Let’s face it, we’re tired, we’re busy, we’re overwhelmed. We don’t have a lot of time to volunteer to help the world. However, thanks to modern technology, there are now a number of ways you can change a few simple things in your life that can have a profound impact for good.
1. Switch Your Default Browser to Ecosia
You may know Google, but you should also know the search engine Ecosia. Ecosia is a search engine that donates 80% or more of its profits to nonprofit organizations that focus on reforestation. It considers itself a social business, is CO2-negative, supports full financial transparency and protects the privacy of its users.
Like any other search engine, Ecosia earns money from clicks on the advertisements that appear above and beside the search results.
The advertisements on Ecosia are clearly labeled as Ads and are text links to websites that pay for each click by users. The ads are delivered to you by their partner Bing, who pays Ecosia a share of the revenue generated via these ads.
Ecosia earns a few cents for every click on an ad from Bing – or a portion of the purchase price made through an affiliate link. Ecosia then gives the profits from this ad revenue to planting projects.
2. Download the Tab for a Cause Extension for Chrome
Raise money for charity with every browser tab you open! Just by surfing the web, you can build libraries, plant trees, send emergency aid, give clean water, and more. Choose your favorite charity to support!
Tab for a Cause transforms your “new tab” page. Each time you open a tab, you will be greeted with an incredible new tab page filled with custom widgets, pictures, and a couple banner ads. They collect ad revenue from the page and use it to donate to the cause you are supporting!
People like you have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for charity just by surfing the web. Join them by adding the extension now!
Learn more at https://tab.gladly.io.
3. Change Your Grocery Purchasing Habits
Everyone knows that the best way to help reduce Severe Weather from Climate Change is to switch to electric vehicles. What most people don’t know is that changing your grocery shopping habits can also reduce methane emissions and greenhouse gasses.
According to an investigation by nonprofit environmentalism magazine Grist, the traditional dairy industry has a significant impact on the Earth. That impact comes from a combination of processes associated with milk production, including the massive amount of grain needed to feed the world’s dairy cows, the energy needed to turn raw milk into consumer products, packaging materials, and the methane output from cows. “Here in the U.S., your daily glass of milk accounts for 2 percent of our countrywide [greenhouse gas] emissions,” Grist reported. “[I]n fact, one gallon of the white stuff is the equivalent of 17.6 pounds of carbon dioxide.”(For context, according to Terrapass, a company that sells carbon offsets, the average American citizen produces about 3,000 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions per month.)
Grist asserted that overall, the production of plant-based milks causes less ecological damage than the production of dairy milks. So, if your market offers it, switch to Oat Milk and other plant based alternative foods to lessen the impact on the environment.
4. Tell Your Electric Company to Change The Source of Your Energy
The next three points are taken from TEDxAsheville speaker Jackson Carpenter, who has ten years’ experience working on solutions to climate change and the development of alternative fuels. He is a climate writer and member of the Collider in Asheville, NC, collaborating with scientists and businesses to address climate change. He is a coauthor of the Collider’s Business of Climate Report, and his upcoming book Carbon retells the story of climate change from a unique perspective that illuminates the commonsense solutions at our fingertips.
Call your electric company, and tell them you want to change the source of your energy to alternative/renewable energy. Just this alone will cut your carbon footprint by 15%. By comparison, changing all the lightbulbs in your house to environmentally friendly ones will only decrease your carbon footprint by 0.2%.
You can do this anywhere in the country, and anywhere in the world. Call up your power company now, and if you need guidance, you can go to Jackson’s website.
5. Heating and Cooling Your Home
Cooling your home in the summer uses electricity (handled easily by Step Four), but winter heat remains an issue. Cut another 17% of your carbon footprint by matching the source of your winter heat with its climate-friendly fix:
If you heat your home with a heat pump, baseboard or electric heaters, changing the source of your electricity immediately makes your winter heat climate friendly. Switching to solar or wind will cut a total of 32% from your carbon footprint in a single step.
Heating oil systems are compatible with biofuel (more on that below), and biofuel does not contribute to climate change when it burns. Most local biofuel or biodiesel companies offer “bioheat” programs in the winter months. If you combine bioheat with green electricity, you will eliminate 32% of your carbon footprint altogether. So, take off that sweater and turn up the heat, you will not contribute to climate change.
If your home is heated with natural gas, your fuel is supplied by your local utility and there is little you can do to change the source of it. Natural gas produces less potent fossil-fuel emissions than coal or oil, but it still releases fossil carbon. The best option is to insulate your home, try to be efficient and look for other sources of heat: Do you have a wood stove or fireplace? Wood is a green carbon fuel when sustainably sourced. Can you get geothermal? Radiant heating? Space heaters or an electric heat pump and green electricity? The more you can offset natural gas heating, while alternatives like biogas are in development, the better your footprint becomes. So, curl up by the fire and relax, you can still find a way to cut your carbon footprint by 32%—the less natural gas you use, the smaller your footprint.
6. Your Car May Already Be Climate Friendly
Ready for a shock? Your vehicle is already climate friendly. No matter what kind of car you drive, your car can stop climate change. The secret is the fuel you use.
All gasoline and diesel vehicles have engines based on the same physical properties as the first vehicles ever created, and in the competitive days of the first vehicles, the source of fuel was hotly contested. What would power the mechanized world?
Many, including Henry Ford and Rudolf Diesel, believed that the answer lay in green fuels that farmers could grow. At the turn of the century more than 30% of Americans were farmers. Farms were ripe for mechanized solutions to old problems. They needed tractors to replace the slow plodding of plow horses, but a viable replacement would need to run on fuel they could grow themselves—like hay for horses.
“The fuel of the future is going to come from fruit like that sumac out by the road, or from apples, weeds, sawdust—almost anything. There is fuel in every bit of vegetable matter that can be fermented. There’s enough [ethanol] in one year’s yield of an acre of potatoes to drive the machinery necessary to cultivate the fields for a hundred years.”
Ford was not alone. Rudolf Diesel’s engine ran spectacularly on nothing more complicated than vegetable oil. Diesel foresaw his own version of a green future: “The use of vegetable oils for engine fuels may seem insignificant today. But such oils may become in course of time as important as petroleum and the coal tar products of the present time.”
Why does homegrown fuel matter today? Because all of our polluting, climate-changing, guilt-wracking vehicles can still run on those fuels—and fuels that grow are made of green carbon. Green carbon forms the basis of life on earth and our planet’s carbon cycle. It belongs in our air, soil and oceans. It does not contribute to climate change, even when it burns in an engine. It is carbon-neutral power.
Drive anywhere you want on green-carbon fuel with a clean conscience, you won’t contribute to climate change. Baby crying? Drive around forever if you need to. Don’t worry about buying an expensive hybrid or electric car, just fill up your existing car with a better fuel.
How do you switch?
Fuels that grow are often called “biofuels” because they are made from the green carbon of living, biological things. If your car or truck runs on diesel, you’re ready to go with green-carbon biodiesel today.
Biodiesel mixes with petroleum diesel in any amount, so your vehicle will run perfectly on biodiesel, regular diesel or any mixture of the two. Use as much biodiesel as you can, whenever you can, to reduce your carbon footprint. Feel free to fill up on a whim, grab a coffee and take a drive—your vehicle will do just fine, and may even thank you for it—but if you’re felling less whimsical, take the time to read up on warranties, winter driving, etc.
If your vehicle runs on gasoline, your green-carbon biofuel is ethanol. Ethanol is ethyl alcohol, the same kind of alcohol that people drink to get drunk. It can be fermented from just about anything and then distilled into a fuel strong enough to power an engine. You could drive around on beer if you distilled enough of it.
Ethanol is more oxygenated than gasoline, so you need a cheap adapter convert your vehicle into a flex fuel vehicle like the Model-T. Mix as much ethanol with gasoline as you wish, drive entirely on one or entirely on the other, it is up to you.
Whatever type of green-carbon fuel you use, the benefit is astounding. To figure out just how astounding, you will need two new terms:
- Carbon efficiency: the amount of fossil carbon your vehicle produces as it drives. Carbon efficiency changes depending on the source of the fuel that powers your vehicle. As carbon efficiency increases, greenhouse gas emissions decrease.
- Green miles per gallon (gmpg): the quantitative measurement of carbon efficiency. Green miles per gallon measures how far you can drive before you release one gallon of fossil fuel emissions. The more green miles per gallon, the better your car is for the climate.
The carbon efficiency of the best hybrid is about 50gmpg. That sounds pretty good, but if you fill your car up with ethanol you can easily achieve a carbon efficiency of 200gmpg—that’s four times better for the climate than the best hybrid. If you fill up your diesel vehicle with biodiesel, you can achieve a carbon efficiency of more than 2,000gmpg. That is forty times better for the climate than a shiny new hybrid, and makes your vehicle effectively carbon neutral.
This one step could eliminate your biggest contribution to climate change, and reduce your overall carbon footprint by 28%. If you switch to green electricity and heat as well, you will have cut you carbon footprint by 60%. Stopping climate change is that easy.