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    Climate Crisis is Nigh. Here’s 5 Things You Can Actually Do To Reduce CO2

    ICYMI: We’re heading full speed towards climate disaster, according to an alarming report from the United Nations’ scientific panel on climate change on Monday.

    By 2040, we could see a temperature increase of 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit, with a mass die-off of coral reefs, worldwide food shortages, and wildfires. Lower crop yields. Water scarcity. Climate refugees would significantly increase. This isn’t just a doom and gloom threat, it’s reality. Previous reports focused on the same effects at a 3.6 F increase and a later timeline. (This explainer from the NY Times shows the difference of a half degree temperature increase.)

    Despite arguments of the cost of averting climate change, it would be more expensive to ignore it: an estimated $54-69 trillion dollars in damage is estimated.

    How would we avert such a risk? Getting rid of coal, increasing renewable energy by 67% and reducing greenhouse emissions (2010 levels) by 45%.

    Ok, so this news may make you feel powerless and like we’re doomed. And we kind of are. BUT it’s not the time to give up hope!

    5 ways You (yes, you) Can Help Avoid Climate Disaster

    It’s not too late to work on a climate solution. Here are a few of the most important things you can do.

    1. VOTE! 

    TODAY is the last day in PA to register to vote. Although I hope most readers are registered, have election day (Tuesday, November 6) on their calendar with 8 google alerts and know where their assigned polling place is, there’s still time to register TODAY. Your voice matters, and even if you don’t love all your candidate options, candidates in office are making choices about the environment every day.

    Local elections matter. A lot. Pennsylvania has 7788 active fracking wells with over 4000 violations and increasing radon levels. 

    One of our PA Governor candidates attributed climate change to the earth going around the sun and warm human bodies. Scott Wagner’s website doesn’t mention the word environment or climate change. Although Tom Wolf doesn’t have a flawless record when it comes to fracking, he’s vetoed controversial bills like one that would ban plastic bag bans. So yes, sometimes voting does come down to picking between two candidates, or “the lesser of two evils”.

    Still not convinced to vote? Tune in to Nick Marzano’s podcast, Local Nation, to get a grasp for the power of local politics. (His recent interview with Amanda Mcillmurray from Oct 1 shares the story of an unlikely win for Elizabeth Fiedler.)

    I am begging you, pleading, for the future of our environment, register and VOTE ON NOVEMBER 6TH!

    2. Have one less kid, adopt and use birth control.

    Raising a human is one of the largest ways to increase your carbon footprint – as much as 58.6 tons per year. Couples are not procreating due to climate change or having fewer kids.

    As our SustainPHL 2018 presenter Bethany Edwards shared and according to Project Drawdown, two of the biggest ways to reduce climate change are the educations of girls (number 6) and family planning (number 7). But if you combine them, it becomes the #1 way to reduce climate change, eliminating 120 billion tons of emissions by 2050.

    3. Eat way less meat.

    Animal agriculture (feeding cows, water intake, fossil fuels, pollution, waste, transportation) is the second-largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. Replacing your beef consumption with plants would bring down emissions 96% from 1984 pounds of CO2 to just 73 pounds, for one American annually.

    If you avoid meat and dairy, it can be the single biggest way to reduce your carbon footprint.

    Ideally, switching to a vegan or vegetarian diet is ideal. But even reducing the frequency and quantity makes a huge impact.

    4. Eat local and organic food, and reduce food waste.

    Americans waste 40% of food. Buying from local farmers, shopping at farmers markets and locally, and buying what you need drastically reduces that impact.

    5. Bike, take public transit & trains/buses.

    Switching to less carbon-burning modes of transportation also drastically reduces carbon emissions.


    There are many other ways to reduce climate change, but these 5 are pointed to as a few of the biggest. Continue the conversation on social media or below in the comments.



    Photo by Patrick Hendry on Unsplash

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    Julie Hancher

    About Julie Hancher

    Julie Hancher is Editor-in-Chief of Green Philly, sharing her expertise of all things sustainable in the city of brotherly love. She enjoys long walks in the park with local beer and greening her travels, cooking & cat, Sir Floofus Drake.

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