Discover more from Talking Climate with Katharine Hayhoe
Wind and solar take the lead!
Renewable energy taking the lead, disproportionate effects of climate change, what to do with food waste
For the first time ever, wind and solar energy produced more power in the European Union during the month of May than all fossil fuels combined. Renewables amounted to almost a third of the electricity generated in the 27-country bloc that is home to six percent of the world’s population — and fossil fuel use came in at a record low of 27 percent. Growth in solar power, strong performance from wind, and low energy demand all contributed to the new record.
It’s encouraging to see this trend. There are so many good reasons for reducing our use of fossil fuels — from reducing our impact on climate, to cutting air pollution, to energy security.
Climate change affects all of us, but it doesn’t affect us all equally. Marginalized communities, peoples, and countries disproportionately bear the impacts of air and water pollution and the risks associated with climate change.
Around the world, people in low-income countries that have generated hardly any heat-trapping gases are often most affected by the floods, droughts, heatwaves and hurricanes that are being super-sized by climate change.
In North America, Black, Latino, and immigrant communities are more likely to live near highways and industrial facilities that are sources of air pollution. Low-income neighborhoods are more likely to be located in flood zones and have high urban heat islands, and many were systemically forced to live in these areas by racist policies such as redlining in the U.S.
Research shows that societies with social and economic inequities may be more likely to pollute or degrade their environments. This is all the more reason to address the underlying causes of injustice and design climate solutions with equity in mind so that we don’t just make the situation worse.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
Did you know that more than a third of all food produced each year in the world is wasted? And most of that waste — about 40 percent — happens in the home.
That means small changes in how you run your household can make a big difference; so try out some of these tips to help your food stay out of the trash. Learn the best ways to store different perishable foods; have a designated “leftovers” dinner night once a week; or use an app like FoodKeeper to help you plan your meals around food expiration.
A few years ago, I sold the freezer and changed how I shop. Instead of one huge load of groceries every two weeks, about a third of which I’d end up forgetting in the back of the fridge or the depths of the freezer, I now shop a few times a week. We eat a lot more fresh food that way, the fridge is half empty so it’s easy to find things, and none of it goes to waste!