In doing the first six months of research for this blog, I’ve come to a few conclusions. They aren’t necessarily surprising, but I think it’s worth mentioning what they are.
- Everything we do is embedded in an economic system that is absolutely reliant on carbon at its core; any product you buy, food you eat or building you occupy is emitting carbon, and there’s very little you can do to mitigate that.
- There are four main things you can do in your personal life to substantially reduce your carbon footprint.
- Travel less, and in particular, fly less
- Drive an electric car
- Eat less meat, or better yet, eat a completely plant-based diet
- Make your home more energy efficient, in any way you can (install LEDs, solar panels, make sure your insulation is up to snuff, etc.)
Pretty much everything else has a negligible effect, unless you can go entirely off the grid, grow your own food, never leave your house and basically don’t participate in the modern economy. If we operate under the assumption that these conditions are not attainable for most people, then we must rely on policy decisions to combat climate change. We need to take concerted, collective action to work against carbon emissions; our individual choices can only go so far to change levels of CO2 emissions. And in our modern political system, the way to take collective action is by legislating and implementing specific policies that work towards these goals.
So, I’ve decided that I’d like to spend the rest of 2019 learning about what policies could be most effective to combat climate change. Basically, if we could ask for politicians to choose a few key laws to pass, what would get us the most bang for our advocacy buck? Are there test cases where laws have been passed and had the desired effect? And how can a regular person with a full time job, like me and maybe you as well, most effectively advocate for these laws to get passed?
Please let me know if you have policy questions you’d like me to try to answer!