Learn what things you can do right now to reduce your carbon footprint with this inspiring, accessible, stunningly illustrated book based on Eduardo Garcia’s popular New York Times column.
 
“This beautiful and practical book on the climate crisis is for people of all ages, packed with wonderful pictures, powerful stats, and sound advice.”—Mike Berners-Lee, author of There Is No Planet B

Award-winning climate journalist Eduardo Garcia offers a deeply researched and user-friendly guide to the things we can do every day to fight climate change. Based on his popular New York Times column “One Thing You Can Do,” this fully illustrated book proposes simple solutions for an overwhelming problem. No lectures in Things You Can Do—just accessible and inspiring ideas to slash emissions and waste in our daily lives, with over 350 explanatory illustrations by talented painter Sara Boccaccini Meadows.

In each chapter, Garcia digs into the issue, explaining how everyday choices lead to carbon emissions, then delivers a wealth of “Things You Can Do” to make a positive impact, such as:
•  Eat a climate-friendly diet
•  Reduce food waste
•  Cool your home without an air conditioner
•  Save energy at home
•  Adopt zero-waste practices
•  Increase the fuel efficiency of your car
•  Buy low-carbon pet food
•  Hack your toilet to save water
•  Slash the carbon footprint of your online shopping

Delivering a decisive hit of knowledge with every turn of the page, Things You Can Do is the book for people who want to know more—and do more—to save the planet.
 
Printed on 100% recycled paper
Eduardo Garcia has written news stories and features from more than a dozen countries in his more than fifteen years as a journalist. A native of Spain, Eduardo cut his teeth working as a Reuters correspondent in Guatemala, Bolivia, Argentina, Colombia, and Ecuador. In recent years, Eduardo has written dozens of stories giving New York Times readers advice on how to reduce their carbon footprint. Eduardo strives to lead a sustainable lifestyle and believes in using words to empower people.

Sara Boccaccini Meadows is a print designer and illustrator living in Brooklyn, New York, originally from the rolling hills of the Peak District, England. Since arriving in New York City, she has been splitting her time between working as a textile designer, illustrator, and artist. She uses watercolor and gouache to create quirky illustrations and has collaborated with many amazing brands, publishers, and agencies.
Sara Boccaccini Meadows View titles by Sara Boccaccini Meadows
Introduction


“The greatest threat to our planet is the belief that someone else will save it.” —Robert Swan, British explorer and the first person to walk to both poles


Are you familiar with the parable of the hummingbird? It goes like this:

One day, a huge wildfire breaks out in the forest, forcing all the animals to flee. Terrified, they find refuge by the edge of the forest, where they feel overwhelmed and helpless as they watch the ferocious flames destroy their beautiful home. They are paralyzed, except for the hummingbird, who says, “I’m going to do something about this fire.” She flies to the nearest river, scoops a few drops of water with her beak, rushes toward the blaze, and drops the water onto the fire. And off goes the hummingbird, back and forth between the river and the flames at whizzing speeds, dropping water into the blaze at every turn. The rest of the animals are stupefied. The elephants, the bears, the deer, and the other big critters that could carry much more water yell at the hummingbird, “What are you doing? Your beak is tiny, you can barely carry any water!” And without missing a beat, the hummingbird turns around and tells them, “I’m doing the best I can.”

That’s what Things You Can Do is about—doing the best we can.

Like the forest animals in the hummingbird parable, we’re facing our biggest challenge as greenhouse gases warm our planet, wreaking havoc on the climate system. Earth’s average surface temperature has risen by around 2.1°F (1.2°C) since the start of the Industrial Revolution. The extra heat has thrown the climate system off balance, unleashing catastrophic events, from rising sea levels and destructive mega-storms that threaten coastal communities to wildfires that turn billions of trees into ash and droughts that deplete fertile cropland of nutrients.

The reason is clear. Greenhouse gases, like carbon dioxide, are trapping the sun’s heat in the atmosphere. We humans have created all that carbon dioxide by burning fossil fuels with our cars, our airplanes, our factories, and our power plants.

The solution is clear, too. We need to stop burning fossil fuels and usher in a green economy that relies on renewable energy, electric and shared forms of transportation, and sustainable diets.

But that is easier said than done. For decades, those with the most power to fight climate change have turned a blind eye. Politicians, company executives, and investors have mostly stayed on the sidelines, watching this catastrophe unfold, issuing targets that they rarely meet, and even denying that climate change is happening at all.

And there is a lot we can do. Research cited by the United Nations shows that households are responsible for two-thirds of greenhouse gas emissions, which makes sense when you consider that there are 7.7 billion people on Earth—and by 2050 we will be nearly 10 billion.

But we are not all equally responsible. Those of us living in the United States, the European Union, and other developed countries have greater carbon footprints because we typically drive bigger cars and have to heat and cool larger homes with electricity generated by burning fossil fuels. To compound the problem, the food we eat is mostly produced by industrial farms that cause deforestation and rely on aggressive agrochemicals that poison pollinators and pollute waterways. And we generate humongous amounts of waste, much of which ends up in the environment, where it kills countless animals.

There is no question about it—our lifestyles are destroying planet Earth. Like parasites, we live at the expense of our host.

But we can turn things around. If each one of us reduces the carbon emissions associated with our lifestyles, it will go a long way toward fighting climate change.

This book was inspired by a series of stories I wrote for the New York Times. Beautifully illustrated by Sara Boccaccini Meadows, backed by peer-reviewed research, official statistics, and interviews with researchers and activists, Things You Can Do is a toolbox filled with dozens of actionable tips that will allow you to slash your carbon footprint and live in closer harmony with nature. From reducing plastic waste, recycling efficiently, and increasing your car’s mileage to cooling your home without an air conditioner, composting, and eating a climate-friendly diet, this book is packed full of thoughtful practices and ideas that can build a bridge to a better tomorrow.
“This beautiful and practical book on the climate crisis is for people of all ages, packed with wonderful pictures, powerful stats, and sound advice.”—Mike Berners-Lee, author of There Is No Planet B and How Bad Are Bananas?: The Carbon Footprint of Everything

“If you ever felt that climate science was intimidating, this is the book for you. It’s approachable, positive, upbeat, and adorably illustrated.”—Kathryn Kellogg, founder of the Going Zero Waste website and plastic-free living advocate

“Too often, climate action is framed as being either a question of individual responsibility or being entirely about systems-level interventions. The real truth is it’s both/and—and Things You Can Do provides a plethora of engaging, accessible ways to get involved. The worst thing you can do is sit on your arse and feel guilty. So pick up this book, find an entry point that speaks to you, and then get to work.”—Sami Grover, author of We’re All Climate Hypocrites Now: How Embracing Our Limitations Can Unlock the Power of a Movement

“Solutions-based Things You Can Do illustrates—often quite literally—the myriad simple ways in which individuals can take action to help mitigate the climate crisis. Eduardo Garcia examines every aspect of modern living—from how we cool and heat our homes, to what we eat, to where we shop, to how we get around, to what we wear, and more. He offers sustainable alternatives that not only reduce carbon emissions but also happen to enrich our lives and bring us more joy.”—Anne-Marie Bonneau, author of The Zero-Waste Chef: Plant-Forward Recipes and Tips for a Sustainable Kitchen and Planet

“This book is an environmental rhapsody, an incisive and visually beautiful empowerment story. Things You Can Do informs, inspires, motivates, and celebrates personal action. Each page offers a gateway to systemic change. Get it for everyone you know, from a month old to a hundred. It can help each of us cut a path through inertia and uncertainty to clear, certain progress.”—Amanda Little, Vanderbilt University professor, Bloomberg columnist, and author of The Fate of Food: What We'll Eat in a Bigger, Hotter, Smarter World
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About

Learn what things you can do right now to reduce your carbon footprint with this inspiring, accessible, stunningly illustrated book based on Eduardo Garcia’s popular New York Times column.
 
“This beautiful and practical book on the climate crisis is for people of all ages, packed with wonderful pictures, powerful stats, and sound advice.”—Mike Berners-Lee, author of There Is No Planet B

Award-winning climate journalist Eduardo Garcia offers a deeply researched and user-friendly guide to the things we can do every day to fight climate change. Based on his popular New York Times column “One Thing You Can Do,” this fully illustrated book proposes simple solutions for an overwhelming problem. No lectures in Things You Can Do—just accessible and inspiring ideas to slash emissions and waste in our daily lives, with over 350 explanatory illustrations by talented painter Sara Boccaccini Meadows.

In each chapter, Garcia digs into the issue, explaining how everyday choices lead to carbon emissions, then delivers a wealth of “Things You Can Do” to make a positive impact, such as:
•  Eat a climate-friendly diet
•  Reduce food waste
•  Cool your home without an air conditioner
•  Save energy at home
•  Adopt zero-waste practices
•  Increase the fuel efficiency of your car
•  Buy low-carbon pet food
•  Hack your toilet to save water
•  Slash the carbon footprint of your online shopping

Delivering a decisive hit of knowledge with every turn of the page, Things You Can Do is the book for people who want to know more—and do more—to save the planet.
 
Printed on 100% recycled paper

Author

Eduardo Garcia has written news stories and features from more than a dozen countries in his more than fifteen years as a journalist. A native of Spain, Eduardo cut his teeth working as a Reuters correspondent in Guatemala, Bolivia, Argentina, Colombia, and Ecuador. In recent years, Eduardo has written dozens of stories giving New York Times readers advice on how to reduce their carbon footprint. Eduardo strives to lead a sustainable lifestyle and believes in using words to empower people.

Sara Boccaccini Meadows is a print designer and illustrator living in Brooklyn, New York, originally from the rolling hills of the Peak District, England. Since arriving in New York City, she has been splitting her time between working as a textile designer, illustrator, and artist. She uses watercolor and gouache to create quirky illustrations and has collaborated with many amazing brands, publishers, and agencies.
Sara Boccaccini Meadows View titles by Sara Boccaccini Meadows

Excerpt

Introduction


“The greatest threat to our planet is the belief that someone else will save it.” —Robert Swan, British explorer and the first person to walk to both poles


Are you familiar with the parable of the hummingbird? It goes like this:

One day, a huge wildfire breaks out in the forest, forcing all the animals to flee. Terrified, they find refuge by the edge of the forest, where they feel overwhelmed and helpless as they watch the ferocious flames destroy their beautiful home. They are paralyzed, except for the hummingbird, who says, “I’m going to do something about this fire.” She flies to the nearest river, scoops a few drops of water with her beak, rushes toward the blaze, and drops the water onto the fire. And off goes the hummingbird, back and forth between the river and the flames at whizzing speeds, dropping water into the blaze at every turn. The rest of the animals are stupefied. The elephants, the bears, the deer, and the other big critters that could carry much more water yell at the hummingbird, “What are you doing? Your beak is tiny, you can barely carry any water!” And without missing a beat, the hummingbird turns around and tells them, “I’m doing the best I can.”

That’s what Things You Can Do is about—doing the best we can.

Like the forest animals in the hummingbird parable, we’re facing our biggest challenge as greenhouse gases warm our planet, wreaking havoc on the climate system. Earth’s average surface temperature has risen by around 2.1°F (1.2°C) since the start of the Industrial Revolution. The extra heat has thrown the climate system off balance, unleashing catastrophic events, from rising sea levels and destructive mega-storms that threaten coastal communities to wildfires that turn billions of trees into ash and droughts that deplete fertile cropland of nutrients.

The reason is clear. Greenhouse gases, like carbon dioxide, are trapping the sun’s heat in the atmosphere. We humans have created all that carbon dioxide by burning fossil fuels with our cars, our airplanes, our factories, and our power plants.

The solution is clear, too. We need to stop burning fossil fuels and usher in a green economy that relies on renewable energy, electric and shared forms of transportation, and sustainable diets.

But that is easier said than done. For decades, those with the most power to fight climate change have turned a blind eye. Politicians, company executives, and investors have mostly stayed on the sidelines, watching this catastrophe unfold, issuing targets that they rarely meet, and even denying that climate change is happening at all.

And there is a lot we can do. Research cited by the United Nations shows that households are responsible for two-thirds of greenhouse gas emissions, which makes sense when you consider that there are 7.7 billion people on Earth—and by 2050 we will be nearly 10 billion.

But we are not all equally responsible. Those of us living in the United States, the European Union, and other developed countries have greater carbon footprints because we typically drive bigger cars and have to heat and cool larger homes with electricity generated by burning fossil fuels. To compound the problem, the food we eat is mostly produced by industrial farms that cause deforestation and rely on aggressive agrochemicals that poison pollinators and pollute waterways. And we generate humongous amounts of waste, much of which ends up in the environment, where it kills countless animals.

There is no question about it—our lifestyles are destroying planet Earth. Like parasites, we live at the expense of our host.

But we can turn things around. If each one of us reduces the carbon emissions associated with our lifestyles, it will go a long way toward fighting climate change.

This book was inspired by a series of stories I wrote for the New York Times. Beautifully illustrated by Sara Boccaccini Meadows, backed by peer-reviewed research, official statistics, and interviews with researchers and activists, Things You Can Do is a toolbox filled with dozens of actionable tips that will allow you to slash your carbon footprint and live in closer harmony with nature. From reducing plastic waste, recycling efficiently, and increasing your car’s mileage to cooling your home without an air conditioner, composting, and eating a climate-friendly diet, this book is packed full of thoughtful practices and ideas that can build a bridge to a better tomorrow.

Praise

“This beautiful and practical book on the climate crisis is for people of all ages, packed with wonderful pictures, powerful stats, and sound advice.”—Mike Berners-Lee, author of There Is No Planet B and How Bad Are Bananas?: The Carbon Footprint of Everything

“If you ever felt that climate science was intimidating, this is the book for you. It’s approachable, positive, upbeat, and adorably illustrated.”—Kathryn Kellogg, founder of the Going Zero Waste website and plastic-free living advocate

“Too often, climate action is framed as being either a question of individual responsibility or being entirely about systems-level interventions. The real truth is it’s both/and—and Things You Can Do provides a plethora of engaging, accessible ways to get involved. The worst thing you can do is sit on your arse and feel guilty. So pick up this book, find an entry point that speaks to you, and then get to work.”—Sami Grover, author of We’re All Climate Hypocrites Now: How Embracing Our Limitations Can Unlock the Power of a Movement

“Solutions-based Things You Can Do illustrates—often quite literally—the myriad simple ways in which individuals can take action to help mitigate the climate crisis. Eduardo Garcia examines every aspect of modern living—from how we cool and heat our homes, to what we eat, to where we shop, to how we get around, to what we wear, and more. He offers sustainable alternatives that not only reduce carbon emissions but also happen to enrich our lives and bring us more joy.”—Anne-Marie Bonneau, author of The Zero-Waste Chef: Plant-Forward Recipes and Tips for a Sustainable Kitchen and Planet

“This book is an environmental rhapsody, an incisive and visually beautiful empowerment story. Things You Can Do informs, inspires, motivates, and celebrates personal action. Each page offers a gateway to systemic change. Get it for everyone you know, from a month old to a hundred. It can help each of us cut a path through inertia and uncertainty to clear, certain progress.”—Amanda Little, Vanderbilt University professor, Bloomberg columnist, and author of The Fate of Food: What We'll Eat in a Bigger, Hotter, Smarter World

Photos

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