All of us know Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. It’s the mantra for an individual’s responsibility in lowering personal carbon emissions and living more sustainably. But how do we do more? Should we do more?

Yes, it is vital to do more. Individuals cannot lower or reverse the emissions of greenhouse gasses (GHG) by their own actions. Methane (80x) and nitrogen oxide (300x) are many times more potent than carbon dioxide but how often do we hear about them? And what can we, as individuals, do to reduce them? Even water vapor is a GHG.

It is time (past time!) for County, State and Federal mandates. We can change building codes, build mass transit for everyone, create and enforce laws around manufacturing to lower pollution, subsidize renewables instead of fossil fuels, etc. But we as individuals can only do this if we vote for the future.

We citizens can support Climate organizations. Yes, this requires research on our parts to find places we fit, but for the future, we need to get involved.

Locally, People’s is a member of the Kalamazoo Climate Crisis Coalition (KCCC). It should be starting Fridays for the Future programs shortly after the school year begins. These are educational sessions about climate change actions being taken.

Statewide, in Michigan you can join MICAN, Michigan Climate Action Network, a network of concerned organizations working at the State level to implement change.

Federally, an example of a national organization with a local chapter is Citizens Climate Lobby. This organization would like to implement a national carbon fee on corporations’ carbon emissions and that fee would then be distributed to households to offset any added costs to consumers. Internationally, a gradually increasing carbon fee has been proven to be an effective incentive for companies to cut carbon emissions.

So, yes, continue to Reduce, Reuse, Recycle but also start bugging your elected officials. Your vote counts and it’s the most effective tool we have to get elected officials to listen. This is an election year. Become a Climate Change issue voter and as an individual you can make a difference!


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