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What can one person do to tackle climate change?
There’s no heading off climate change. It’s very much here. But experts say there’s still time to minimize the losses to come. To do so, we need broad structural reform—and it starts with you. Businesses and governments are likely to make dramatic changes only with pressure from individuals. The following list includes high-impact steps individuals can take. Consider it a starting point for putting together your own climate action plan, because we can’t afford to wait for others to do it for us.
Eat a plant based diet
Cutting back on meat and dairy is among the most powerful steps any one of us can take, and perhaps the easiest. Doing so can mitigate greenhouse gas emissions, including methane and nitrous oxide, conserve fresh water, limit animal cruelty, and improve public health. The average American consumed a record-setting 222 pounds of red meat and poultry in 2018. We can do better. Consider going vegan for breakfast and lunch, or meatless three days a week, or eat vegetarian half the time. For inspiration, browse our easy plant-based recipes, use our menus, learn easy ways to put plant-based food on your menu. It all add up to less demand for factory farmed animal products.
Limit food waste
Plant a Climate Victory Garden
Forward-thinking farmers are sequestering carbon by practicing soil-building, sustainable agriculture. Support them, and start your own regenerative mini-farm. Stone Pier Press is brimming with information on backyard carbon farming and how to plant your own Climate Victory Garden. A good place to start is to read Growing Good Food: A citizen’s guide to backyard carbon farming, and its companion book, Growing Perennial Foods: A guide to raising resilient herbs, fruits & vegetables.
Advocate for change
Lend your support to an organization you believe is making a difference. Demand accountability from corporations and legislators. Support organizations that make plant-based options available in underserved communities. Volunteer weekly, donate monthly, get others involved.
The aviation sector currently accounts for about two percent of global emissions, and is one of the fastest-growing polluters. It’s hard to avoid travel for business, for instance. But what about choosing vacations that don’t involve flying?
Leave the car at home whenever possible
Take public transportation, carpool, bike, limit your use of taxis or carshares to three times a week. If you don’t have good alternatives to driving, commit to doing less of it—maybe by using public transportation twice a week. Making meaningful change does not have to be an all or nothing proposition.
Choose to have fewer children
This is considered among the four highest-impact things an individual can do to tackle climate change. (The others are: eat a plant-based diet, avoid air travel, and live car-free.)
Vote with your wallet
Support farms, companies, and businesses that adopt and support humane, regenerative, and sustainable practices. Order plant-based options when eating out. Seek out meat and dairy alternatives.
We need good, forward-thinking people in office now. There’s no time to waste.
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