Personal efforts needed to reduce carbon emissions



Members of the Environmental Action Club encourage Brookline residents to OPT UP to 100 percent renewable energy. This program allows people to reduce up to 6,000 pounds of carbon annually.

In April 2019, a national survey conducted by Yale showed that the majority of Americans worry about extreme heat, drought, flooding or water sources hurting their local area and that only one in eight Americans believe that it is too late to do something about it. So why do so many of us remain idle on the issue?
In further reading the survey’s findings, I was astonished to discover that four in ten Americans think the actions of a single individual won’t make any difference in climate change. If the majority of people think it’s not too late to take action, then why do so few think they can’t individually make a difference?

According to the US Energy In- formation Administration (EIA), the average American home uses 914 kilo- watt-hours per month (on average, one kilowatt-hour used produces a bit over one pound of Carbon Dioxide). Changing the source of household energy is a substantial way to reduce one’s effect on the climate. A new initiative called OPT UP to Brookline All Green which allows residents to purchase 100 percent renewable energy makes it easy.

Approved by the Massachusetts attorney general, switching your house’s electricity bill to 100 percent renewable electricity will ensure that all the energy you use is sourced from solar, wind, and clean power. For $0.13 per kilowatt-hour, you can yearly displace 6,000 pounds of polluting carbon dioxide each year, (the same emissions of driving a car over 7,300 miles)
Reducing your family to zero emissions is one of the most powerful and immediate actions you can take. Many people are not financially able to make this change, which I respect and understand. But if you are privileged enough to make this switch, then, by all means, do not hesitate.

I have been canvassing, knocking on doors to ask for people to switch up. When people are asked to switch up most of them want to, but just don’t know how or don’t have time.
Your parents care about your futures and want to help, they just need to be poked hard enough until they get up and make a change. As high school students, we arguably may have the most leverage in this issue than anyone. We are future voters and workers, but right now, we have the power to influence our parents.
If everyone in Brookline were to OPTUP to 100 percent, it would reduce Brookline’s carbon emissions by 25 percent. Let’s face it, as youth we have the ultimate responsibility to affect climate change. While other generations had the luxury of ignoring it, we do not. If we do not try to push for this initiative, it will not happen and that will affect us directly.
This may cost slightly more but think of the long term costs such as the lower-income communities and people of color who will be disproportionately affected, the species of animals and plants that will die, and the ecosystems that will be dam- aged beyond repair. Hurricanes, droughts, heatwaves and other natural disasters will cost more in the long run.
Climate change is an injustice that our politicians and older generations are not ad- dressing. Fight this injustice by convincing your parents to switch up to 100 percent renewable energy. This is your opportunity to make a difference, no matter how involved you are. You can opt up within minutes just by visiting or calling (800) 931-6221.
Don’t just mention it, show and explain to them how. Nag. Push. Pester. You don’t have to ease them into it. You have the right to a livable future. Your actions are vital to the survival of our planet. So don’t delude yourself into the thinly woven and fabricated legend that you can’t make any difference. Stand up, convince your parents to opt up to 100 percent renewable electricity this month.