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Sep 01

What You Can Do To Fight Climate Change

Posted on September 1, 2016 at 9:12 AM by Ryan Dicks

As the father of two kids I am often considering what our climate change legacy will mean to them and to their kids. At this point there is no doubt that human beings are heating up the planet and that these changes will not get better in our lifetime. Climate change, like a baseball player on steroids, is making extreme weather more extreme. 

Four recent examples of how climate change is making us less safe. 

Louisiana Flooding  Zika Virus  California Wildfires  DC Heat Wave

Did You Know? Pierce County government has a goal of reducing fossil fuel use by 20% in our fleet and reduce natural gas use by 50% in our buildings by 2020

The good news is that you don't need to make impossible changes to have a positive impact on the climate. In fact most of the stuff that experts suggest we do is pretty manageable over a 1-5 year time frame.

In order to minimize climate change scientists believe that we will have to largely stop burning fossil fuels by 2050. Because we have clean hydro-electricity in the Puget Sound region, our primary focus must be on limiting fossil fuel use in transportation.

Walk, Ride or use your ORCA Card: This may only be possible if you live close to work or have realistic transit options. If you can move closer to work you will save time and money and generally live a healthier lifestyle. Transit and ride share options in Pierce County are improving and will save you thousands of dollars annually if you can live car free.

Buy or lease an Electric Vehicle: In the next 10 years most of us will be driving these cars because they are faster, cleaner and much cheaper to operate. Imagine never getting an oil change or going to a gas station again.

Buy a Hybrid or Hybrid/Electric: Make your next vehicle purchase or lease the most fuel efficient vehicle you can get. If you own a Prius you are paying half as much for gas. If you buy or lease a new Chevy Volt you will likely only need to fill up every 1,000 miles on average.

Did You Know? According to the 2016 Sustainability Survey 83.66% of Pierce County employees are concerned about Climate Change and have or plan to make changes.

Take Green Driver Training in Five Minutes: The Office of Sustainability put together this short Green Driver training to make sure you are getting the most mileage out of the vehicle you currently have. Smart driving can reduce fuel use by up to 30%.

Limit Natural Gas use in Your Home: By switching to an electric heat pump you can stop using natural gas (a fossil fuel) and you will have air conditioning to deal with our increasingly hot summers.

Eat Less Red Meat: Cattle and feedlot operations have a huge carbon footprint. Eating red meat once a week or less is a good goal. Eating grass fed beef is an even better choice for the climate and the environment generally. 

While climate change can seem daunting at times, the rate of growth of solar energywind power and electric vehicles should give us hope that we can turn the tide on climate change. Let's just hope for all of our sakes we transition off fossil fuels fast enough to make a lasting difference.

Ryan Dicks