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What Can We Do? Climate Change

intparentintparent 36291 replies644 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
I don’t know if we have a thread on this, but thought I’d start one. My kids and I have been talking about what we can do in our daily lives to impact climate change. I thought we could use a thread to pool ideas. No judgement - I think people have to make their own decisions about what changes they can make. And no politics - again, people need to make their own decisions on that front. Also... if you think individual activity is hopeless, please go start a different thread and don’t add it here.

So...here is what D1 and I talked about:
- Transit: We are both pretty big transit users at this time in our lives. D and her H only own one car. They are looking for a new home, and transit access is high on their criteria list. I picked the car with the best mileage from my final list of options (although did not buy a hybrid or electric). I walk a lot for errands vs taking my car.

How can we do better? We talked about using the pool option on the occasions when we take Uber.

- Food: Food waste creates methane - we both try hard to shop from lists and eat what we consume. We both eat less beef and pork, more chicken and eggs than we used to. And trying to add a few more vegetarian dishes into our rotations.

How can we do better? D recently started experimenting with making vegetarian lunches - she was making farrow & mushroom risotto yesterday. I’m going to try this, too.

- Flying: We are going to look into carbon offsets. Has anyone researched or used them?

- Population: We talked about how ex-H and I had deliberately only “replaced ourselves” by having 2 kids. This feels like a big opportunity area to us - reducing the worldwide population growth rate is probably one of the most direct ways to limit future climate change. We talked about looking into supporting more family planning organizations and other organizations that impact family size (like ones that support educating women). Current world population is 7.7 billion, projected to be 10 billion by 2050.

So — what suggestions do you have?
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Replies to: What Can We Do? Climate Change

  • CheddarcheeseMNCheddarcheeseMN 3370 replies11 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited November 2018
    Consuming less and producing less waste. Someone in my neighborhood FB page is holding meetings for those interested in becoming zero waste households - seems more aspirational to me but she has been posting tips and encouragement.

    Planting butterfly and pollinator gardens

    Also eating less meat

    Not using our underground outdoor watering system. An aging system came with our house but after getting it repaired a couple of years in a row, we just decided not to use it.

    * actually mine aren't necessarily all climate change-related but are environment-improving
    edited November 2018
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  • BunsenBurnerBunsenBurner 38933 replies468 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Fashion industry creates ungodly amounts of waste... I am long done with disposable clothes. This would be a good place to start for many.

    I am not saying that we are environmental angels. But here is what we do that we think minimizes our impact. One of us drives an EV, and the other takes the bus, and we plan on adding solar to our house. The gas guzzler is almost 20 years old (yikes) and only has 48k miles on the odo. Mostly used for trips to HD etc. We also killed the irrigation system at the new place. If something does not survive without extra added water, too bad.
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  • MaineLonghornMaineLonghorn 38469 replies2107 threadsSuper Moderator Super Moderator
    edited November 2018
    MODERATOR'S NOTE: I like the idea of this thread, but please pay attention to the OP and avoid political discussion.
    edited November 2018
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  • tsicklestsickles 26 replies0 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    What are "disposable clothes?" I work in manufacturing. Disposable clothes are Tyvek suits and the like, for working with hazardous chemicals and such. I am assuming this is not what you're referring to. Just curious!
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  • BunsenBurnerBunsenBurner 38933 replies468 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited November 2018
    I guess you like quality clothes and do not follow fads! Which is a good thing. Disposable fashion exists. Clothes that are not meant to be single-use but actually are because they are so cheaply made that they don't survive washing without becoming shapeless. Clothing fads that mean the clothes will not be worn again for more than one season (think cold shoulder, bell sleeves, bright neon colors, etc.)

    I don't want to link the article because it could start a political war, but there are some accounts that fashion industry (actually, textile industries) accounts for 10% of the global carbon emissions. Not sure if that number is correct, but it is quite believable.
    edited November 2018
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  • suzy100suzy100 5695 replies58 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Reduce and reuse here too. I try to avoid any plastic whenever possible. I use cloth bags to grocery shop and decline bags when I can for other things. I try to make one trip to pick things up, instead of several. I've cut back on eating meat. Also lower the thermostat in winter and put it up a bit higher in summer. I also plant flowers/plants that attract bees and monarchs.
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  • BunsenBurnerBunsenBurner 38933 replies468 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Another clothes-related point. Does that pair of jeans need to be washed after every use or can it be worn more than once? We try to minimize our laundry and only buy drycleanable clothes if there is no other alternative (a suit, for example).
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  • showmom858showmom858 2926 replies16 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    @BunsenBurner - I know someone that works for one of the large designer jeans brands and they say you should not wash your jeans very often at all. Especially dark wash ones!
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  • rosered55rosered55 4164 replies124 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Many municipalities are on the forefront of climate change issues because paying for responses to weather and environmental problems almost always is expected to come from the specific area affected. So pay attention to what's going on in your local community and in your state regarding land use, water use, mass transit, etc.
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  • intparentintparent 36291 replies644 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited November 2018
    Here is another - I try to only do laundry and run the dishwasher when I have a pretty full load. I was following Flylady for a while (when had a kiddo at home) and she says run the dishwasher daily as a habit. While I can see it as part of being organized with a bigger family, it is a water wasting habit.

    We gave up paper napkins (mostly) a while ago. Bought some nice colorful cloth napkins at World Market. I’ve been trying to cut down on paper towel consumption—kind of a struggle for me, though. I bought some bar mop clothes and that helped.

    I also try to use washable containers for sandwiches, snacks, etc that I take to work instead of baggies. But I could do better — I don’t like to microwave in plastic, so I sometimes take a disposable paper bowl on those days. I’m going to look for a glass container I can use instead. I do take real flatware and a cloth napkin in my lunch.
    edited November 2018
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  • BunsenBurnerBunsenBurner 38933 replies468 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    We still use paper napkins but I don't recall when it was the last time I used a paper towel. 2 large packs of dish towels from Costco last me more than a week before needing to do a load of laundry.
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  • momofsenior1momofsenior1 7304 replies56 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Here's what we've been doing:

    - Got rid of vehicle so we'll be a one care household (only works because we now live in a very walkable area with good public transportation)

    - We have cut back our meat consumption and try to eat vegetarian or pescatarian at least 1/2 the week. We also try to support local farms and eat organic.

    - We recycle whenever possible

    - I carry my own canvas and nylon bags and don't take plastic bags from stores (highly recommend the nylon bags that can be folded down into little squares. I keep one in each of my purses as I've found that sometimes I unexpectedly need them).

    - Run loads of laundry and dishes only when full.

    - Use only cold water for laundry.

    - Programmable thermostats so we aren't wasting energy when we aren't home.


    Love the idea of buying carbon offsets but haven't done it yet.

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  • lookingforwardlookingforward 34219 replies379 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Our recycling doesn't want paper towels or napkins. I try to avoid any styrofoam, also not in our program.

    Interesting to me, when I learned it: a lot of the recycled products we like (eg, the corn based disposable drink cups or water bottles- or even the newer permanent sorts) still take energy to make and transport. And recycle.

    It's so New England to turn the heat down. One thing I'm nuts about is not running water more than needed. Eg, not keeping it on when brushing teeth or loading the dishwasher. I can't get past the fact all that natural water is treated and chlorinated, etc. I no longer use the take home plastic containers at the salad bar or deli counter. The plastic deli bags seem lower impact. (Wish they'd just wrap things like the butcher does, in paper.)
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  • LeastComplicatedLeastComplicated 1027 replies36 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    My daughter became a vegetarian and I joined her. I also made a goal this year to not buy a lot of cheap disposable gifts this Christmas. Instead, I'm going to purchase each family member just a few well made items that should last longer. It was really discouraging last year when half of the stuff I bought my girls for Christmas fell apart after a couple of washes.

    Here's a chart I found online that's got some good information.

    https://www.wri.org/blog/2017/04/interactive-chart-explains-worlds-top-10-emitters-and-how-theyve-changed
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  • intparentintparent 36291 replies644 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    I have a bad habit of restarting the dryer if I’m too busy to fold clothes immediately (I hate to iron, but mostly own things that don’t need it as long as they are removed from the dryer promptly). I’m trying to be more conscious of what I’m doing while it runs so I can be ready to fold when it is done,

    I’m going to try to figure out how to reduce the junk mail coming in my door.
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  • CreeklandCreekland 5754 replies89 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Forget all sorts of styles and fashions (not just clothes). Only replace something when it literally can't be repaired any longer. There are exceptions for this with OLD appliances and cars (newer ones are better for the environment).

    Ask, "Do I really need that?" Usually the answer is no. Leaf blowers come to mind.

    Dandelions are gorgeous. Ditto that with other wildflowers. "Picture perfect" lawns kept that way via chemicals and extra watering are awful for our planet.

    Going more vegetarian is better for us and our planet.

    Donate anything you no longer want that can be used by someone else. Don't trash it. Art classes at schools accept some things to reuse. Shop classes sometimes do too.

    Young trees are good for our planet so don't ditch everything made from them - esp for plastic alternatives.

    Many others that pps have mentioned.
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  • Bromfield2Bromfield2 3573 replies35 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    I'm getting a hybrid SUV--pick it up tomorrow. We put LED lights into every light fixture in the house. I run the dishwasher only when its full. Also, recycle and buy from local farms. DH love to fish and I usually cryopack and freeze the fish he catches, which we can't eat right away (mostly summer flounder and tuna).


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  • threebeansthreebeans 720 replies33 threadsRegistered User Member
    We put in LED lights when we remodeled out kitchen 5 - 6 years ago and still haven't changed a light bulb! I will try to let heavier things air dry inside, especially towels in the winter - it helps with indoor humidity and they actually dry rather fast! From a conservation point of view, many older toilets and shower heads use a lot more water than new ones. We are in a rural area so we can't use mass transportation, but I can buy beef on the hoof half a mile from my house :)
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  • rosered55rosered55 4164 replies124 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited November 2018
    One of my friends is a vegan, and she said to me the other day (about a coworker), "How can he call himself an environmentalist when he's not a vegan?" I thought, but didn't say, "How can people who have children call themselves environmentalists?" It was a sarcastic thought; that is, I don't actually believe it. But just a reminder that there are many ways for human beings to contribute to reducing the use of energy and natural resources.
    edited November 2018
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