It absolutely is necessary for Hoosiers (like myself) to change their consumption habits. Right now, global warming is a result of greenhouse gasses and there are many sources of CO2 to the atmosphere almost all of which are a result of increased human greenhouse gas emissions. Without changing this, the world will lose vital components to multiple ecosystems, forests in particular, and we will eventually die. The results of my Personal Emissions Calculations indicate that I am doing much worse than the average household in America. This was quite shocking because I never paid much attention to my consumption levels, although I understood there to be a correlation between those who use “energy saving” items and higher than average levels of consumption because of that fact. I read that those who have energy saving light bulbs, for example, would be more prone to leaving their lights on for longer periods of time or not worrying about turning them off when they leave a room. The argument and supporting results made sense, but I never thought much about how that compared to my personal emissions. Right now my annual emissions for transportation, home energy, and waste are deplorable at a total emission rate of 24,429. This is higher by nearly 1/5th compared to the U.S. average of 19,702. This carbon comes mostly from my home energy consumption, my lack of recycling, and the amount of gasoline I use to drive as often as I do. Driving contributed a large part to this, but all three categories were listed as above the U.S. national averages which means I am doing horribly in terms of protecting the planet. Clearly compared to the national average I am doing poorly, but given that my lifestyle and habits are similar to those around me, I would wager a guess that I compare similarly to those people in this area. However, compared to those who live outside of Indianapolis I am sure we are doing worse as a state. In order to reduce my emissions there are many things I can do including replacing my light bulbs, recycling each item in my home, turning off lights as I leave the room, using less energy to heat the house, and walking to those places I can reach easily without worrying about an extra fifteen minutes of inconvenience (Girod and De Haan, 2010, p. 31).
We, as a city can work together to improve things such as the types of energies we use, such as coal. BY reducing the more harmful energy sources on which we depend, we can, as a city and state, reduce our overall impact. It is not enough to plant one tree or to carpool one day per week. Serious lifestyle changes need to happen. This is perhaps one of the biggest challenges to this. Many people think about what short term things, or one time things they can do to mitigate climate change or reduce their impact, but most people fail to realize that much the same as diet and exercise, these changes have to be long term. These changes have to become permanent lifestyle changes which we don’t just do the once. The cost of the city changing to coal would really be at the expense of those running the coal operations at best. As a city, we would suffer from a temporary loss of jobs, which would immediately be replaced by R&D into better solutions and newer energies. This would improve long term health in the area, reduce the health impact of coal workers, and help to keep the entire state and nation a cleaner place. Personally, my changes do not cost much and would only result in personal inconveniences at best. It takes a conscientious effort to remember turning off all lights, or unplugging things once they are done charging. Unplugging the charger and not just removing the technological device from that charger is key. Changing lightbulbs and making an effort to just put on more layers or take off layers based on weather. Investing once in a small blanket to keep in the living room for when I am cold is not very costly, and it would mitigate the likelihood of turning up the heat each time I was cold. Based on my understanding of what has happened, what is happening, and my contributions, again, I think that it is necessary for Hoosiers like myself to reduce your carbon emissions as a means to conserve our planet for future generations (Dietz, 2009, p. 18452).
- Dietz, Thomas, et al. “Household actions can provide a behavioral wedge to rapidly
reduce US carbon emissions.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 106.44 (2009): 18452-18456.
- Girod, Bastien, and Peter De Haan. “More or better? A model for changes in household
greenhouse gas emissions due to higher income.” Journal of industrial ecology 14.1 (2010): 31-49.