Ten Actionable Actions
Here’s where I struggle.
What can I, a single person, do about Climate Change?
I am going to give you a few, outside-the-box ideas, that can have an immediate impact.
- Plant a tree. I want to quote an entire book for you but I’ll try for a single passage.
“Trees feed oxygen and minerals in the ocean; create rain; render mercury, nitrates, and other toxic wastes in the soil harmless; gather and neutralize sulfur dioxide, ozone, carbon dioxide, and other harmful air pollutants in their tissue; create homes and building materials; offer shade; provide medicine, and produce a wide variety of nuts and fruits. They sustain all manner of wildlife, birds, and insects with an array of food and shelter. They are the planet’s heat shield, slowing the evaporation of water and cooling the earth. They generate vast clouds of chemicals that are vital to myriad aspects of the earth’s ecosystems and likely vital to our health and well-being. They are natural reservoirs – as much as a hundred gallons of water can be stored in the crown of a large tree. The water they release is part of the largely unrecognized water cycle.” – Jim Robbins
Go for a tree native to your area. The ecosystem in your region developed with all it’s pieces collectively, by plugging in something familiar to the system you can contribute the most efficiently.
- Stop Saying ‘Thank You’. Have you ever checked your email, only to find a handful of messages that state, “Thank You”. Or even written a message like that yourself? It seems like the right thing to do but according to research
- Go somewhere. Set the bar high, try Yellowstone? It stands to reason that you won’t fight for something if you don’t know what you’ve never experienced it. Who cares if the glaciers melt? Go see some, then answer that question.
- Stop using plastic. Yes, over-generalized. But look! The plastic bag was invented in the mid-1960s, as a MULTI-USE replacement for paper bags which fed deforestation. Before 1950, approximately 107 BILLION people had lived fulfilling lives on Earth. Using deductive reasoning, over a hundred billion humans survived. Without plastic bags. Next time reuse the ones you have, or bring a cloth bag. If you don’t have one, see #8.
- Wear your clothes more than one day in a row. If I can go 19 days in a row without a shower (try it?), you can handle wearing your clothes twice. Modern washing machines/dryers are hard on clothes. Wear them an extra time and they last twice as long.
- Stop killing bugs. I have been a slow adopter of this so I understand. And even though spiders aren’t technically bugs/insects, I’m going to include them. What we don’t realize necessarily, is just how important these critters are to our world. Do you like eating? Guess who makes sure your food products are properly pollinated. Bees, wasps, beetles, butterflies, moths, etc. Not every bug is pretty, but they all have a role to play. Even centipedes.
- Don’t do anything. Studies show that older trees store more carbon than younger trees. Even though planting new trees is a great way to help reduce carbon in the atmosphere, saving older trees is even etter. So take the lazy route, and don’t cut down that tree if you don’t have to.
- Make less t-shirts. At some point after college I counted…over 100 t-shirts. That’s a clean shirt, every day, for over three months. I wasn’t even going out and buying fun ones, these came from every event, every group, every job. If half of my friends on Facebook have the same problem…holy cow that’s a lot. Try minimalism, get rid of a few. Turn them into bags for grocery shopping.
- Plant a garden. This is not only rewarding, healthy, and frugal, but it has wide reaching climate benefits. A lot of fossil fuels are used to transport food from other countries to your dinner plate. Living on an organic farm for a week, opened my eyes to the benefit of stepping outside, and picking salads for your lunch. You don’t have to replace everything you eat, but every bit helps. No space? Try square foot gardening. Did you end up cutting down some trees anyways? Use the logs for natural raised beds. Rustic and functional!Square foot gardening? Raised bed? Hey, if you do cut down a tree, think about making a raised bed out of the logs! Rustic and functional!
- Water bottles from booze bottles. Need I say more?
Be honest with me.
Are you asking yourself, “Even if I do all of these things, will it make a difference at all?”
The honest answer: No.
None of us can save the world by ourselves.
Luckily, that is not the point.
The hardest part is starting.
Starting a diet. Starting to work out. Starting a new job. Starting to try and make an income from your new side hustle, like writing on Medium? What about starting to see the world through a new lens, and putting the needs of the environment before our own momentary conveniences?
Yeah, that’s going to be hard.
That is exactly why we need a game plan. And this list.
By not taking a plastic bag at the grocery store, you have made zero impact. The bag exists in the world. Someone else will take it, throw it away, fill the landfill.
Game, set, match.
Hold on, wait a minute. Let’s assume you continue the trend. But now your mindset has changed. “If I don’t need plastic every time I go shopping, maybe I don’t need plastic silverware. What if I just drink out of the cup or use a metal straw instead of a plastic one?”
The list is meant to snowball, but not alone. You may plant a tree, but what if everyone on your block planted one tree. And because of this newfound community spirit…what if you banded together to plant a new row of trees at your children’s school or the neighborhood park?
This could be the world’s most important pyramid scheme. I challenge you today, on Earth Day 2022…to pick one of these things. Commit to it. And let me know, how it goes.
“Remember, I’m pulling for you. We’re all in this together.”Red Green