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What Parents Can Do About Climate Change

Volunteer kids take a trash to recycle bin

In early July, Environmental Research Letters published a study by Seth Wynes and Kimberly A. Nicholas, which analyzed 148 commonly cited ways for individuals to reduce their carbon footprint. The researchers found that most actions had little impact on greenhouse gas emissions, but having fewer children had the greatest impact. For parents, however, the decision to not have children is moot. So how can you help in the fight against climate change?

Make small changes

A July article in The Guardian argued that we have been fooled into thinking of climate change in terms of problems we can solve at home. In reality, corporations and industries produce the most greenhouse gases. Recycling in your home doesn’t make a big dent in the amount of plastics thrown out at restaurants. Taking shorter showers has little impact on water conservation when the vast majority of water usage is in agricultural practices. Still, small actions can add up when lots of people are doing them. Use the small changes as a starting point, but don’t fall into the trap of thinking you’ve done your part with new lightbulbs.

Make individual changes with big impacts

According to the Wynes and Nicholas study some of the biggest individual impacts come from owning fewer cars, traveling by airplane less often, and eating plant-based diets. If you cannot make these options work, find something that does work for…

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