The big question answered: How to save the planet

Published: 3/14/2019 12:14:58 AM

Last week we asked readers this question: What lifestyle changes have you made in recent years to become a better inhabitant of the planet? Here are the responses we received.

Spreading the warning

Answering your “big question,” we have made many lifestyle changes after studying and understanding the seriousness and urgency of climate change. Most importantly, because collective action is needed, we’ve become much more politically active, working to encourage climate leadership at every level. This includes contacting our elected officials, writing letters to editors and supporting candidates who pledge to address the issue appropriately. We also support organizations that focus on encouraging climate leadership, both with participation and with contributions. Two of our favorite groups are Citizens’ Climate Education and Our Children’s Trust.

Beyond this, we have changed our lifestyle to become much more energy efficient. This has involved heavily insulating our home, installing solar panels to produce most of our own electricity, installing air-to-air heat pumps to heat and cool our home, and adjusting our thermostat to reduce demand. We also heat our hot water with a heat pump, drive a hybrid car and have cut down on travel – especially carbon-intensive air travel. Additionally, we use a clothesline to dry clothes whenever possible, use energy-efficient LEDs or fluorescent lights, recycle, hand-split firewood, take reusable grocery bags to carry our groceries and grow much of our own produce.

Finally, knowing that our personal efforts are small compared to the scale of the challenge, we talk about climate change with friends, family and others, encouraging them to also make lifestyle changes that will bring us all closer to where we need to be. Ideally, we need government leadership to inform citizens of the risks and opportunities surrounding climate change, to build grassroots support for cooperative action at an international level. Once the U.S. leads, the world will follow. One shortfall of focusing on personal efforts is that it can cause complacency – allowing one to feel better but still allowing the climate-changing carbon dioxide levels in our atmosphere to rise.

SUSAN and ROGER SHAMEL

Hillsborough

Reduce, reuse, recycle

What lifestyle changes have we made to become a better inhabitant of the planet?

Reduce, reuse, recycle are embraced in our family. We fix our appliances instead of buying new. We catch the rain to use on the gardens and take short showers, and turn water off for teeth and dishes. Biodegradable dish soap is key and running full washer loads of laundry in a low-water machine. We hang laundry up to dry to use the dryer less. Unplugging appliances saves electricity, and we buy cars that emit less carbon and ride our bikes more. Solar panels and energy audit next.

LAURIE RARDIN and family

Concord




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