Four Easy Actions You Can Take To Help Fight Climate Change

Josey MacDonald, reporter

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The thought of climate change can easily become overwhelming. Rising temperatures bringing drought and food shortages, rising sea levels flooding coastal cities, extreme storms destroying homes. Dread and fear are often the dominant emotions of today’s society, but maybe it would be easier to make progress if instead of viewing it as impending doom, we view it as a solvable challenge. There is no doubt that the effects of global warming are already hurting people around the world, but we are not yet past the point of no return. There is still time to prevent catastrophe, if we unite and work together to make changes. Here are some small, easily achievable things we can all do to make a big difference.

First, try downloading an app designed to help fight climate change. Buycott, MathTappers, and JouleBug are some cool, well-reviewed ones. Buycott scans barcodes on products and informs you of their effect on the environment. It helps you choose the most environmentally friendly products to buy, and helps reward companies that are trying to be more eco-friendly. If you have an issue with the impact a specific product is having, you can even contact the company through the app and ask them to make a change. MathTappers helps you be more aware of your carbon footprint by tracking some of your daily habits, and JouleBug provides sustainability tips and lets you challenge your friends. Apps are an easy and fun way to be aware of the impact you are having and make small, but helpful, changes to improve it.

Photo courtesy of Flickr

Second, try meatless Monday. The production and consumption of meat has a big impact on the environment. Animals such as sheep and cows release a large amount of methane into the air, contributing to global warming. According to BBC, “if cattle were their own nation, they would be the world’s third largest emitter of greenhouse gasses.” The raising of animals also requires a large amount of food, water, and especially land. In a comprehensive analysis from 2018, scientists found that livestock provide only 18% of calories and 37% of protein, but they take up more than 80% of land. That’s a lot of waste. Plant based products are more efficient, and tend to be cheaper. By having just one meat free day per week, we can significantly reduce our carbon emissions. 

Third, use public transportation whenever possible. A 2017 study by Seth Wynes and Kimberly Nicholas found that going car-free is the most effective action an individual can take to help the environment. It’s understandable that hopping in your car is more convenient than walking to a bus stop, but whenever possible, stop and consider the impact of that choice. According to the American Public Transportation Association, public transportation saves 4.2 billion gallons of gas each year, produces significantly less air pollution, and helps the community by producing $4 in economic returns for every dollar invested. On top of that, the buses in Missoula are free, so using them saves gas money. 

Finally, support candidates who are committed to improving the environment.  Although small changes can be impactful, for true change we need more regulations and a national commitment to clean energy, and these can only come from the government. As young people, climate change will have the biggest impact on our generation. Whether it’s through petitioning, calling, or writing letters, make sure candidates know that we will not support them unless they are supporting the future of our planet.

Photo courtesy of Pixabay

Climate change is a fear and dread-inducing issue, but it doesn’t have to be. Instead, it can be an opportunity to unite on a global scale, to make important changes to the way we live, and to appreciate the environment in a greater way. If we view the situation with hope rather than dread, maybe we will be more inclined to take action. Even small actions can have a big impact.