Many people have busy lives and feel like they are powerless to fight climate change. Although one of the most important climate actions we can do is demand change, there is no reason why we should not use sustainable alternatives when we can. Our digital age is quickly becoming the norm, and it is crucial to harness the power of the Internet to create positive change. Luckily, there are ways to do this. In this article, I will explore three ways anyone can save the planet with simple online actions.
Most humans use the internet every day. Whether watching YouTube videos, shopping on Amazon, or researching a product, people use search engines billions of times daily. Enter Ecosia. Ecosia is a non-profit company founded in 2009 by Christian Kroll. They run a search engine that works very similarly to Google, except 42% of revenue (80% of the profit) is used to plant native trees around the world as needed. This is a great way to have a meaningful impact, especially because it requires no effort on your part. Additionally, you can view your tree planting efforts through ecosia.org. In addition to being a search engine, Ecosia also sells clothing at ecosiashop.com. Whatever you do online, Ecosia will be there to make your experience more sustainable.
#2: Donating to #teamtrees
#teamtrees is an initiative by MrBeast and Mark Rober to plant at least 20 million trees. Donating to #teamtrees is a great way to fight climate change because they plant trees where they are needed most. Trees offer many benefits. First of all, they act as a restoration for native habitat. Many species of fauna and flora rely on trees, so planting native trees in areas at risk helps to increase biodiversity. Additionally, trees absorb carbon dioxide, which is stored in their wood and in the soil. Carbon dioxide is one of the main greenhouse gases contributing to climate change, so more trees equates to less carbon in the atmosphere. Finally, trees can reduce urban heat islands, places where heat is stored in buildings and infrastructure. According to the EPA, this occurs because of shade and evapotranspiration from the trees. In all, planting trees can be a highly effective method of reducing your impact on the environment by increasing biodiversity, absorbing carbon dioxide, and reducing heat in urban areas.
#3: Using Wren
Wren is a company with a mission to help the world become carbon neutral. It calculates your carbon footprint and allows you to donate money to offset it. Wren offsets carbon in a myriad of ways. It plants trees, prevents deforestation, and teaches more sustainable farming practices. The company itself is transparent and even shows your own personal impact. According to Wren, “we live in a world where emissions are unavoidable. We need to reduce our emissions, and offset what we can’t yet reduce.” Right now, the world is still transitioning to greener options. It makes sense to roll these out ASAP, but in the meantime lessen our impact through offsets. Many people can argue that offsets are an ineffective method to reduce emissions. According to Sustainable Review, “[c]arbon offsets don’t work because if every company chose that method, there wouldn’t be enough credits to go around and hit 2030 goals.” They argue that when demand raises the price of carbon offsets, it will eventually be cheaper to just reduce their own emissions in the first place.
I believe that we should take a balanced approach. For individual people who don’t make up a large portion of emissions, offsets are an effective method until green technologies become the norm. However, for large corporations (such as Microsoft, Nike, Apple, General Motors, etc.) reducing emissions directly is a more cost-effective method in the long run, mainly because of the limited market of carbon offsets. Considering how much these companies affect each of our lives, any positive change they make at the company level will spill down and benefit us too. We live in an era where nearly anyone can do nearly anything. However, with great power comes great responsibility. We all have great power these days, but the question is, do we have the responsibility to manage it?
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