Changing the Course of Climate Change

President Joe Biden started his presidency by rejoining the Paris Climate Agreement and restoring environmental protection laws that were rolled back during Donald Trump’s presidency. Unfortunately, we still have a long way to go. The EPA’s loss of senior staff and budget cuts will make reinstating regulations harder.

Hearing that can be disheartening, but what can you do to help heal the Earth? Well, you don’t need to be Greta Thunberg to make a difference. There are so many small things we can do that will add up in the fight against climate change.

  1. 1. V is for Victory!

    Start your very own victory garden! Victory Gardens were started during World War I to alleviate the growing food shortage when people were already starving because of the war. A food crisis in Europe started when farms were taken over and consumed by the war and European farmers were recruited to fight. The US began to feed millions all over the world. Charles Lathrop Pack began encouraging citizens to join the war effort by growing their own vegetable gardens so more food could be sent to those starving.

    Those victory gardens are still relevant today and in a really big way. If you have access to a patch of dirt, start planting your own vegetables and fruit. Not only will you be saving money on groceries, but you’ll be cutting your carbon footprint, too. By growing food in your yard, you’re cutting out the fuel needed to get those vegetables from the farm to the grocery store and finally to your table. If you decide not to use pesticides, you know the tomatoes you grew won’t be contributing to Colony Collapse Disorder caused by the pesticide poisoning that’s been wiping out beehives all over the world.

    We may not be going through a world war, but in March 2020, there were reports of food shortages due to COVID-19 restrictions. Measures taken to reduce the spread of the virus caused a shortage of agricultural workers. A victory garden can ensure you have enough food on your plate, while also leaving food at the grocery store for those who won't be able to grow their own garden if there ever is another food shortage.

  2. 2. Start Reducing Baby!

    black and white nightstand with lamp, tissues, mug, and charger

    Reducing your waste in the middle of the pandemic is going to be hard. People are using single-use gloves, masks and hand sanitizer in order to protect themselves. Which is completely understandable! No one should ever make you feel guilty for protecting yourself. You should not put your health at risk just to be a bit more eco-friendly.

    So, what can you do? Well, reduce doesn’t just mean stop using physical things like water bottles or straws. Most of us are social distancing and spending most of our time at home. Harvard says you should make sure you’re unplugging phone chargers and other cables that aren’t being used. If you have a computer, make sure you turn it off. If you haven’t already, switch to LED lights once your current light bulbs go out. And the easiest of all is turning off the light or tv when you aren’t in a room or when there’s sun out.

    What can you do to reduce your material waste? Well, if you’re ordering your favorite comfort food from Uber Eats, ask the restaurant not to include any napkins, sauce packets, forks or other utensils you already have at the house. Why do you need a single-use fork to eat your take out when you have a perfectly good reusable one sitting in a drawer somewhere?

  3. 3. Reuse EVERYTHING!

    glass jar filled with chia seed pudding and raspberries

      We all hear it. We need to reuse! But sometimes it’s hard to think of a new purpose for an empty hair mask jar or a can of soup.

      Take an empty tomato sauce jar and use it to store leftovers or take your lunch to school. You'll be reducing the amount of waste you create by ordering take out and prevent another jar from going into the landfill.

      If you don’t have the space for a victory garden, you can start your own container garden instead! Plant succulents in small jars or cans then decorate your room with them.

      Did you get a gift basket filled with goodies over the holidays and now you have no idea what to do with the basket? Fill it with dirt and plant local wildflowers. You’ll get a gorgeous new addition for your balcony or porch, reduce the amount of waste you create, and help your local pollinators thrive!

    • 4. Just Go Vote!

      One person cannot hold corporations and factories accountable for the pollution they create. 100 companies are responsible for over 70% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. Coca-Cola is the world’s number one plastic polluter! No amount of plastic straw bans is ever going to fix our situation if we don't hold companies accountable for the pollution they’ve created.

      That’s why we need to vote for politicians who will work hard to fight the climate crisis. If you truly want to be eco-friendly, then register to vote! Stay up to date with your state’s climate change policies. What bills are your representatives and senators voting on? We need to be informed before we can hold them accountable for their actions.

      Write to your senators and representatives to let them know what you expect from them when it comes to climate reform. If you don’t know who you’re representative is, that’s okay! Click here to find out who they are and how you can contact them.

      Our congresspeople work for us and we need to let them know what we expect from them. If they aren’t doing a good job of representing us and our community, then it's time to vote them out.

    We have so much power to make a difference. Something as small as voting is what’s going to make turning off the lights and reusing jars worth it in the end. The work ahead of us can seem daunting, but we can do incredible things when we work together to hold ourselves and our leaders accountable for climate change.