The Environment: it’s cool to give a shit

It’s been a while, fam 🙂 I’ve been busy doing lots of traveling and living it up! I’m so thankful to have had so many opportunities this far in life to be able to go to some amazing places and see some amazing things. Traveling has opened my eyes up to how truly wonderful this world is and how lucky we are to live on it.

Maybe it’s the traveler and wanderer in me that has gotten to see so many things, but because of that I don’t want to take any of it for granted. We as humans are so blessed that we have such a home that can sustain so much life. But unfortunately, a lot of us do take it for granted.

So, I wanna talk about some things. Climate change seems to be the hot topic these days- literally. If you are a climate change denier (first off, you probably wouldn’t even be here, you’d probably never click a link to a blog post with this kind of title), I would love to sit down and have a conversation with you. Most of us have a pretty good idea of what’s going on in the environment when it comes to climate change. Maybe you don’t know the extent of it. Or maybe you never paid any real attention to it until now. I don’t wanna make this too long, so I’m just going to give a basic rundown of what’s going on.

So our home, planet Earth, regulates our temperature so we can survive. When energy from the sun reaches Earth, some is sent back out and some is let in and absorbed in the land and the oceans to keep the Earth warm. Then, heat radiates back out into space, but some is trapped in the atmosphere in the form of greenhouse gases (water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane, etc.). Without this “greenhouse effect”, Earth would not be warm enough to be habitable.

Where the problem lies, is the amount of greenhouse gases being released into the atmosphere. Burning of fossil fuels and land are releasing excess greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, thus making the temperature rise, globally.

Why does this matter? Humans have increased greenhouse gases in the atmosphere by 35%. But why is that significant? Here are some effects that we’ve seen from climate change, already, that are only going to get worse.

  • Increased rainfall (in certain areas)
  • Increased droughts (in certain areas)
  • Coral reef damage/destruction
  • Increasing wildfire and longer wildfire seasons
  • More intense and increasing hurricanes
  • Rising sea levels
  • Melting ice
  • Intense heat waves
  • Forest deaths
  • Increased air pollution
  • Extreme weather conditions
  • Food scarcity

These effects, they matter. But how is this happening? The two major greenhouse gases we need to be worried about are carbon dioxide and methane.

Carbon dioxide is responsible for about 80% of greenhouse gas emissions from humans. CO2 naturally circulates between the atmosphere, plants, animals and soil, but human activity is producing too much of it. Burning of fossil fuels (coal, oil, natural gas) through certain processes are the cause of this. Think of things like electricity, cars/planes/transportation, and other industrial processes. Fortunately, plants and forests act as “natural sink” for CO2, because they take the CO2 in, store it and use it.

Methane is only responsible for about 10% of greenhouse gas emissions, but its impact is much greater. Methane from human activity comes from natural gas leaks, livestock, and waste decomposition. Livestock (cows, buffalo, sheep, goat) produce large amounts of methane via their digestion and manure. Livestock farming is the largest contributor to methane production.

SO… Where do we go from here? It’s already been scientifically proven that human activity has caused a huge rise in greenhouse gas emissions. And if we continue on the path that we’re on, it’s not gonna be pretty. Countries all over the globe have already taken huge initiatives to play their part in combating climate change.

But on a global scale, it can seem so overwhelming. As just one person inhabiting this planet, it can be difficult to grasp how you can help change the world. But let me tell you, it all starts with one person. If every single person realized that they matter, their decisions matter, and they did something about it, it would be unbelievably dramatic!

So, what can you do to help change the world? Implementing these daily changes can not only help your peace of mind, but they are helping this unbelievably beautiful and precious place we call home.

  • BE LESS WASTEFUL — this comes down to food, trash, electricity, water. USE LESS. Take shorter showers. Adjust settings on your appliances. Research energy-efficient appliances (Energy Star). Unplug unused electronics. Use less hot water. RECYCLE! For the love of god, stop using plastic water bottles!! Stop using paper plates and cups and coffee mugs.  And no, you don’t need a straw!!! Wash your dishes by hand instead of using the dishwasher.
  • CLIMATE-FRIENDLY DIET — the most climate-friendly diet would be vegan/plant-based. But for some people, that’s not going to work. Cutting out red meat ONLY is still going to be huge. If you can’t do that, spend the extra $$ on grass-fed, organic, minimally-processed, high-quality food. It is worth it, not only for the planet, but for you. Food companies that make highly-processed foods do nothing but cause more carbon emissions via their factory processing.
  • TRANSPORTATION — drive less! Save gas whenever possible by driving efficiently- aka don’t drive 80mph every time you’re on the highway. Share rides whenever possible. Get a damn bike if that’s possible for you. Look into an energy-efficient vehicle if that’s possible for you. Fly as little as possible.
  • BECOME ONE WITH NATURE — Plant a tree 🙂 like I said, plants act as carbon sinks, they take in CO2 and store it. But with factory farming becoming so huge, we now have the issue of deforestation– forests are literally being burnt to the ground so there is more room for farming. Less forests = less plants/trees = less CO2 being taken in by the trees = more CO2 being released in the atmosphere. Make sense?

A good rule of thumb is REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE. You’d be surprised at how much you can help just by being mindful of your choices.

There are ENDLESS resources about climate change!!! Check out NASA’s website, the Climate Reality Project, What’s Your Impact, The EPA

If you have any questions, please ask. And remember– YOU MATTER!!

 

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