50 ways you can help cool the planet

Global carbon dioxide emissions are increasing and contribute mightily to global warming and its dire consequences for humanity. Here, from the U.S. Department of Energy, is the emissions picture at a glance. (The bracketed figures are 1980 emissions, in million metric tons, and the unbracketed are 2004 emissions):

  • North America (5,439.17) 6,886.88
  • Central America, South America (623.36) 1,041.45
  • Europe (4,657.92) 4,653.43
  • Eurasia (3,027.53) 2,550.75
  • Middle East (494.75) 1,319.70
  • Africa (534.47) 986.55
  • Asia, Australia (3,556.07) 9,604.81
  • Total (18,333.26) 27,043.57

Here are some ways you can fight global warming:

Transportation– Buy a small vehicle that is fuel-efficient – Drive less – Drive 80 kph (55 mph) or less – Car pool – Keep your tires properly inflated – Walk or use a bike instead of driving – Fly less – Work from home when you can; telecommute when possible – Consolidate your errands – Use and advocate for mass transportation – Advocate for walking and biking pathways

Home energy use – Install a solar or ‘on demand’ hot water heater – Turn down the temperature on your hot water heater – Use the clothes dryer less – Hang clothes outside or on an inside drying rack – Insulate your house more fully – Ensure that your windows and doors have good weather-stripping – Reduce your water use, particularly hot water – Buy energy-efficient appliances – Use programmable thermostats to turn down the heat at night – Use energy-efficient light bulbs – Design and live in a small, energy-efficient home – Incorporate solar, wind or geothermal energy into your home – Ask your energy company to provide power from renewable sources

Food – Grow and produce your own food – Buy locally grown and produced food – Buy organic food – Avoid buying processed and packaged food – Modify your diet to include less red meat – Compost your garden waste – Use re-usable grocery bags

Political – Get involved with others working on climate change – Lobby for local, provincial and federal policies that reduce greenhouse gases – Encourage your school or business to reduce energy use and emissions – Invest in businesses that are part of the solution to climate change – Contribute funds to and support organizations and efforts working on climate change Overall

consumption – Have a smaller family – Consume less-ask if you really need it – Consider the total energy and transportation costs of your purchases – Buy second-hand – Rent, share, or borrow – Buy things that last – Buy things without excess packaging – Buy from climate-friendly companies – Recycle – Try not to waste paper – Carry your own cup or refillable bottle – Buy organic cotton clothes

Education – Talk with your friends and family about climate change – Read more about climate change – Write letters to the newspaper – Buy books about climate change for public and school libraries – Ensure that your schools are educating children about climate change – Re-read this list once in a while to remind yourself that you can be a part of the climate change solution in more than 50 ways