It’s no secret that the world in the midst of a climate crisis. With scientists warning that parts of the world may be uninhabitable by 2050, and with global climate strikes taking place, the sense of urgency to make a positive difference is higher than ever.
However, you may think you can’t make an impact as just one person, but Jacob Gitman, a prominent scientist that has authored more than 50 scientific publications, would say you’re wrong. In fact, there are some measures you can take right now that can slow down climate change — and they will cost little to nothing to implement them.
In fact, they may even save you money over the long-term.
1. Use Your Vote
Every citizen in a democratic country has the ability to direct his or her leadership. That means you can get behind a party or candidate that is taking climate change seriously.
That’s not just a party that promises reform — it means a party that has a clear platform of addressing the crisis with dollar values attached to it for transparency. Jacob Gitman suggests being proactive by telling your local representative that you won’t be voting for their party again unless they start outlining a plan for the environment.
Tell friends and family that are on the fence about their vote that climate change should be a priority, and help educate them on whose proposed policies best address it.
2. Review Your Energy Usage
There are probably a number of power-sucking appliances and devices in your house that are not only padding your energy bill, but also increasing the demand for electricity.
Jacob Gitman says one way you can quickly address this is by (responsibly) tossing out those incandescent light bulbs and switching to LEDs or compact fluorescent lamps. Also beware of “phantom power” devices in your home, and unplug them when they’re not in use.
Try using warm water instead of hot when you’re doing a load of laundry. If your jurisdiction allows it, try drying your clothes on a clothesline outdoors rather than running the dryer, which can require up to 5,000 watts. If you’re replacing appliances like your washer/dryer, make sure you buy Energy Star rated products.
Don’t let your home’s heat or cold escape — instead, add weather-stripping around doors and windows that have an air leak, and even use heavy curtains and other window coverings. If you have ceiling fans, make sure they’re running clockwise during the colder months, as it will spread the warmth more efficiently through the room.
3. Reduce Your Transportation Footprint
It’s pretty tempting to sit in your comfy, air-conditioned vehicle on the way to work and back. But unfortunately, transportation is a big contributor the polluting emissions that are driving the average global temperatures upwards.
You don’t have to give up your vehicle altogether, notes Jacob Gitman. You can carpool, get a vehicle with fewer emissions (electric or hybrid), or try a car-share program (where you can rent cars only when you really need them, often by the hour).
For those in close proximity to work and necessities, you can also walk, ride your bike (make sure you have the right safety gear including a helmet) and take public transit. The bonus is that these modes of transportation are not only better for the environment; they’re beneficial to your health, too.
Start Making a Difference Today
As someone who has achieved a lot over a career, including being an inventor, Dr. Jacob Gitman can tell you that the power of one person is probably more than you think.
So, start implementing these tips today, and encourage your friends and family to do the same. Your actions will make a difference, and they might help to inspire others too!