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Small steps you can take to fight climate change

Arlington residents Paulette Schwartz and Peggy Gardiner provided the following opinions about what you can do about climate change:

It’s that time of year: We have an opportunity to make the New Year’s resolutions that will benefit us and our family, and will also contribute to our community, our country and our planet. Here are some important options to think about.

Eat less red meat. This simple act will contribute to decreasing greenhouse gas emissions. Cattle contribute significant methane to the atmosphere.

Livestock production accounts for 80 percent of agricultural global greenhouse emissions.

Control food waste. Buy carefully (use a shopping list and plan meals) and freeze leftovers. Food waste is a significant contributor to emissions: 40 percent of food grown in the U.S. goes uneaten; decomposing food in landfill creates methane gas.

Support local organizations, such as Food Link, the Boston Gleaners and the Arlington Food Pantry/Arlington Eats, which redistribute food to those in need.

Plan how you use transportation options. Transportation emissions are the largest source of carbon pollution. We have choices — we can use public transportation, car-pool, bike or walk (also providing more exercise). It’s not hard to plan errands to minimize the amount of driving, and at the same time reduce the stress of being in traffic.

Recycle more, and make a point of buying recycled goods. In addition to the plasticware, bottles and papers collected with our weekly trash pickups Arlington holds monthly recycling opportunities at the DPW on Grove Street for other materials, such as foam, paint and textiles. Check the town website for more information.

Buy less. For example, nearly three-fifths of all clothing ends up in incinerators or landfills within a year of being purchased.

Maybe Santa didn’t deliver that electric car from your wish list, but there is still a lot you can do to improve the environment and mitigate the effects of climate disruption. Consider an energy audit of your home, switching to a 100-percent renewable-energy option for electricity, installing solar panels, etc.

Look at these ideas and commit to putting at least one of them into practice now. Seek out solutions of your own and share them with friends, family, neighbors and colleagues. We are more likely to learn from people we know and respect.


 This viewpoint was published Thursday, Jan. 10, 2019.

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