New Year, New Opportunity to Green Your Life

Happy 2019!  

At this time of year, many of us resolve to make changes in our daily lives for the better, so C3 wants to make sure we’ve got you covered on resolutions that involve taking concrete steps to shrink your personal carbon footprint in 2019!

A recent Fast Company story gives us even more hope that we can all make an impact: “There are small, simple, inexpensive lifestyle changes we can make to be more responsible consumers… a study published last year in the scientific journal Nature found that substantial, sustained efforts by consumers could help achieve the target of reducing the earth’s temperature by 1.5°C.”

The takeaway? Each of us has a BIG role to play! In addition to the actions we outline on our Home Energy Challenge website that help individuals and households reduce their climate impact, we thought you’d also like the following ideas recently published in The New York Times.

Keep your smart phone a little longer

Did you know that manufacturing a typical smartphone releases the equivalent of 178 pounds of carbon dioxide, “about as much as burning nine gallons of gas or running a modern refrigerator for a year” according to the NY Times?! If you can resist the latest trendy phone and hang on to your current one for longer than two years, you’ll be doing the earth a solid (and probably your wallet too).

Buy less clothes, or at least choose sustainable wears

Trends come and go, but ethically-made, sustainable fashion is timeless. A 2018 Quantis report said the “apparel industry alone represents 6.7% of global GHG emissions, equivalent to about 3.3 billion metric tons of CO2-eq.” Meanwhile, we don’t even wear what’s in our closet 80% of the time. This year, shop less, or at least, invest in slow fashion.  

Practice slow fashion and shop local at  ReThreads Cosignment Shop  in Charlottesville. ReThreads is a  Better Business Challenge  participant! (Photo Credit:  @rethreadscville )

Practice slow fashion and shop local at ReThreads Cosignment Shop in Charlottesville. ReThreads is a Better Business Challenge participant! (Photo Credit: @rethreadscville)

Eat what’s in your fridge

The New York Times says: “Globally, we throw out about a third of the food we buy, and if food waste were its own country it would be the third-largest greenhouse gas emitter behind China and the United States, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization.” Meanwhile, “43% of wasted food in the United States comes from households,” according to StopFoodWaste.org. That should be enough motivation to leave no leftover behind!

Stop food waste and eat what’s in your fridge!

Stop food waste and eat what’s in your fridge!

Here at the Charlottesville Climate Collaborative, we’re committed to making 2019 the best one yet too:

Say ‘no’ to extra packaging

Claire Habel, who manages C3’s Home Energy Challenge, is resolving to be more vocal about saying “no thank you” to excessive consumer packaging. “Far too often, I find myself at the mercy of restaurants or grocery stores giving me more packaging than I need,” she says. “No matter where I am a customer this year, I resolve to ask for what I want – no extra packaging please!”

Habel says many retailers – online and brick-and-mortar – will gladly accommodate requests for less, minimal, or recycled packaging or materials. “The trick is having the guts to make your preference heard. At restaurants, request leftovers be packaged in something recyclable instead of styrofoam. Opt out of printed receipts, opt in to go paperless, and always, always bring your own bag.”

Electrify your ride

This year, Teri Kent, C3’s Director of Programs and Communication, is aiming to take her climate action up a notch by trading her fossil fuel-burning car for a used hybrid or electric vehicle. “This is the next step for me since last year I went solar at my home. Which means when I charge at home, it will be with clean energy! Transportation is definitely my biggest impact, so it's time to take a chunk out of that footprint,” she says. (EVs also come with financial incentives.)

How are you resolving to go green (or green-ER) in 2019?

P.S. Want more tips?  If you aren’t already following The New York Times’ “Climate Fwd,” we highly recommend subscribing. They deliver practical suggestions for making a meaningful eco-impact in 2019.