Global Warming Solutions: What You Can Do to Help Solve the Climate Crisis

Individuals who want to contribute global warming solutions of their own have no shortage of options.

| October/November 2006

global warming solutions - the earth

Although it's occurring planet-wide and will require action on a similar scale, our individual consumption decisions can contribute to global warming solutions.

Illustration by Fotolia/1xpert

When considering a problem as vast as global warming, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and powerless. But we need to resist that response, because this crisis will get resolved only if we as individuals take responsibility. By educating ourselves and others, by doing our part to minimize our use and waste of resources, by becoming more politically active and demanding change — in these ways and many others, each of us can make a difference.

Below you’ll find a range of global warming solutions — practical steps anyone can take to reduce the stress our high-tech lives exert on the natural world. As we incorporate these ideas into our lives, we may find that not only are we contributing to a solution, we are also making our lives better. Using less electricity and fuel, for example, saves money. More walking and biking improve our health; eating locally grown produce brings enhanced taste and nutrition; breathing cleaner air is energizing and healing; and creating a world of restored natural balance ensures a future for our children and grandchildren.

One way to begin making a difference is to learn how the way we live impacts our global environment. The average American is responsible for about 15,000 pounds of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions each year. This per capita number is greater than that of any other industrialized country.

To calculate how much CO2 you produce, visit The Nature Conservancy’s Carbon Footprint Calculator. Armed with this information, you can take effective action and work toward living a carbon-neutral life.

Save Energy at Home

For most Americans, the easiest and most immediate opportunities to reduce emissions can be found right in their own homes. Most greenhouse gas emissions that originate in the home are a product of the fossil fuels burned to generate electricity and heat. Saving energy is not only a good thing to do for the climate crisis: It can also translate to real cost savings. Choosing energy-efficient alternatives for the home can help families cut their energy bills by as much as a third, while reducing greenhouse gas emissions by a similar amount.

Energy-Efficient Lighting
One of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to reduce your energy use and costs is to replace regular incandescent light bulbs with superefficient compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs). While CFLs cost more upfront, they last up to 10,000 hours — 10 times longer than incandescent bulbs — and use 66 percent less energy. You can buy CFLs at just about any hardware or retail store.

4/23/2009 9:31:21 AM

Even if the global warming issue WAS a hoax, that's no reason for us to be wasteful and oblivious to the consumption of energy. The pollution of our planet is an ongoing concern, global warming or not. Our consumerist society needs to wake up and smell the burning plastic.

george works
8/10/2008 10:25:19 AM

This is a really fine article that lists most of the high-impact ways to reduce CO2 emissions and avoids most of the bogus ones. Some other things that I've done to reduce emissions are install a solar water heater, install solar electric panels on my roof, and convert my pickup to electric drive (in process). I live in the tropics; electric water heat was my highest electrical load. I replaced the electric heater with a solar one and have since had plenty of hot water, even on cloudy days. The water is so hot that I had to install a mixing valve to avoid scalding people. The water heater paid for itself in two years. My solar panels run in grid-interactive mode, pumping power into the grid when the sun shines and using power from the grid when it doesn't. I can't say that the solar electric has paid for itself yet, but I get a lot of satisfaction from doing my part to cut emissions. I'm a retired engineer and AAAS member. I follow the science on global warming closely. I wish I could believe it is a hoax, but I'm convinced that it is very real.

8/6/2008 1:41:48 PM

Thank goodness there are others out there that like this magazine AND know global warming is a hoax!

7/30/2008 12:16:35 AM

I can't beleave that you people have fallen for the biggest hoax in history. The Artic ice melts every year IN THE SUMMER !! It freezes every winter, duh. The polar bears float out to sea on ice-flows to hunt for seals or fish. When they're done, they swim up to fifty miles back to the solid ice pack. In 1992 the estimated polar bear count was about 5,000. In 2006 the count was over 25,000 ! When a real global warming starts, it goes on for 800 years before carbon emissions start to rise. The antartica ice-pack is growing larger. Since 1999, geological surveys, found no HOT SPOTS!!

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