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You can’t ignore that our planet is in serious “hot water” right now. Carbon dioxide levels in 2020 were the highest in recorded history. Global temperatures continue to break records, arctic ice is melting, and sea levels continue to rise.
Is all lost then?
If you think it’s too late to make a difference, think again! You can begin reducing your carbon footprint one step at a time.
The Climate report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) wasn’t a huge surprise. Stable weather patterns we’ve enjoyed for generations have now grown turbulent. Drought and heat, floods and fire are bound to become more frequent.
The report sites: “Since the pre-industrial period, the land surface air temperature has risen nearly twice as much as the global average temperature.” Our changing climate will increase in the frequency and intensity of these extreme events.
Is there any hope to be had?
Yes! Rather than moping around glum or feeling doomed, I’ve decided there are things I can do to lower my footprint.
Here are 5 simple things I’ve embraced to generate hope and cut my environmental impact.
I remember uncovering treefrogs from folds of outdoor cushions, wet with morning fog. Their long legs ending in flattened thumbs; they croaked like a bullhorn at night. They’ve been long gone for years, along with the summer fog and winter rains.
Climate defines our identity in the landscape we have grown accustomed to. The plants, animals, bacteria and fungi are changing before our eyes.
My generation was raised believing everything was at our disposal. We thought we would always have plenty – and we did! We have lived better than queens and pashas of empires foretold. But unfortunately, we were and are still wasteful in our opulence, and this waste contributes to the demise of our planet.
Our conspicuous consumption burns fossil fuels, cuts down trees and pollutes our air and water.
The old saying “waste not, want not,” first coined in 1576, means “willful waste makes woeful want,” and it’s particularly relevant today. Wasteful behavior is a monumental contributor to our climate crisis.
Personal changes we make can have a big impact, and they’re the easiest to tackle.
This week while taking out the rubbish bins and separating the recyclables, I had an Ah-Ha moment. How did I get to this trashy way of living and throw so much stuff away?
I was brought up by a frugal German grandmother who reused almost everything. From jars, bags and cartons, she fed food scraps to the chickens or composted for the garden—hardly anything went into the rubbish bin.
But I also grew up in the culture of a “Throwaway Society,” one that encouraged unbridled consumerism and excessive waste. The rise of disposable packaging and single-use items was viewed as modern and convenient.
A 1955 article published in Life Magazine applauded “Throwaway Living” with a photo showing an American Family celebrating the convenience of disposable papers and plastics.
This pondering has me lead thinking about solutions that will help us build a less trashy future.
I have taken on a project interviewing neighbors for an oral history of our wooded stretch of heaven. The elders remember when throaty tree frogs were plentiful, and the summers were so dripped with fog that farmers didn’t have to irrigate. The winter rains came plentifully, and mushrooms carpeted the ground. They never worried about wildfires, sudden oak death, or sweltering summers.
Our wanton exploitation of the planet is showing up in our backyards. So, we must begin at home. Here are few things you can do right now to help heal the planet.