Climate change can feel like an overwhelming problem, and there is a lot of misinformation out there surrounding potential solutions to our climate crisis. But we can mitigate climate change!
To address the causes of climate change, reduce its current impact, and prevent future damage, we must change the way we interact with the world, how we buy products, and what we eat. While a lot of responsibility lies with corporations and their energy use and pollution, we can also make a difference individually.
By making simple changes in our daily lives, we can reduce our individual impact on the environment to support a better tomorrow! 🌎 🌱
Moonshot is here to help in the fight against climate change, and that includes sharing some helpful info on what you need to be equipped for effective activism. Here’s the scoop on decarbonization.
What is Climate Change, Really?
Climate change is the long-term effect of intensifying global temperatures. While natural processes like volcanic activity, cyclical ocean patterns, and variations in the Earth’s orbit contribute to an altered climate, changes in the past century have been primarily caused by human activities like the burning of fossil fuels.
We are already seeing the effects of climate change that began in the early 20th century, and future generations will face the consequences of our current level of emissions.
Climate change may lead to the melting of glaciers, the rising of local temperatures, reduced air quality, loss of species and habitats, and other consequences that threaten both human survival and the survival of the earth. Increases in the severity and regularity of extreme weather conditions like hurricanes, earthquakes, wildfires, and blizzards can all be traced back to climate change.
But we have options. Solar and wind energy, electric vehicles, and decarbonization are being implemented across industries to reduce fossil fuel emissions, and we’re learning more every day about individual actions we can take to slow down the effects of climate change.
When we all work together to support and grow these alternative energy, low-impact options, we can make an enormous difference in the fight to save our planet.
It is an essential tool in the fight against climate change and the movement toward alternative energy. It largely affects the behavior of larger companies and governments, which can lead to a great amount of progress in a short amount of time.
Decarbonization is the process of reducing carbon dioxide emissions by switching to low-carbon power sources like solar and wind energy. Its long-term goal is to reach carbon neutral, a net-zero balance between the carbon dioxide emitted and reduced.
How Does Decarbonization Work?
Companies can replace existing fossil fuel use with alternative energy options including solar, electricity, and wind power. This reduces the amount of emissions being released into the atmosphere, making the goal of net-zero emissions more accessible.
Why is Decarbonization Important?
When carbon emissions become trapped in our atmosphere, it creates a warming effect. This leads to natural disasters, rising ocean water levels, and the loss of species and habitable environments. By decarbonizing, we can both reduce the amount of carbon emissions being released into the atmosphere and help remove existing emissions to cool the earth.
BY THE NUMBERS:
Electricity and Heat Production is almost tied with Agriculture, Forestry, and Other Land Use at 25% and 24% respectively when it comes to being the largest sources of global greenhouse gas emissions. </h3>
Emissions from fossil fuel combustion and industrial processes contributed about 78% of the total 90% greenhouse gas emissions increase from 1970 to 2011.
In 2014, the top carbon dioxide (CO2) emitters were China (30%), the United States (15%), the European Union (9%), India (7%), the Russian Federation (5%), and Japan (4%).
Carbon Sequestration & Decarbonization
Carbon sequestration refers to the act of capturing and storing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. For example, there is a company in Iceland that takes carbon dioxide from the air and pumps it underground into balsatic rock, where it turns to stone. This helps to reduce climate change by reducing the amount of atmospheric carbon dioxide.
Decarbonization doesn’t refer to zero carbon emissions, but rather net-zero carbon emissions. Carbon sequestration through reductions or enhanced carbon sinks can balance the emissions released into the atmosphere with the carbon removed from the atmosphere to achieve carbon neutrality.
Carbon sinks can be areas like forests, which regularly take carbon from the atmosphere through photosynthesis, or the ocean. This is partially why deforestation has such a large effect on climate change—forests are demolished to make room for carbon sources like raising cattle, increasing the number of carbon emissions while decreasing the Earth’s carbon sinks. This causes the ratio of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to rise.
If we can increase the number of carbon sinks and reductions, we can contribute to the decarbonization of our atmosphere.
Areas To Decarbonize
There are many different industries whose output of carbon emissions make them good candidates for decarbonization. Here are some of the largest.
Agriculture and Food
Agriculture contributes to nearly 25 percent of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide, and the agriculture and food industries have many options to reduce carbon emissions and embrace climate-friendly alternatives.
Regenerative farming, for instance, produces food while restoring degraded soil. With traditional farming, the land used to grow crops is often destroyed by pollution, desertification, and decarbonization. If this destruction continues, the Earth will no longer have enough usable soil to grow food.
There is little to no use of pesticides or fertilizers in regenerative farming, and a variety of crops are grown in rotation year round to enrich the soil, prevent erosion, and protect biodiversity. Well-managed soils can also sequester carbon, which is the process of storing carbon underground. Where regenerative practices are maintained, the carbon remains in the ground and contributes to both soil health and decarbonization efforts.
Reducing meat consumption is also a major lever to help decarbonize our food consumption. On average, Americans eat more meat per capita than we should for both our personal and planet health. That being said, there are ways to produce and cultivate meat more sustainably within regenerative agricultural systems; raising animals in pastures is a highly effective way to build soil and sequester carbon. When grazed on a rotational basis, animals help aerate and return nutrients to the soil. Also keep in mind that certain meats, like beef, have a higher environmental impact than others.
We can decarbonize the transportation industry (29% of our carbon footprint) and reduce carbon emissions from travel by improving vehicle efficiency. Governments can bolster existing regulations for vehicle emissions, support the production of electric and alternative energy vehicles, and expand public transportation options to reduce the need for personal vehicles.
While electricity is a better energy source than fuel and other carbon-heavy options, it’s far from perfect. Nearly half of the electricity used today is produced by burning coal, a core contributor to the current climate crisis (25% of our carbon footprint). To effectively decarbonize electricity, we must work to end the use of coal and other fossil fuels and embrace low-impact, high-benefit energy alternatives like wind and solar power.
What You Can Do To Help With Decarbonization
You are essential to decarbonization! Here are a few steps you can take at home and in your community to push for cleaner air, water, and land for the next generation.
Advocating for Policy Changes
Grassroots advocacy, community organizing, letter-writing, and voting are all essential steps that individuals can take today to establish a better tomorrow.
Educate yourself on climate change and decarbonization efforts so you can advocate for them to the fullest extent. Join existing organizations fighting in your community, state, or even at a national level, or start one of your own with like-minded people who want to see concrete change.
It’s important to stay informed on existing policies and upcoming measures to advocate for decarbonization in your community and beyond. Appearing at town hall meetings, organizing letter-writing campaigns, speaking out on social media, and supporting the voting rights and voices of those in your community can inspire larger companies to embrace Earth-friendly policies.
If you have the time and resources, you may also want to consider running for local office. Local government is a tremendous way to make an impact close to home that will be felt for generations to come.
Switch Your Home To Renewable Energy
Switching your home to renewable energy doesn’t have to cost a fortune. You can speak with your existing energy provider to see if they offer green alternatives, tap into a community solar grid, or add solar panels to your roof or yard. It’s also helpful to opt for green, low-energy appliances and light bulbs, and always unplug appliances when not in use.
Support Companies That Fight Against Climate Change
Here at Moonshot, we don’t just provide delicious rosemary garlic crackers. We also fight for the rights of organic farmers, advocate for important food policy changes, and source our regeneratively grown ingredients close to home.
By supporting companies that fight climate change, you’re using your power to advocate for a better future.
Transition Away From Gas Powered Vehicles
There are more alternative energy vehicles on the market than ever before, which means they’re becoming increasingly affordable and accessible. The next time you’re in the market for a car, consider moving away from gas-powered vehicles to an alternative energy option—or ditch cars altogether.
Biking, walking, and using public transportation are all low-impact ways to get around while supporting the earth.
Climate change can feel insurmountable, but there are many ways organizations and individuals can work together to reduce our carbon emissions. Through decarbonization efforts, we can prevent more fossil fuel emissions from entering our atmosphere and remove existing greenhouse gases.
Decarbonization can begin today, right at home, with you. Moonshot believes in creating good, healthy food for our community and the world around us. We hope you’ll come along on the journey as we advocate for local farming, regenerative agriculture, climate-friendly meat production, and alternative energy transportation.
Every voice in the fight against climate change matters for the future we hope to build together.
Climate Change and Global Warming | NASA
Environmental co-benefits and adverse side-effects of alternative power sector decarbonization strategies | NATURE
Global Greenhouse Gas Emissions Data | EPA
How To Reach US Net Zero Emissions By 2050: Decarbonizing Transportation | Forbes
Fast Facts on Transportation Greenhouse Gas Emissions | US EPA