Climate change is definitely real and something we should all be doing our part to fix! The best part? It’s so much easier than you think!
- Reduce matters a lot more than reuse or recycle
We all know the Schoolhouse Rock song, and hopefully, we all also know the Mitchell Musso cover that SLAPS, but what you might not know is that those things are listed in order of priority. It’s great to do all three, but reduce makes way more of a difference than the other two. Do your part by only buying food you know you’ll eat, get a reusable water bottle, metal straws, or shopping bag if you’ll use them (those Trader Joe bags look a lot less cute sitting on your floor because you forgot them for the millionth time, @ me). Buy less, reduce the amount of waste you produce (there are tons of guides and examples online of people trying zero-waste challenges for different amounts of time- check it out!!)
It doesn’t have to be crazy, start small if going totally vegan or vegetarian is too big of a shift for you (I love chicken burritos too!) Start with a smaller step, try cutting back on or eliminating just red meat (which is a significant environmental impact on its own), or try implementing something like Meatless Mondays. It doesn’t have to be super intense, though power to you if that is the move for you, but if everyone just does a little bit it’ll make a huge impact.
- Heating and Cooling Your Home
Listen, turning off lights is good, but heating & cooling take up about 50% of most homes electricity use. Reduce your footprint by maybe cutting back on one of the two, especially heating. I know it’s cold in Madison, but maybe grab an extra blanket instead of cranking up the heat, or turn on a fan rather than blasting the AC.
You have so many options- lucky you!! You can walk, bike (Madison is consistently ranked one of the most bike friendly cities in the US!), take public transit or carpool. While I’m sure this isn’t the first time you’re hearing this, something that people don’t share quite as often is that, if it’s something you have a choice in like where to go for dinner, you can always go somewhere closer- walking to a restaurant near you is a lot better than a bus trip downtown.
- Political pressure on your representatives!
This is really where a lot of the big change is gonna come from. Call your representatives, read up on these issues and the policies that go with them and make sure that you’re an educated voter (@ Wisconsinites, your vote is very important and counts a lot!!! Please vote!!!). Reusable straws and composting at home are great ways to start, but getting involved at the higher levels is really gonna create meaningful change.
Happy Earth Day!!!! You are now equipped to go out there and single-handedly save the world, so go do it!