After a bit of brainstorming, I have come up with a short list of interesting ways that we can turn around the trend of climate change.
1. Drive golf carts: if everyone drove solar-powered golf carts, the demand for fossil fuels would decline rapidly. Also, most golf carts have a maximum speed of about 20-25 mph. It would be very difficult to be in a hurry if everyone were driving golf carts. This would lead to a more leisurely and pleasant lifestyle as well as reduced carbon emissions. This may seem like an unrealistic goal, but several communities have already adopted this practice.
2. Walk barefoot: walking without shoes will make you reconsider how important and necessary concrete is. I was in Hawaii years ago talking with a guy that was born there and somehow we got on the topic of concrete. He said, “yeah that stuff is so hard, it will break your feet.” Then I started thinking about all the locals I had seen walking and hiking barefoot and it began to make sense. Of course, one has to be careful about walking barefoot because there are so many sharp things that we might cut our feet on. Less concrete means more soil, which can store more carbon.
3. Let your kids play in the dirt: nature deficit disorder is becoming a serious threat to the health of many children. One easy way to fix this problem is by encouraging your kids to play outside and get dirty. You will find that most kids prefer playing outside to video games and tv once they get used to it. Also, playing outside requires no electricity.
4. Build something out of old materials: this is a green and creative challenge. One of my favorite things to build out of old materials are treehouses. Instead of buying new lumber to build a treehouse, scour the neighborhood for old boards and other building materials to make a tree hideaway.
6. Go hunting: hunting may seem primitive and barbaric to some people, but for those that eat meat, killing one’s own food can be a very connecting experience. Factory-farmed meats uses lots of energy, water and chemicals to produce the delicacies that we buy in the grocery store. When you have to hunt, kill and clean your own food you become more aware of what is involved in eating meat and use fewer resources doing so.
7. Pee outside: peeing outside saves water and energy and it is fun if no one is watching. According to the American Water Works Research Foundation, flushing the toilet accounts for 26.7% of total daily residential water use. It is most likely the single largest use of water in your home. This means that if everyone pees outside half of the time, we could save about 2.4 billion gallons of water every day in the United States!!! Imagine how many wetlands could be restored with this saved water. Wetlands store more carbon than any other form of vegetation and thus greatly help reduce the emission of greenhouse gases. They also provide habitat for thousands of different plant and animal species!
8. Buy local food: local food uses less energy for transportation and growing than food shipped over long distances. Some studies estimate that the current industrial food production system uses 7-10 calories of energy to produce just one calorie of food. We can use of energy much more efficiently by buying local food, which requires less fossil fuels to transport the food.
9. Plant a native tree: native trees are adapted to local climate conditions and water availability. This means that they use less water, provide shade, hold soil in place to prevent erosion and capture carbon dioxide from the air, which decreases the amount of this greenhouse gas in the atmosphere. Planting a tree is also a very real and rewarding experience that has benefits for years to come.
10. Grab a paddle: if you are thinking about an outing on the water, try a canoe instead of a powerboat. There are many things you can do in a canoe (fishing, whitewater, lounging) and it is good exercise. Canoes do not use any gas or oil so they do not contribute to greenhouse gases. You will be surprised at how much more you take in your surroundings while riding in a canoe compared to a faster, gas-powered boat.
I would love to hear about your ideas to reverse climate change. Please send them to me!