5 Solutions for Climate Change


Marissa Johnson, Reporter

What can one person do on their own to slow and reverse climate change? More than you think. The first challenge is eliminating the burning of coal, oil and, natural gas. This is perhaps the biggest challenge. Try to use alternatives as much as possible: plant-derived plastics, biodiesel, wind power—to invest in the change, by divesting from oil stocks or investing in companies practicing carbon capture and storage.

Buildings worldwide contribute around one third of all greenhouse gas emissions (43 percent in the U.S. alone), even though investing in thicker insulation and other cost-effective, temperature-regulating steps can save money in the long run. Investing in new infrastructure, or upgrading existing highways and transmission lines, would help cut greenhouse gas emissions and drive economic growth in developing countries.

Transportation is the second leading source of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. (burning a single gallon of gasoline produces 20 pounds of CO2). But it doesn’t have to be that way. One way to dramatically cut down on transportation is to move closer to work, use mass transit, or switch to walking, cycling or some other mode of transport that does not require anything other than human energy. There is also the option of working from home and telecommuting several days a week.

Stop Cutting Down Trees: Every year, 33 million acres of forests are cut down. Timber harvesting in the tropics alone contributes 1.5 billion metric tons of carbon to the atmosphere. When purchasing wood products, such as furniture or flooring, buy used goods or wood certified to have been sustainably harvested. The Amazon and other forests are not just the lungs of the earth, they may also be humanity’s best short-term hope for limiting climate change.

Unplug; U.S. citizens spend more money on electricity to power devices when off than when on. Televisions, stereo equipment, computers, battery chargers and a host of other gadgets and appliances consume more energy when seemingly switched off, so unplug them instead.