Trying to live a greener life can be discouraging when faced with the reality. Any small change made by an individual might not make a big impact, but does that mean we shouldn’t try? On the contrary, now it’s more important than every that we strive to reduce our carbon footprint and work for a more eco-friendly existence. Choosing to live a greener life may seem daunting in the beginning. There are so many different products to buy and so many different changes to make. Where should a person begin? I always start with research. Before we can begin cleaning, purging, recycling, and living our greenest life possible, we must understand what it means to be eco-friendly and why it’s so important.
The Importance of Green Living
I would love to believe climate change is overhyped and just a big hoax. It’s not. The data is pretty clear. We’re destroying our planet and doing little to stop it. This is one of many reasons why I’ve decided to get involved in the green movement. Even if climate change was a hoax, why wouldn’t we invest in green energy and taking care of the planet? I want future generations to enjoy the beauty of nature like I did as a kid.
As a person who has changed my mind about political issues many times over, I took due diligence when researching this topic. I’ve read articles by those who believe it’s a hoax, and those who believe it’s a natural phenomenon, most of which are rarely written by climatologists or experts in the field. In fact, I’ve found many of the videos and articles on the Internet that downplay climate change come from organizations that are funded by oil companies. Take Prager U, for instance, which constantly minimizes the dangers of global warming. One of their main funders is the Wilks brothers (the fracking billionaires). No surprise there.
Fortunately, there are plenty of resources online to help confirm the data. I’ve found the doubters are slowly backing away from their original position as more evidence is revealed. For instance, the people who used to say that the planet wasn’t warming at all no longer say so. How could they? We’ve been breaking heat records for the past two decades. Many of the doubters have now taken the position of “yes, it’s happening, but it’s totally natural.”
The evidence says something different. According to NASA’s report, “The current warming trend is of particular significance because it is unequivocally the result of human activity since the mid-20th century and proceeding at a rate that is unprecedented over millennia.”
Then there are those who say this phenomenon is not caused by humans. The evidence begs to differ in this case as well. Carbon Brief analyzed factors that contribute to the Earth’s warming and cooling cycles and found, “The global warming witnessed over the past 150 years matches nearly perfectly what is expected from greenhouse gas emissions and other human activity, both in the simple model examined here and in more complex climate models. The best estimate of the human contribution to modern warming is around 100%.”
My favorite resource is the book “How to Prepare for Climate Change” by David Pogue. His matter-of-fact approach to explaining many of the misunderstandings surrounding climate change paired with common sense preparation has given me some peace of mind. There’s also a YouTube video by the author under the same title that I highly recommend watching.
Biggest Climate Change Contributors
One myth I’d like to put an end to is that the individual is the cause of climate change, and is therefore, responsible for mitigating its effects. The truth is roughly ⅔ of carbon emissions come from about 90 companies. The burning of fossil fuels is the biggest contributor to climate change, and unfortunately, fossil fuels are used in nearly every part of of lives from production to transportation. It’s discouraging to think our small changes such as riding a bike or turning off the lights when we leave the room are having virtually no impact on the climate crisis, but does that mean we should stop trying? Not at all.
Green living serves a larger purpose than reducing one’s carbon footprint. It’s overall healthier and and more economical. When enough people make small changes, it can have a big impact. That’s why I try to stress that while as individuals we’re not to blame, we should still share in the responsibility of living our lives as sustainably as possible. Another thing to consider is our adaptability. As the climate crisis worsens, we’ll have no choice but to make greener decisions as global warming will continue to affect they way we eat, shop, travel, work, and play.
The biggest contributors to climate change including oil companies and major complications must be held accountable, but we’ll get to that in a minute. If you look at the breakdown of the biggest climate change contributors Transportation (28%), Electricity (25%), Industry (23%), Commercial/Residential (13%), Agriculture (10%), we can start to determine where we, as individuals, can help to reduce our contribution to green house gas emissions. When we evaluate the ways we use transportation, our electrical consumption, how much we shop or depend on industry, and how we eat, work, and live our lives, we can develop a better understanding of the ways we can cut back. So if you’re discouraged, don’t give up. You’re not alone and we can fight this fight together.