Climate change is one of the most complex and urgent scientific and social issues of the 21st century. Despite increasing warnings of the dangers of altering the Earth’s climate, we continue to release more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Those who cannot hold us accountable today-such as future generations, the global poor and nonhuman species, will be harmed the most by our failure to change course.
Tracey Bianchi is a married mother of three young children, living in Chicago. Her concern for the environment and its effect on her family and future generations inspired her to write Green Mama: The Guilt-Free Guide to Helping You and Your Children Save the Planet.
Bianchi earned a master of divinity degree and is a frequent speaker and writer on topics of Christianity. Regardless of your religious beliefs or denomination, and whether or not you have children, Green Mama will enlighten you to the earth’s dwindling resources; and how you can help their preservation.
Here, the topics of carbon footprints and carbon offsets related to climate change are highlighted, along with using our purchasing power and greening holiday traditions.
Carbon Footprint. The day we’re born we begin leaving an ecological footprint on the world. Bianchi notes that Genesis I invites us to be stewards of the earth. “Sadly we take more than we were ever given and leave a bigger mark than the earth can handle,’ she says. A carbon footprint results from carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere as a result of our lifestyles. Driving a car, flying in a plane, heating our homes and running appliances are all contributors. Ultimately, we want to tread lightly on the earth whenever possible. This includes limiting our water usage, walking instead of driving, and using clean, biodegradable products.
Carbon Offsets. Carbon offsets are carbon credits you buy from nonprofit organizations; and are often viewed as “apologies to the planet.” Your tax deductible purchases help better the environment in various ways, including planting trees in the Amazon and protecting wildlife.
Purchasing Power. “A truly sustainable and planet-friendly life will take every day tasks like drinking coffee and getting dressed, and whenever possible, turn them into ways to make a difference,” says Bianchi. Whenever possible, make your purchases count.
Fair prices help keep farmers and the communities they serve in tact. Fair trade companies support the small growers vs. their corporate counterparts. They also treat their workers with dignity and respect and ban child labor. Fair trade products may cost more, but many are made with ecological integrity, aim for sustainability and preserve the environment. To exert your purchasing power:
Shop near home. Support local businesses vs. big -box stores, and your community will benefit in a variety of ways. This includes more tax dollars for schools and maintained downtown rental prices, due to its vitality.
Eat locally. Many local restaurants offer unique dishes inspired by family traditions, vs. menus devised by distant corporate headquarters. They’re also apt to serve area seasonal cuisine not available through national restaurant chains.
Green Traditions-Celebrating Holidays and Special Events. “Family traditions are a great time to make some eco-friendly changes that draw your family closer to creation,” says Bianchi. Here are some ideas for greening your special occasions:
Establish family traditions that celebrate events like Winter Solstice or Summer Solstice.
Donate duplicate gifts and unwanted toys to charity vs. exchanging them at the store.
Go paperless when wrapping gifts-use kid-friendly pillowcases for children’s presents and canvas bags for adults.
Green up invitations, thank you notes and holiday cards-send electronic greetings instead.
Decorate more naturally during the seasons-use gourds at Thanksgiving and patriotic flowers on the Fourth of July.
Plant a tree commemorating a special day or in memory of a deceased family member.
Climate change is an ecological concern today and for future generations. Explore more about the topic; and help promote awareness with friends and family. Use your purchasing power and special holiday celebrations as symbols of its importance.
To determine your family’s carbon footprint, visit http://www.footprintnetwork.org.
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