Do Something About Climate Change And Polluted Oceans
Lower Your Carbon Footprint And Clean Up Our Beaches
We’re going to pause today from discussing legal issues and concentrate on the environment and saving our planet from the disastrous effects of climate change. Make no mistake: global warming is real. If the world warms more than just 1.5 degrees Celsius in the next two decades as predicted, rising sea levels, disappearing coral reefs, annual heat waves and wildfires, and food shortages will put hundreds of millions of lives at stake. We are alarmed and you probably are too – the predictions are horrifying.
The doomsday can be avoided. Pressuring lawmakers to face reality is critical. Agricultural practices, infrastructure, and diet and cultural habits need to change dramatically. Worrying about big, systemic change overlooks the fact that lasting change starts with individuals and families. As Margaret Mead wrote, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
Our founder Ingrid M. Evans is one such person committed to making a difference and changing the world. When it comes to carbon emissions and global warming, one of her friends compiled a checklist of things you and your family can do to make a difference and we share a few of her pointers below. We’ve also added Ingrid’s #take10leavenone initiative to the list because cleaning up our oceans has to be part of any effort to save the planet.The goal is to reduce our individual carbon footprints. Before we share our detailed checklist of ways to do that, keep in mind the four actions that most substantially decrease an individual’s carbon footprint are: (1) eating a plant-based diet; (2) avoiding air travel; (3) living car-free; and (4) having smaller families. These goals may be too lofty for many of us; jobs may require air travel, for example. But every effort to reduce our carbon footprint makes a difference so here are some ideas:
- Consider a little less meat in the family’s diet. Raising livestock generates as much greenhouse gas emissions as all cars and trucks combined.
- Shop at Farmers’ Markets and buy only fruits/veggies/eggs/milk/cheese/chicken that are in season and local (there are major carbon emissions in transporting food).
- Shop at a coop like Rainbow Coop (also available on Instacart if you like home delivery) if you can’t find everything you need at Farmers’ Markets.
HOME HEATING AND ELECTRICITY:
- OhmConnect: If you haven’t already signed up for this, it is a NO BRAINER. Basically it works like this – when the grid gets overused, the utility company must switch to a power plant that uses dirty energy. They can foresee when this is going to happen so they text you (generally the day before) when they are going to have to turn on the plant (it’s called a OhmHour). You minimize the electricity used in your home during that hour (only have lights on in the rooms where you are, wait until later to do laundry, run the dishwasher, etc) and you earn points/cash back.
- CleanPowerSF.org: Sign up to switch your electric bill for your home (and/or business) over to clean power (you can do 33%, 43% or 100% renewable energy).
- Solar Panels: Look into adding solar panels to your home.
- Lights: Use more natural light (open curtains and try to avoid using lights during the day). Check to make sure all of the lightbulbs in/outside our house are energy saving bulbs.
- Hang dry clothes when possible.
- Car: if you need a new car, consider a used electric car (“used” is important because approximately 20% of a cars carbon footprint is from factory to owner – i.e. production, shipping etc).
- Ride a bike to work or use public transportation. (All the staff at Evans Law Firm comes to work by public transportation!)
- Try to order fewer things via delivery. Delivery means more carbon emissions.
- Eat out at nearby restaurants instead of Ubering all over City.
- As new appliances are needed, switch to EnergyStar.
- The City of San Francisco will switch your toilets / shower heads / faucets to low flow FOR FREE.
- Turning your thermostat down just 1 degree can make a difference.
- Consider solar panels.
- When cooking, try and have your oven do double duty – by cooking two dishes at once.
- Use a tank water heater system as a tankless system takes time for the water to heat prior to use.
- Use LED lights.
- You don’t have to use water to rinse out recyclables.
- Re-use plastic containers to keep leftovers; just add a tape label so you know what’s in the container.
- Make sure your home is well-insulated and the heat may never come on in our mild climate.
- Plant drought tolerant landscaping and consider a grey water system for watering your yard.
- Shop at thrift stores or Goodwill for some things as the apparel industry is one of the biggest consumers of water!
- Consider eco-friendly clothing brands. This blog has a useful list of some brands: https://www.buzzfeed.com/whitneyjefferson/eco-friendly-clothing-brands?utm_term=.pcmBvx16gk#.ocEGQNY92p.
- Use cloth or compostable diapers like Earth Baby.
- Use compostable/biodegradable wipes by Eco by Naty or Green Works.
- Re-use children’s clothing whenever possible for younger siblings or friends’ children.
- Chocolates are available in compostable wrappers (Alter Eco) or you can buy in bulk (wrapped in recyclable foil) at Rainbow Coop.
- Chlorinated plastic releases harmful chemicals into the ground, which can then seep into groundwater, nearby surface water sources and the world’s ecosystem.
- In addition, the amount of plastic in our oceans threatens wildlife and humans both.
- Make a pledge not to use single-use plastic! Use reusable water bottles/tap water with filtration system.
INVOLVE YOUR CHILDREN IN ALL YOUR STEPS TO REDUCE CARBON
- Have your child help with composting and recycling.
- Plant vegetables and tomatoes in the yard and have fun watching the plants grow and picking.
- One Mother whose child felt overwhelmed by climate change worries, channeled her daughter’s anxiety into a bake sale to raise money for an organization fighting for change.
- Educate your children on the reality of climate change, the importance of recycling and the dangers of waste.
SAVING OUR OCEANS
Ingrid’s #take10leavenone campaign encourages beach clean-up projects and inspires beachgoers with a simple job every time they go to the beach:
~~ take 10 pieces of trash when you leave a beach and leave none behind ~~
A native Californian, Ingrid loves the ocean and our State’s magnificent coastline. She knows its beauty is endangered unless each of us does our part to keep the coast pristine. She shares her #take10leavenone message especially with young people hoping that future generations recognize that maintaining the natural beauty of our California coastline is their responsibility. Imagine what we could accomplish if everyone left the beach every time with #take10leavenone!
 If you can’t cut back on flights, buy carbon credits to offset every flight. Here’s a helpful website with more about carbon offsets for flights: https://thepointsguy.com/guide/everything-you-need-to-know-carbon-offsetting-flights/.