18 July 2011

Five for Starting

Earlier in the month, I gave my top five reasons for addressing global warming. Now, I want to give five things people can do to help address it.

You'll see different versions of this list everywhere, but I want to give those who are starting out on this task something to get the process going. With that in mind, hopefully, you'll find most of these steps closely connected.

1. Calculate your carbon footprint. This will get you started and give you a baseline from which to work. Various carbon footprint calculators exists. If you have trouble finding one, refer to my post about The Nature Conservancy's calculator.

2. Make a list of things you do that use energy sources like electricity and gas. Using a carbon footprint calculator can help with this list because as you answer the questions for the calculation, you can note the sources of energy consumption the calculator includes.

3. Use the list from the second suggestion to make plans to cut energy use (use power strips to turn off appliances when you aren't using them; use fluorescent light bulbs; take shorter showers). The carbon footprint calculator can help with this list too.

4. Drive less by consolidating trips, walking, bicycling, and/or taking public transportation.

5. Contact your elected officials and ask them to create legislation that limits carbon emissions. This last suggestion is a little different than the others, but it is important because it deals with the larger system. It's great if individuals are doing their part, but the society as a whole must be set up to limit emissions, and elected officials are the ones responsible for that. For information about how to contact your elected officials, click here. The link allows you to find and contact officials, including the president, members of Congress, governors, and members of your state's legislature. Don't underestimate the impact of contacting these officials. Please let them know it's important to you that they address global warming with legislation.

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