As we look at ways to advance environmental literacy for students across the nation, climate change is at the front of many students’ minds. However, most teachers don’t teach climate change, either because they feel that climate change is too daunting to discuss in the classroom, or that it doesn’t apply to their subject matter (NPR/Ipsos 2019). Many others see the large systems issues that need addressing and identify them as being too big to confront individually. But students want to be educated about these issues and want to learn how they can make a difference. Think about it, each person making one small act could equal 7 billion actions to fight climate change! By taking the step to learn more as an individual – whether you are a student, teacher, parent, or policy-maker – you can increase the momentum for change wherever you reside. No matter how big or small your actions are, each step towards a more sustainable lifestyle can make a difference in the fight against climate change and the advancement of environmental literacy for all citizens of the world.
“An environmentally literate person has the capacity to act individually and with others to support ecologically sound, economically prosperous, and equitable communities for present and future generations.”– A Blueprint for Environmental Literacy (2015)
The climate crisis is an omnipresent issue in our world today. From global temperatures rising to an influx of natural disasters, people across the world are experiencing the devastating effects of human contribution to our environment. It can be overwhelming to find a way to reverse or lessen the effects of climate change in our daily lives, so we wanted to share some ways that individuals can make a difference through sustainable changes in their routines.
One of the easiest ways to get started on your green living journey is by minimizing your use of single-use plastics. Items such as plastic water bottles or grocery bags are often used out of convenience, but utilizing items such as reusable bottles or bags is a simple way to encourage businesses to stop supplying single-use plastics as well as limiting personal use of these items. Items such as personal care products, toys, and home cleaning products also fall into the “single-use” plastic category, so if alternatives are not easily accessible, using resources such as Terracycle’s Free Recycling programs that partner with notable brands (Hasbro Toy, Burt’s Bees, Colgate, and many more!) is a great way to get started. It’s as easy as printing out one of their free shipping labels and using an old package mailer or box lying around the house to ship them to the recycling centers that can easily process the materials.
Everyone has heard that swapping to reusable materials is always a good way to transition to a green lifestyle, but did you know that you can swap out items in your home for ones that are more energy-efficient and cost-effective? For example, you can replace incandescent and CFL light bulbs with LED bulbs. You can also swap out older appliances and buy Energy Star models, running them during non-peak hours to save on your monthly bill! Another option if you are in the process of looking for a new home or renovating your current home, is to insulate your home and install double-pane windows. This allows for heat-loss prevention and can lower your overall heating bills.
Making all of these changes to alternative, eco-friendly products is necessary for the future of our planet, but having a green lifestyle is one that supports organizations and continuous learning about how our actions can contribute to climate change. Encouraging your local businesses to support and stock green products or serve more plant-based meals is a fun way to start conversations and educate others about the climate crisis. You can also create conversations in the workplace about divesting from fossil fuel companies and investing in renewable energy companies such as SunPower or Tesla. You can buy carbon offsets when traveling by plane, ship, or rental car through Terrapass or 4AIR to make your commute more climate-friendly. All of these small actions add up, especially when we share our thoughts and concerns with others. The company we keep usually shares the same values, it just takes one person to start a conversation and inspire change!
If you want to continue learning and become an advocate for green living, it’s important to seek out information about climate solutions as well as green practices happening in your local community! Check out the list of resources below, and feel free to share this article with a friend to get them started on their green lifestyle journey!
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4AIR is an aviation sustainability company assisting stakeholders in private aviation implement meaningful sustainability programs that meet and exceed industry commitments. 4AIR assists with environmental regulatory compliance and sources independent review to assure compliance with voluntary and regulatory commitments.
While many kids may not be fully equipped to truly tackle the science and stakes of the climate crisis until they’re a bit older, you can lay a strong foundation for future learning and action by engaging your child in some age-appropriate activities that will instill a sense of environmental responsibility that they will carry with them into adulthood.
Established in 2007 and headquartered in London, UK, Climate Action establishes and builds partnerships between business, government, and public bodies to accelerate international sustainable development and advance the ‘green economy’.
The Climate Reality Project has the mission to create a global sense of urgency on climate change and catalyze a planet-wide shift to clean energy to solve it. Founded and chaired by Nobel Laureate and former U.S. Vice President Al Gore, they share the truth of climate disruption with communities around the world and empower people everywhere with the knowledge and tools to help create a sustainable future.
ENERGY STAR® is the government-backed symbol for energy efficiency, providing simple, credible, and unbiased information that consumers and businesses rely on to make well-informed decisions. Thousands of industrial, commercial, utility, state, and local organizations—including nearly 40% of the Fortune 500®—partner with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to deliver cost-saving energy efficiency solutions that protect the climate while improving air quality and protecting public health.
SunPower designs all-in-one residential and commercial solar and storage solutions backed by personal customer service and the industry’s most comprehensive warranty.
TerraCycle is Eliminating the Idea of Waste®. They develop ways to make things that are typically non-recyclable nationally recyclable. In their research, they have found that few things are beyond recycling, and have found solutions for chewing gum, cigarette butts, and even dirty diapers. They integrate recycled materials into new products, such as working with some of the world’s biggest brands to turn ocean plastic into shampoo bottles. Or toothpaste tubes into playgrounds. They create platforms that move consumers from disposable, single-use packaging to durable, reusable packaging without sacrificing the economics and convenience that make disposable products desirable.
Terrapass is dedicated to the fight against climate change. Their mission is to provide the resources necessary for companies and individuals to understand and take responsibility for their climate impact through offsetting carbon emissions.
Tesla’s mission is to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy through increasingly affordable electric vehicles in addition to renewable energy generation and storage. To achieve a sustainable energy future, Tesla also created infinitely scalable energy products: Powerwall, Powerpack, and Solar Roof. As the world’s only vertically integrated energy company, Tesla continues to innovate, scale, and reduce the costs of commercial and grid-scale systems, with the goal of ultimately getting us to 100% renewable energy grids.