A Menu of Things We Can Do to Fight Climate Change

Support Nature and Nature Will Fight Climate Change

Deforestation: causes 15% of carbon emissions; the rain forest could mitigate 50% of carbon emissions through 2050

  • -Plant a tree(s)
  • -Support organizations that fight deforestation by preserving land
    • -Globally: Rain forest Trust
    • -Domestically: Nature Conservancy, Vital Ground
  • -Support organizations that fight deforestation through legal actions
    • -Natural Resources Defense Council, Center for Biological Diversity
  • -Support organizations that fight deforestation by educating children
    • -Jane Goodall Institute's Roots and Shoots

Be a Concerned Consumer

  • -Food
    • -Buy more local foods
    • -Buy more seasonal foods
    • -Eat less meat (Bison may be better than beef)
    • -Grow a vegetable victory garden
    • -Compost
    • -Buy sustainably grown coffee
  • -Shopping in General
    • -Buy paper and wood products certified as to sustainably produced (such as by FSC)
    • -Buy products with recycled packaging or components
    • -Buy more locally made products
  • -Vehicles: A gallon of gasoline creates about 20 pounds of CO2 emissions, plus greenhouse gasses with even higher global warming potential. If practical:
    • -Telecommute
    • -Ride share or carpool
    • -Public transportation (once safe)
    • -Walk or bike
    • -Opt for electric, hybrid or fuel-efficient cars
    • -Radial tires and tires at the correct PSI reduce fuel consumption
    • -Don't idle your car, turn off the engine to reduce emissions and gas consumption
  • -Travel
    • -Pay for carbon offset if the airline offers it
    • -Pay for carbon offset if the rental car company offers it
  • -Electricity, Electronics, and Appliances
    • -Consider having ComEd obtain electricity for your usage from renewable sources (i.e. MC Squared Energy Services and Arcadia Power)
    • -Consider using solar energy
    • -Buy electronics and appliances with the Energy Star badge, meaning they meet the EPA's requirements as energy efficient
    • -Turn off lights and electronics when they are not needed
    • -If possible, unplug appliances when they are not in use (they draw power even when switched off)
    • -Use efficient lighting such as LED's or compact fluorescent
    • -Wait to wash dishes and clothes until there is a full load
    • -If possible, unplug or reduce the brightness on microwaves and programmable coffee makers as they use more power displaying the time in one year than in heating food
    • -If possible, power down electronics like TV's, cable boxes, video game consoles, as over the course of a year, they can use more energy in "standby mode" than when in active use
  • -Computers and Phones
    • -Unplug your chargers when not in use as they draw energy even when your device isn't plugged in
    • -Laptops consume 5x less electricity than desktops
    • -Use low power or sleep mode instead of screensavers as most screensavers use the same amount of energy as when the screen is in normal use
    • -Use LCD screens for external monitors
    • -Make monitors more efficient with power saving such as SpeedStrip or Energy Saver
    • -Switch your computer off if you aren't using it
    • -Only print what you have to and print double sided
    • -Inkjet printer uses less energy than lasers
  • -HVAC
    • -Set AC up 2 degrees to lessen CO2 emissions by 2,000 pounds
    • -Set heat down 2 degrees (and wear a sweater/sweatshirt)
    • -Consider an energy audit
    • -Effective insulation for attics, doors, and windows
    • -Use caulking and weather strips to prevent leaks
    • -In summer, stay cooler using shades, curtains, etc...
    • -Electric heat pumps are twice as energy efficient as natural gas
  • -Reduce, Reuse, Up-cycle, Recycle
    • -Avoid single use plastic bags
    • -Reuse your plastic bags
    • -Shop with reusable bags
    • -Try to up-cycle or re-purpose before tossing it in the garbage
    • -Know what can be recycled
    • -Use recycled paper
    • -Try to avoid food and other products with a lot of packaging
    • -Choose sustainable, non-plastic toys for children
    • -Cosmetic packaging, shampoo bottles and makeup compacts can be recycled through teracycle.com
    • -Do an internet search for drop-offs for responsibly disposing of eWaste such as computers and cell phones.
    • -Do an internet search for drop-offs for properly disposing of batteries
  • -Water
    • -Turn off the tap while brushing your teeth or shaving
    • -Install water shaving shower heads
    • -Install dual-flush toilets
    • -High efficiency (HE) washing machines use 25% less energy and 33% less water
    • -Your water heater is probably hot enough at 120 degrees

Political Actions (if you choose to support them)

  • -Urge local government to use green energy
  • -Urge local and state government to divest oil and gas investments
  • -Support the Illinois Clean Energy Jobs Act (each utility to use renewable energy of 25% by June 2025, 100% by June 2050 with an interim goal of 100% carbon-free electricity by June 2030)
  • -Support federal green energy and green jobs legislation
  • -Support and vote for candidates who will take action against climate change