In honor of Earth Day, I want to talk about an issue that’s close to my heart: climate change.
It’s been unseasonably dry in Colorado this spring. North Denver didn’t get any snow in March, notoriously the snowiest month of the year, and so far this year we’ve set or tied record high temperatures 9 days (and 0 record lows). And that’s just my neighborhood!
There’s no denying climate change is a reality.
This has been a major concern of mine for years, but it feels even more pressing now. Maybe because my daughter was born in January and I know she will eventually inherit this problem. It’s hard for me to look her in the eye knowing there’s more I could be doing.
Honestly, it’s easy to get all doomsday-y about climate change and assume the planet is too far gone to turn around. But that’s not true! While individual actions might seem small in the grand scheme of things, each one is a step in the right direction and cumulatively can make all the difference.
I’ve read books and watched documentaries that have truly inspired me to change the way I live. John and I are working toward decreasing our carbon footprint by limiting the amount of meat we consume (especially red meat), getting solar panels on our house, switching one of our vehicles to electric, shopping with reusable grocery bags (when I actually remember to grab them from the car), and recycling when and what we can.
There’s far more we could be doing and we’re always looking for new ideas!
Here are a few of the books and documentaries that have inspired me to go green:
- Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future by Ashlee Vance—this is one of my favorite biographies and talks about all that Musk is doing to make renewable energy and electric cars not only affordable, but cool. His ultimate goal is to make humans an interplanetary species by getting us to Mars. It’s incredibly inspiring how far he’s come in the renewable and space industries; recently SpaceX had a major win by successfully launching a recycled rocket!
- Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver—All of Kingsolver’s novels have a strong theme of nature, but this one is my favorite. I read it a few years ago for my book club and it sparked me to take action. The story is about a monarch butterfly population that randomly moves to a forest in Tennessee. While fiction, there is a base in facts, and this book moved me to plant milkweed and other fragrant herbs that butterflies enjoy (not that they actually grew, mind you, but I’ll try again!).
- Forks Over Knives—this documentary convinced John and me to eat less meat. We’re not full-on vegetarians, especially now that we have a newborn, but we try to eat vegetarian at least a few days a week. In addition to being better for the environment, a plant-based diet also has HUGE health benefits. And it doesn’t have to be all or nothing; even eating a little less meat, or exchanging beef for a more sustainable animal protein can help tons!
- Years of Living Dangerously—this National Geographic series explores the effects of climate change around the world. While rather dire at times, it’s also eye-opening and surprisingly hopeful. This series does a great job of showing what we can do to slow things down, and what other countries are doing in the fight against climate change. And, let me just say, America has some catching up to do!
Do you have any ideas for what more we can be doing in the fight against climate change? Are there any books or documentaries you’ve especially enjoyed that highlight this issue?