The City of Indianapolis released a first-of-its-kind plan to address climate change, symbolizing a growing trend among cities nationwide that are not waiting for action from the federal government. As we know, climate change is very real and if we don’t make changes now, we will all be in deep shit later. Furthermore, scientists recently released the fourth National Climate Assessment —a detailed report that outlines the current state of the planet and what its future looks like — it’s devasting.
According to the researchers, climate change is set to do more damage to the U.S. economy by 2100 than the Great Recession ever did. In actual dollars, this means that by the end of the century, global warming and the damages it causes will cost the U.S. more than $500 billion. Yikes!
Hearing news like this may make you feel powerless that you can’t individually impact the environment. You’re wrong! If we all make small changes now, it can lead to a huge impact later to help reverse the damage that’s already done.
We put together a short list of tips and resources to help you go green.
1. Buy local when you can. Buying local not only has a positive impact on the local economy but also on the environment. Reducing food miles helps alleviate our dependence on fossil fuels, reduce air pollution and cut back on greenhouse gas emissions. When we minimize the transportation of goods, we mitigate climate change. Most importantly, food tastes better when it’s local. Check out our list of winter farmers markets to help you buy local even in the winter months.
2. Recycle, Recycle, Recycle. Recycling is very important as waste has a huge negative impact on the natural environment. Harmful chemicals and greenhouse gasses are released from rubbish in landfill sites. The Indiana Recycling Coalition has developed a tool called RecycleSearch to help Indiana residents find places to recycle. Use RecycleSearch to search for recycling centers by material by clicking here.
3. Green your commute. Indianapolis is a car-dependent city but there are many ways to reduce your transportation emissions. It will not only make you healthier, and happier but you can save a few bucks while helping the environment. Wherever you can try these local options to green your commute:
- Blue Indy: Blue Indy is a membership-based electric car share service. With over 200 stations you can find one near you. Memberships start as low as $20 a year, learn more here.
- Take Indygo: IndyGo has increased their transit service by nearly 70% by extending hours and bus routes. Rides are only $1.75 one-way or you can purchase a bus pass starting as low as $17.50 for 10 rides. Plan your ride here and explore the joys of public transportation.
- Hop on a scooter: Bird and Lime electric scooters debut in Indianapolis earlier this year and they are a hit among locals of all ages. Both Bird and Lime charge cost $1 per ride, plus 15 cents per minute. The dockless scooters are activated and paid via the mobile phone app.
- Indy Pacer Bikeshare: The Indy Pacer Bikeshare is the easiest and healthiest way to get around downtown. With 29 stations and 251 bikes, the Indy Pacer Bikes are available when you need them – near your favorite hangout spots, your office or neighborhood. Visit a kiosk and start riding.
- Move your feet: Walking or riding a bike instead of your car is always a healthy way to positively impact the environment.
4. Go Green at home. Implementing green practices into your home or office can not only help reduce waste but help improve air and water quality all while saving you some big bucks. These tips will help you get started to going green at home:
- Use Energy efficient light bulbs: Using Energy efficient light bulbs are a simple way to reduce the amount of power you use. By replacing your home’s five most frequently used light fixtures or bulbs with models that have earned the ENERGY STAR, you can save $45 each year. Visit your local hardware store to see your options.
- Recycle: The city of Indianapolis provides the convenience of curbside recycling to your home for a nominal fee. Recycle glass, #1 & #2 plastics, aluminum, tin, and steel beverage and food cans, newspapers and magazines (bundled and tied, or in a paper bag) – and place it out on your designated collection day for pick-up. To sign up for curbside recycling, contact the Mayor’s Action Center at 327-4MAC(4622).
- Take a shower: Switching your bath for a shower can make a huge difference. Baths use approximately double the amount of water a shower uses.
- Turn off the lights: You don’t need to light up a room no one is using. Save energy and money by getting into the habit of switching off the lights when you leave the room.
- Switch your cleaning products. Cleaning products can be full of harmful chemicals that can harm you and the environment. Look for cleaning products that are labeled as eco-friendly, and monitor what cleaners you use around your home.
5. Consume less, waste less, enjoy life more. Happiness is never found in buying materialistic things – it’s priceless. Focusing on life’s simple pleasures — spending time in nature, being with family or loved ones, giving back to your community – provides more purpose, belonging and happiness than buying and consuming. Find joy in the simple things!
Tell us how you are doing your part to save mother nature.