Easily Battle Climate Change Today

Frank Trombino IMPACT MILL CONTRIBUTOR
Footprints

You’ve seen it in the newspaper headlines. It’s even likely that you have experienced the phenomenon first hand. The reality is that rising carbon emissions caused by human induced climate change have become an increasingly prevalent force to reckon with on a daily basis, and if you’re head-under-the-covers worried sick like me, you may find solace in knowing that there are many simple ways to summon your inner “David” to battle the colossal “Goliath”.

“But why?” you ask? Why should I take time out of my day to try to fix something way bigger than me? Well, in case you haven’t noticed, while you were busy hiding under your blankets waiting for the carbon monster to go away, rising sea levels, large-scale coral bleaching and biodiversity loss, and severe weather events tied to climate change have only gotten worse. And they will continue to do so with inaction.

In fact, in September 2016, atmospheric carbon emissions passed the 400ppm threshold, a point where climate scientists have long warned that negative climate issues will become increasingly severe. This is why it’s imperative that everyone starts taking even seemingly small actions to ensure a climate-stable future for our grandchildren (and ourselves).

Knowledge is Power

Airplane

Do you take a couple trips a year? This is probably one of your biggest carbon culprits | image: ume-y/Flickr

The first step in making a real difference is to quantify your individual carbon footprint. Take note where your largest emissions sources come from. For me, flying from Portland, OR to Chicago, IL three times a year made up 26% of my overall carbon footprint, equalling 7.2 tons of carbon! Realistically, I probably could have gotten away with just one trip back home to Chicago to soak up the hugs from mom instead of three. Even if I did need to go home multiple times, and if you need to travel by air often too, there are ways to do it and stay climate friendly, as you’ll see below.

By calculating your carbon footprint, you become aware of the reality of your true climate impact. Knowing where you stand with your carbon footprint allows you to start managing it with small steps that eventually lead to big changes.

Now What?

A very real solution you can take today to reduce your carbon footprint, especially the part related to flying, is through carbon offsets. Typically, carbon offsets allow people to invest in measures that remove greenhouse gas from the atmosphere, either directly or indirectly. One example is investing in renewable energy – the amount of carbon you created by flying is offset by the amount you helped avoid by creating more solar energy. Another is investing in things like forests and seagrass meadows that actively soak up carbon from the air.

Seagrass is a very unique, advantageous, and reliable offset source. Not only is seagrass 35 times more effective at soaking up carbon than Amazonian Rainforests, but it also rebuilds ocean habitats, which in turn replenish fish stocks and our food supply. Seagrass restoration also protects coastlines from erosion caused by waves, and for every $1 invested, $15 in net economic benefits are created.

Big change starts at the grassroots level with dedicated people like you, and purchasing carbon offsets can help make up for our climate shortcomings. Our economies, natural resources, and happiness rely on retaining a healthy environment. With a little mindfulness, you can do a lot to fight global climate change. Remember, no act is too small!

Frank is an Impact Mill contributor living in the Pacific Northwest. As a recent Arizona State University honors graduate with a B.S in Sustainability, Frank's passions are to promote and develop sustainable strategies that create healthy and resilient urban centers, business practices, and lifestyles. He enjoys the great outdoors, writing and playing music, illustrating, meeting new people, and exploring the world.