What Can We Do

Module Overview

What can we do to lessen and adapt to the impacts of climate change?

In the Climate Science Investigations (CSI) curriculum, you have studied the science that explains weather and climate. You have analyzed scientific data from NASA, NOAA, and various other research agencies to compare recent changes in climate to those of the past, determine the causes of recent changes, and assess observed and predicted impacts of a continued increase in global mean temperature.

The data provide compelling evidence that addressing the issue of climate change is becoming more urgent. The majority (98%) of scientists who actively research climate change agree that human activity is the main cause of the recent global warming trend. Therefore, it seems appropriate for human activity to become part of the solution.

Development of this module was beyond the scope of our NASA-Innovations in Climate Education funding. However, we realize the importance of discussing what we can do to lessen the impacts of climate change. We expect to complete this module in the spring of 2015.  

In the meantime, here are some actions that you can take to lessen your carbon footprint.

  • Conserve energy – At school and home, be aware of the items that use energy and turn them off when not in use. Even items that are off but have a light on are still drawing power. Consider putting them on a power strip and turning off the entire strip when not in use. LED bulbs may seem expensive but they last a long time and use much less energy than traditional bulbs.
  • Reduce, Reuse, Recycle – You’ve probably heard this mantra your whole life, but have you really thought about what it means? Reduce – Buy items that have less packaging. Don’t buy items just because. Ask yourself: Do you REALLY need it? Reuse – Turn something old into something new. Shop at consignment or thrift stores. Recycle – If it’s recyclable, it shouldn’t go in the trash. Compost your vegetable waste and use it in your garden.
  • Consider your transportation – Unless you are walking or riding your bike, most forms of transportation use fossil fuels. Some ideas for using less fossil fuels are: buying a fuel efficient car, moving closer to work, carpooling, or taking public transportation.
  • Eat less meat, especially beef – A 2014 study (published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences), found that livestock emissions are on the rise, beef requires 28 times more land to produce than pork or chicken, 11 times more water, and results in five times more greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Vote! – Every vote counts. Voting is one way to have your voice heard. Before you vote, make sure that you have researched the candidates and that the one you are voting for reflects the values that are important to you.
  • Get involved – Find one or more groups locally that support environmental issues that are important to you. You’ll meet other people who think like you do. http://www.ted.com/talks/derek_sivers_how_to_start_a_movement.html
“We need to adapt to that which we can’t prevent,and prevent that to which we can’t adapt.”
Bill McKibben, Founder of 350.org