You can reduce impacts of growing climate change. You have power. But we don’t have much time. Even if we stop greenhouse gas emissions tomorrow there will still be .6 degrees C of warming in the pipeline due to thermal inertia in the ocean. With current warming we have lost 40% of summer Arctic sea ice and 5% of coral reefs plus much more.
Don’t let someone say because you have a gas combustion vehicle you can’t fight this cause. The question back is “If you are born and embedded into a society, do you have a right to advocate for its improvement?” The answer is yes. In the early 1800s in London, no one could walk down the streets at 10 ish pm because everyone threw the contents of their bed pans out the window. A guy came along and said, “Let’s rip up all the streets in London and put pipes in for sewage!” Everyone laughed at him and said that he was crazy. “You need money, political will, and engineering design to make that happen.” While he was waiting for the sewage system to come to fruition, he still had to throw the content of his bed pan out the window. When you want a change, it doesn’t magically happen. You have to engage in dialogue and policy making and/or consumer advocacy for businesses to make a product. And during this phase, you have every right to envision a better future. Fortunately, now, we do have a lot (not all- electric airplanes and mac trucks) of what we need to transition right now.
There are 4 agents of change: individuals, businesses, non-profits and government. We can use these to affect GHG emissions. These four overlap and operate in the following sectors: industry, residential buildings, commercial buildings, transport, agriculture, energy supply and land use change.
a. Google IPCC AR5, NOAA, NASA, Japanese Metereological or NAS for climate change summaries
b. Follow on Twitter: Mark Jacobson and Leah Parks for technological solutions that exist waiting to be implemented on a wider scale, Bill McKibbon for current , real impacts of climate. Michael Mann on climate science and tipping points.
c. Read Naomi Oreskes’ book on Western Civilization and climate
d. go to www.Skepticalscience.com
e. Attend 350.org Houston meetings. Email me for location. For future schedule, 350 Houston
f. READ DRAWDOWN. Participate in the Drawdown Eco-Challenge.
g. Rent Inconvenient Truth or Time to Choose on Amazon videos.
h. To help you answer friends’ confusion about climate change, go to
i. Become a climate change presenter. Contact us for more information.
B) If you are employed in fossil fuel industry, that is fine. That’s just the way our economy is set up and you need a job. You didn’t create this current economy but we can all do the things below to quickly reduce the world’s green house gases. (Unless you don’t need your job and are funding denial- like the Koch brothers.)
Emissions from AGRICULTURE
C) Drastically reduce beef and other industrial agriculture product consumption- livestock (mostly cattle) cause more greenhouse gases than the transportation sector.
D) Don’t waste food. The typical American household throws away 25% of the food purchased. Food production is 4% of oil use. About 10% of all human-caused GHG are linked to food waste. When we waste food, we also waste wild habitat, water and energy. Fruits and veggies are most wasted most and then seafood so be careful in shopping. The average american wastes $450 in food a year.
Emissions from TRANSPORTATION
E) Don’t idle your car. Idling is responsible for 1.6% of GHG.
F) Rent a Nissan Leaf. Electric car. Range 80 miles. We have had one for 3 years and love it. If you don’t have solar panels on your house, electric cars have a national average of 54 MPG beating even the Prius. (Each region has a different fuel mix.) We have solar panels on our roof that provides our electricity. We produce extra solar electrons that go into the grid during the day offsetting someone else which offsets us at night. Or we could buy battery storage which would achieve the same thing.
G) Get a Tesla and drive across country on their charging stations instead of flying. Get a Chevy Bolt with a 200 plus range and price of $30,000. Take Greyhound. Buses are like 20% of emissions of planes. Or carpool in a hybrid. I fly to parents’ week-end and will if my mom gets really sick suddenly. But the last 5 out of 6 cross country or half cross country trips for me have been in a hybrid or on a Greyhound bus. When you do fly, buy offsets through Terra Pass. Advocate for a national high speed rail.
Emissions from DEFORESTATION
H) Plant a tree. Deforestation accounts for 10% of GHG emissions. New trees serve as carbon sinks. We bought a plot of acreage in Angleton that had been grazed to the ground twelve years ago. We let it grow back as forest.
Emissions from RESIDENTIAL
I) If you can, put solar panels on your house. We used Texas Solar Outfitters or come to our December 6th meeting on community solar if you don’t want to put panels up. Or put panels up with no upfront cost through http://www.solarcity.com/residential/states/texas-solar Solar City is now in town and you can lease your panels with capital costs upfront. The monthly lease payments are lower than your utility bill.
J) Install LED lights which use about 1/6 of the energy that incandescent bulbs use. Make sure your home is fully insulated.
K) Go to Smart Meter Texas and see your daily energy usage in 15 minute increments. This will help you see where you might be unwittingly using extra energy
L) Line dry your clothes. They dry in sun in 30 to 45 minutes. You can pretend you are in the Little House on the Prairie show.
M) Plant native plants and prairie flowers and grasses. The more biomass you have the more of a carbon sink you have. Prairie plants have much deeper roots than lawn grass and, therefore, sequester more carbon.
N) Green Mountain provides renewable energy electric plans. Including net metering if you have solar.
O) Get Local Sun power. It is community solar. During the day all your power comes from solar and they use REC to get solar offsets for the rest of your usage.
P) My latest after watching the scariest eco-documentary ever True Cost is to not buy new clothes till current ones are threadbare. Hemp is better than cotton because of all the chemicals spread on cotton. PERSONAL BENEFIT: I was motivated to lose weight so I could fit into cute clothes that were too small. 🙂
Emissions from TRANSPORTATION AND INDUSTRY
P) Reduce trash and recycling. http://world.350.org/houston/reduce-landfill-and-recycling-waste/
Don’t wait for someone else to save your kids’ and the biosphere’s future as we know it. Don’t turn away with hopes that the billionaires, the politicians, geoengineers, the scientists will save us. Some of these folks are killing themselves to help with this but can’t do it all by themselves. We have all benefited immensely from the fossil fuel era. For the longest time, many had no idea anthropogenic warming was even a problem. Those who have funded denial have a terrible degree of responsibility for this. But we know now- we are all responsible to an extent- and we just need to move forward.
*Q) Learn to grow your own vegetables.
R) Compost so that your vegetables grow healthier and organically.
S) Support the Farmer’s Market and buy food that grows less.
Make consumer choices to encourage companies to make green products
A) If everyone drove cars that were 50 percent more fuel efficient (on average 32 miles per gallon compared with 20.2 miles per gallon in 2008), we would save 3,300,000 barrels of oil per day or 1/3 of the country’s gasoline needs.
B)Even better, lease/buy electric cars. ( New more affordable, longer range generation of ELECTRIC CARS rolling out- a) Chevy’s new Bolt- about $30,000 after tax breaks and 200 miles on a fully charged battery. b)Tesla Model 3 (out in March)- $35,000 before incentives or $30,000 after and 200 miles. (Nissan leaf has been out for a with a range of 85 miles. Others as well.)) (Have more info if needed.) Transport is 15% of green house gas emissions.
1) You breathe cleaner air getting in and out of your car.
2) If charged by solar panels, you don’t contribute to the 30,000,000 US citizens with asthma or other respiratory problems. Even if charged off of grid, cleaner air than the most efficient hybrid.
3) For folks living in warmer regions, gives off 80% less heat than gas vehicles.
C)Lease solar panels through a company like Solar City with no upfront cost. There are a million solar installations in the US. http://www.solarcity.com/residential/states/texas-solar
D)Buy LED lights
E) If you happen to build a house, build a LEED certified one.
F) If you are a shareholder, be mindful of opporutunities to ask for climate responsibility and push for stronger sustainability standards.
A) Join 350.org
Houston to educate yourself more on climate and to fight for our kids’ future through public awareness campaigns, specific direct action activities and other actions presented in this email. Facebook350.org
B)Join League of Conservation Voters and send in their action letters. They generate thousands of letters around various causes. Clean Power Act got something like two million comments. All you do is click on the action letter and send. Takes perhaps 2 minutes.
C) Volunteer for Citizen’s CLimate Lobby. This group advocates for a price on carbon where all the revenues are returned to households in an equal amount regardless of GHG emissions created by household. So lower income households end up making money.
A) Call/e-mail Mayor Turner and thank him for his leadership in signing the letter to show that cities support the Paris Climate Treaty.
B) Call your house members and say to vote against HR 637 which would over ride the Supreme Court’s decision to allow the EPA to regulate greenhouse emissions since the Endangerment finding showed that GHGs are a threat to public health.
C) Call your representatives to not support HR 831 that would abolish the EPA. This is said to be unlikely but who knows in this political climate.
D) Follow bills that would cut the EPAs budget and staff under likely EPA head Pruitt.
E) Ask US Congresspeople to put a fee on fossil fuels to serve as a market price on pollution and CO2. Then advocate the return of the revenue to the American people. Right now the rest of society is footing the bill for the externalities of fossil fuels. Google Citizen’s Climate Lobby.
F) Simply call your representatives and tell them you are concerned about climate change in general. Reps in some of the states/districts say they don’t do anything because they don’t hear about it from constituents so they think no one cares. Give them political cover to do something. Ask them to support renewable job growth like China did. China now has 2.5 million solar jobs. That could have been us. Don’t make another country the powerhouse of the next economy- the Renewable. Just Google your representative and the word contact and the phone numbers come right up. They are more likely to listen if you say things politely.
G) Call Attorney General Paxton’s office and ask why they are suing the Clean Power Plan. Republicans in Congress didn’t like the market based cap and trade. They are not responding to lobbyist proposed market based fee and dividend. They say the CPP plan is executive overreach by Obama but Obama has had far fewer executive orders than Clinton or Bush according to the economist. Ask him if he can come up with some other plan to save the climate. BTW, governor Greg Abbott’s office says that he doesn’t “believe” in climate change. (I wonder if he believes in thermometers?) Also, according to the New York Times, Greg Abbott, when running for AG, received $2.5 million from fossil fuel companies. Ken Paxton received $400,000 from fossil fuel companies.
H) Finally, for Republicans that deny science and block progress, we need to vote in replacements. Support James Cargas against John Culberson in the 7th congressional district and Beto O’Rourke for Cruz’s Senate seat in 2018.