Don’t Get Scared; Get Busy!

October is the month Americans celebrate our scariest holiday – Halloween. So let’s take this month to discuss something really scary – carbon dioxide emissions – and some steps we, as individuals and as U.S. citizens, can take to reduce our CO2 footprint. First, the sobering truth: last week, the Scripps Institution of Oceanography blogged that the earth’s atmospheric carbon levels at Hawaii’s Mauna Loa Observatory (where scientists have measured CO2 levels weekly since 1958) have now officially exceeded 400 parts per million, and seem to be stuck there. “It already seems safe to conclude that we won’t be seeing a monthly value below 400 ppm this year – or ever again, for the indefinite future,” the report stated. Scripps calls this “a serious milestone.” We spoke in a recent blog about the Paris Agreement, where the United States joined 60 other nations to ratify measures to prevent global average temperatures from rising more than 1.5 degrees Centigrade above pre-industrial levels. This is a huge step in the right direction, and the world’s two largest carbon-emitting countries, China and the US, have gone on record asking other countries to join with them in working to achieve this goal. But what can we, as individuals, do to help? Over the next four weeks, we’ll take a look at a dozen proposals for reducing carbon footprints. Here are the first three:
  1. Make climate-conscious political decisions. Voters who want to have lasting impact have the power to elect leaders who reflect their values and who make decisions in line with their climate solution goals.
  1. Put your money where your heart is. In another recent blog we reminded you that the challenge of climate change presents investment opportunities in the renewable technologies arena like solar and wind, distributed over reliable energy networks.
  1. Eat less red meat. The Stanford Environmental Law Journal (SELJ) tells us that animal agriculture and our reliance on meat and dairy products has a direct link to several environmental issues. The report quotes the United States Department of Agriculture as stating that “global agriculture – dominated by livestock production and the grains grown to support it – accounts for 30% of greenhouse gas emissions.” And it takes roughly 5,000 gallon of water to produce 1 pound of beef.
From conservative, alternative income strategies, such as those created by Clean Energy Advisors, to socially impactful funds in third world countries, there have never been more opportunities for impact investors to deploy capital with purpose. Check out this recent article about Clean Energy Advisors in Community Capital Management’s Fall Newsletter.

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