On July 7, 2007 (07.07.07) Live Earth held a “monumental music event that brought together a global audience” to address the climate crisis. With concerts in New York, London, Sydney, Tokyo, Shanghai, Rio de Janeiro, Johannesburg and Hamburg  featuring musical acts like The Police, Genesis, Bon Jovi, Madonna, Kanye West, Kelly Clarkson, Black Eyed Peas and Jack Johnson, it was one of the biggest awareness events ever held.

Live Earth’s goal is to work with individuals, corporations and governments to find workable solutions for the climate crisis, partnering with other like-minded organizations including the Alliance for Climate Protection whose chairman is former Vice-President Al Gore.

According to the National Climatic Data Center, summer 2012 was a scorcher. Our average temperature was up 3.3 degrees over the 20th Century average. Three degrees may not seem like much, but when earth changes are supposed to occur over millions of years, not decades, it raises alarms. There were significant climatic events that occurred during the summer, as demonstrated by this NCDC image:

It may seem overwhelming to think about the potential disaster of global warming, but there are things we can do as individuals.

The first step is to calculate your carbon footprint. The Nature Conservancy has a free carbon footprint calculator on their website that will help you determine your current impact. Once you know your carbon footprint, take steps to reduce it in every area of your life.

At home:

  • Use energy saving light bulbs.
  • Investigate the use of alternate energy sources, such as geothermal, solar, and wind energy.
  • Recycle everything. While you should develop recycling habits for paper, plastic, cans, and bottles, it’s also a matter of recognizing that everything can be re-purposed. Old t-shirts become dusting cloths; water bottles can become a greenhouse. From large to small, everything can be used again.
  • Turn down the thermostat. Even turning down the heat by three degrees will reduce your energy consumption by 10 percent.
  • Wash clothes in cold water to cut energy bills dramatically.
  • Weatherize your home. Seal around windows and doors, wrap up your water heater and pipes, and add insulation.
  • Plant trees. In addition to acting as a natural air filter, they provide shade that helps you keep your home cooler without turning on the AC.
  • Most electronics continue to use energy even when not in use, so unplug them.

At work:

  •  Skip face to face meetings that require employees to fly to other locations and leverage the power of online conferencing software instead.
  • Skip printing documents and move to secure electronic storage instead.
  • Turn off your computer when you leave at the end of the day.
  • Encourage the owners and managers of the business to employ green practices by replacing lights and adjusting thermostats.

As a consumer:

  • Choose the companies you support carefully, supporting those who practice sustainability. Inc.com lists “The Green 50” as a place to start.
  • Take reusable bags to the store every time you shop – never choose plastic bags!
  • Try to choose products with little or no packaging.
  • Reduce your meat consumption. Livestock add significantly to the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. Eat less meat and more greens, saving the planet and yourself.
  • Buy organic. Send a message that chemicals don’t belong in food.
  • Buy local. Everything you buy that has to be shipped in from somewhere else is having an impact on the earth.

On the go:

  • Use a bike. Not only is it better for the planet but it’s good for you too.
  • Skip the SUV and choose an economical vehicle.
  • Car pool or take public transportation rather than using your car.

We have a long, hard road ahead of us if we want breathable air and livable temperatures for our children and grandchildren. The global climate crisis requires us all to stop, think, and make changes.

5 THINGS YOU CAN DO RIGHT NOW:

  1.  Go through your house and turn off everything using electricity that you don’t need right now.
  2. Adjust your thermostat by 5 degrees.
  3. Go online and write your representatives to let them know you want your country to be part of the solution, not the problem.
  4. Share this article with others and encourage people to make small changes.
  5. Walk instead of drive to at least one place you need to go this week.