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Climate Change: What Can Our Members Do?

At CalPERS, we see climate change issues through the lens of an investor. Changes to the climate create risks in our portfolio. To mitigate these risks, we engage with corporations to learn the steps they are taking to reduce their current and future impacts to the environment.

These large-scale corporate changes can have big impacts, but what can CalPERS members do to have an impact, too? The answer is there are many things individuals can do — both big and small — that add up. Below are a few ideas that can help reduce your impact at home and in your community.

Measure Your Carbon Footprint

Ever wonder how your carbon footprint compares to others? You can find out by using the Carbon Calculator on the California Air Resources Board’s website. By answering a few questions about your household, including average mileage and water usage, you can see how you stack up against other households of the same size in your zip code. The calculator also provides helpful changes you can make to reduce your footprint.

Make Your Home More Energy Efficient

Take a little time to look around your house and see if there are ways to make it more energy efficient. Some quick ideas:

  • Consider changing your lightbulbs to LEDs.
  • Make sure your refrigerator’s temperature is set to the manufacturer’s recommendation to avoid excessive cooling.
  • Defrost your freezer before ice buildup becomes 1/4-inch thick to ensure it runs efficiently.
  • Use natural light when possible instead of turning on light fixtures.

Added bonus: these changes not only help the environment, but they may also reduce your energy bill.

Consider Composting

Many people know that home composting reduces waste in landfills, but did you know it also reduces your carbon footprint? That’s because organic material sitting in landfills creates methane, a powerful greenhouse gas.

Many types of food and yard waste can be composted at home. The compost can then be used to provide nutrients for your garden or yard. Visit CalRecycle’s composting website to learn more.

Your Impact

Climate change affects individuals, our environment, and our global community. Small changes may not feel like they have an impact, but over time each change we implement makes a difference.

This is the fourth article in our “CalPERS on Climate” series. These articles will examine why CalPERS views climate change as an investment issue and detail our efforts in the sustainable investment space.

Why Climate Risk Reporting Is Important
COP26 and Pensions: What’s the Connection?
Your Questions Answered: Sustainable Investing and Pensions