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Judith Anderson

By Judith Anderson

The last year, 2020, is now tied with the year 2016 for the highest globally averaged temperatures in recorded history, according to NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

In November 2018, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) special report on the impacts of global warming of 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels gave us 12 years to act to prevent a global catastrophe. Now in early 2021, with less than nine years left to act, are you “woke” yet? 

What can each of us do now to reduce our carbon footprint?

Transportation: Reduce your use of high CO2-emitting vehicles.

To find out how your automobile compares to climate targets, here is a website to consult: carboncounter.com. Diving deeper into your personal footprint are alternatives such as ride-sharing, trains, and buses.

Municipalities are adopting electric-powered public transport. The historically efficient bicycle still reigns. Whether it’s with or without an electric battery, for close-range errands coupled with outdoor enjoyment and health benefits, nothing quite beats a pedal bike.

At home: Powering up with solar panels is here to stay. If you haven’t converted already, it’s simply smart. There are numerous factors before signing contracts. You might get started by taking a solar energy quiz and comparing companies here: consumeraffairs.com/solar-energy.

In addition, we Californians have more chances to convert the power of wind and solar to reduce CO2 by ditching that clothes dryer on sunny days and hanging up clothes. It’s super easy to slide clean shirts on hangers over a clothesline or backyard umbrella frames.

And in your own backyard, have you got a raised bed for winter greens or herbs established yet?  Even a tray (flat) of microgreens on a windowsill is a tasty beginning to grow your own.

When considering food and taking a step toward climate conscientiousness, the closer your food source is to the soil, the less energy is needed to produce it. All trees, large and small, emit oxygen and absorb carbon dioxide.

So, planting more, whether fruiting and feeding us, along with providing shade and cooling of excessively paved cities, is a win-win.

Growing more of what you eat means less energy use in transporting produce from farm to table. And composting your daily kitchen scraps into that garden with a simple composting method in your yard means further circular living.

For further exploration on how you can track your carbon footprint, go to footprintapp.org.

Judith Anderson has lived in San Juan Capistrano for 31 years, is a portrait and culture photographer, an architectural assistant and architectural tour guide for the SJC Historical Society and the Friends of the Library of SJC, as well as a member of the Citizens’ Climate Lobby/Education of South Orange County.

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