Something absolutely beautiful happened this morning: I pulled up the news and was actually inspired by what I saw! Young people are leading the charge for a better world.

Countless school children across the globe stand on the front lines of mass protests demanding urgent action on climate change. From Sydney and Singapore to Washington D.C. and right here in Portland, OR, where student activists and their supporters filled the streets of downtown and both eastbound lanes of the Hawthorne Bridge.

I’m inspired. Are you?

What can you do right now?

Today is the first day of Climate Strikes Week. And if you’re out on the streets, I applaud you. But marching isn’t for everyone. And it’s not the only way to make your difference.

As a professional coach, many of my clients are just like those out on the front lines: leaders, influencers, changemakers – all of whom want to make the world a better place. These torchbearers shine the light and motivate tens of thousands of people.

As their behind-the-scenes champion, confidant and coach, I’m on their side. It’s a great honor to be part of their team. One of the benefits of being a coach is we get to champion others to lead the way! This is how our impact becomes truly exponential.

As a deep lover of nature and people alike, I also take climate change very personally. I only want the best for our planet. And though I’m just one person on it who wants to make their biggest impact, I know I’m not alone.

If you’re like me and aren’t able to march alongside these brave, forward-looking students, it doesn’t mean we’re powerless to help. There are countless ways we can reduce our carbon footprint to make a better world.

I challenge you today to help build on the momentum of what could be a tipping point in favor of a cleaner, healthier, more advantageous planet for all… and, more vitally, for generations to come. I’ve compiled a list of ways to immediately cut your carbon footprint.

How many can you check off?

  • Save and reuse paper; convert to digital documents and media
  • Recycle all qualifying waste products like food containers, shipping cartons, print materials and all paper products
  • Use reusable water bottles and travel coffee cups instead of plastic bottles or paper cups from your local coffee shop
  • Use reusable totes made from nylon or canvas instead of paper or plastic grocery and produce bags
  • Conserve water and electricity (little changes add up, like turning off the tap while you brush your teeth or switching off lights in rooms you’re not occupying)
  • Try biking, walking or public transportation in lieu of driving your car. Need the car? What about creating a carpool?
  • Work from home (if you’re a coach, that’s an easy one to check off!), or ask your boss if you can telecommute for a portion of the week
  • Install energy efficient light bulbs and appliances in your home and office
  • Batch your errands (this has the added benefit of restoring free time in your life!)
  • Pay bills online and cancel any paper statements, opting instead for a PDF version
  • Choose matches over lighters
  • Plant trees

Animal species are in crisis too

One final thought: We’re not the only ones at risk. I’m fighting for all forms of life on the planet.

The Sierra Club reported this morning a reduction of 30% in the abundance of bird populations in North America since 1970. That’s a loss of roughly 3 billion birds across a variety of both endangered and common backyard species in less than five decades. Though the article doesn’t identify a causal factor, other recent studies have linked losses of this kind to environmental influences.

And birds are not the only species affected. As an animal lover, this is heartbreaking. But it’s not too late.

P.S. – What did I miss? If you have another way to reduce our environmental impact, please share it with us!