Ten Tips for A Carbon Neutral(ish) 2020 from the Cool Effect Community

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Cool Effect is more than just an easy way to verifiably take action against climate change. We’re more than our incredible collection of triple verified carbon reducing projects. And there’s a lot more to us than the close to 2 million tonnes of CO₂ we’ve successfully kept from wreaking havoc on the planet’s atmosphere.

At the end of the day, Cool Effect is a community — a community of alarmed and concerned citizens who are ready to fight for the planet’s future. But the more than 530,000 members of our community aren’t just names on a list. They’re a dedicated, inspiring group who not only take action with Cool Effect but take simple actions each and every day to reduce their carbon footprint, knowing that those actions have a measurable impact on the planet.

They know that small actions taken together can have a larger ripple effect, and we do too — here are a few of our favorites that they’ve shared with us that’ll help you get your 2020 started off on a carbon-friendlier foot.

Close to 50% of all energy providers give their customers the option to purchase renewable electricity directly from their power supplier — and even if they don’t, every single American has the option to purchase renewable energy certificates. Cleaner energy in your home is essentially a phone call away, so call your utilities provider today to see what’s available!

These are three great lines of thinking, and they open a larger conversation about water and energy waste in general. Doing what you can do to reduce the amount of water you use (and waste) is a simple way to take action for Earth. Even something simple like switching your home to low-flow taps and showerheads by 2050 could reduce CO₂ emissions by 4.6 gigatons, all thanks to the fact that you’re reducing energy consumption for heating wasted water.

Since heating water accounts for close to 90% of the energy use of your washing machine, washing your clothes in cold water (don’t worry, the dryer — or even better, the sun — will warm them back up) is a simple way to drastically cut back on your energy use.

And it’s not just your pocketbook that reaps the benefits here — If 90% of people listened to Beth Jane here, studies predict that 7.8 gigatons of carbon emissions could be avoided. How many environmentally conscious people does it take to change a light bulb? Just one — you.

Americans throw away 60 million tonnes of food each year, which amounts to roughly $165 billion in wasted food. Small actions like better meal planning, shifting to a more veggie-focused diet, and making sure to compost anything remaining can have a big impact on the planet’s carbon consumption.

We all know that single-use plastic is terrible for the planet, but the emissions associated with their production (300 million tonnes a year!) is a major carbon emissions culprit. Combined with the knowledge that 91% of plastic isn’t recycled, and that for every square mile of ocean, there are about 46,000 pieces of plastic floating in it, should be all the motivation you need to switch to more sustainable options as much as possible.

Small individual actions are wonderful, but it’s also important that we don’t forget about the big picture in 2020. Large scale, systemic change begins with individuals, so make sure you do everything you can to raise awareness of the fight against climate change — the existential one of our times. Need some help getting started? Here are a few handy guides we like that we hope you’ll find useful in getting that conversation going.

Ok, so you probably already know how we feel about this one, but at the risk of sounding like a broken record, we’ll say it again: adjusting how you travel is one of the easiest things you can do to reduce your impact on the planet.

But we’re not here to shame people for flying — here at Cool Effect, we do not believe in travel shame. There’s no shame in exploring other parts of the world or reuniting with friends and family. These are the experiences that promote peace and understanding, as well as help rebalance our souls. We simply hope that when you do travel, you’ll travel with Earth in mind. Here are some easy ways to reduce the impact of your air travel, if you absolutely need to:

  • If possible, take a non-stop flight. The majority of emissions occur during take off and landing.
  • Pack lightly. The more we all bring, the more the plane weighs, the more fuel is burned.
  • Look for fleets that use biofuel. This will help reduce emissions dramatically.

Nobody can become carbon neutral without a little help. Life is too complicated, with too many moving parts, and too many variables for anyone to reasonably expect you to become carbon-neutral on your own and overnight.

But by following the lead of our community and doing your best to reduce your impact on the planet, then offsetting the rest with trusted, verified carbon emissions reducing projects (like these, for example) is a great way to ensure you can spend your 2020 looking forward to a cleaner future and a happier planet.