Household changes a Christian can make to fight climate change
[This article literally applies to anyone; there is nothing Christian specific contained in this. Most actions that will go towards helping fight the causes and effects of climate change can and should be made by all people in the United States.]
Climate change will need to be fought on all fronts. There is not singular solution that every individual could do to help, but there are many small things that can make big impacts, if all people are willing and able to make them. If you are curious about the causes and effects of climate change, check out the General Resources page. Not all of things listed below will apply to all people; it is up to each individual to know the changes that they are capable of making and have the diligence and determination to make them.
1. Be diligent –
If you don’t know what that looks like, read about it here. Choosing to steward what God has given each person is the most important step a person can take. Understand that actions produce outcomes, and every action is important in the grand scheme of things. Things are worth taking serious.
2. Stop using bottled water and other throwaways –
Change your buying habits to more environmentally practical things. A reusable bottle of water and Tupperware can save a lot of plastic. Over the course of its lifetime, a water bottle and Tupperware can pay for themselves many times over. It is a win-win.
3. Change how you eat –
Shopping local and buying bulk products can save a lot of money, energy, and landfill waste. Instead of making trips to the grocery store or ordering on Amazon grocery for every needed thing, choose instead to plan ahead and consolidate purchases to times when they are actually needed. Shopping local or being environmentally friendly may be challenging in some places, but there are resources and options, if you look. If you want to know why eating affects climate change, click here.
4. Install a low-flow showerhead –
Up to 75% less water can be used by switching to a different showerhead. That equals thousands of gallons of water that can be saved for each person in a household. Some places in the country, it may take a small amount of additional cleaning due to hard water issues, but it can make a large impact into the conservationism of a household.
5. Get rid of your private pool or other obvious things –
A private swimming pool, gas-guzzling car, huge entertainment pieces, or any number of others things can usually only provide a limited amount of fun. Most of those things end up costing large amounts of money and waste of resources. If you do have something that causes a large waste of money or resources, try doing a yearly-cost analysis on it. Add up all the costs and resources associated with the activity or item, and then divide that by the amount of hours it spends in use each year. Decide from there, whether it is a good investment or a waste.
6. Change your lightbulbs –
Switching to CFL or LED bulbs can save approximately 150 dollars in electricity over the course of a bulbs lifetime. With approximately 20 bulbs in the average household, an average of 140 dollars can be saved a year on the electricity bill. Switching to LED bulbs has a payback period of just over 1 year, and then provides an additional 20 years of savings.
7. Plant a garden –
A garden is a great way to have a stronger attachment to the earth. A garden can provide fresh food, an enjoyable hobby, or a way for kids to learn about how things work. Gardens are also critical in supporting biodiversity in neighborhoods by supporting small fauna that would otherwise not be able to survive or find food.
8. Create a biodiversity sanctuary in your yard –
Consider investing in a beehive, bird feeders, or even native shrubbery that helps create and maintain biodiversity. Humans have disrupted the wildlife that once existed where cities are. Most animals just want to be left alone and have a place to live. Humans and animals can easily coexist if people quit viewing the things in nature as negative, burdensome, or obstacles to get rid of. [Biodiversity is defined as the amount of different plants and animals in an area. The more diverse a biosphere is, the stronger nature will be against threats such as draughts, invasive plants/animals, and extinction]
9. Replace the windows in your home –
A home can lose up to 30% of its energy through doors and windows. By investing in better windows, or fixing leaks using seals or caulking, both energy and money can be saved in big ways.
10. Turn down the A/C and heater –
Along with replacing or repairs windows and doors, consider getting better used to the temperatures outside. Heating and cooling are a luxury for a large part of the United States. By keeping temperatures warmer in the summer and cooler in the winter, a household can save a lot of money each year, and help the environment. Consider using fans to better distribute air or using a heating blanket instead of changing the temperature of an entire home or apartment. It may take a few days or a week to get used to, but you will.
11. Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle –
Everyone knows that recycling should be a part of life; the less stuff that goes into landfills, the better. The first part of recycling that most people miss though is reducing and reusing. Recycling at this point in technological process does not look like it is going to change the world. Some items and some places are able to do good work with recycling, but the unfortunate downside of making things strong enough to be shipped around the world and used is that it can withstand the punishment of breaking it down into something reusable.
By reducing and reusing products before recycling them, people are able to get two, or three, life times out of a product that was only going to be used once; that means saving resources and energy.
12. Purchase less stuff –
Consumerism is bad for the earth and it is a sin. Not all new purchases and expenses are evil or sinful. It turns into a bad thing when it becomes not out of necessity or even desire, but out of rampant, unchecked, gluttony. By cutting down on unneeded purchases you make a statement that shows the world that “stuff” is not the answer to life. You also have more time to spend on important things when you are not focused on all the stuff getting in the way. Instead of shopping sprees or buying things out of emotional need and stress, try waiting two weeks instead of purchasing an item and reevaluate whether you need it or not. You can also, most likely, buy it second hand or used for a fraction of the cost and creates zero excess waste.
13. Ride a bike –
The logistics of taking a car ride are not in favor of conservation or energy savings. It takes 50-80 times more energy to transport a car the same distance as a bike [Note: the author makes the case that bikes are more expensive for fuel consumption, comparing the cost of calories in Big Macs to Gasoline. He does not compare health benefits associated with biking compared to driving]. Bikes are a healthy and efficient way of traveling. Not all people would want to ride their bikes to work every day, but even a 30-minute or 45-minute bike ride before and after work can make huge impacts in stress levels and health, on top of saving energy by being more efficient and creating zero emissions.
14. Support good businesses –
Not all companies and businesses are equal. There are many good and bad companies out there; distinguishing between the two can be difficult. Many times though, the products that Americans buy are terrible for the environment and people in other countries. Search for companies that use good practices. Don’t let your dollars go to the destruction of forests or companies that exploit child- or slave-laborers. Sometimes that means giving up things that you like, but it is worth it if that means that it can save others and the environment. For tips on how to shop smart, check out the General Resources page.
15. Cut back on harsh chemicals –
Most products and waste that goes down the drain gets treated in some manner before being discharge into a river or other water body. That does not mean that the treatment is perfect or 100% effective. Some things turn out to be bad for the environment after they have been widely distributed. By trying to purchase chemicals that are natural or good for the environment, you can make sure that your waste does not damage the environment or cause pollution for others. Go one step further and try home recipes with simple ingredients. Some products may not be able to be replaced for certain tasks, but at least take the time to check.
16. Ask your power company about renewable energy –
Many power companies allow for a household’s energy to come in part, or in whole, from renewable energy sources. Renewable energy resources will need to be a key in fighting climate change and increasing environmental stewardship. By switching over to renewable energy you can help change a company’s policies and practices, which can make big impacts.
17. Be willing to try new things –
Some eco, or green, products or ideas turn people away because they sound foreign or strange. Some items have stigmas associated with them, while others seem too weird to work. By being willing to try new things you can make a difference in your household and maybe even the world. Don’t limit yourself.
If that seems like too much to do, choose one or two a week and try them out; not all of the things on that list are quick, cheap, or easy to do, but they are worth it. If you choose to live thoughtfully and purposefully some of those changes will be natural and easy. If those are too easy, or if you are already pursuing the things that you can pursue, try a few more challenging changes.