Global warm­ing: There are things that we all can do

The Peterborough Examiner - - Opinion -

From USA To­day:

Just two days af­ter a United Na­tions re­port de­manded ur­gency in the fight against cli­mate change, a pow­er­ful Cat­e­gory 4 hur­ri­cane slammed the United States.

The U.N. In­ter­gov­ern­men­tal Panel on Cli­mate Change warned that a win­dow of op­por­tu­nity to sharply re­duce the harsh­est con­se­quences of global warm­ing — ex­treme weather, food short­ages, wa­ter scarcity and sea level rise — is clos­ing fast.

But is the sit­u­a­tion hope­less? Cer­tainly na­tions that spew the most heat-trap­ping green­house gases — par­tic­u­larly China and the United States, the two lead­ing emit­ters — must act more ag­gres­sively to switch away from fos­sil fu­els. But in­di­vid­u­als can help, too.

• Con­duct an en­ergy au­dit of your home, which can cut fuel costs.

• Cut back on red meat. It takes 16 pounds of grain to make one pound of beef, a real in­ef­fi­ciency. And a lead­ing source of meth­ane, a po­tent green­house gas, is — yes — bovine emis­sions.

Be­yond life­style, there’s ac­tivism. Non-profit or­ga­ni­za­tions can use vol­un­teers and dona­tions in the cru­sade to save the planet. Re­tire­ment in­vest­ments can be tai­lored for cli­mate-sen­si­tive in­dus­tries.

This week’s dou­ble whammy of the U.N. re­port and the Gulf Coast hur­ri­cane needn’t be a recipe for de­s­pair and paral­y­sis. Aver­age cit­i­zens have more power than they think to al­ter Earth’s fate.

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