Climate change and the environment have taken permanent residence in the front of my mind. In most developed nations, save the United States, people view climate change as a fact, not as a political divisive line. Unfortunately, one of the worlds largest polluters and contributors to climate change is full of people sticking their fingers in their ears and closing their eyes about the issue.
Unfortunately, we currently have a president that is strictly in the deniers camp, because that’s the party that he represents. Most of the older generation just does not believe it’s an issue and a vast majority of the church I grew up in has hitched their wagons to the Conservative party, which means they’re on the denier train as well.
The thing is, a lot of the people that are voting and denying, aren’t going to be around when the bill comes due for all of our polluting and growth. I might be, and the next generation absolutely will be.
It’s a BIG problem!
Climate change is not something that can be solved overnight. Elon Musk isn’t going to come out of the blue and push a software update to all the Teslas of the world that will magically make them remove carbon from the air. The Gates Foundation has been working on safe Nuclear plants but has been unable to test them in any sufficient amount because of #45’s trade policies with China.
Pro-tip: Nuclear Energy != Chernobyl
We all consume too much. Well, maybe not all of us, but probably every single person that ends up reading this. I consume too much, my family consumes too much, my neighbors consume too much, this country consumes WAY too much. According to The Ecologist, the U.S. Military pollutes more than most medium-sized countries. To make matters worse, the most recent spending bill, passed by the Oompa Loompa in the Oval Office, boosted the US Military budget by $160B. This means that US Military pollution is most likely going to increase, not decrease.
Then you’ve got consumer companies like Sonos, who according to the Tweet below, intentionally bricks their devices by telling people to use a “Recycling” mode, before taking their equipment to an E-Recycler. Unfortunately for the environment, but fortunately for Sonos, this bricks the device rather than just doing a Factory Reset, which forces the E-Recylcer to throw the device in the landfill rather than Refurbish and Re-sell. Of course, the shareholders of Sonos probably love this.
“Sonos states on their website that ‘sustainability is non-negotiable,’ and that they design products to minimize impact, but I work at an e-waste recycler and have demonstrable proof this is false. Sonos’s ‘recycle mode’ intentionally bricks good devices so they can’t be reused.” - @atomicthumbs
Then take into account driving a vehicle that gets 25mpg 15,000 miles per year produces 5.2 Metric Tons of CO2. My wife drives a bit less than that, while up until this year, I drove almost double that. I have a hard time comprehending the level of destruction our vehicles cause. Unfortunately I don’t have a Tesla in my near-future since we just re-modeled our house, but my new job has significantly reduced my driving so much so that we’re considering going down to one car.
There are a ton of other factors that add to the problem: Food waste, food production, food transportation, factory farming, flying, e-waste, consumption culture, smoking, coal electricity production, homes that are too large, homes with little to no insulation, vampire drain of electronics in the house, clothing production, cheap goods production… I could go on and on.
So what can we do?
First, stop ignoring science.
I think everyone would agree that as far as smart people are concerned, NASA is up there, so I’ll just put this article here for you to read. 97% of scientists agree that climate-warming trends are extremely likely due to human activities. Notice a subtle distinction in the sentence above, they’re not even discussing whether or not climate change is real - because they have hard facts and figures about that. No, they’re saying that WE are the cause. Yes there are cycles of warm and cold that our planet experiences, but the rapid nature of this change has been directly correlated to humans.
Now, take a look at this graph:
Credit: Luthi, D., et al.. 2008; Etheridge, D.M., et al. 2010; Vostok ice core data/J.R. Petit et al.; NOAA Mauna Loa CO2 record.
Drive less. Think more. Buy less stuff. When you do buy something, buy it used, buy it well made, buy something that can be repaired. Plant more trees, downsize to a smaller house. Insulate the house you own. Install solar.
Vote. Vote for candidates that have an environmental plan. Vote for candidates that are afraid for future generations if we don’t get this under control. If you don’t vote at the polls, vote with your dollars.
Stop giving money to companies that very obviously don’t give a damn about our planet. The following companies contribute 1/3 of all carbon emissions annually:
- Saudi Aramco
- National Iranian Oil Co
- Royal Dutch Shell
- Coal India
- Petróleos de Venezuela
- Peabody Energy
- Abu Dhabi National Oil Co
- Kuwait Petroleum Corp
- Iraq National Oil Co
- Total SA
- BHP Billiton
I don’t know if you noticed anything about this list, but it’s pretty obvious to me that we have a HUGE oil problem. Maybe we should stop fueling economic growth with Oil and look into alternative energy, including safe Nuclear. Maybe we should stop shipping billions of tons of goods around the globe, just because we think we need the newest iPhone or more clothes.
Buy local. Ride your bike there. If you buy more things locally, you’ll help provide more jobs in your community.
If you can afford it, buy an electric car. God knows you almost certainly don’t need a diesel pickup or a gas guzzling SUV.
Moral of the story
Stop. Think. What are you actually doing when you order something on Amazon?
The good was most likely manufactured in China, shipped on a huge vessel that consumes literal TONS of fuel to get to your country. Then it’s thrown on a Semi and shipped to your nearest distribution center, to then be thrown on a gas or diesel powered truck to be delivered to your house. The good is almost certainly packed with plastic and foam (Pro-Tip: Plastic and Foam require a bunch of oil to produce and are awful for your health) and cardboard, all of which you’ll probably just throw away rather than sorting for recycling.
So just stop and think: Do you really need that new widget? I’m guilty of this too, but I’m working to improve my behavior.
And for the love of this planet, vote the Orange guy out of office. He’s done absolutely nothing to help anyone but his largest of donors, mostly at the expense of the planet.