After the most recent report from the United Nations IPCC earlier this month, the warnings are clear and worrisome: If we don’t take meaningful action now to reduce greenhouse gases, some of the changes to our climate may become irreversible. But I am an optimist and a believer that humanity will make many of the necessary changes—but we need to act now.
In New England we just survived another powerful storm—Henri—the first hurricane to make landfall here in 30 years. And, we’ve had a wicked hot summer. And, our rain storms and snow storms have seemed to get worse every year. Having lived here my whole life, I don’t need a study to tell me that the climate has changed in the last 10 years. Change is already here and its not good.
Here are some things that you can do, as an individual, to reduce carbon emissions:
· Consider walking or riding a bike to get where you’re going instead of driving your vehicle. Its good for the environment and its good for your physical health, too.
· Drive a low carbon vehicle – Hybrid and high mileage vehicles produce less CO2 than other vehicles. Do you like trucks? Several new models are on their way including the all-electric Ford F-150, Rivian and Tesla, to name a few. In fact, there are a large number of all-electric vehicles coming to market in the next year or two. The higher initial costs can be offset by a federal tax credit of up to $7,500 and a Massachusetts tax credit of up to $2,500 on many models.
· If you charge your electric vehicle with renewable energy, you can reduce your carbon impact substantially. In my case, we have solar panels that are generating excess energy each month that can be used to charge our electric vehicles.
· Eat local and eat mostly fruits, vegetables, gains and beans. These are better for you health-wise. The production of meat is very energy intensive and is responsible for large amounts of greenhouse gases. Of course, buying local means bypassing those blueberries in the winter that are airlifted from South America. When you buy local you are cutting down on the significant transportation costs of getting food to you from far away places.
· Clothing – Buy timeless, well-made styles and keep them rather than picking up the latest fashions every year. As we all know, many of them are made far away, e.g., in China. You can also buy used clothing at second-hand shops. Some people love shopping in these stores because they can find interesting designs that are not carried in new clothing stores. Also, you can save energy by washing your clothes in cold water and buying high efficiency washers and clothes dryers. Be sure to look for the EnergyStar label for the most efficient models.
· With winter just around the corner (it will be here sooner than you think), consider having a home energy audit done. A great resource for Massachusetts residents is
MassSave.com (for those in other locations, see if there is a similar utility-sponsored organization in your state). Sponsored by your electric or gas utility company, MassSave will send consultants to your home to perform a free energy audit. Most audits involve insulating and air-sealing your home which can pay you back in saved energy costs in a few short years. They also offer a number of other ways to save on your utilities and energy costs.
These are just some of my quick thoughts on ways to reduce your carbon footprint. If you have more questions about how to help our planet, give me a call. I’m happy to talk to you about the different things our family has done to reduce our carbon footprint, including installing solar panels, a back-up battery for our home, and buying electric vehicles (our family’s latest EV purchase is pictured above). You can schedule a quick call by clicking HERE.
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Lyman H. Jackson Lyman@PlanWithFPS.com
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