Simple steps can help you reduce your carbon footprint.
We’re never short of scary news about disasters related to a warming planet and assaults on our environment. Dramatic photos of enormous ice shelves collapsing in the arctic; news of a dead whale with 88 pounds of plastic in its stomach; reports that while 2018 was the worst year for wildfires in California that will continue to get worse. We’ve been warned that to hold the global temperature rise to 2˚C or less, everyone on earth will need to keep their yearly carbon footprint at 1.87 tons by 2050. Right now, the average person in the U.S. produces a carbon footprint of 18.3 tons. In China, carbon emissions per person are 8.2 tons. For adults this news can be horrifying. Imagine being a child. We need to think hard about the kind of world we are passing along to our children. We need to act, and we need to act now.
As individuals, much of what needs to be done we can’t control. However, small changes each of us can make will add up. (Think of carrying a travel mug instead of getting coffee in a to-go cup or carrying a reusable bottle instead of buying bottled water.) We can model the changes that need to be made for our children (plan several stops on a single car trip to reduce driving and save gas, etc.).We can also help them cultivate “climate friendly” habits that demand fewer energy resources (turn off lights when we leave a room, take shorter showers). When we waste fewer resources and produce fewer waste products, we reduce our carbon footprints and – as a bonus -- probably save money.
Educate yourself and your family about this important issue. Let companies whose products you buy and our political leaders – city, state and Washington, D.C. – know that you want them to take action. If you still wonder if the climate crisis is real, check out the science. We have links to reliable resources below. Many links have suggestions for changes you can make to help you and your family care for our common home.
Resource List: Care for Our Common Home
- Encyclical Laudato ‘Si, https://laudatosi.com/watch
- Climate change facts from The Global Catholic Climate Movement, https://catholicclimatemovement.global/climate-change-facts/ (including videos)
- Your Guide to Climate Action: Audobon.org/climate action guide
- Rainforest Alliance: 5 Tips for Talking to Kids About Climate Change, https://www.rainforest-alliance.org/articles/how-to-talk-to-kids-about-climate-change
- Vox (news outlet): Climate change will affect “every single stage” of a child’s life, health researchers warn, https://www.vox.com/2019/11/13/20963481/climate-change-kids-health-asthma-air-pollution
- Sierra Club: Protecting Our Home, https://www.sierraclub.org/explore-issues
- WI Public Radio News: UW-Eau Claire Researchers Find Microplastics In Boundary Waters Wilderness Area, https://www.wpr.org/uw-eau-claire-researchers-find-microplastics-boundary-waters-wilderness-area---The Guardian: Death toll from the floods in South Asia tops 100 hundreds, https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/jul/16/death-toll-from-floods-in-south-asia-rises-to-more-than-100
- National Catholic Reporter, EarthBeat: Do no harm: Catholic Hospitals confront their own carbon footprints https://www.ncronline.org/news/earthbeat/do-no-harm-catholic-hospitals-confront-their-own-carbon-footprints
- The Lancet: Healthy Diets from Sustainable Food Systems https://eatforum.org/content/uploads/2019/01/EAT-Lancet_Commission_Summary_Report.pdf
Let us know about other helpful resources you may find!