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What You Can Do About Climate Change

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In the fourth installment of our series on climate change, Here & Now looks for solutions.

Here & Now‘s Jeremy Hobson first talks with climate scientist Brenda Ekwurzel, whose book, “Cooler Smarter,” features household-level steps that can help fight climate change.

Then he hears from Steven Cohen, executive director of Columbia University’s Earth Institute, for an overview of institutional measures to slow and reverse the impacts of global warming.

4 Steps For Combating Climate Change From ‘Cooler Smarter’

  1. Switch to a car with better fuel economy. Upgrading from a 20 mpg car to a 40 mpg car can save you 4,500 gallons of gasoline over the car’s life span. At today’s gas prices, that’s a total savings of more than $18,000.
  2. Eat less meat, especially beef. An average family of four that cuts its meat intake in half will avoid roughly three tons of emissions annually.
  3. Use power strips in your home office and home entertainment center to curb “phantom loads” and save a surprising amount on your electric bill. Keeping your laser printer turned on when not in use could be costing you as much as $130 annually.
  4. Upgrade your refrigerator and air conditioner, especially if they are more than five years old. New ones are twice as efficient or more. For fridges: if they’re old an upgrade can pay for itself in as little as three years in energy savings alone.

You can read all of Ekwurzel’s household-level tips, from her book “Cooler Smarter,” here.

More From Our Climate Change Series


Brenda Ekwurzel, director of climate science for the Union of Concerned Scientists and author of “Cooler Smarter: Practical Steps for Low-Carbon Living.” She tweets @BrendaEkwurzel.

Steven Cohen, executive director of Columbia University’s Earth Institute. He tweets @stevenacohen.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit NPR.

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