12 Fossil Free Challenges You Can Start Today
- Spend a week without a car. We all know that cars use fossil fuels and by living in Chicago we have the luxury of avoiding them. But have you ever gone a day, week, or month without relying on a car? Have you ever biked to work? Think about overcoming the obstacles that you have to biking, walking, using public transit or other ways to reduce your transportation footprint.
- Spend a week as a vegan. Animal products are one of the less understood contributors to greenhouse gases, but the impact is just as real. According to some estimates, beef gives off more than six pounds of carbon dioxide per serving; the amount created per serving by rice, legumes carrots, apples or potatoes is less than half a pound.
- Attend a farmer’s market for the first time or sign up for a CSA. Transportation is a smaller portion of agriculture greenhouse gases, but it is still important. And buying local supports the local economy and small farms. Your body will also thank you because you’ll likely be eating healthier! Go to bandoffarmers.org to find a market near you.
- Avoid wasting any food for a month. On average, Americans waste around 40 percent of the food they buy. If we simply produced less food, we would produce fewer greenhouse gases.
- Sign up for a composting service, or compost yourself. When waste sits in a landfill without oxygen, the natural process of decay cannot occur. This produces greenhouse gases.
- Change your energy provider to a renewable energy company. Reducing reliance on electricity generated by coal is a great way to cut the fossil fuel cord!
- Replace inefficient lights. LED lights use up to 85 percent less energy, last up to 25 times longer, and are cheaper to run than incandescent lights.
- Use reusable bags and straws, not plastic. Always bring a reusable bag when shopping to reduce the massive amount of plastic that is accumulating in our oceans. Decline straws when dining out.
- Call all of your representatives. Call all of your representatives (state house, state senate, alderman, 2 senators, and house). Express your support for green initiatives or research a green bill that you support and ask your representative to support it as well.
- If you have to fly, make up for the emissions caused by donating money to sustainable projects. You can use a third-party like Atmosfair or Terrapass. (You can calculate the emissions per flight at https://www.icao.int/environmental-protection/CarbonOffset/Pages/default.aspx.)
- Avoid using disposable dishes and cups for one week.
Bring your own, do the dishes. If you order takeout, wash and reuse the plastic containers that food often comes in. Bring your own reusable cutlery to work. Bring your own coffee travel mug to coffee shops.
- Find a local climate action group or meetup in your area.DONE! : )
Editor’s Note: List compiled by Chicago 350 members. Many of these topics also appear in the New York Times, “Living Better Guide: How to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint.” Image from the NYT article.