I drive less and drive an electric vehicle when I drive.
I am buying my first electric hybrid vehicle. To start this process I need to have an EV charger installed in my house. I did almost no homework on how electric vehicles work. I trusted the wisdom of the crowd, that is, I posted something on Twitter and asked people how they liked their electric vehicles. It seemed like we got to a point where electric vehicles have become stable and reliable enough that it made sense for me to make this my next form of transport. I'll check this with you one more time as the auto market is so insane right now. I ordered the car, but it will be a few more months before it arrives. In the meantime, I have an electric car charger installed and mark out charging stations along some of my favorite routes.
I destroyed the lawn mafia.
I've switched all of my lawn care to a company that uses environmentally friendly products and technologies. The low hum of gasoline-powered lawn machines not only makes me nervous, but it also turns out that they are a nuisance to the environment. Investing in a manual lawn mower and asking lawn services to use greener equipment is a breeze.
Well my house is going to sunbathe. A solar panel consultant guides me through the installation of solar panels. When I bought my house, I was looking for one that was certified to the National Green Building Standard. To be transparent, I didn't know exactly what that meant. It felt like a responsible thing. Hence my house is prepared for solar panels. The state of North Carolina doesn't have a state solar grant, but I can still qualify for the state solar grant. If I don't qualify for anything, I'll be content with living on a habitable planet.
Here I am on my climate trip and how I want to integrate it into my everyday life. I will keep you updated on how my green life is going as a person who will never become an environmental expert but who thinks it is absolutely important and tries to do their best. That's the thing, isn't it? Neither of us will be great at this, but that can't stop us from trying.
So far I have noticed the following on the trip: It is difficult. It takes a lot of time. One of the reasons white men have been so dominant in this discourse is that they disproportionately have the time and status to find out all of these things. Information asymmetry is a real burden to overcome. That's true, even if, like me, you have a certain degree of economic privilege. But it's totally worth it.
It's worth it because these changes bring climate change into my daily practice. By putting these symbols of climate change in my perspective, like something on my kitchen counter, the car in my garage, the panels on my house, it becomes a tactical reminder for me that this thing is and is about to happen.
And no, that means no direct impact on the reduction in gas emissions, for example. But it keeps the climate in our daily view such that we ask these questions politically, so that we assume that a person should have a plan and that these people include companies and political actors. Shifting our awareness, asking politicians and corporations to make their oversized contributions, starts with incorporating the little symbols of the climate into our daily perspective.
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Tressie McMillan Cottom (@tressiemcphd) is an Associate Professor at the University of North Carolina at the Chapel Hill School of Information and Library Science, author of Thick: And Other Essays, and a 2020 MacArthur Fellow.