Keeping the Light of the Paris Agreement Alive

There was a lot of consternation and sadness when #NotMyCheeto pulled the US out of the Paris agreement, thus putting us in the company of Nicaragua and Syria. BUT! Take heart that 30 states, cities and an ever growing number of corporations have said that they will still work towards getting us off fossil fuels and saving the planet as best we can for our children and grandchildren, and those to come after them.  Mike Bloomberg is in for $15 million to help with the effort.

Just because #NotMyCheeto says no does not mean that all the rest of us cannot say yes. And there is a lot that we can do as individuals to help the planet .

  • First, what kind of car do you drive? What kind of mileage does it get? Did you know that close to 30% of all domestic carbon emissions come from transportation? This is almost the amount from electricity production. 24 pounds of emissions per gallon of gas. A little math – if you drive 12,000 miles a year (which is about average) and your vehicle gets 20 miles to the gallon, that’s 14,400 pounds a year. Switch to an efficient car getting 40 miles to the gallon and that drops in half. As an aside, along with your car payment and your car insurance since littler cars are cheaper to buy and own.  Further, make sure your tires are properly inflated, drive the speed limit, and if possible, avoid traffic.
  • If possible, walk, bike or carpool. Since this doesn’t often work in the suburbs, at least plan your errands in a circle so you’re not backtracking in your car.
  • Next, your house – it’s not just swapping out your light bulbs, but setting your thermostat a little higher in summer, and a little lower in winter. Make sure that curtains are closed facing east in the morning and especially facing west in the afternoon to decrease summer heat. Leave curtains open all day in the winter to get the benefit of warming sunshine.  Make sure your house if properly insulated. If you have electric outlets on outside-facing walls, you can get little pre-cut insulation pads for even that small space. If you can afford it, consider solar panels.
  • When you fly, buy carbon offsets. You can do this for a variety of things, but the most common is air travel. Also, as you probably know, for the same reason that public transportation is a better way environmentally to get around, avoid private planes.
  • Don’t forget the carbon impact of food. Local food is always best (especially if it’s from your own garden.) Buy local if you can: the further a food travels, the more carbon involved in transporting it.
  • Eat less beef and dairy. Especially imported beef. Eating lower on the food chain is not only better for the environment, but better for you.
  • When you buy food, seek out less packaging. All that plastic is made from fossil fuels. It’s just not that hard to bring your own tote bags. And those thin plastic bags in the produce aisle for things that need to be bagged, like green beans, peas and cherries? They’re reusable, too.
  • In your garden, seek out native plants. They take less water and are better for the birds and bees.
  • Decrease your trash! Recycle everything you can. And that goes for bigger things, too, not just the packaging from items you purchase. Electronics, appliances, and a whole variety of things can be recycled, or reused by someone else.
  • Learn your carbon footprint. There are a variety of calculators, just Google “What’s my Carbon Footprint” – the best calculator depends on where you live, and what level of detail you want to calculate.

Face it, there’s a lot we can do as individuals. And of course – make sure to vote out the idiots that got us here. There is an election this year, on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November, as there has been every year since 1791. Go support a candidate running locally over the summer and commit to getting 10 friends to vote for your candidate in November.


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