Saving the planet can feel like a futile effort when you’re only one of the 7.6 billion people on Earth. Yet it’s important to recognize that your daily decisions, no matter how tiny they seem, have an important impact on global emissions and the environment. Here are the top four things you can do to adjust your daily practices and make sure you’re doing the most you can to help the planet.
Move your Money
A divestment is the opposite of an investment – it entails getting rid of investment funds that are unethical or morally ambiguous (4). By ridding yourself of financial instruments related to high-emission industries, you can ensure your money is going toward a healthier planet and future.
Use the simple tool at fossilfreefunds.org to analyze the climate impact of mutual funds and ETFs from your retirement or personal portfolio (5, 6)
Reduce your red meat consumption
If you only make one switch in the service of the planet, reducing the amount of steak and burger dinners you have during the week will have the greatest immediate impact (1).
Cows emit a massive amount of methane (in the form of burps), a greenhouse gas that traps heat close to the earth. Studies suggest that reducing heavy red meat consumption would lead to an emissions reduction of between 15 and 35 percent by 2050 (7).
Rethink your travels
Tourism is both a victim and a perpetrator of climate change. Tourism alone is responsible for 8% of the world’s carbon emissions and air travel is the biggest contributor (8).
Here’s a fact for you: A round trip flight from San Francisco to Paris produces just over 1.25 metric tons of carbon emissions per passenger. To put that in clearer terms - that’s over 25% of the carbon an average individual produces per year – just from one round trip flight (8).
Shame Plane is an online resource that lets you compare the carbon emissions of one round trip flight to a year of extreme lifestyle changes - and the outcome is slightly... shameful.
The largest impact you can have on reducing climate change and restoring our planet is through voting for leaders who can create large scale and lasting change through legislation.
Democratic candidate Joe Biden recently released his plan to address climate change, including a $1.7 trillion investment in a “clean energy revolution.” Check out the Green Energy Voting Guide to see how the 2020 candidates compare on climate change and environmental policy initiatives.