The Surprisingly Low Cost of Fighting Climate Change

For a long time I didn’t use any powered tools to maintain my lawn. I channeled my old-timey dad energy every time I used my reel mower, with each swing of my double-bladed grass cutter I turned a little more into a Victorian farmer, and with every inch of sidewalk that I trimmed with the backbreaking labor of my manual rotary edger, I hated myself a little more for this weird dedication to tending my yard with only the tools available to a hobbit. I did all of this for three primary reasons. The first was personal preference: I simply dislike gas-powered tools—their smell, their inherent danger, their maintenance requirements; I hate all of it. The second was more economical: Battery operated yard tools still sucked and/or were too expensive for my means at that time. Lastly, the most important rationale: I was trying to reduce my carbon footprint and do my part to fight climate change.

I’ve since upgraded my toolset to include a bunch of battery operated wonders—the EGO line is legit—but I remain committed to trying to reduce my carbon footprint. These days, as the cliché goes, I’m working smarter not harder. It turns out that in addition to being physically exhausting, all that time spent using manual tools wasn’t exactly saving the world. I had heard of Founder’s Pledge a few years ago; the organization asks donors to legally commit to donating a chunk of their earnings to charity on an ongoing basis. Founder’s Pledge is doing good work and you can learn more about that here. What blew me away, though, was this chart:

The chart is a game changer but the whole article is worth a read.

It’s still important for me—and everyone else—to try and manage their carbon emissions but, my oh my, does that chart put into perspective how important financial support is in the fight against climate change. Personal actions matter, sure, but broad, systemic change is driven by policy and, because capitalism has kind of broken democracy, it takes a lot of money to change policy. But every little bit counts: As the chart above shows, if you donate as little as $100 to the right place, you can do as much good for the environment as if you got rid of your car, bought your neighbor an electric car to replace their gas-powered one, and then decided not to have that kid you had been planning to have. Or you could, you know, donate $100.

Being an organization dedicated to effective charitable giving, I’m inclined to believe Founder’s Pledge when it states that the Clear Air Task Force is the best place to put your hard-earned dollars if you want to fight climate change. So that’s what I’m doing. I’m starting with a small, recurring donation—$10 a month—though I intend to increase that amount over time and/or supplement it with various one-time donations. (Sometimes employers or other organizations/individuals will match donations; these are perfect times to increase the impact of your donations.) If you think that the fight against climate change is important—and it really is!—then I encourage you to join me in making a recurring donation, which you can do here.

Or just start buying everyone on the planet Teslas, I guess. Your call.

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