So, I don't spend a lot of time talking or writing about how I feel about sustainability, climate change, and our stewardship of the earth. Living with a small carbon footprint is something that I take into account with everything that I do, but up until now have been mostly quiet about. That is about to change. I just took part in the Climate Reality Leadership Conference here in Los Angeles. Al Gore is a charismatic and astonishing person. There was a bevy of brilliant scientists, passionate journalists and the 2200 participants themselves, a gathering of so many wonderful people. I am both incredibly dismayed by the mess that we are in and buoyed up by the passion, intelligence and power in the room. The message is two fold: the situation is dire AND we have tools to combat it.
Every global crisis starts locally so this, my first posting on the subject, will share three important ways that I am personally dealing with climate change. These are the choices that I make each and every day. It is hard for an inherently shy person to say, "this is what I do, you should try it too." I usually joke and say something about being a Northern California hippie at heart. This is true, but not the whole story. Time to own it. These are choices that I make and I would encourage you to try one or two, you might actually like it.
1. Plant based diet: I know, another self righteous vegan telling others how to eat. Even Mr. Gore said that he doesn't try to change people's diets though he too is vegetarian. The facts are these: industrial agriculture is a huge source of climate change. If more people abstained from that way of life, we would be in a better place. So, I would encourage you to take it a day at a time. Eat less meat, avoid dairy for a meal, a day, a week. See how you feel. See how much money you save. Eat real, whole foods, not meat or cheese substitutes. Try world cuisines that don't rely on animal products and see how delicious it is. Make different choices and treat it all as an adventure. You might discover a whole new you. Corny sounding, but true.
2. Transportation: As most of my friends know, I don't have a car. I bike everywhere, and I mean everywhere. I average 30 miles a day and often hit 50 or 60. Considering that my job is dancing and I am literally on my feet all day long, this is a serious commitment. I admit that it is also a little crazy. I don't think that everyone needs to make this commitment, but everyone does have room to lessen the amount of time spent in a single occupancy car. Carpool, take the train or a bus, ride a bike or scooter part of the way and take the train the rest. Even in notoriously poorly served Los Angeles, you can get to many many places easily and quickly via public transportation. If you do you have a car, keep it in good condition and move towards a hybrid or electric vehicle.
3. Shopping. We are such a consumer based society and we create so much waste. I gave up buying new things several years ago. This includes clothing and shoes (with a few notable exceptions: underwear, running and dance shoes, most workout clothes), kitchen items, furniture and accessories. It does not include electronics (computers, phones, etc) or bedroom and bathroom supplies for sanitary reasons. In addition to WHAT I buy, I am conscious of how I transport it. I always carry my own bags, avoid extra bags for fruit at the store, carry a coffee and water bottle at all times and shop for food often to avoid throwing things away.
Below is a graphic that we can all use as a guide. Take or leave what works for you! And thanks for taking the time to read my first Climate Reality Leadership Blog Post!
Nancy Dobbs Owen
Want to know what is happening right now? You've come to the right place! Enjoy!