Monday, November 22, 2021

You Too Can Fight Climate Change

Annamaria on Monday

Climate change is everywhere.  


Clearly, governments and corporations absolutely must do the heavy lifting to save us all from this threat. We must pressure them to do so, in every way we can.


On the other hand, there are billions of human beings on this planet, and by collectively putting in some effort, we can certainly help.  Besides, by pitching in – changing our habits and the way we live in our homes—we will energize ourselves to fight the good fight politically.

Photo: Reuters 

Let’s begin with the art of the doable.  Here are some simple, easy ways we can reduce our individual carbon footprints:


We can switch our thinking about what feels comfortable for the season. I have been fuming about this for years. In my country, where the populous's fossil fuel consumption is 4-times the world average, people typically heat their homes to 74F (23C) in winter and cool them to 68F (20C) in summer.  This is the opposite of sense both economically and environmentally.   For heating, a one-degree temperature reduction means a 6% drop in energy consumed.  Since 68° feels comfortable in summer, why not set your thermostat to 68 in the winter.  You will reduce your environmental impact of heating your home by 48%. I think my math is right, so why not be sensible.  If you feel a little chilly, there is that marvelous invention—the sweater.  I know.  It’s low-tech.  But also nice and cozy.


In summer, given the fact that AC eats up even more power than heat, a 74°-degree indoor temp will really reduce your carbon footprint.

Our sacred planet comes with the wonderful convenience of evaporation. This means we never have to expend energy to dry things.  Left to themselves, wet socks will become dry socks. And, mirabile dictu, wet dishes will become dry dishes. Marvelous, ain’t it?  And, when it comes to clothing, cold-water washing will almost always do. Run the washing machine on the cold cycle.  Then put your clothing on a rack to dry.  This is not merely an environmentally friendly way to clean your clothes. These measures will also make them last longer, eliminating the environmental costs of producing and transporting replacements.


Run the washing machine when you have a full load.  Do the same with the dishwasher, if you have such a blessing in your life.  Put it in energy-saving mode.  You don’t need to consume fossil fuels to dry your forks and spoons. When the wash and rinse cycle is over, all you have to do is open the door a crack and let the stuff sit there for a while. E’ voila’—dry dishes!

Food is a huge issue when it comes to environmental impact.  By now you have heard that a plant-based diet is the most environmentally friendly.  As woman passionately concerned with this issue, I have the terrible challenge of also having more than a score of allergies and sensitivities to plant-based foods.  The best I can do is to eat meat, poultry, and fish in smaller amounts.  

BUT there are lots of other things to work on when it comes to food.  Most important is to buy locally. Dragging lettuce from Arizona to the Northeast or flying fresh asparagus from Chile to Chicago in January is environmentally nuts.  We Americans do far too much of this.  Also, by actual tonnage, in the US 40% of food is wasted.  This means also wasting all the energy it took to grow it, transport it, all the related packaging floating around in the oceans.  On top of that, wasted food puts carbon back into the atmosphere as it rots in landfills.  YUCK!  So, buy as much as you will actually consume and shop more often, so that less of what you tote home will go off and have to go into the trash.


Also, be sensitive to the packaging your food comes in.  No matter how carefully you separate your trash, only 5-10% of plastic is actually recycled.  A loose head of local lettuce is a great deal more environmentally friendly than one in a plastic box that crossed a continent to get to you.  Yes, you’ll have to wash it yourself.  Swallow your pride and, if you are in a drought area, use the drained H2O to water your petunias.

Buying local will help, no matter what you are buying.  Need a screwdriver or want to buy a book?  You can go online and order it, or you can go to a local store and find it waiting for you.  This transaction has far less environmental impact, saving costs of individual transportation and packaging.  


Doing research for this post, I have caught myself in waste I had not thought of.  From now on, I will shut down my computer when I am going to be away from it for hours.  Even when it is snoozing, it is—in a manner of speaking—eating up fossil fuel.

From tonight on: Good night, room.   Good night, iMac and the man in the moon.


  1. Thanks for reminding us of these simple things, Annamaria. I agree that it's too easy to just push it all off on governments and do nothing ourselves. Billions of people can make a difference.

  2. All good points, Sis. Now on to implementation!!