Sustainability Tip: 20 companies are responsible for more than 30% of carbon emissions since 1965
The United States’ environmental movement has focused on reducing individual impact. “Consume less,” “drive less” and “downsize” are all things we as individuals are expected to do to reduce our carbon footprint.
The problem with this argument is that, yes, while we all have an opportunity to reduce our personal footprint, we as individuals are not responsible for the climate crisis.
A study by the Climate Accountability Institute in the U.S. revealed 20 companies are responsible for more than 30% of the total worldwide carbon emissions released since 1965. The Guardian reported on the study in October 2019.
What does that mean for our community in Eagle County? As we look to achieve our Climate Action Plan goals of a 25% reduction in carbon emissions by 2025 and an 80% reduction in carbon emissions by 2050, we need to focus as much on changing the systems as changing personal habits. We don’t need everyone to live in a tiny home, drive a tiny car and go vegan: Although doing those things will help, even if it’s just a small change like eating vegetarian one night a week or unplugging electronics that are not in use.
More importantly, we need the energy we use to do those things, like drive to the store to get plant-based ingredients or power to heat our homes, to come from renewable sources.
And the great news is that we have partners in our local community, organized through the Climate Action Collaborative, that have dedicated themselves to helping us become pollution-free, so we can continue to live the way we want without settling for less.
Here are three things you can do today to help the Climate Action Collaborative accelerate this transition:
- Electrify your home. Our electric provider has committed to generating 70% of their electricity from renewable sources by 2022, meaning the energy coming from electricity will soon have a smaller carbon footprint that the energy coming from natural gas. The next time you need to replace a furnace or boiler in your home, check out all-electric options such as an air-source heat pump. Walking Mountains and Holy Cross Energy will be hosting a home-owner workshop on all-electric heating systems on April 22 (Earth Day) to learn more.
- Buy local. Eagle County is fortunate enough to have local food producers in our community. Check out stores like the Colorado Meat Company, or any of the local farmer’s markets during the summer to source your food. Even better, grow your own veggies during the summer.
- Reduce your dependence on gasoline. Looking at the top 20 companies responsible for climate change, each of them produces oil and gas. When looking at new cars, check out all-electric options. Use the local bus, ECO Transit, when you can, or walk or bike on our incredible trails. Any of these options will help us reduce our dependence on gas and will cut off support to those companies that are responsible for our climate crisis.
Kim Schlaepfer is the Climate Action Collaborative Project Manager at Walking Mountains. Contact her at email@example.com.