I have traveled to the ends of the Earth and its highest peaks, and have experienced some of the most extreme and inhospitable environments on the planet. The immense beauty of mother nature has inspired me to learn more about the current condition of our planet and the impact we all have on its survival.
For years, the wildfires ravaging the Western United States have directly impacted me, my family, and my friends. The Amazon Rainforest continues to shrink as fires continue to rage, while polar ice caps are melting at rates far greater than ever before. Climate change is a global existential issue, and without direct action, planet Earth as we know it will not survive.
My name is Bo Parfet; I am an impact investor, philanthropist, author, explorer, and mountaineer. Alongside my wife, Meredith, I am the founder and CEO of Denali Venture Philanthropy (Denali), an impact investment firm that helps humanitarian causes and entrepreneurs whose ethos centers around driving positive and impactful social change.
My mission to improve the lives of others was instilled in me at a young age. I come from a long line of philanthropists, all working to improve their local communities and the lives of their surrounding family, friends, and neighbors. As a world traveler and investor in organizations around the world, I feel it is my duty to help ensure the health, safety, and vitality of all living creatures, and the negative environmental effects of climate change provide a seemingly insurmountable threat to human prosperity that I simply cannot ignore.
Technological advances have enabled scientists to see the big picture effects of climate change through data collected over many years. Climate change has occurred throughout Earth’s history, but according to NASA, current research shows these trends to have significantly accelerated from the mid-20th century onwards, and as a direct result of human activity.
Global climate change has been studied through the rise in the Earth’s surface temperature, its warming oceans, its sinking ice sheets, rising sea levels, increasingly extreme weather, and the acidification of the planet’s oceans. All these events have occurred due to the industrially driven output of greenhouse gases including water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide.
Carbon dioxide is the most widely discussed of these gases. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change notes that modern industrial activities have raised atmospheric carbon dioxide levels from 280 parts per million to 414 parts per million in the last 150 years. While carbon dioxide can stimulate plant growth, it has also been shown to reduce the nutritional value of food crops and give way to new species of pests and diseases affecting the food supply.
Ways to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint
The only way to make a difference is to act. As humans, we owe it to future generations to combat the negative impacts we and those before us have created. Here are just a few of the steps I am taking to reduce my carbon footprint in helping improve the sustainability of our environment.
MAKE YOUR HOME ENERGY-EFFICIENT
Taking small actions such as turning off lights, TVs, and other appliances when not in use can not only reduce energy waste, but it can also save money on monthly energy bills. We can also take this one step further by investing in better insulation and in solar panels for energy self-sufficiency. The federal government offers tax breaks for improving the energy efficiency of homes, so it may be more affordable than initially thought.
FOCUS ON WHAT YOU EAT
Buying and consuming locally grown foods are not only good for the environment, but also for the local community. Supporting a local farmer means that money is going back into the city or town in which they live.
In addition, our carbon footprint can be greatly reduced by refraining from the purchase of food that has been transported from many miles away. Transporting food from afar, whether by plane, train, ship, or truck, requires energy from fossil fuels for transport and for keeping foods refrigerated during transit.
FOCUS ON WHAT YOU BUY
As with the principle of consuming locally grown foods, choose local sources for your clothing. Fast fashion may be trendy, but the environmental costs of mass production are evident. Clothes are being dumped in landfills at record rates, producing methane gas as they decompose. When cleaning your closet, remember that old clothes can be recycled or repurposed. Consider donating old clothes to a consignment shop.
When purchasing appliances and other home goods, look for quality and for energy efficiency. Support companies that are environmentally responsible.
BECOME AN ENVIRONMENTAL ADVOCATE
Finally, the most impact one can make is encouraging others to get involved and invoke active change. Get active in your community and find organizations that are dedicated to environmental policy and advocacy.
Whatever route you choose, remember that even the smallest act can make a big impact. Climate change isn’t going to suddenly stop because we choose to bike instead of drive, but making small changes can make our planet that much more inhabitable for those that come after us.
Originally published at https://www.boparfet.com on October 16, 2020.