Earth Day: Your best tips for combating global warming (Day 4)

Solar panels on home. Photo by mjmonty, Flickr.

In preparation for Earth Day, we asked our WildAlert subscribers what they do on an individual basis to combat climate change. We heard all kinds of great ideas from simple everyday efforts to major undertakings. As April 22 approaches, we’d like to share a sampling of those stories and tips. Check out today’s installation and come back tomorrow for more. We’ll be running new tips every day until Earth Day arrives.

You can also check out our own staff’s tips for combating global warming here.

Connecticut, among a few other states, started a solar leasing program, and I am happy to have qualified for this program. The roof of our house now sports an impressive array of solar panels, and we generate electricity every day. To do this has been a dream of mine since the Carter administration. (Ok, I'm 72, but I'm as excited about this step forward as a kid with a new set of trains; or do they still make toy trains... Oh well.) Also, a young neighbor of ours and I hike up and down our street every Earth Day, just to pick up the junk — especially the plastic — that accrues over the year.
- Frank, East Lyme, Connecticut

I don't own a car, and I do most of my shopping online, planning ahead so I do even this less often. I'm planting trees from The Arbor Day Foundation and elsewhere, along with plants. I am mostly vegan, and eat only what I need, not to excess. I've changed out my light bulbs for fluorescent, and I only use lights and electricity/water/gas as needed. Blankets and layering clothing keep me warm. I recycle and reuse wherever possible; and I try to buy local, organic, and with least packaging possible. And I talk to others about these things, too.
- Jamaka, Glendale, California

This sounds like a very little effort, but in the long run it does affect global warming because it will save trees due to recycling paper. I save last year's calendars, preferably with wildlife pictures on them, and make envelopes which I use for a great deal of my correspondence, particularly in my local area. I opened a standard sized envelope and used this to form a template by which I cut the old calendar pages, folding along the appropriate lines and thus producing a very attractive, unusual envelope. I use a name label, when possible with a similar animal or flower to the main body of the envelope, use a white stick on label for an address area, and use scotch tape to close the envelope. I glue the ends with a glue stick, and if I have one handy, use that for sealing the envelope. Friends to whom I send these envelopes enjoy them, and sometimes I will get one back with new stickers so it is used again. Some of them have made several trips. This is only one of my recycling efforts. I have recycled all my life. (76 years)
- Sue, Franklin, North Carolina

Garden. Photo by Amy C Evans, Flickr.My wife and I are trying to spend more time at home, reducing the carbon output from unnecessary traveling. We hike, bike, and camp on the wild county and state lands within walking distance of our home. We have a large garden and raise most of our vegetables and meat. We can vegetables, pickled peppers, and meat for storage in the basement. Extra canned meat and vegetables go to my mother to help her reduce grocery store purchases. Raising your own food does a lot to reduce the unnecessary transportation of goods; why truck food around the country when you can grow it in your own backyard? My wife and I want to reach a point where we do not have to commute to work, and can stay home most of the time, further reducing our energy consumption.
- Art and Stephanie, Babcock, Wisconsin

One of the more fun things I'm doing is helping to lead a communal garden project on my church grounds. After our Green Sanctuary Committee leads an Earth Day service ("Food Matters"), providing information and inspiration to the congregation, we will give a bean plant to everyone, to plant either at home or in the vegetable garden at church — a start on their own garden plot. We will also help one of the children's classes to raise a patch of basil, to sell to congregants after Sunday services through the summer. Eating responsibly is part of caring for our one and only home planet.
- Tom, Germantown, Maryland

I am vice president of my high school's environmental club. We're organizing a recycling program at our school.
- Kira, New Orleans, Louisiana

Bicyclists in Seattle. Photo by faeryboots, Flickr.What I am doing is trying to figure out how to move beyond the small things. I compost, drive less, use fluorescent bulbs, buy local, etc., etc. These keep me from feeling totally helpless about climate change. At least, they used to. But no matter how often I carry a cloth bag to the grocery store, the Arctic ice keeps melting and the whole planet keeps trending toward Haiti. We can't get there as individuals. Change needs to come from new economic models that incorporate reductions in greenhouse gases and the human population. Otherwise, we are kidding ourselves with feel-good efforts. This is huge, folks, and we need the big guns — government, corporations, and religion — all supporting major cultural shifts in consumption and land use under a brand new, yet-to-be-defined economic system. So what I am doing is a) panicking, b) planning to chain myself to the gate of the closest coal-fired power plant, and c) hoping for big new ideas to support. Also recycling my milk cartons.
- Ann, Portland, Ore.

Go vegetarian/vegan/or cut down your meat drastically! The UN, University of Chicago, and numerous other sources say that the meat-based diet causes more pollution and global warming than all the cars in the world combined!
- Ravi, Chicago, Illinois

This Earth Day I am working at an Earth Day festival in Manhattan Beach, to help educate people on all things environmental, including climate change. Personally, I am driving as little as possible, keeping lighting and electricity to a minimum, and recycling, reusing, and reducing as much as possible. I am also educating my friends and my students about these issues. I hope the media catches on and makes a big deal about Earth Day this year.
- Renee, Torrance, California

Solar panels on home. Photo by mjmonty, Flickr.
Garden. Photo by Amy C Evans, Flickr.

Bicyclists in Seattle. Photo by faeryboots, Flickr.