It never crossed my mind that New York’s elected officials would let the 2013 legislative session end without taking some kind of meaningful action to fight climate change. I mean, the devastation felt by recent storms, floods, and extreme weather patterns is too much to ignore, right?
Wrong. Environmental Advocates will continue to fight here in Albany to lower pollution from power plants and the transportation sector, knowing this is where the greatest threat remains. But we cannot escape the fact that we are causing climate change, and complaining and pointing fingers isn’t enough.
Being from the North Country I often hear family and friends back home welcome climate change with open arms. It’s a tantalizing concept: instead of cold, harsh winters that can last more than half the year, it means warmer, longer summers, right?
But the actual consequences are scary. Upstate’s average temperature rose by two degrees in the last century.
We just experienced one of the wettest Junes on record which caused devastating floods to many rural communities.
If these changes aren’t enough to prompt action in your day-to-day-life, then this blog is not for you. But if you are ready, here are some easy ways to do your part.
Going Green at Home:
- Buy local, seasonal produce. Farmers markets are awesome. Many stores also offer local produce which means it is fresher, healthier, and has traveled less distance. Urge your store to buy local. An easy place to explore local food is Pride of NY.
- Take a few minutes to learn how your community recycles. Millions of tons of glass and metal that can be reused or recycled makes its way into the waste stream every year. What a waste! Also, many items you throw out can be creatively turned into other uses. Here’s some inspiration.
- Switch our inefficient light bulbs. Energy efficient lights cost more on the front end but save big over the long term. Will this single-handedly change the world? No. Will it make a difference? You bet! So watch your local store or online outlet for discounts and stock up. Check out EA’s own energy efficiency fact sheet for more information about bulbs and other ways to upgrade your home.
- Stop using Styrofoam. Seriously, it’s awful. Not only is it bad to eat food from a product made of petroleum, but it never goes away. Styrofoam takes up an enormous amount of space in your landfill, isn’t recyclable and takes centuries to biodegrade.
Bring Your Green to Work
- Keep a reusable water bottle handy. There is no need to use a disposable cup every time you take a drink. Buy a low cost reusable bottle to keep on your desk.
- Get in the habit of turning your light off when you’re not at your desk. The sheer amount of energy waste from lighting empty work spaces is mind-boggling. Sure you’re not paying the bills, but you’re contributing to climate change. Set the example in your office.
- Let your boss know you care about your business’s environmental practices. If they don’t have a recycling program, urge that they institute one.
- Set a long term goal. As the price of solar power drops, companies are turning to on-site installations. It lessens your reliance on the energy grid, and saves big money over the long term. Study up on NY’s solar incentives programs.
I am causing climate change. But I can stop and so can you. These are just a few practical ways to make a difference. Let us know what steps you take and we will very happily share with fellow Environmental Advocates in the months ahead!
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