. As almost everyone related to me could tell you (I correct many people about that one).

  2. Thanks so much for all of the inspiring posts this week. I appreciate you shining light on important issues and for providing easy ways we can help make a contribution to our local and global communities.
    I need to work on reducing and reusing more- I should start with my Starbucks habit. It pains me to see their trashes overflowing with plastic and paper cups, yet I don't bring my own cup with me. I'll also work on eating less red meat.

    Thanks again. You've earned me as a new follower!

  3. Austin is amazing, you can have as many huge recycling bins as you want for free and the garbage cans are cheaper the smaller you go, people have the ittiest bittiest garbage bins, but you can recycle so much here - it's great! Thanks for the motivation this past week to do things that I can to help, instead of just sitting around stressing about it!

    1. and also the elementary school pays for their garbage collection by the pound, so everything kids pack in for lunch they bring home. This is great as it reduces waste, but also, I get to see what they are eating and what they are not, there's no option for them to ditch the things they don't like in a garbage can :)

    2. Well... these were both from Kristi :)

  4. I try to pay attention to my footprint, but it's disheartening when it seems like no one else cares. I see the trash bags leaving my floor at work and all those disposable coffee cups make me sick... I do my part and use my own thermos/mug for coffee/tea, I wish more people would do the same.


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