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Many climate change resources will tell you that there are changes you can make to reduce your personal carbon footprint. Think of actions like:

  • driving less
  • eating less meat
  • reusing, repairing, and recycling your things rather than throwing them out

Those personal changes are valuable, and if we all made them we could make a dent in climate change. However, personal changes are not nearly the most effective way for you to make a difference.

Why’s that? The answer is that individual people, by and large, don’t have big carbon footprints. The average person worldwide creates about 4 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions each year (source). That means unless you’re one of the unusual people who own a couple of private jets, your personal changes can only ever reduce your footprint by somewhere around 4 metric tons.

So instead of focusing on personal changes, we’re going to spend the next section talking about systemic changes, or ways that you can help convince corporations and governments to reduce their carbon footprints by millions of metric tons at a time.


Image credit: The United Nations’ #ActNow campaign via Trello

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