Three Very Good Things You Can Do Now for the Environment

1. Eat less meat. Possibly none.

There are many issues related to vegetarianism, concerning ethics or health. I personally think they are important, but hey, that’s me. The meat and diary industry alone is responsible for at least 7% of the greenhouse effect in the world: in 2006, FAO said livestock

it is one of the largest sources of greenhouse gases and one of the leading causal factors in the loss of biodiversity, while in developed and emerging countries it is perhaps the leading source of water pollution.

Like it or not, eating less meat is becoming an important act to fight climate change.

2. Buy less stuff.

When I asked the clever folks at Sustainability.SE what I could do for the environment, this was one of the best answer I got. It’s so simple it hurts.

3. Trees are important.

We all know that. Forests store a lot of CO2 (both in wood and soil), especially tropical ones, because they get more sun most of the year. While planting new trees is still a fantastic idea, avoiding forests to be cut in the first place is even better. The CO2 is already stored, and you don’t have to wait decades for new, mature trees. So, you can donate to the Rainforest Alliance or just buy stuff with their seal on it.

But tree planting is the second best choice, especially if you can do that without even sweating. Use Ecosia as your search engine (uses Bing underneath): it gives 80% of ad revenue to tree planting projects in Burkina Faso through WeForest or other NGOs. Each tree costs 0.28€, each search on average gives them 0.5 Euro cent. So it’s really worth it: you help planting trees without even noticing. At this very moment, they are planting one tree every 1.1 seconds!

If you’d like to donate or compensate CO2, this is one of my favourite projects for fighting deforestation: Forest Futures.

If you want to do even more (like growing a little forest in your backyard), proposes a revolutionary methodology for reforestation and growing a whole new forest in only 10 years. Watch how they do it.

Of course, there are even better things to do: you can fly less, use public transport, insulate your roof (and walls and floor), install solar panels, buy an electric car. These are great, and if you have the means to do it, please do.

But maybe you don’t own a house, you don’t have the money to go solar (although, it’s costing less and less), or you just can’t give up your car. I mentioned these 3 because I think there are a lot easier and cheaper than modify a lot your lifestyle. If you have a better idea, please write below.

Digital librarian, former president of Wikimedia Italia. I work with books and metadata.

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