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How Many Trees Do I Have to Plant to Offset My Carbon Footprint?
How many trees does it take to offset your carbon footprint?Tree planting is a popular way to offset carbon, but just how many trees does it take to reduce your carbon footprint? One tree can absorb as much as 48 lbs. of CO₂ per year. The average car releases about 24 pounds per gallon of gas of CO₂ into the atmosphere each day that you drive it around on its errands. So, if you were to plant a tree for every day that you drove your car, it would offset your carbon emissions from the car. However, this is not feasible for most people. The average American household emits about 48 metric tons of CO₂ each year. If we were to plant trees to offset this amount, it would take a little more than 2200 trees to offset your carbon footprint each year. This is a lot of trees, and it is not practical or possible for most people to do this. However, there are other ways to reduce your carbon emissions and help offset your carbon footprint.
What can you do to offset your carbon footprint?There are many things we can do as individuals to reduce our carbon footprint, including reducing energy consumption, driving less, eating less meat, and recycling. But what about those times when we can’t avoid emitting CO₂ into the atmosphere? How do you offset your carbon footprint if it is unavoidable, such as when traveling across state lines by plane or taking a long train ride? Planting trees may be one way to help mitigate that. As you consider how many trees to plant, keep in mind that it takes approximately ten years for a newly planted seedling to reach the minimum size to absorb carbon – although the rate at which certain types of trees absorb carbon varies. It is important to plant the right trees in the right places. Shade trees, for example, should be planted near buildings to help reduce cooling costs, while fruit and nut trees can provide food and habitat for local wildlife. When planting a tree as part of a carbon offsetting initiative, it’s best to consult with an expert on which trees are best suited for the climate and geography of your area. Planting trees is a rewarding way to help reduce carbon emissions in the atmosphere, but it’s important to do so strategically. Planting trees and other plants are just one way to offset your carbon footprint, but it is a powerful tool that we can all use to help improve our environment. For more ideas on ways you can reduce your emissions, check out our list of steps below! Practical steps for reducing your carbon footprint:
Drive lessCarpool, walk, or ride a bike whenever you can! When possible, try to take public transportation and use your car only for long commutes (i.e., don’t run errands by car). If necessary, get a fuel-efficient vehicle; the government offers tax credits on hybrid vehicles in some states.
Use a reusable water bottle instead of plasticWhich will eventually end up in the ocean. Think about how much energy goes into making that one-time use, disposable item.
Avoid products with excess packaging or disposable productsIf you need to use a product with extra packaging, make sure it is recyclable and reusable (e.g., cardboard boxes converted into art projects).
Try not to eat meat every dayInstead, have vegetarian meals or go vegan once in a while. Eat more locally-grown fruits and vegetables, as they don’t have to travel as far to get to your plate and release less CO₂ into the atmosphere. Meat production is a major contributor to carbon emissions – it takes a lot of land and resources to raise livestock.
RecycleNot only does recycling help reduce waste that goes into landfills (and thus methane emissions), but it also takes much less energy than creating new products from scratch. For example, making recycled paper uses about 30% less energy than making paper from trees.
Plant a tree!As mentioned earlier, each tree absorbs around 48 lbs. of CO₂ per year. You can offset your carbon footprint by planting trees and other plants.
The importance of trees and plant matter to the environmentTrees and other plant matter are important to the environment for various reasons. Foremost, they play a critical role in reducing carbon emissions and mitigating climate change. In addition, trees provide many environmental benefits – such as cooling cities, cleaning the air, and moderating rainfall – that impact both our local communities and the planet as a whole. Planting a tree is one of the easiest ways to reduce your carbon footprint.
How plants and trees affect climate changeScientists have determined that carbon emissions are the main contributors to global warming. Carbon is a naturally occurring element, but humans have been emitting more of it in recent years than usual through fossil fuel use (like burning coal for power). This excess CO₂ builds up in the atmosphere and traps heat from the sun, which is why the Earth’s temperature is rising. Trees and other plant matter play a huge role in mitigating climate change because they absorb CO₂ from the atmosphere. It has been estimated that if all the world’s trees were to disappear, annual carbon emissions would increase by 25%. Conversely, by planting more trees, we can help to reduce these carbon emissions. Plants absorb CO₂ in several ways: through photosynthesis, they convert it into oxygen and biomass; by pulling the gas out of water vapor; or simply by taking up otherwise unused space within the soil (which also helps improve overall fertility). Many experts believe that planting trees and other plants is one of the most effective ways to reduce carbon emissions.
The awesome benefits of trees and plant matterIn addition to reducing carbon emissions, trees provide many other environmental benefits. For example, they can:
- Help to cool the air and reduce the urban heat island effect
- Improve water quality by slowing runoff and trapping pollutants
- Increase property values and provide shade for pedestrians, cyclists, and motorists
- Help to control erosion and mitigate the effects of flooding
- Reduce the noise pollution of traffic
- Filter out airborne pollutants and smog
- Increase feelings of safety in neighborhoods by providing shade and acting as natural barriers against crime
- Improve mental health by increasing vitamin D and other nutrients in the body
- Reduce stress levels by offering a quiet space to relax and unwind
- Help improve social cohesion, as people gather in public areas with trees.
How to measure carbon emissions from everyday life?There are many ways to measure your carbon emissions from everyday life. One popular method is using an online tool like CoolClimate or CarbonStory. These tools allow you to input information about your daily activities – such as driving, flying, or recycling – and calculate your personal carbon footprint. Another way to measure carbon emissions is through your utility bills. Most energy providers now offer customers the ability to see their home’s carbon emissions output, which can help you identify ways to reduce it. For example, if you live in an area with a lot of forests, you may be able to offset some of your emissions by conserving energy. Finally, several calculators can help you measure your carbon emissions from food. One such calculator is the Foodprint Calculator, which considers factors like transportation and production methods to estimate a person’s food-related carbon emissions.
Aspiration is committed to a better futureWhat does your future look like? Aspiration is committed to a better future. Spend daily with Aspiration Zero to neutralize your footprint and earn up to 1% cashback. Use your rewards for planting more trees or receive a statement credit. Interested in applying today? Apply here!
Make Change Staff
January 19, 2022
Why Should We Care About Climate Change?
Pixabay/JodylehighIt's no longer just a theory––it's become a tangible reality. There is scientific evidence that we must act now to address climate change to avoid the most catastrophic consequences for the future of our planet. Have you ever wondered why climate change is so important? Many people ask themselves this question. Climate change is occurring all around us, and it impacts everyone in some way and will continue to do so. Natural disasters such as Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Harvey, which have caused billions of dollars in damage to homes and property, demonstrate the consequences of climate change. However, climate change isn't just a problem for coastal areas; inland states are also seeing changes in their weather patterns due to global warming. The difficulty in solving this problem stems from how it affects everyone differently, depending on where they live. In this guide, we will look at the effects of climate change and how to take action.
What evidence do we have that the climate is changing?The Earth's climate has constantly changed, but what we're seeing now is different. The "greenhouse effect" is the primary reason scientists are aware that the climate is changing. When certain gases in the atmosphere trap heat from the sun, the greenhouse effect occurs. The Earth warms due to this trapped heat, and our planet is becoming increasingly hot. Carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4) are the two main gases that cause the greenhouse effect. We produce these gases when we use fossil fuels like coal, oil, and gas. CO2 and methane are released into the atmosphere when we burn these fuels. The effects of climate change can be seen all around us. For example, when it rains now, it often rains harder, and when it's dry, droughts are common. Weather can become more extreme as a result of climate change. Because ocean temperatures are changing, some parts of the world will become hotter while others will become colder.
How do we know humans cause climate change?The evidence is clear: climate change is happening, humans cause it, and it’s a global threat. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is the leading international body for assessing climate change. The IPCC publishes a report that summarizes the most recent climate change research every few years. According to the latest report, more than half of global warming since 1900 has been caused by humans. To be clear, this means that we are contributing to climate change by burning fossil fuels such as oil and gas for energy and cutting down forests that can store carbon.
The effects of climate changeIn the last hundred years, the global average temperature has risen by about one degree Fahrenheit, with the majority of the increase occurring in the last thirty years. This may not seem like much, but it has a significant impact on our climate. The consequences of climate change are not equally distributed across the globe, nor do they fall evenly on all populations within each country. The effects of climate change vary widely depending on where you live and how vulnerable your community is to changes in temperature, precipitation, sea-level rise, or extreme weather events like hurricanes and droughts.
What's causing our climate to shift?There is no single cause, but many contributing factors include greenhouse gases produced by burning fossil fuels for energy and transportation, deforestation, industrial farming practices that cause cows to belch methane gas, air pollution from wood-burning stoves, and, to a lesser extent, air pollution from factories in developing countries. Many factors contribute to climate change, but the most significant is our reliance on fossil fuels such as oil for energy.
Health effectsThe spread of infectious diseases is expected to grow due to climate change. Due to changing weather patterns, food and water security are also at risk, with arid regions becoming even drier. This drastically affects the world's poor, who rely on these resources for subsistence farming or hunting and gathering.
Extreme weather eventsThe number of intense storms is increasing, as well as their destructiveness. Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and the Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami in 2011 are two recent examples of devastating natural disasters. One of the most evident signs that our climate is changing is the increase in extreme weather events, including more frequent and intense storms, floods, droughts, and wildfires. These events are happening worldwide, costing lives, homes, jobs, and businesses.
Food securityClimate change is already making it harder to grow crops and raise livestock in some parts of the world, and it will only worsen as the climate continues to change. This could lead to widespread hunger and malnutrition, especially for the poorest people who already have difficulty eating enough food. Crop yields may decline by an estimate of 40-60% over the next 20 years in some areas. In Africa and other parts of the developing world, food production could decrease to below 1990 levels. In addition to policy changes in agriculture that would help prevent further warming, our world would benefit from major changes in our energy system, such as prioritizing a low or zero-carbon economy.
Economic effectsThe cost of natural disasters has been rising and is expected to continue doing so. In the US, direct damages from weather-related events have averaged more than $20 billion a year over the past decade. Climate change also has serious economic effects. For example, it makes it harder for people to grow crops and raise livestock in certain parts of the world. This can cause food prices to rise and make it harder for people in developing countries to afford necessities like clean water, education, health care, and housing. Extreme weather events are causing more property damage than ever before. Hurricanes that used to happen once every 100 years now occur twice as often––and are much stronger when they occur. The economic effects of climate change are being felt most acutely by developing countries, which are the least prepared to deal with them. Climate change is costing us billions of dollars every year in damages from extreme weather events, lost crops, and reduced tourism. It is also making it harder for developing countries to develop their economies.
Sea-level RiseOne of the most severe consequences of climate change is sea-level rise. If we don't reduce our emissions, the oceans could rise by as much as three feet by the end of this century. Climate change is also causing the world's oceans to acidify, which will make it harder for marine life and coral reefs to thrive. This would inundate many coastal communities with saltwater, destroy trillions of dollars worth of property, and put millions of people at risk of flooding.
What can we do to reduce climate change?There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, but there are many things we can do to reduce our emissions of greenhouse gases and help prepare our communities for the impacts of climate change. Steps you can take right now to help reduce climate change:
- Switching to renewable energy sources like solar and wind power
- Conserving energy in our homes and businesses
- Driving less and taking public transportation or riding a bike whenever possible
- Recycling and composting
- Eating less meat and more plant-based foods
- Supporting policies that reduce greenhouse gas emissions
- Turn off the lights when you leave a room
- Unplug electronics and appliances when they're not in use
- Plant a garden to help cool the air and absorb carbon dioxide
- Use energy-saving light bulbs
- Insulate your home––it helps keep heat in during the winter and out during the summer.
How does climate change affect biodiversity?Climate change has a direct impact on biodiversity. The warming of the Earth’s atmosphere is causing plants and animals to migrate to new areas to survive. As they move, they compete for resources with other species that have always lived in those areas. This can cause extinction and loss of genetic diversity within species. Climate change is also causing changes in the timing of life cycles, such as migration and flowering. This can disrupt ecosystems and cause problems for the species that depend on those cycles.
How does climate change affect human society?Many people depend on natural resources for food, water, shelter, clothing, and medicine. Climate change is making it harder for people to access these resources. For example, droughts and floods can destroy crops and homes and make it difficult for people to travel or trade. Climate change is also causing health problems due to increased heat exposure and the spread of diseases. Extreme weather events can also lead to loss of life and displacement of people.
What can we do to address climate change?There are many things we can do to address climate change. We can reduce our reliance on fossil fuels by using more renewable energy sources. We can also recycle and compost, which reduces the amount of waste we produce. We can buy environmentally friendly products and support policies that address climate change. It is important to remember that climate change is a global issue. It doesn’t matter where we live––the effects of climate change are being felt everywhere. We all have a responsibility to take action and help protect our planet.
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Make Change Staff
January 11, 2022
15 Climate Change Vocabulary Terms You Need to Learn
Pixabay/MakaberaClimate change is a major issue that has a global impact. It's critical to be a well-informed citizen who understands the effects of climate change, global warming, and other environmental issues. To do so, you'll need to know what terms are being used to comprehend what's going on. If you want to know more about this topic, this article will outline some key vocabulary terms that it’s useful to be aware of.
Greenhouse gasesA greenhouse gas is a type of air pollution that contributes to global warming. Some common greenhouse gases are carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide. These gases trap heat from the sun in our atmosphere, which causes the Earth to warm up. This is called the "greenhouse effect." Greenhouse gases are a component of the Earth's atmosphere that allows visible light from the sun to reach our planet while trapping heat. This is significant because the average temperature would be -18 degrees Celsius if greenhouse gases were not present. When the concentration of these elements in our atmosphere becomes too high, it can result in a variety of problems, including extreme weather and natural disasters that can affect entire populations. Carbon dioxide, for example, is a greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming. Photosynthesis absorbs CO₂, but plants only use about half of it, so some carbon remains in the soil, which can build up over time or be emitted back into the atmosphere.
Carbon emissionsCarbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas that plays a role in global warming. When fossil fuels such as coal, oil, and gas are burned, carbon emissions are produced. Carbon dioxide is released into the atmosphere when these fuels are burned. When there is too much carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, it traps heat from the sun. The trapped heat causes the Earth's temperature to rise.
Emission reductionsWhen a person, company, or organization reduces the amount of greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere, this is known as emission reduction. This reduces greenhouse gas emissions in our atmosphere, making it easier for solar radiation to escape and reflect back into space. Because there are fewer greenhouse gases trapping heat in our atmosphere, this also helps to slow climate change. Emission reductions are critical because they help keep the Earth from becoming even warmer, which could result in a slew of issues such as more extreme weather, sea-level rise, and biodiversity loss. To avoid the worst effects of climate change, we must all do our part to reduce emissions.
Global warmingGlobal warming is an increase in the average temperature of the Earth’s atmosphere and oceans. Global warming has been attributed to increased greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide (CO₂). Natural phenomena such as melting glaciers, rising sea levels due to thermal expansion and the addition of water to the oceans, and changes in wildlife and agriculture are all effects of global warming. The greenhouse effect occurs when thermal radiation from a planet's surface is absorbed by greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and then re-radiated in all directions. Because some of this re-radiation is directed back to the ground, the average surface temperature rises above what it would be if the gases were not present.
Climate changeClimate change is a broad term that encompasses a wide range of issues. In general, it refers to the gradual rise in global average temperatures. This occurs because greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide trap heat in our atmosphere, causing global warming. Climate change has a wide range of potential consequences for people and ecosystems alike. It can result in extreme weather events such as hurricanes and floods and more gradual environmental changes such as the extinction of species or increased drought. So, why is it crucial to understand climate change? Because it is currently one of the most severe threats to our planet, climate change can cause significant damage, and we must be aware of this to take steps to mitigate it. It's also important to keep in mind that climate change is a global issue that no single country can solve alone. We all play a part in finding solutions, and the more people who understand what climate change is and why it matters, the better.
Renewable energyRenewable energy is a type of energy that comes from resources that can be naturally replenished. These include water power, wind power, solar power, geothermal heat, and biofuels. Renewables are vital because they don't produce greenhouse gases (like carbon dioxide) when they're used, which means they help reduce climate change.
Sustainable developmentSustainable development is the process of improving the quality of life while living within the limits of nature. Sustainable development meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Sustainability requires considering environmental, economic, and social factors when making decisions. It is essential for people and communities to learn about sustainable development because we all depend on it: our economy, health, food supply, and natural environment. If we create a world where everyone has an opportunity to prosper, it will likely be more sustainable in the long run. Sustainable development is important for three main reasons: environmental, economic, and social.
- Environmental reasons: Our planet and everything on it make up the environment. It gives us the ability to breathe, drink water, and eat food. The Earth's environment is a complex, interdependent, and connected system. When one aspect of the climate changes, it can have an impact on the rest.
- Economic reasons: Sustainable development is essential because it creates a healthy economy for everyone worldwide. A sustainable economy means that businesses can produce goods and services while protecting the environment from degradation. A sustainable economy does not deplete resources.
- Social reasons: Sustainable development helps people and communities flourish. We all need healthy environments, economies, and social systems to live the best lives possible.
Environmental justiceEnvironmental justice is the idea that all people should have equal access to a clean and healthy environment. It's crucial because everyone deserves to live in a secure and healthy environment. Fighting pollution and climate change is also part of environmental justice. You should be familiar with the following terms when it comes to environmental justice:
- Equity: The principle that everyone should be treated equally, regardless of race, gender, or income.
- Sustainability: The ability to meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.
Anthropogenic climate changeAnthropogenic climate change results from human activities that release greenhouse gases into the Earth's atmosphere. Greenhouse gases are responsible for trapping heat and causing the Earth to warm. This warming can lead to many negative consequences like sea-level rise, more extreme weather events, and changes in local climates. It's important to learn about these issues because these changes can affect the entire world.
Mitigation measuresMitigation measures are steps we can take to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases we produce. There are many different ways we can do this, such as conserving energy, driving less, using public transportation, and recycling. We can make a big difference in reducing our carbon footprint by taking these small steps. Mitigation is crucial because it can help us slow down climate change and prevent the worst effects from happening. It can also help us save money in the long run.
Adaptation strategiesAdaptation strategies are actions taken to combat the effects of climate change. For example, farmers may start using irrigation instead of rainfall as a primary source for their crops because drought happens more often, and they need an alternative way to water their plants. Governments worldwide also have adaptation plans if sea levels rise or some floods affect their cities.
Carbon offsettingCarbon offsetting is the process of reducing or mitigating emissions of greenhouse gases by compensating for emissions elsewhere. In other words, it’s a way to balance out your carbon footprint. For example, if you take a flight from Los Angeles to London, you will produce about two metric tons of CO₂. You can offset that by funding a project that removes an equivalent amount of CO₂ from the atmosphere. Offsetting your carbon emissions is important because it allows you to reduce your impact on climate change, even if you can’t eliminate them. It also helps support projects that are working to reduce emissions and mitigate climate change. Carbon offsetting is one of the most popular ways to reduce your carbon footprint, and there are several different programs you can use to do it.
Carbon footprintA carbon footprint measures the amount of greenhouse gases an individual or organization emits. Greenhouse gases are emitted when fuels such as coal, oil, and gas are burned to produce energy. The carbon footprint calculation considers all emissions from direct and indirect sources. By reducing your carbon footprint, you can help reduce the impact of climate change. There are many ways to reduce your carbon footprint, from small changes like turning off the lights when you leave a room to bigger changes like installing solar panels.
Climate emergencyA climate emergency is defined as a situation in which urgent action is needed to prevent or mitigate severe and potentially catastrophic damage to the environment and/or human populations from climate change. Climate emergencies can take different forms, from sudden disasters like floods or bushfires to slower-onset events like drought or sea-level rise. They can also affect other parts of the world in different ways––for example, a health emergency caused by extreme heat conditions in one area or an agricultural emergency caused by drought in another. Climate emergencies arise when the risks posed by climate change intersect with other social, economic, or environmental stresses, such as poverty, inequality, land degradation, or food insecurity. They can also be triggered by sudden shocks to the environment, like a major oil spill.
Carbon neutralityCarbon neutrality is the state of being where a company, individual, or organization creates no more carbon dioxide emissions than they offset. Carbon neutrality is important because it helps mitigate climate change and its effects. This can be done by reducing energy consumption, capturing and sequestering CO₂ emissions from other sources, or purchasing carbon credits. By becoming carbon neutral, we reduce our carbon footprint and lessen our impact on nature.
Aspiration Zero: It's not just a credit card––get rewarded for going carbon neutralThere are many ways to minimize one’s environmental impact, but it might be the easiest and most rewarding when you do so with your credit card. Aspiration Zero is a new line credit card that helps customers reduce their carbon footprint by providing rewards for everyday and sustainable purchases. By making these choices in our everyday lives, we can go even further than just offsetting our carbon emissions––we can become carbon neutral! For more information on how this works and what benefits you could receive using an Aspiration Zero card, click here.
Make Change Staff
January 9, 2022
These Al Gore Climate Change Quotes Are Still Applicable in 2022
Pixabay/Michael_LuenenAl Gore is known as a vocal and influential environmental activist. His quotes on climate change are still applicable today and can show us how we should work to make the world a greener place. We all need to do our part to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and promote renewable energy sources to slow down the harmful effects of man-made global warming. These quotes still hold true today as we continue to make strides in climate change awareness and environmental protection. In this guide, we will explore some quotes from Al Gore on climate change and where you can start making a difference for the planet.
“When you have neither, holler”"When you have the facts on your side, argue the facts. When you have the law on your side, argue the law. When you have neither, holler." This quote means that it is easier to argue your case when you have the facts and the law on your side. However, when you don't have either of those things, you need to raise your voice and get people's attention. This quote is relevant today when it comes to climate change. We have the facts that climate change is real, and we also have the law that says we must act to address it. Some people, however, refuse to believe in climate change or ignore what is happening around them. That's why Al Gore has been so outspoken about his views on climate change and how it will affect us all if nothing is done quickly.
“Believe in the power of your own voice”"Believe in the power of your own voice. The more noise you make, the more accountability you demand from your leaders, the more our world will change for the better." This quote from Al Gore is a call to action. He urges people to speak out and demand change from their leaders on climate change. By doing this, we can make a real difference in the world. It's important to remember that our voices matter and that we can create positive change together.
“We need people like you to stand up and act”"Solving the climate crisis is within our grasp, but we need people like you to stand up and act." This quote from Al Gore is a reminder that we all have the power to make a difference when it comes to climate change. No matter what our job or position in life, we can take small steps to reduce our impact on the environment. Maybe this means recycling more, driving less, or eating more plant-based foods. Whatever it is, every little bit helps.
“The sense of awe that nature has given humanity”"We need to remember the sense of awe that nature has given humanity. It’s something that should be preserved." This quote by Al Gore is significant because it emphasizes the importance of environmental protection and how we must all work together to make a difference. We must never lose sight of the natural world around us and all that it has to offer. Everyone must work together to preserve the natural world that we have been given if we want a better future for our children and grandchildren.
“Unless we act boldly”"Unless we act boldly and quickly to deal with the underlying causes of global warming, our world will undergo a string of terrible catastrophes." This quote from Al Gore is a sobering reminder that we need to take swift and decisive action on climate change. The consequences of inaction will be devastating for our planet and all of its inhabitants. We must act now to avoid the most severe effects of global warming.
“We’re operating this planet like a business”"We’re operating this planet like a business in liquidation." This quote implies that we treat the planet as if it were a failing company. We have been operating in such a way that our natural resources and environment can no longer be sustained at their current levels, resulting in their depletion and destruction. Overconsumption, wastefulness, pollution, and the exploitation of natural resources have all contributed to this. We must change our ways and treat the planet as a thriving business that we wish to pass down to future generations.
“Pollution”"Pollution should never be the price of prosperity." This quote from Al Gore is crucial because it speaks to the heart of the matter regarding climate change. We cannot continue to pursue economic growth at all costs––we have to find a way for our economy and our environment to flourish together. This means taking steps like investing in renewable energy, which will create jobs and reduce emissions. We need to put an end to making this trade-off and fight for a greener world.
“We’re all capable of mistakes”"We’re all capable of mistakes, but I do not care to enlighten you on the mistakes we may or may not have made." This quote implies that we all make mistakes, and admitting them can be difficult, but it is important. Al Gore knows that making the world a greener place will take time and effort, but it starts with admitting our mistakes and moving forward.
“Our policies have to shift”"We have to abandon the conceit that isolated personal actions are going to solve this crisis. Our policies have to shift." This quote from Al Gore is an excellent reminder that we need to take collective action to solve the climate crisis. No one can do it all on their own, so it's important to think about what small actions you can take as part of a larger movement. Maybe you could try carpooling or taking public transportation more often, or you could volunteer with an organization that is working to reduce its carbon footprint.
“We are going to win this”"We are going to win this. The only question is how long it takes." Al Gore's quote is one of encouragement. He is implying that, despite how difficult the fight against climate change may appear, we will prevail in the end. When working on environmental projects or feeling down about the state of the world, this is a great quote to remember. It's critical to remember that every little bit helps and that we are progressing.
“I have faith”"I have faith in the United States and our ability to make good decisions based on the facts." Al Gore's quote demonstrates his belief in the United States' ability to make sound decisions based on facts. He believes that, despite the challenges, we can come together as a country to find solutions to climate change. This quote holds today, especially in light of the current political climate. Regardless of political affiliation, we need leaders who are willing to work together to find solutions to climate change. Leaders who are willing to put the planet first are required. Al Gore is an excellent example of this type of leader, and his climate change quotes are more timely than ever.
“Fear displaces reason”"When fear displaces reason, the result is often irrational hatred and division." Al Gore's quote highlights the dangers of fear-mongering and how it can lead to division rather than progress. People who are afraid frequently make irrational decisions as a result of their fear. This is evident in politics worldwide, where candidates exploit people's fears to gain power. It's also evident in the environmental movement, where people frequently make decisions based on fear rather than logic.
“Become part of the solution”"Each and every one of us can make changes in the way we live our lives and become part of the solution." Al Gore urges people to take climate change into their own hands and make small changes in their lives to help the environment. He knows that if everyone makes a few minor tweaks, it will add up and make a big difference. So what can you do? Here are some easy tips:
- Walk or bike instead of driving
- Turn off electronics when they're not in use
- Buy organic produce whenever possible
- Recycle and compost as much as you can
“Change has to come from culture”"When politics is too slow, change has to come from culture." This quote from Al Gore is significant because it implies that the change we seek in the world may not come from politics. We need to start changing our culture so that the changes we want to see can eventually be achieved through politics. This is an important reminder because it's easy to become discouraged when things seem to be moving too slowly. However, if we continue to work on changing our culture, the desired changes will eventually occur.
“Well-amused audience”"The ‘well-informed citizenry is in danger of becoming the ‘well-amused audience.’" It means that simply being aware of the issue of climate change will not suffice. We must take action. Al Gore's quote warns us about the dangers of failing to address climate change. He is implying that if we do not act now, future generations will be put in jeopardy, and our planet will no longer be capable of supporting human life as we know it. We must be well-informed about climate change to take the necessary steps to make the world a greener place.
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Make Change Staff
January 6, 2022
Report: How Mexico Is Impacted by Climate Change
The impacts of climate change on MexicoMexico's climate has changed dramatically over the last few decades, and it continues to be vulnerable. A World Bank study report detailed how climate change has uniquely affected each region of Mexico. Droughts and decreased crop yields have impacted the North. In contrast, increased flooding has impacted the Center-West, stronger hurricanes have affected the South, and sea levels and coastal erosion are affecting the Yucatan Peninsula. These events have resulted in fatalities, infrastructure damage, citizen displacement, and adverse economic consequences. Mexico has taken measures to mitigate these effects. The country is emphasizing the expansion of renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power. These projects have been successful in the North of Mexico, but more work is needed throughout the country.
Mexico's high-climate-impact zones
- The North: The effects of climate change have been most severe in Mexico's North. Drought and low crop yields have resulted in food insecurity and loss of life. Wildfires are also on the rise in the region.
- The Center-West: Flooding has increased in the Center-West of Mexico, causing infrastructure damage and displacing people.
- The South: In recent years, the South of Mexico has seen more intense hurricanes that have destroyed communities and taken lives.
- Yucatan Peninsula: The Yucatan Peninsula is experiencing significant climate change impacts because of its geographical location. Because of melting ice caps, sea levels are rising, putting coastal areas at risk of flooding. As a result, many people in these communities have lost their homes and livelihoods.
The sustainability of Mexican citiesAccording to The Economic Commission for Latin America (ECLA), Mexico has the greatest impact from natural disasters. This has increased its vulnerability to disasters such as earthquakes, landslides, droughts, and hurricanes, all of which are expected to become more severe as a result of climate change. Mexico's vulnerability to climate change is also exacerbated by a lack of infrastructure, poverty, and social inequality. The North-Central region of Mexico is one of the most affected by climate change. Water availability has decreased as a result of decreased precipitation and an increase in temperature. This has increased competition for water resources and has had an impact on agriculture. Maize production has decreased, despite the fact that it is an important staple food in the region. Another region facing severe climate change risks is the Gulf of Mexico. The area is vulnerable to hurricanes, which are becoming more powerful as a result of climate change. This endangers coastal communities and the tourism industry. Climate change is also posing severe threats to the Yucatan Peninsula. Temperatures have risen while rainfall has decreased, resulting in a decrease in water availability. This has an impact on agriculture and is causing issues with the drinking water supply. Mexico is taking action to address the threats posed by climate change. The country has created a National Climate Change Strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase adaptive capacity. Mexico is also a signatory to the Paris Agreement, which commits countries to reduce emissions to limit global temperature rise to less than two degrees Celsius.
Climate change and its potential impacts on Mexico's healthClimate change is already having an impact on the health of Mexicans, and this trend is expected to continue. Mexico's most vulnerable regions to climate change include those with high levels of poverty and inequality, as well as areas prone to natural disasters. Climate change's health effects can be divided into two categories: direct and indirect effects. Direct health effects include the spread of infectious diseases as temperatures rise, an increase in respiratory illnesses as air quality deteriorates, and water-related risks such as diarrhea caused by flooding or a lack of access to safe drinking water. In addition to the direct effects of climate change on public health, changes in the location and severity of storms, floods, and droughts can have an indirect impact on health. People have been displaced, property and livelihoods have been lost, food insecurity and malnutrition have increased, and psychological stress has been reported. For many years, the Mexican government has worked to address the public health impacts of climate change. It was one of the first countries to develop a national climate change policy in 2007, and it released an integrated health sector response plan in 2009. Since then, numerous additional initiatives have been implemented across various government sectors to address both direct and indirect impacts on public health. The Mexican government has also considered national priorities for mitigating climate change (including lowering greenhouse gas emissions) and adapting to its health effects.
Mexico City's air quality, weather, and climateMexico is located on the continent of North America. The country has a total population of about 124 million people, with nearly half of them living in cities near Mexico City known as urban agglomerations. Ciudad Nezahualcóyotl and Ecatepec de Morelos, both in the state of Mexico, are examples of urban agglomerations. The International Development Research Centre (IDRC) published a study on Mexico City's air quality and its effects on human health. The researchers discovered a link between certain pollutants in the city's atmosphere at different times of day and their impact on cardiovascular disease events. The researchers discovered that while cardiovascular disease events were most common during the day, their frequency increased significantly at night. The researchers concluded that this was due to higher concentrations of particulate matter in Mexico City's atmosphere at night when compared to levels recorded on days when cardiovascular disease events were more common.
Mexican agriculture and global warmingExtreme weather events have become more common in Mexico as the world has warmed. There were three times as many days with temperatures above 100 degrees Fahrenheit between 1996 and 2005 as any other time period on record. The rise in global temperature is also making it more challenging to grow crops in previously temperate areas. According to a recent study, the maize crop in central Mexico will likely decline by up to 50% as a result of global warming. This is a significant issue because maize accounts for nearly one-third of all calories consumed in Mexico. Crops are becoming more challenging to grow, and changes in weather patterns are causing pests and diseases to spread more quickly. Because of warmer temperatures and increased rainfall, the coffee rust fungus, for example, has spread throughout Mexico. Climate change has far-reaching consequences that go beyond agriculture. Sea-level rise is endangering coastal communities, and changes in precipitation patterns are causing water shortages in many parts of the country. Mexico has taken several steps to reduce carbon emissions and conserve water to address these challenges. By 2024, the country intends to generate 35% of its electricity from renewable sources while also improving energy efficiency in many homes. The government is also attempting to improve farming practices to make them more resistant to changes in weather patterns caused by global warming. They have introduced new maize planting techniques and are working with farmers to put them into practice. Mexico is not acting alone in its efforts to combat climate change. The United States, China, and the European Union have all pledged to cut their carbon footprints. On the other hand, Mexico has set some of the most ambitious goals of any country. It will be a difficult task, but if Mexico achieves its objectives, it may serve as a model for other countries to follow.
Aspiration Zero, a credit card that's good for you and the environmentAspiration Zero is a credit card that helps you reduce your carbon footprint. Here at Aspiration we’ll plant trees every time you swipe your card, and give you extra cashback rewards once you reach carbon zero. The best part? You can use your reward points on anything from additional tree planting to statement credits. If this sounds like something up your alley, apply for Aspiration Zero today!
Make Change Staff
December 20, 2021
What to Do With Old Watches: Recycle Them
What is the definition of watch recycling?To recycle something, you must want to give it a new purpose. For example, if you want to get rid of a watch because it no longer works but doesn't have a plan for its next life, or you decide that it can be used as jewelry or something similar, you are recycling it. Even if you decide to keep the watch, recycling means you'll find a new way to put it to use. Using an old item for something else is always preferable to purchasing a new one because it reduces the amount of waste and energy required in production. This is true not only for watches but also for other items such as clothing or shoes. Some people believe that recycling simply means giving something to someone else rather than throwing it away, but this is not the case. Recycling means reusing something for a purpose other than the one for which it was originally designed. Donating your old watch does not obligate you to recycle because the watch may still end up in a landfill. If you want to recycle your watch, there are a few options. You can either give it to someone else who will repurpose it, or find a way to repurpose it yourself. If you choose the second option, here are some suggestions:
- Make a new piece of jewelry out of an old watch.
- Repurpose the watch by using it as a pen or pencil holder.
- Make a keychain out of it.
- Make it into a bookmark.
- It can be used to decorate your home.
- Wear it as a necklace or bracelet.
What are some of the most common uses for old watches?There are a few common uses for old watches that you might not have considered before. You can recycle them, use them as parts for other projects, or pass them down as family heirlooms. Here's a closer look at each option:
- Repurpose your old watch: If your watch is no longer functional, you can recycle it at a jeweler or watch repair shop in your area. They might be able to repurpose the watch's materials to create new pieces for other watches.
- Using an old watch for parts: If your watch is still functional, you may be able to use it as a component in another project. For example, if you have a broken watch, you could repair it with parts from your old one.
- Passing down your old watch as a family heirloom: You can pass down your old watch as a family heirloom if you want to keep it but don't have any use for it. You could find someone in your family interested in watches and show them your old timepiece.
How to recycle and reuse your watchIf your watch has seen better days, don't just throw it away. There are numerous methods for reusing and recycling your old watch. Here are a few suggestions:
- It can be sold to a jewelry store or an online auction site. This is an excellent way to get some extra money for your old watch. Before you try to sell your watch, make sure you know its condition. If it requires repairs, either make them or reduce the price accordingly.
- Don't forget about old watches from deceased family members and loved ones. They can be a wonderful heirloom for future generations of your family to cherish for generations.
- Repurpose the watch's components in other crafts. If the watch is no longer functional, you can repurpose its components to create a new craft project. You could, for example, use the face of an old watch as a one-of-a-kind piece of jewelry ornaments.
- Donate it to a worthy cause. If you don't want to keep your old watch or can't find its use, donate it to a watch recycling organization. This is a great way to help a good cause while also getting rid of your old watch.
- Make use of it as a paperweight. If all else fails and your watch is no longer valuable, you can always use it as a paperweight. This way, the watch isn't completely useless and can still serve a purpose.
- It can be repurposed into something else. If none of these options appeal to you, there's nothing wrong with simply repurposing the watch. This can range from a new watch band to a piece of jewelry. Use your imagination and have fun with it!
The advantages of recycling an old watchThere are numerous advantages to recycling watches. It not only benefits the environment by keeping waste out of landfills, but it also allows people to reuse and repurpose valuable materials. This is especially useful in the case of watches, as they frequently contain precious metals and stones that can be reused in new watches. Furthermore, the process of recycling watches allows watch enthusiasts to save money while also discovering a new favorite timepiece.
The recyclability of old watchesWhen you're ready to recycle your old watch, it's critical that you know how to care for and clean it before sending it off to be recycled or repurposed. Most companies require that all batteries be removed before sending in a watch, and some even prefer that the entire movement be removed. If your preferred company does not provide removal instructions, check with them ahead of time or seek their advice through online resources. After you've cleaned the insides of your old watch, it's time to clean the outside. Some people will send in watches that aren’t clean because they know their preferred company has professional cleaning equipment. However, if your watch has seen better days or has been heavily used, consider taking it to a local jeweler for a thorough cleaning before sending it off. Finally, when mailing your watch in for recycling or repurposing, include all of the original packaging as well as any documentation that came with it. This will ensure that there are no issues during the receiving process and that your old watch is properly handled.
The process of selling old watchesIf you want to sell an old watch, you should do a few things to get the most money for it. Watches can be recycled and refurbished to give them a new lease on life, so look for a reputable jeweler or recycling center that will do this for you. Here are the steps to selling an old watch:
- If you intend to sell your vintage watches for cash, the first thing you should do is thoroughly clean them, making sure there are no dings or scratches and remove any corrosion from where metal meets metal. A jeweler can do a much better job than you, but a quick cleaning with a toothbrush and some soapy water should suffice. Before continuing, make certain that it is completely dry.
- Remove the band. Spring-loaded or screw-on bands are common on watches. If it's a spring-loaded band, simply push the little buttons on the side, and it'll pop right off. If the band is screwed on, loosen the screws with a watchmaker's tool or a butter knife before removing it.
- Remove the back of your watch to reveal the model and serial number, as well as the movement type (mechanical or quartz) and battery type if it's a newer model. You should also check for scratches on this part of the case before selling it, as buyers will be able to see them. A jeweler can buff out any scuffs you may have accidentally made while polishing your old watches.
- Locate a reputable jeweler or recycling facility. When your watch is clean, and all of the parts have been removed, it's time to sell it. Look for a jeweler specializing in vintage watches or go to a recycling center that will recycle the materials rather than sell them new.
Your rewards are your carbon impact with Aspiration ZeroAspiration Zero is a cashback credit card that rewards you for going carbon neutral. With every purchase, we plant trees to reduce your carbon footprint and give you extra cashback rewards once you get down to zero. This innovative feature of this smart credit card gives people who want to live an environmentally conscious lifestyle another way to do so while earning up-to-1% in bonus earnings on their purchases. What other ways can we help make our money work for us? Apply today!
Make Change Staff
December 17, 2021
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What to Do With Old License Plates
Make Change Staff
January 15, 2022
Affinity Credit Cards Give Charitable Spending a Whole New Meaning
What is an affinity card?An affinity card is a credit card affiliated with a certain organization, such as a university or charity. These cards benefit members of the affiliated group and frequently allow people to donate their rewards to the group's designated charity. Affinity cards can be an excellent way for customers to show their support for a cause they care about while also doing good in the world. Affinity cards are appealing because you can donate your rewards to any charity of your choice. This is something that traditional banks typically do not provide. Using an affinity credit card can be a great way to foster goodwill within your community or group by providing them with assistance that would otherwise be unavailable. This is especially true when people use their affinity cards to make purchases around the holidays.
How do affinity cards work?Affinity cards operate in much the same way as traditional credit cards, but they provide additional benefits to members of affiliated organizations such as charities or professional associations. Affinity cards, which are available from both banks and credit unions, typically have lower interest rates and fees than traditional credit cards. The key distinction is that affinity cards allow for charitable giving, which means that your money can be used to support organizations that are important to you. Affinity credit cards also typically include a rewards program that allows you to donate your rewards to any charity of your choice. When you use an affinity card, you can donate the rewards you earn to a charity of your choice, making it a simple way to give back without spending more money. Affinity cards frequently include additional benefits. These can include discounted rates on affiliated group products or services, bonus points for using the card, and more.
What are the benefits of using an affinity credit card?Affinity credit cards can provide you with special offers such as discounted or free products from affiliated companies (like coupons for specific restaurants). If your credit card is linked to a university student organization, for example, the card issuer may offer discounts at local businesses. You can also earn points or cashback on your credit card spending, allowing you to donate rewards directly to any charity of your choice. The advantage of affinity credit card programs is that you can donate your rewards in any amount up to 100% to a charity of your choice. With an affinity card, you can designate a specific charity to which your rewards will be donated on a monthly or annual basis. You may also be able to deduct your donations from your taxes. Unlike traditional bank products, in which charities have separate agreements on which ones will receive donations from their customers' purchases, affinity card programs allow you to donate any percentage of your rewards to any charity or organization — regardless of whether it is affiliated with the card issuer. When it comes to selecting the best affinity credit card for you, there are a few things to consider:
- How much money can I afford to put towards my credit each month?
- What is the interest rate on this card?
- Do I want a rewards program where I can donate my points to charity, or do I just want cash back or travel rewards?
How do I choose which type of affinity credit card is right for me?There are several types of affinity credit cards available to you, each with its own set of benefits and perks. When it comes to selecting the right product for you, consider your charitable giving needs as well as how much money you want to put toward your credit each month. Some affinity cards, for example, offer a percentage of the money you spend with them in cashback rewards, while others offer points that can be redeemed for travel. If your goal is to donate as much as possible to charity each month, an affinity credit card that offers higher percentages back in cash or points for your spending may be a good choice. Some affinity cards also provide discounts on affiliated companies' products and services. This could be useful if you're looking for ways to save money in your daily life or if you want to support a charity with a business relationship with the card issuer.
Cashback Affinity Credit CardsThe cashback credit card is one of the most popular types of affinity credit cards. These cards reward you with a percentage of your spending, which you can then donate directly to any charity of your choice. For example, you could earn 50% back on all of your card purchases, allowing you to give back 50% of the money you spend on it.
Rewards Affinity Credit CardsA different type of affinity credit card is one that rewards you for purchases rather than cash back. This could include travel miles or even special discounts, such as coupons, at stores affiliated with the card issuer. These cards may also have a rewards program that allows you to donate your points or miles to a charity or organization of your choice.
Common affinity cards and their benefitsAffinity cards come in various forms, ranging from those offered by a company's local supermarket to those offered by popular retailers, making it difficult to determine which card is best for you. Some of the most common affinity cards include:
Susan G. Komen® Customized Cash Rewards Visa® credit card from Bank of AmericaThis card gives users one point for every dollar spent, and there is no limit to the number of points that can be earned. In addition, cardholders can donate their rewards to Susan G. Komen®, which funds breast cancer research and programs.
Citi ThankYou® Rewards Credit CardThis card allows users to automatically donate two cents for every dollar spent at national arts organizations. Two percent of all purchases will be donated no matter where the purchase is made or what it is for. The money that’s earned goes toward helping support activities in the arts, culture, and education.
National Association of Social Workers (NASW) Credit CardThis card allows users to donate a portion of their purchases to the NASW Foundation, which provides scholarships and awards to social work students and grants to help fund social work programs.
AARP Rewards Credit CardThis card offers one point for every dollar spent and a 50% bonus on all points earned during the first three months. Users have the option of donating their rewards to any of AARP's charitable initiatives or using them to shop.
The Nature Conservancy Credit Card from Bank of AmericaThis card gives users one point for every dollar spent, with no cap on how many points they can earn. Cardholders can also donate their rewards to The Nature Conservancy®, which helps fund conservation programs worldwide.
Aspiration: Spend a dollar, plant a treeWe know that giving money to a charity is always an attractive option. But what if you could donate and earn rewards while also benefiting the environment? The Aspiration Zero carbon-neutral credit card does just that, with each swipe providing a chance to offset carbon emissions while also earning cashback rewards. Spend daily to offset your carbon footprint and earn up to 1% cashback on purchases. Use your rewards to plant more trees and receive a credit on your statement. Do you want to help the environment while also getting rewarded for it? Apply now!
Make Change Staff
January 25, 2022
How Much Will a Secured Card Raise My Score?
What is a secured card, and how do they work?A secured credit card is a type of bank account that requires an initial deposit. The deposit is usually the same as your credit limit and is kept in a secured savings account. If your account is in good standing, the deposit is typically refunded to you. While the funds are not immediately available, they earn interest while being held by the bank, making a secured credit card similar to prepaid debit cards. Having one or more secured cards on file, on the other hand, will help build your credit score over time, unlike many other types of prepaid accounts. Secured cards can be very beneficial to people with no credit history because they are easy to obtain and allow you to access funds while also helping your credit score grow. Small deposits are also easier to manage than larger loans for those who don't have a lot of money to spare. This makes it easier for people with bad credit to improve their credit and get approved for unsecured credit cards in the future. If your goal is simply to open one or more secured card accounts, you may notice an immediate benefit from having access to extra funds and using them responsibly. The next step is to use the cards carefully and pay your bills on time each month. The better you are at making payments on time, the better your overall credit rating will improve. If you are eventually approved for an unsecured card, your credit score will benefit from the positive payment history associated with each secured account. The benefits of having a secured credit card:
- Secured credit cards are a great way to build your credit
- With a secured card, you can get cash advances and purchase items with the card
- You don't need good or excellent credit to get approved for a secured card
- If you make your monthly payments on time, this will show up as an increase in your credit score over time
- Secured credit cards can be an easy way for young adults or college students to start building their credit.
Why should you get a secured credit card rather than another type of credit card?Secured cards are intended for people who have poor or no credit. They are also a good option if you want to improve your credit score before applying for an unsecured card, such as one that offers eco-friendly rewards (like the Aspiration Zero Card). A secured card will help you build your credit history because you will report your payment activity to the credit bureaus each month. This is ideal if you want to establish or re-establish a good credit history and score so that when you are ready for an unsecured card in the future, your score will have increased sufficiently! A secured card can also help you reach your spending limit more quickly than a regular credit card. This is because a secured card reports your spending activity to the bureaus each month, whereas an unsecured card does not report this information unless you choose to pay it off in full every month and on time.
What credit score do you need to get a secured card?Several factors influence your credit score, but typically, customers must have a credit score of at least 500 to be approved for their first secured card. When looking for a new account, it's critical to take into account all of this information. Using a secured card can help you improve your credit score. Whether you have good, bad, or no credit, opening a new account is the best way to begin rebuilding your financial history and increasing your overall score. A secured card will give you more borrowing flexibility, but only borrow what you know you'll be able to repay in full and on time.
Can I get a secured card if I have bad credit?Absolutely! If you're looking to rebuild your financial history, there's no better way than using a new account that reports to the three major bureaus: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. Secured cards will allow you to build your credit score little by little, allowing you to eventually graduate into an unsecured card.
What is the average increase in scores for secured cards?The average credit score increase for someone with poor credit is around 30 points. It's difficult to predict an exact number because everyone starts at a different point. Several factors contribute to your credit score, but the most important factor is payment history. If you make your payments on time, using a secured card responsibly should result in a decent increase in your overall score.
What if my scores aren't increasing?If, after about six months of responsible use, you still haven't seen an increase in credit score, then you'll want to ask yourself if your spending habits are truly changing. If not, then it might be time to consider other options for increasing your scores.
How much does a secured card cost to open?Most secured cards have an opening deposit that ranges from $50-$200. After the initial purchase, there are no annual fees for using your card each month. If you're looking to increase credit scores quickly, then this is a great place to start.
How do I build my credit with a secured credit card?Using a secured card responsibly demonstrates to credit bureaus that you can manage this type of account. If your credit score is less than 650, it is critical that you make your payments on time each month and do not exceed your credit limit. This is an excellent way to repair your credit and get your finances back on track. If you want to improve your credit score, a secured card may be the best way to do so.
Is there any downside to using a secured card?Secured cards do have some drawbacks. Because of your deposit, you are limited in the amount of credit you can receive on the secured card. If you need more access to funds, it may be time to consider upgrading to a different type of credit. Another disadvantage is the required deposit. If you can't afford a certain amount, it might be better to choose another option that doesn't require a lump-sum payment upfront. Typically, secured cards have an annual fee, and if your credit score improves enough to allow you to apply for better forms of credit, the fee will be waived, and you will only be required to pay for your deposit.
What factors determine how much my credit score might increase with a secured card?The age of accounts, new credit inquiries and your credit utilization ratio all play a role in determining how much of an impact using a secured card has on your FICO score. The older the account, the better it will be for your score; this means that closing an old card or line of credit may not have much of an impact on your score. The same is valid for applying for too many new credit lines in a short period (30 days). Another factor is your credit utilization, or how much of your available credit you're using at any given time. If your limit is $500 and you only use $100 per month, that's preferable to having an additional card with a $500 limit but never paying it down to less than half its capacity.
What can I do to improve my credit score before applying for a secured card?There are several things you can do to improve your FICO score, but before you look into any of them, it's best to understand what kind of credit history and other factors may be affecting your score. If you decide to go that route, you'll want to know how much of a positive impact a secured card will have on your credit score.
Why is it important for me to have good credit?To be approved for loans and other financial products, you must have good credit. Having good credit will also help you when purchasing a home, car, or applying for insurance. Secured cards are available to people with low credit scores if they want better access to credit. The only issue is that it's difficult to predict how much a secured card will improve your credit score.
Your carbon footprint is your credit scoreAspiration Zero is the first carbon credit card that rewards people for reducing their footprint. You can earn up to 1% cashback on your everyday purchases with the use of this card. With every swipe, you are planting trees and earning money back until you reach zero emissions! If you're not quite ready to go full-on carbon neutral but want a way to reduce your impact––why not give it a try? Meet Aspiration Zero today and find out how easy going green can be!
Make Change Staff
December 12, 2021
Is a Socially Responsible Credit Card Really Possible?
Types of Credit CardsThere are many different types of credit cards and they all have their own benefits and drawbacks. The best card for you depends on your financial goals and habits. In general, there are four main types of cards: cash back cards, travel rewards cards, co-branded credit cards, and store-branded credit cards Cashback cards: Cashback cards offer cash rewards for purchases. You can earn cash back on everyday expenses like groceries and gas, as well as special promotions during specific months of the year (like holiday shopping). Some companies also give bonus points for online spending to incentivize people who shop exclusively online. The cashback rate is often a percentage of the total you spend, but sometimes it's a flat rate. The cash reward comes in the form of a check or statement credit that can be redeemed anytime. Travel rewards cards: Travel rewards cards are similar to cash back reward cards in that they offer points for every dollar spent and allow cardholders to use those points for travel expenses. However, the points are generally worth more with a travel rewards card because you can use them on any airline or hotel without having to worry about blackout dates and limited availability. Travel cards also come in handy during emergencies when your credit card won't work at an ATM (or anywhere else). Co-branded cards: These types of cards are offered by a specific company and can only be used at that company's locations or websites. They often come with very high interest rates, so it is best to use them as a last resort if you have no other option available. Store-branded credit cards: These types of cards tend to offer better rewards on the companies' products than cash back cards. They are usually offered by larger retail stores like Walmart, Target, Lowes, and Home Depot. Some store-branded credit cards also offer 0% financing on purchases for a certain period (up to 24 months), which can be an incentive if you're looking to buy big-ticket items. Rewards programs have become a big market in the past decade with many popular companies offering points that can be redeemed for gift cards, travel discounts, and other perks. But are these rewards really worth it?
The risks of traditional credit card rewards programsRewards programs are appealing to people who have good credit because they can earn points that eventually turn into rewards. However, these awards can cause more harm than good for people who are trying to build credit. Many cards offer rewards programs, but these often come with high interest rates and annual fees that can quickly offset the value of any points you earn. It's important to remember how these companies make money: by charging interest on your purchases. You may think that you're getting free stuff, but you are actually paying for it with high interest rates and annual fees (if they even offer them). People often start by spending close to the amount of their credit limit in order to receive reward points, but then end up having a balance at the end of the month. This is how credit card companies make money, and why rewards programs are not always a good idea for people who are trying to build or maintain their credit score. Rewards points may seem like free prizes that you can get just by spending your hard-earned dollars on essentials like groceries and gas, but in reality, they often come with a much higher cost.
What is a socially responsible credit card?The main issue with traditional credit card rewards programs is that they encourage people to spend more than what they can afford and rack up additional debt in the process. Therefore, a socially responsible credit card should help consumers limit their spending and avoid accumulating extra charges on top of high interest rates. Many companies offer cash back cards as well as travel reward cards that allow cardholders to redeem their points for gift cards or discounts on certain products. These programs can be attractive because you're getting something back, but they often have high interest rates and annual fees that offset any financial value you get out of the rewards program. A more socially responsible credit card would offer benefits like environmentally conscious financing, where you can get a lower interest rate in exchange for using your money to support green energy. These types of cards have lower interest rates and fewer fees, so you won't spend as much on extra charges that offset the value of your rewards. Socially responsible credit cards are becoming increasingly popular because consumers want to support companies that share the same values and principles concerning capitalism. Many people care about whether or not their money is going towards clean energy initiatives, environmental protection programs, and other socially responsible causes.
The benefits of a socially responsible credit cardThere are many advantages to having a socially responsible credit card that can help you save money in the long term. This type of card would have low interest rates, no annual fee, and could even be used for things like building your credit score.
Offers great interest ratesThe main benefit of a socially responsible card would be that it encourages people to only spend what they can afford without accumulating additional charges on top of high interest rates.
Helps you build or maintain your credit scoreOne of the main reasons why someone might choose a credit card with a rewards program over one that doesn't offer any rewards is because they want to build or maintain their credit score. This card would help these people do just that, and it would also have low interest rates and no annual fee so you wouldn't lose out on money if you paid off your balance every month. This type of socially responsible credit card could be a great alternative for those who would like to earn rewards for their purchases without paying too high of a cost in the end.
Offers rewards for enviro-conscious spendingOne of the most socially responsible cards would offer rewards for enviro-conscious spending. This means you could use your money to finance green energy and receive a lower interest rate in return, which is better than getting nothing back when using other types of credit cards with reward programs.
Disadvantages of socially responsible credit CardsSocially responsible credit cards are a great option for people who want to use their money responsibly. These types of cards have many pros and some cons that are worth considering if you're looking for more options in the world of finance. Cons:
- Just because a credit card is labeled as socially responsible doesn't mean it will be good for everyone. There are likely some pros and cons associated with every type, so read the fine print before signing up.
- Socially responsible cards usually have smaller sign-up bonuses than other types, so this could be a factor to consider if it's important for you to have a high rewards rate.
Aspiration, a Rewards Program with Social ImpactIf you are someone who wants to have an impact on the world around you through your spending habits, Aspiration has great options for socially responsible banking that will be able to help you do just that. Socially responsible credit cards are becoming more popular as consumers become aware of companies that support the same values and principles. People who use a credit card with rewards for green initiatives can build or maintain their credit score, while also saving money in interest charges. Your spending habits can make a difference, Aspiration wants to help you do good with your purchases while still getting great value. The Aspiration Zero credit card is a new and innovative way to encourage cardholders to make more eco-conscious decisions. With this card, you can earn points for purchasing environmentally friendly products or offset your carbon footprint by participating in green activities like driving less or donating to an environmental charity. If you’re interested in making the world a better place while also earning rewards for doing so, check out Aspiration Zero today!
Make Change Staff
October 21, 2021
The Best International Debit Cards to Choose From in 2021
What makes a great international card?There are several things to consider when selecting an international debit card, but the two most important aspects of any travel-related purchase are safety and efficiency. When it comes to deciding which is best for you, think about how much cash access you need while on your trip. If all you're doing is withdrawing cash from ATMs along your route, consider an ATM card instead. If you're planning to use your debit card for all of your purchases while traveling abroad, keep reading!
What are the five best international debit cards?When it comes to selecting an international debit card, there are many options available. Some of our favorites are listed below:
Schwab High Yield Investor Checking AccountThe Charles Schwab High Yield Investor Checking Account is a fantastic choice for those who need quick access to cash anywhere in the world. It's a free account with unlimited ATM withdrawals and no currency exchange costs, making it one of our top international debit card choices.
- Service Fee: $0
- Foreign Transaction Fee: 0%
- Sign-Up Bonus: No
- ATM fee: $0.03
- International fees: 0%
- Our Rating: 4.6/5
HSBC Premier Platinum Debit CardThe HSBC Premier Platinum debit card is an excellent option for those who want to earn cashback on all of their purchases. It comes with a high interest rate, offers unlimited ATM withdrawals, and earns you up to 0.35% cashback depending on your spending habits!
- Service Fee: $75/year
- Foreign Transaction Fee: 0%
- Sign-Up Bonus: No
- ATM fee: $0.00 or $0.50 in some countries, depending on the ATM operator
- International fees: 0%
- Our Rating: 4/5
Capital One 360 debit cardThe Capital One 360 debit card is an excellent choice for those who want a low-fee account with no minimums. The standard monthly fee of $0 and the lack of foreign transaction fees make it one of our top recommendations for international debit cards.
- Service Fee: $0/month
- Foreign Transaction Fee: 0%
- Sign-Up Bonus: No
- ATM fee: None when using an ATM located in the US. When outside, there is a maximum withdrawal amount ($400) after which Capital One will charge either $0.50 or $20, depending on the ATM operator
- International fees: 0%
- Our Rating: 4.2/5
- Service Fee: $0/month
- Foreign Transaction Fee: 0%
- Sign-Up Bonus: No
- ATM fee: $0.00 or $20, depending on the ATM operator
- International fees: None! (Fidelity will refund all transaction fees up to $12 per month)
- Our Rating: 4.4/5
Prepaid debit cardFor those who aren't looking for any cash access or ATM withdrawals during their trip, it might be worth enrolling in a prepaid travel card instead. This will allow you to lock in the exchange rate before your trip, which will save you from any unfavorable fluctuations. In addition to that, a prepaid debit card comes with plenty of other benefits:
- No monthly fee: A prepaid travel card doesn't charge a monthly fee as most international bank accounts do. This makes it one of our top recommendations for those on a budget!
- No background check: International bank accounts and regular debit cards require a background check before you're able to open an account. With prepaid travel cards, however, there is no background check needed.
- Safer than cash: Traveling with large amounts of money isn't always the safest option. A prepaid travel card comes in handy as theft protection against lost or stolen cards.
- No need to plan ahead: Since a prepaid travel card is pre-loaded with foreign currency, you don't have to worry about having the right amount of cash on hand at all times while traveling abroad.
Which countries can I use a prepaid debit card in?The great thing about most prepaid debit cards is that they're accepted worldwide. You can use them in whichever country you visit! However, before applying for a card, you should do your homework. Some prepaid debit cards don't cover specific nations or regions within a country, so be sure to read the fine print before you commit!
What are some common fees associated with using a prepaid debit card?Like most bank accounts, there are a few fees that come with using a prepaid debit card. While these vary from one issuer to the next, here's an overview of some common fees associated with travel cards:
- Transaction fee: It's common to pay a transaction fee with prepaid debit cards — especially those issued by banks outside of your home country. This is typically around $0.50 per purchase made abroad.
- Loading fee: Prepaid travel cards usually come with a loading fee, which is paid every time you add money to your card. This means that if you plan on using the same prepaid debit card for an extended period while traveling abroad, it's best to load up the card before leaving.
- Withdrawal fee: Most prepaid debit cards have a withdrawal fee, which is usually around $0.50-$0.75 per ATM transaction. However, some banks do waive this fee for their own ATMs — so check with your issuer and bank location before using an ATM!
Meet Aspiration Zero, an international credit card with a conscienceOne of the many perks your Aspiration Zero credit card offers is a carbon offset program. When you purchase an item with your credit card, Aspiration will help fund projects that have been verified as being environmentally friendly and beneficial to society. You’ll also be earning points for every dollar spent which can then be redeemed for rewards like gift cards or travel packages at hotels around the world. High interest The best part? There are no limits on how much you earn so there’s plenty of opportunities to customize this reward strategy based on what matters most to you! Interested in Aspiration Zero? Apply now to get started today!
Make Change Staff
October 17, 2021
How to Increase Your Credit Limit On Your Capital One Credit Card
Understanding your credit limitThe first step is to understand what your credit limit means. Your current credit line is the maximum amount of money you can spend on your card, excluding any purchases made with your cash advance or balance transfers. The "credit utilization" ratio refers to the total amount of money owed on all of your Capital One credit cards. A lower credit limit, such as $500, can be problematic because it can push your debt-to-credit percentage above 30%. As a result, your credit score could suffer. When you understand how your credit limit benefits you, you will be able to understand:
- The importance of maintaining a good credit score
- How to maintain a good credit score
- The importance of keeping track of your balance and paying it off in full each month
- Methods for improving your credit score, such as paying off any outstanding debts.
- Tips for increasing the size of your savings account, which will help you avoid having to take out loans in the future.
- Understanding types of accounts that can be opened with various institutions or banks.
- Finding ways to save money on daily expenses such as groceries and utilities.
Before you request a credit increase
Use your card responsiblyBefore requesting an increase in your credit limit, make sure you're using your Capital One credit card responsibly. Making on-time monthly payments and never carrying a balance is always preferable! This means you'd need to make at least 12 months of on-time payments on your current cards before they'd consider raising your credit limit. If it's been at least a year since you requested a credit raise, there's no need to be concerned. Also, don't apply for too many other credit cards. Applying for too many other credit cards will almost certainly jeopardize your chances of receiving a higher credit limit. This is because lenders will interpret this as you taking on more debt, and they will be less likely to approve your request. Simple steps you can take to ensure you're using your card responsibly include:
- Paying off your credit card in full every month
- Maintaining a record of your spending habits and adhering to a budget
- Using cash for small purchases, so you're not tempted to buy more than you need
- Avoiding signing up for store credit cards unless there are benefits that will save you money
- Checking your credit score before applying for any loans or other financial products
- Reviewing the terms and conditions of all contracts before signing them
Keep track of your spending habitsIf you want to increase your credit limit, you should keep track of how much money is going out (how much you are spending). You should make sure that the amount of money you’re spending on minimum payments does not exceed 30% of your monthly income. If this occurs, Capital One will likely reject your request to increase your credit limit. In other words, make sure that you are spending no more than 30% of your monthly income on minimum payments. This means, for example, if your salary is $4000 per month, make sure not to spend more than $1200 each month.
Plan to pay off the balances on time and in full every monthOne of the most important things to do before making any kind of request for a credit increase is to have a solid game plan in place for paying down those existing credit balances within 30 days or less. If Capital One determines that you are unable to pay off your balances on time, the request will likely be denied. Capital One advises paying off more than the minimum monthly payment. For example, if your balance is $1500 and your monthly credit card payment is only $50, you should pay more than this amount regularly to prevent accruing more debt that could risk any future requests for an increase in your credit limit.
Request a credit increase for a valid reasonIf you want to increase your credit limit, make sure it's for a genuine need and not just for the sake of having more money. If Capital One suspects this is the case, your request may be denied. Valid reasons for requesting a credit limit increase include the following:
- You've been a customer for a long time.
- There is no outstanding balance on the account.
- You have an excellent credit history with the organization.
- Your income has significantly increased in recent months, or you need to purchase something expensive shortly (examples include buying your first home, paying for medical expenses)
- You want to consolidate other debt onto this card since the terms are better than the terms on your other cards.
Consider all of your financial obligationsOne of the most important things to consider before increasing your credit limit is how much debt you have currently. Capital One recommends that if a consumer is going to request an increase in their credit line, they should first ensure that all other bills are being paid on time and within 30 days or less. This means checking car loans, mortgage payments, and any other bills you have.
Credit bureaus affect your approval rateKnowing that there is a mathematical algorithm used by all three major credit bureaus to determine your credit score (Equifax, Experian & TransUnion) makes it clear why you need to make sure that you're keeping up with responsible spending. To determine your risk factor for payment default, this algorithm considers factors such as how much you owe, how frequently bills are paid on time, and what types of new credit have been opened recently. For example, if all three bureaus show that you've had a late or missed payment on your credit cards, getting a higher limit will be much more difficult. This is significant because it emphasizes the importance of paying off your credit card balances on time and in full each month. Repayment history accounts for 35% of the FICO score calculation. This is yet another reason why you must make all of your monthly payments on time, whether for car loans or student loans.
Keep the balance below 50% of your credit limitCarrying balances that are less than 50% of your available credit is ideal if you want to get the most bang for your buck when it comes to increasing your credit limit. If Capital One determines that this is not the case and that all they see are high balances due in 30 days or less, they will find it much more difficult to approve a credit increase.
Make sure your credit score is high enoughIf your credit score is less than 700, the chances of Capital One approving an increase are slim. Before they consider giving you access to even more money than you already have, you'll need to have a solid track record with them. Having a credit score that is higher than the average tells Capital One:
- You have a track record of paying your bills on time.
- You are financially responsible and can be relied upon to borrow money responsibly.
- You understand how to save money and make sound financial decisions.
- You're more likely to pay off your debts on time.
How long does it take to process requests?Capital One typically responds with an answer immediately after submitting the request. However, for other people, the process can be much faster. It all depends on how diligent you've been with your repayment and whether you're requesting an increase due to a genuine need.
Contact Capital OneIf you've been a good customer and have kept up with your payments in full and on time, then there's nothing wrong with asking for a credit increase. It never hurts to ask! This is how many people can successfully get their credit limit increased. If you need more credit but don't want to take out a loan or pay for things up front, then this can be a great way of doing it.
Building great credit is easy (and eco-friendly) with AspirationBuilding and maintaining good credit is crucial for your financial health. The truth is, it’s not that hard to do! With the Aspiration Zero carbon-neutral credit card, you can build great credit just by going carbon neutral. All you have to do is be mindful of your spending habits and use your card responsibly. We want our members to feel confident in their ability to manage their finances so we provide a plethora of articles on topics like budgeting and money management which will help get you started with building better habits around managing money. Interested in Aspiration Zero? Apply now to get started today!
Make Change Staff
October 16, 2021
The Most Profitable (and Eco-Friendly) Credit Card Rewards Programs in 2021
Earn points toward free travel, gift cards, and more with a credit card rewards program. Which one would be best for you?Credit card rewards programs can be a great way to earn money back on credit card purchases, but they vary in the level of rewards and the requirements for earning them. We've compiled a list of credit cards with credit card rewards programs that will suit any credit card holder's needs. Read on to learn more about each credit card's reward program!
Types of credit card rewards programsThere are credit card rewards programs that offer cash back, points for travel or other purchases, airline miles, and hotel credit. Here are some of the more popular credit card reward offers:
Cash BackCashback credit cards typically provide between one percent and five percent cash back on all purchases, depending on the type of credit card you have. Cashback is received in the form of a statement credit or checks sent to your billing address after several weeks or months.
Points for Travel/Flight MilesIf you love to travel, flight miles might be more your speed. Flight miles centered credit cards usually provide between one and two airline miles for each dollar spent, but only with the use of a co-branded partner program (for example, you can earn United Airlines Miles if you have a Capital One Venture Card).
Hotel Reward PointsIf hotels are your thing, hotel rewards cards may be the credit card for you. Hotel rewards cards usually provide between five and ten hotel points for every dollar spent at their partner hotels.
Specialty Rewards PointsFinally, specialty rewards cards offer points in exchange for purchases at specific retailers or specific causes (for example, zero-waste living or eco-friendly purchases).
The 5 most profitable credit card rewards programs of 2021
Our favorite card for frequent flyersThe Chase Sapphire Preferred Card can be a great option if you’re looking to gain points for travel-related spending. Annual Fee: $95 Rewards Rate: You can earn five times the points on travel and dining purchases, two times the points at gas stations, and one point for every dollar spent elsewhere. Introductory Offer: 100k points when you spend $4k within 90 days of opening an account, which can be redeemed for $1250 in travel statement credits or transferred 1:1 to your airline frequent flyer account. Recommended Credit Score: 720+ Our Rating: 4.5/5 The Pros
- No foreign transaction fees
- The $95 yearly fee is waived the first year during seasonal promotions
- Points can be transferred to partner airline programs.
- Very hard to get approved if you don't have a long, excellent credit history
- High APR of 15.99%–22.99%
- The sign-up bonus is only available when you spend $4000 in three months.
Our favorite card for newbie travelersThe Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card could be a great choice for the keen traveler looking for a card to introduce them to airmiles and travel perks. Annual Fee: $95 Rewards Rate: Two miles per dollar spent. Miles can be redeemed for travel purchases, including airfare and hotels (you still have to pay taxes on these transactions), or used as credit towards Capital One Venture's purchase protection service that protects your new purchases against accidental damage or theft for up to 120 days. Introductory Offer: 60,000 points when you spend $3000 within 90 days of opening an account. Recommended Credit Score: 700+ Our Rating: 4.2/5 The Pros
- High rewards rates on travel purchases and no foreign transaction fees.
- You can redeem your miles for travel or use them as a credit against Venture's purchase protection plan.
- Good introductory APRs on balance transfers and purchases of 0% APR for 12 months.
- Points can be only used for travel
- Only available for people with excellent credit scores (700+).
- You have to pay taxes on travel purchases when you redeem miles, which can be costly depending on where you're going and how many miles are required for your ticket.
Our favorite card for cashback rewardsThe Chase Freedom Unlimited can be a solid card choice for those looking to prioritize cashback on everyday purchases. Annual Fee: $0 Rewards Rate: The cashback rewards programs that the Chase Freedom Unlimited card offers are pretty impressive. You earn one 5% cashback on travel, 3% cashback on dining, 3% cashback on all drugstore purchases, and 1.5% cashback on all other purchases. Introductory Offer: 15k sign-up bonus when you spend $500 within 90 days of opening an account. Recommended Credit Score: 690+ Our Rating: 4.7/5 The Pros
- No introductory APR on balance transfers or purchases, and an annual fee of $0
- You can redeem your points in a variety of ways including gift cards from Amazon
- Points don't expire as long as your account is in good standing.
- You don't get any travel benefits like reimbursement of baggage fees or airport lounge access with this card.
- The sign-up bonus is only available when you spend $500 within 90 days of opening an account.
- If your credit isn't quite up to snuff, either because your score doesn't meet the recommended minimum or because you just don't have a long enough history with credit cards, then this card might not be for you.
Our favorite card for everyday purchasesThe Amex EveryDay Credit Card offers great point bonuses on everyday spending. Annual Fee: $0 Rewards Rate: The Amex EveryDay card offers two points for every dollar spent on supermarket purchases including grocery stores and one point for all other purchases. You can get a 20% bonus on your points if you make 30 or more purchases per billing cycle. Introductory Offer: 10,000 points when you spend $1000 within 90 days of opening an account. Recommended Credit Score: 670+ Our Rating: Our Rating: 4.2/5 The Pros
- No introductory APR on balance transfers or purchases for 15 months.
- No annual fee
- An average recommend credit score
- Rewards can only be redeemed for statement credits, and points expire after 12 months of account inactivity.
- The sign-up bonus is only available when you spend $1000 within 90 days of opening an account.
Our favorite card for low interestThe BankAmericard® Credit Card not only boasts no annual fee but it has an enticing introductory low interest offer. Annual Fee: $0 Rewards Rate: The BankAmericard credit card offers rewards points that can be redeemed as a statement credit for any purchase you make with the card. Introductory Offer: No introductory APR on balance transfers or purchases for the first 18 months. Recommended Credit Score: 670+ Our Rating: Our Rating: 4/5 The Pros
- No annual fee to use this card.
- No interest charge when you pay your bill in full each month. You'll enjoy no interest on purchases if you do choose to carry a balance for the first year.
- Rewards Points cannot be redeemed for cash and don't expire as long as your account is open and in good standing.
- Points can only be used to pay down the balance of your credit card
Our favorite eco-friendly credit cardThe Aspiration Zero can be a great option if you’re looking for rewards for yourself and for the planet. Annual Fee: N/A Rewards Rate: Up to 1% cashback on every purchase. Introductory Offer: With the Aspiration Zero card, Aspiration plants a tree every time you make a purchase and has a rewards program that lets you plant a tree too! Recommended Credit Score: 700+ Our Rating: 4.7/5 The Pros
- Plant a tree with every purchase
- Reduce your carbon footprint
- The app lets you track your process in becoming carbon neutral
- Help fight climate change
- The card is still new, so it may take time to build up a comprehensive rewards program
Ready to get started with your new card?All of these reward programs can be great options, but when it comes down to it, there is no one credit card reward program that is better than all of the others. While they can be great for people who travel often or those interested in eco-friendly purchases, it's important to take into consideration what type of purchases you usually make with your credit card, to get the maximum benefit. Interested in Aspiration Zero? Apply now to get started today!
Make Change Staff
October 11, 2021