Climate change is big and scary, but the good news is that climate change is not a mystery. We know the reasons it's happening, and we know the ways to stop it in order to avoid the worst outcomes. But the clock is ticking and we need to act quickly. There are two main categories of action we need to take -- we need to REDUCE THE SOURCES of greenhouse gases going into the atmosphere; and we need to PROTECT AND IMPROVE THE SINKS, or systems that sequester, or pull gas out of the atmosphere and store it in a stable state.
Reducing Sources of Greenhouse Gases
There are many known solutions to climate change, some of which are more complicated than others. Below are three solutions we can help advance in our communities today.
One group of climate solutions entails moving away from fossil-fuel generated energy and the rapid adoption of clean renewable energy sources such as wind, solar, hydro, and hydrogen. We can also encourage energy efficiency measures to reduce demand for electricity.
Food & Agriculture
Food production is another area for climate solutions. Industrial agriculture results in degrading the land and raising too many animals for the planet to handle. Eating less meat, supporting regenerative agriculture, and reducing food waste are three known solutions to climate change.
Fossil-fuel powered transportation is a major contributor to greenhouse gases, but the good news is there are several clean transportation options already available. Investing in infrastructure to support safe bicycle and pedestrian transportation is one option. Transitioning to electric vehicles is another.
Protecting and Improving Carbon Sinks
In addition to reducing the amount of new greenhouse gases being released, we can slow and even reverse climate change by protecting and enhancing the natural systems that pull carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere and sequester carbon.
Carbon is stored in things around us - living and dead. Soil is made up of centuries of dead and decomposing organic matter, which means it is all carbon! Likewise, trees and grasses that grow pull carbon out of the atmosphere to grow. So taking care of our soil, our trees, our grasses to make sure carbon stays in the ground, and living plants continue to sequester carbon are important climate solutions.
Coastal and Ocean Sinks
Our ocean covers about 71% of the planet's surface, and plays a major role in regulating climate. In addition to sequestering carbon in the water column and seafloor, the surface water has absorbed at least 90% of the excess heat generated by recent climate changes. The ecosystems that form at the transition from sea to land -- mangroves, marshes, wetlands - are also significant carbon sinks.