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The Inertia

When it comes to protecting the planet from the negative impacts of climate change, individuals collectively showing up is critical. And the act of “showing up” doesn’t have to consist of huge gestures, massive fundraisers, or grand crusades to save the planet on your own. It can simply be minor shifts applied to daily habits and behaviors that, over time, create massive changes. You don’t have to search far and wide either.

Here are four places you can find opportunities to show up for the planet without having to leave your home.

Your Food

You may have heard of factory farming’s high-level production of methane. According to DoSomething.org, factory farming accounts for 37 percent of methane emissions, which has more than 20 times the global warming potential of CO2. Stats like these lead us to feel like the solution is to simply get rid of factory farming altogether, but that’s asking for a major worldwide shift.

Meanwhile, did you know food waste (including produce) is a huge contributor in its own right? The NRDC says Americans throw away up to 40 percent of the food that they purchase. That food waste is not coming solely from individual consumers; the waste comes from both stores throwing it out or it spoiling before it can be consumed in the home. You can show up for the earth by only buying what you know will be eaten before expiration or what you can freeze. You can also eat leftovers, compost organic scraps, or donate unused food to food banks. Project Drawdown approximates that decreasing the food waste could avoid producing nearly 70.5 gigatons of CO2 which equates to the same amount of positive impact if we were to restore 435 million acres of tropical forest.

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Your Carbon Footprint

The average passenger car emits about 4.6 metric tons of CO2 per year. Passenger vehicles contribute 27 percent of the carbon emissions in the United States, so paying attention to the efficiency of the vehicles on the road is important. Ways to show up will include selecting public transportation when possible, carpooling, purchasing a car that is fuel-efficient, and retiring cars that are 16 years or older. You can go to online platforms like Guzzler Busters to check the number of emissions your car produces or to make a donation that will enable the disposal of gas-guzzling vehicles from the road. In today’s society, eliminating transportation vehicles may not be realistic but we can individually make conscious steps to reduce our carbon footprints.

Your Wallet

Investors have likely heard of the terms “Socially Responsible Investing” (SRI) and “divestment.”

Both are effective ways to make sure your dollars are used to positively impact climate change. According to gofossilfree.com, the fossil fuel divestment movement has made major strides in removing funding from fossil fuel companies. More than $14.56 trillion dollars were removed because of institutional divestments and nearly $5.2 billion thanks to 58,000 individual divestments. You can plan for retirement while staying true to your beliefs.

Your Closet

Most people may not view their apparel as a pollution creator, however, if we want to protect our planet we need to take a look in the mirror and be more mindful of what we wear. Clothing production has doubled in the last 20 years but the length of time that people are keeping their clothes has been cut in half. Just like food waste creates pressure on the environment, clothes create a ton of waste in our landfills as well as forcing higher overall textile production. You can reduce your carbon footprint from apparel by limiting how often you purchase new clothes, recycling or donating unwanted items, purchasing higher quality items that last longer, and purchasing used items. Your individual carbon footprint may be hard to precisely calculate but tools like footprintcalculator.org can assist you.

When it comes to creating change, showing up is half the battle. These were only four of many simple ways to show up for the planet and live a more socially conscious lifestyle. Your planet will thank you.

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