Last week, (#notmy) President Donald Trump announced he would be withdrawing the United States out of the Paris Agreement – an agreement that went into effect in November 2016 and unifies nearly every country on the planet under one purpose, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Previous to this, only two countries had refused to sign the agreement – Syria and Nicaragua, with the latter’s reasoning being that it didn’t believe the agreement did enough to fight climate change.
Trump’s reasoning? It’s mostly rooted in the “billions and billions and billions of dollars” we are, according to him, losing as part of the agreement (note: the US has agreed to contribute $3 billion to the collective fund, which goes towards helping participants of the agreement to implement greener practices, and seems fair considering our nation is responsible for roughly a third of the carbon dioxide emitted).
He also justified the departure with a few other reasons.
Not only Americans, but people around the world, have voiced their disapproval of this decision. The Paris Agreement plays a pivotal role in addressing climate change on a world-wide level. Furthermore, Trump’s move is a strong indicator of his personal stand on climate change – which is terrifying considering it is one of the most pressing issues our country, and our planet, is dealing with today. We can accurately assume this is just the beginning of Trump’s rampage on everything that benefits our environment.
So now, we can safely say the government does not care about our environment, and as an extension, they do not care about us.
This can trigger a feeling of hopelessness, like what is the point?!
Yes, we cannot depend on the government to protect us any longer, on a multitude of levels.
But we can still rely on ourselves. We are our own last resort. There is a way we, as individual Americans, can fulfill our parts of the Paris Agreement. Now, more than ever, it is VITAL to the survival of our planet, humankind, and our next generations, to curtail our carbon emissions.
Trump peaced outta Paris and now we must take this into our own hands…
Here are a few SIMPLE adjustments to your everyday life to do your part.
1. Take the bus, carpool, or ride your bike to work.
It’s ok if you can’t do it every day, but setting aside at least a few days a week to commit to leaving the car at home will help reduce the 4.7 metric tons of carbon emitted by the average passenger car per year (via the EPA).
2. Cut back on eating meat (especially red) and dairy, even local — the production of both have huge carbon footprints.
I’ll be frank, you can’t be pissed off about Paris if you are big meat eater. At this point, we are all aware of the meat industry’s negative (and enormous) impact on the environment. Over 50% of global greenhouse gas emissions are attributed to animal agriculture (via PETA).
3. Stop wasting food!!! Eat what you have, buy what you can eat.
I’ll admit, I am guilty of overbuying at the grocery store and end up throwing away an unnecessary amount of items the following week. Here are a few quick tips to cutting back on food waste:
- Buy less, shop more; make a bigger trip for staples and non-perishable foods, then shop throughout the week for smaller quantities of produce.
- Meal plan, make a shopping list every time, and only buy what you need.
- Don’t take expiration dates seriously – everything is good beyond the expiration date. Read more about the truth about expiration dates here.
- Applicable to some, not all food items: freeze it instead of tossing it!
- Compost or donate your waste – farmers will often accept food scraps and you can donate unused foods to food shelves.
4. Be aware of your water consumption!
Stop taking longer showers. Shower less. Don’t leave the faucet on while you brush your teeth. Don’t wash your car each week. Try to be conscious of your water usage and ask yourself if it’s necessary. Read more about the Carbon Footprint of Water here.
Avoid anything disposable. Buy a reusable water bottle, reusable coffee mug (or a couple, so you can leave one in your car if you forget yours at home), reusable bags – and speaking of bags, stop using plastic bags! If you forget your reusable bag at home, opt for paper. They are easier to recycle and less likely to end up in a landfill for all of eternity.
Sure, the recycling process burns carbon too, but it helps reduce the amount of materials in landfills and decreases the need to produce new materials. If we replace an item on the shelf, there’s not a need to make a new one.
7. Ya know what? Just buy less crap.
You don’t need a new ski set-up every season, you don’t need a new outfit for the weekend… Odds are your stuff burns lots of carbon to be produced, and then it has to be transported to you, which also burns carbon. Purchase FEWER, BETTER things, buy USED, buy LOCAL, and repair your shit when it’s broken. Stop following trends or replacing things that don’t need to replaced. Americans’ materialistic obsessions are ruining our planet!
8. Call your Governor.
Tell him/her that you want your state to set laws restricting greenhouse gas emissions. Even though our dumbass President withdrew us, as a country, from the Paris Agreement, our states can still make a difference in fighting climate change. In fact, 211 mayors around the country are vowing to uphold Paris Agreement standards in wake of our nation’s departure… Ok, ok, so there are still some people in the government who care about us.
This is just the tip of the iceberg, friends. If you want to get serious about reducing your personal greenhouse gas emissions, look into electric vehicles, solar power, switch to ENERGY STAR appliances, and look into using rain buckets to fulfill your water supply.
What actions are you taking to lessen your carbon footprint?