The weather created almost too perfect a setting for President Obama’s climate change speech Tuesday afternoon. Visibly sweating and frequently dabbing at his forehead, the president addressed the importance of acting on climate change before the problem became too great. “The progress [will be] measured in crisis averted, planet protected,” he said.
President Obama’s main focus in protecting the planet is the limiting and ultimate elimination of carbon pollution. In his speech, President Obama cited a study that found the 12 warmest years on record have occurred in the last 15, with 2012 being the warmest year in recorded history. He also called on America to be a leader in the fight against climate change, asking individuals to do their part. “We have to all shoulder the responsibility for keeping the planet habitable, or we’ll suffer the consequences together.”
So what does “doing your part” mean? How can individuals answer the president’s call to use cleaner sources and waste less?
Go Meatless on Mondays
Though you may not want to commit to going fully vegetarian, a great way to help the planet is by participating in Meatless Mondays. Often, animals bred for consumption are treated poorly and kept in small quarters. If the inhumane treatment of the animals isn’t enough reason to go meatless, consider that the various hormones used to “fatten up” livestock eventually find their way into the ecosystem.
Not only is organic food better for you, it is also better for the planet. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has said that pesticides pollute the primary drinking source for many Americans. By buying organic, you help reduce the pollution of drinking water. Organic farming is also considered the one of the most eco-friendly ways of farming. It’s sustainable, and keeps the soil and surrounding environment healthier.
Grow Your Own Tomatoes
Few things taste better than a tomato straight out of the garden. Growing your own tomatoes is a great way to have a consistent source of the versatile fruits while helping the environment. Many large tomato farms use powerful chemicals and pesticides on their plants. Just like with other non-organic plants, those pesticides and other chemicals used could find their way into the water supply.
Use Reusable Water Bottles
Bottled water is expensive, and its environmental impact is huge. Recycling the bottles from bottled water is a great first step in countering that impact, but an even better step is investing in a reusable water bottle. Doing so will help you eliminate a large amount of plastic waste and save you money.
Use a Cleaner Heat Source When Grilling
First, while neither propane nor charcoal is perfect, when it comes to fewer carbon emissions, propane is the clear winner. Charcoal is a renewable source, but produces nearly three times more greenhouse gases when burned than propane. If the goal is to limit carbon emissions, propane is the best choice, especially if you invest in an energy efficient grill.
The threat of climate change will not resolve itself. We must act now for the sake of our children and grandchildren. #ActOnClimate
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) June 25, 2013
Video by the Associated Press