10 Life Changes That Will Actually Make A Difference For The Environment

Brittany Wong

It’s easy to feel a sense of powerlessness when it comes to the environment

The risk of wildfires all over the world is only growing, in part because of man-made climate change. We just lived through the hottest decade on record. Meanwhile, our leaders, at least in the U.S., have not enacted meaningful policy reform and many are dismissive of the threat of climate change

While reforms need to be made at the federal, state and local government levels, our individual actions ― at least in the aggregate (tell your friends to do these things, too!) ― can make a difference. We asked environmentalists and climate change activists to share a few ways that each of us can reduce our carbon footprint and combat climate change.

Here are 10 useful suggestions:

1. Cut back on air travel — entirely if you can.

The idea of curbing your air travel, if not giving it up outright, was brought into the spotlight when Swedish climate change activist Greta Thunbergrefused to fly to speaking engagements. She has traveled to events around Europe mainly by train and sailed from the U.S. to Portugal to attend the United Nations climate meeting in Madrid in December.

Critics of air travel usually point to the environmental damage done by international air travel, but domestic flights aren’t much better. As The New York Times reported recently, take one round-trip flight between New York and California, and you’ve contributed about 20% of the greenhouse gases that the typical car emits over the span of an entire year.

So when reducing air travel, don’t forget the domestic flights you likely take with more frequency ― a wedding here, an industry conference there. 

“The antidote to air travel is to choose adventures closer to home, exploring your own state, arriving at destinations by train, bus or the family car,” said Erin Rhoads of The Rogue Ginger, one of Australia’s popular eco-lifestyle websites.

“The other benefits of this are learning the history about...

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