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5 Fun Ways to Reduce your Carbon Footprint
This probably doesn't sound incredibly fun right off the bat (even if it does literally begin with the word 'fun'), but you can definitely make it fun! Instead of tedious, tiring, and often less effective methods of fundraising, such as door-to-door solicitation or telephoning, aim for something that is fun, like a school bake sale or a themed event. Involve the community and bring them something they enjoy-- happy people are more likely to be sympathetic to your cause. Plus, if you can manage to make it cool, double points for you!
Your cause should, of course, be something that helps reduce pollution, especially carbon emissions. Spread awareness about Earth Day, encourage people to bike instead of drive in warm weather, do whatever you want to do, as long as your endeavours don't cause more pollution than they could possibly help to avoid! And always make sure you know every single detail about where your donations are going, if that's what you're fundraising for.
2. Learn and Support Science
You may think that science is boring, but on the contrary, science can be fun, entertaining and incredibly rewarding. Granted, the school and the lab reports probably aren't super fun-- but neither is building a roller coaster or cold-coding a video game! (for most people, at least). Doing safe little experiments (or larger, controlled ones) can be fun and informative, but even just watching them online works! In fact, there is a plethora of amazing 'science entertainment' available out there; fascinating scientific documentaries on literally any subject; educational lectures, debates and conversations with leading professors and intellectuals; and, of course, thousands of Youtube videos en masse. I've got a few awesome examples for you, now that I think of it!
- COSMOS: Probably one of the best science programs to-date. Neil Degrasse Tyson takes you on a thrilling and spectacularly rendered voyage across the entire universe, from beginning to end. This series will leave you breathless hundreds of times in only 13 episodes, but be sure to catch the original with Carl Sagan first-- it's probably the only thing that compares.
- CrashCourse: Youtube is awesome, and it has some pretty awesome people. Two of those awesome people are Hank and John Green. They make CrashCourse, which is pretty much recognized around the internet as the best shows to watch if you want to learn something. Since we're talking about carbon emissions and the environment, this 13 episode playlist of the entire CrashCourse on ecology is a perfect place to start!
- Comedy: Throughout history, one of the best ways to get a point across has always been through humour or satire. It so happens that, in much of today's society, satirical comedy acts often attack those who appear to be of less-than-average intelligence, especially in the area of science. The episode about the debate on climate change on Last Week Tonight's Youtube channel is probably the best example of this-- plus, with Bill Nye and 97 other scientists, it's just incredibly informative and funny!
Understanding the science behind climate change will help you make more conscious and informed decisions about things like policy, education and the economy, to name a few. Furthermore, in your everyday life, you can be in a position to make better decisions about simple things like cooking or purchasing light bulbs. And, if you are the type to pass on interesting information, you may make your friends and family more concious too!
3. Nature Adventure!
If you have some free time, get out into the wild, have a good time, and maybe even learn a thing or two! The simple act of going out and exploring the woods, instead of sitting around watching TV with the lights on or driving around wasting gas, is actually one of the best things you can do! Make it a habit and involve your friends!
You'd be amazed at how much beauty is waiting just outside the confines of your small (or perhaps large!) city or town. Learning and experiencing it will give you the enthusiasm to get others interested, and before you know it, you're making all kinds of incredible, organic change! This can be extended to any type of outdoor activity-- from snowboarding to bike riding and everything in between.
In addition to your own 'backyard exploration', you could consider visiting a nature or wildlife conservation park that offers eco adventure tours and provides you with fun activities to do while making sure your money goes to a worthy cause. Nearly every country in the world has national parks, you just need to find one that is close enough to you, supports a cause that interests you, and sounds fun!
4. Start a Garden
If you have the space and the season, why not grow some food? Even if you buy local produce (and you should, because flying vegetables around the planet for people who can grow vegetables in their backyard is not very efficient), it still doesn't compare to growing your own! Not only will your food be cleaner, better (maybe), and cost a bunch less, but you will know where it came from, and you will know that it has been made in the most efficient way possible (so long as you use captured rainwater instead of hose water to feed them!). A garden really doesn't take up a lot of space, either, and lets not forget how fun gardening can be!
Growing a garden is also the most ecologically-friendly way to use your outdoor space (save, perhaps, for installing solar panels). The small oxygenation of the atmosphere and tiny effect on the carbon cycle may not seem like it's worth it, but it's the same as anything on the global scale-- we all need to do our small part.
This has to be the worst idea on the list, right!? Wrong! So wrong. Anyone who has done volunteer work can tell you that, in most cases, it really is fun! The sense of community is naturally comforting for anybody, and working with others toward a common goal is one of our most ancient evolutionary traits. The best part is: you get to pick just about anything you want to do-- you could dedicate your entire life to rescuing turtles, if you'd like! Or spend just a summer in Africa building a school. Here are a few volunteering ideas that will get you thinking about how to help reduce carbon footprint:
- Look up (or head on down to) your local college or university and ask about volunteering options. These are the kinds of places where 97.1% of people tend to be more conscious about climate change. The Cambridge Carbon Footprint program is a perfect example.
- Check out the library and see if they need a hand. Books are obviously a gift from God, but they are costly to our trees. Making the library a better place could (if only so slightly) reduce the overall consumption of books. Consider libraries to be like the novel version of the carpool lane-- it's just better when everybody shares.
- Speaking of carpool lanes-- do that. If you already drive to work, ask around and see if you can't carpool with someone, especially if you have a long commute. If there really is nobody to carpool with at your work, just work something out with a friend-- you've got hundreds of them on Facebook and Twitter!
- And finally, my personal favourite, join a group (or start your own) of friends who spend some time every now and then giving back to mother nature. Do things together, such as planting trees around your city or helping your friends install solar panels-- just be the difference!
Volunteering can be as fun as you want it to be, and as rewarding as you make it! If you can't think of anything to do on your own, and none of the ideas above are appealing or possible in your situation, allow someone else to take the wheel. It's as easy as typing your city's name into Google, along with any type of volunteer work you might be interested in. People are always glad to have an extra set of hands!
The author of this blog is a travel, nature, and conservation enthusiast!
She would love to hear what you thought of her work in the comments below, and a thumbs up could really send her day in the right direction! :)
Thanks for reading!