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I am the founder of Earth Focus Group, with a mission to create a world of people who understand our changing climate and that individual actions affect everyone on earth.
To help individuals reach the recommended goal of reducing emissions 50% by 2030 and 100% by 2050, I have written the book “Family Survival Guide for our Changing Climate: 52 Empowering Actions You and Your Family Can Take Now!”
To help environmental organizations build a larger coalition, I also developed the website EnvironmentalGroups.us which serves as a data base of environmental groups in all 50 states. The mission is to build capacity around environmental groups in the U.S. so we can educate more people about climate change and empower them to participate in solutions.
Me and my husband Wayne travel the US full time in our motorhome. Staying in places two to three months at a time allows us to explore many natural places and the wonderful people who inhabit them.
I also have a National Park habit and am working towards visiting, exploring, and assisting in the preservation of every single one of them.
Why did you decide to write this book?
After years of working with fellow activists and groups I realized the questions being asked had a common theme.
“What can I do about Climate Change?” and “Will what I do really make a difference?” It was apparent that many parents were aware that a climate crisis was near, but they really had no clue what to do about it. They were exposed to disjointed messaging, some true, some not. By offering small empowering steps that they can take on a weekly basis, or monthly, familiies can realize a big difference in the end.
What is so significant about the years 2030 and 2050?
The United Nations International Panel on Climate Change chose these dates as main markers for reducing our greenhouse gas emissions and maintaining global warming to 1.5° C levels. We are tasked with reducing emissions 50% by 2030 and reach zero by 2050. This is not just those of us in the US, these are goals for the entire globe. The Paris Agreement has been ratified by 190 countries so far and lays out a framework for each country to reach these goals. The book empowers individuals to make the changes they need to be a part of the solution and not the problem.
What do you mean by a carbon footprint?
Everything we do and everything we buy has a carbon footprint. If you look around you right now, no matter where you are, you will see products that have required large amounts of energy to produce. For example, I have a bottle of hand lotion here next to my computer. It is made of glass with a plastic pump, and a sticker with ink.
Glass has three main raw materials: silica sand, soda ash, and limestone. Energy in the form of fossil fuels are used in the extraction of these materials, transportation and manufacturing. These three ingredients are melted at temperatures of 2700° F until they are a liquid.
How high would your heating bill be if you heated your home to that level?
Think of the entire life cycle of the product, which includes exploration of materials, extraction, manufacturing, transportation and disposal. All use energy and most also consume water. The same cycle occurs with the plastic pump, which begins with petroleum exploration.
Now look around the room again. But what I really want you to do is think of the carbon footprint of every product you purchase and decide if you really need it.
Why is our planet warming?
Every day we are dumping approximately 115 million tons of manmade global warming pollution [greenhouse gases GHG] into the atmosphere every 24 hours. That is like exploding 500,000 Hiroshima atomic bonbs per day, every day.
CO2, the most prominent GHG, is being released faster than any time in the past 66 million years.
In all the time that humans have been on earth we have experienced just right conditions. Much like the children’s tail of the three bears. Solar radiation, in the form of light waves, enters our atmosphere and allows the earth to absorb most of this energy. Some bounces back as infrared waves (heat). The atmosphere traps some of this heat, which makes it livable.
But as we dump all those GHG’s into the atmosphere, it absorbs heat and less is radiated back into space. It is much like having an electric blanket on your bed and increasing the temperature. Unfortunately, we are not able to just kick off the extra layer when it gets too hot.
How can families not feel overwhelmed by these numbers?
The first thing to do is not wait until year 10 to get started. The book has small steps to take over a period of time. Some are easy and inexpensive, some are not. For example, I am not suggesting you get rid of your fossil fuel buring vehicle and buy an electric vehicle. But within the next ten years you may be in the market for a new car and should consider the option at that time. Same with household appliances, insulation, windows, and solar.
What if we do nothing to change?
Climate change is not something coming in the year 2030. It is happening now. All life on earth are experiencing things like the following:
- Intense heat waves in areas such as the southwest.
- More intense storms and hurricanes that are dumping large amounts of water.
- Extreme wildfires that consume entire communities.
- Food security issues
- Increased health risks.
- Need for people and animals to migrate to more livable areas.
These are just a few of the things we are seeing now. They will only get worse if we do nothing.
How should readers consume your book?
The front of the book has a brief overview of the topic of climate change and a carbon footprint. Each of the 52 Actions can be completed in any order. Some can be done immediately with little costs, while others require long term planning.
There is a link in the book for a free video series that goes a little more in depth on the subject of climate change. Earth Focus Group also has a 26 Day Challenge to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint 10% for those who would like to join a community in making these changes. At the end they will have a long term plan to reacy 50% by 2030. The Challenge is meant to help people feel empowered and confident that they can do something.