Make the Transition to a Low Carbon Future
Energy – Transportation – Food – Buying Habits – Waste
As households and communities, our daily activities and our purchasing decisions have a bigger impact than we may know. When we understand our impact better, we can begin to make better decisions for our own future and our children’s future. Where do we begin?
Let’s start by understanding our “carbon footprint” (a measure of greenhouse gas emissions we are directly or indirectly releasing1).
Minnesota Greenhouse Gas Emissions (from the MPCA)This graph (from the MPCA) shows the source of greenhouse gas emissions in Minnesota (2016 figures). Our numbers are different from national numbers in some ways, and similar in others.
- Agriculture is only 9% of greenhouse gas emissions nationally, but it leads the list in Minnesota. Decisions we make around food and food waste can have an impact; so can our investments in responsible farmers and soil improvement projects, and support for forest and prairie restoration.
- Transportation emissions are the largest source nationally, with most emissions coming from passenger vehicles and light-duty trucks. Don’t forget flying! That’s 3% of ALL greenhouse gas emissions globally.
- Electricity production is just behind transportation, in Minnesota and nationally. Minnesota is getting greener as our major utility company begins to close its coal-burning plants, but switching to natural gas (another fossil fuel) also has its challenges. Electricity in our homes takes 38.5% of the energy utility companies produce. We have a lot of control over that energy use. And as employees or congregants, we can extend our influence to help our workplaces and faith communities reduce their usage, too.
- Industrial and commercial emissions are impacted by the way we buy and how much we waste. But through our workplace activities and professional associations, we may be able to shift industry practices from the inside, and with consumer campaigns we may create pressure for change from the outside.
This website describes practical actions that individuals, groups, and communities can take to reduce their impact. Many of the examples provided here come from Transition Town groups in Minnesota and in other places in the U.S. but you can also find neighborhood organizations, green teams, and creation care teams who are taking positive, practical action.
It’s not important what your group is called; it’s important that people are taking action.
While doing so, you may find that you save money, breathe cleaner air, eat better food, and make new friends. You may also find that you are better prepared, more resilient, and more connected to community. That’s something we will all need as we face increasingly severe weather challenges ahead.