“Recycling is already making a major contribution to keeping down emissions. Indeed, its scale is so little appreciated that it might be described as one of the ‘best kept secrets’ in energy and climate change . . .”

The Impact of Consumption on Our Climate

We use a LOT of energy to heat our homes, to transport ourselves, and to make stuff. Energy went into making the computer you’re using right now, the clothes you’re wearing, the food you ate for breakfast, and pretty much everything you’ve ever bought, used, or thrown away. While communities tend to focus on cleaning up their energy production and transitioning to renewable energy sources when addressing climate change, we often overlook how we use all that energy that we produce and why we need it in the first place. It turns out a huge portion of our energy generation is used to make our stuff, which means our consumption is a primary driver of our climate emissions. And the more we buy and throw away stuff, the more energy it takes to make new stuff, and the faster climate change accelerates.

“Using more renewable energy and mass transit won’t be enough to reverse this. We have to reduce our consumption.”