from Seattle, United States of America
Many people in the Magic community are sustainably-conscious, especially Magic Judges. We as
travelers planeswalkers and citizens on the earth plane should be concerned about our impact on the world and what that can come back to affect us all. We have impact on our world by judging through travel, waste production, and consuming everyday items, especially for larger events. This second article aims to give judges (and players) some options on ways to give back, spread awareness, or make changes in a variety of ways.
Therefore we will start with the Giant Albatross in the room— travel carbon impact, and an overall carbon footprint of heading to a regional event. Firstly, when travelling to an event, consider some alternate travel options. Carpooling with friends is a great way to have travel companions, as well as ways to split costs of fuel and reduce your carbon impact. If you are travelling a longer distance, look at public transit options: when you are taking trains and buses, you do not have to look for parking spots (and can also save on parking fees), you do not have to worry about driving yourselves, and you are also protecting the environment.
If you are flying, there are not many easy travel alternatives, and carpooling or sharing travel is not going to work. Here you can learn about your personal carbon footprint, and learn how your actions release carbon into the atmosphere. One option to consider for carbon impact is purchasing carbon offsets; funding projects that grow new trees or protect wooded areas to capture carbon equal to what you use on a daily basis. One new company to consider, Carby Box, sells carbon offsets for $25 (on Amazon!) and comes in a seed package for wild flowers. Each box comes equipped to offset 1.5 tonnes of carbon (about 1 month of US carbon consumption), settled in forest areas protected from being cut down. Another more specific carbon offset purchase offers carbon offset purchases for different amounts, with much more specific goals on where your carbon offset is spent.
You can decide how much carbon you want to offset by customizing purchase, thus reducing the impact from your travels travel. Aircraft release around 90 kg/hr of CO2— so a 5 hour flight releases just about 450 kg/hr. That is about half a ton! Thus, 1 carby box would cover your back and forth travel for across a continent for more than one event, depending on the travel time! Please consider, however, that Carbon offsets and trading is not a real solution for climate change, merely an amelioration of current ongoing carbon releases and damages. Reducing your carbon footprint, and finding more efficient ways to travel are even more expedient examples.
Apps and Websites, to save the world.
These apps for your mobile device are by no means the only ones out there, but I have found them interesting, and useful when trying to consider my own actions and level of sustainability.
Litterati is a newer app that started with instagram. It is a trash clean-up based tracking app, which asks users to take a photo of any trash they clean up, and tag the materials and description of it. It is designed to help encourage people to clean up litter, recycle more, and help track what types of trash are being thrown into our environment. While picking up trash is often its own reward— Litterati will help you follow along in your journey where you have gathered trash. You can see where trash is being picked up on their website anywhere in the world, and you can follow your own map to feel good about the difference you are making.
We know you all love to eat Giant Octopus or various fishy sushi while you traverse the multiverse— but do you know where your fish came from? Is it a sustainably sourced food? A large portion of the fish sold in restaurants and stores is caught unsustainably, is from overfished sources, is terribly wasteful with bycatch, or may even have concerns for your health! The Monterey Bay aquarium has released a seafood guide to help you choose sustainable seafood choices, and can also help you learn about the various fish choices sold regularly at restaurants and you can learn which questions to ask the next time you go for judge-sushi!
That said, agriculture and meat production accounts for 13% of global greenhouse gas emissions— and livestock takes up almost half of that amount. Simply reducing the amount of meat you consume, already makes a huge impact on your own carbon footprint, even if that is only a meal a week. Becoming a “Flexitarian” for meat/meatless options is not only healthier for you, but also that a mixed diet and reducing meat intake could improve the carbon output globally.
Tab for a Cause
If you browse on Chrome or Firefox, the Tab for a Cause add-on changes your new tabs page to a customizable page front, and has 1-3 ads, which send donations to charities every time you open a new browser tab. Recommending people to use it adds hearts to your account for donations also.
- Plant more plants, especially trees.
- Consume less things— both single use plastics and just using less items in general. Almost every item you buy has some climate impact.
- As a sub-theme of the last one— bring your own set of travel utensils or a metal straw— it saves on consumption, reduces the environmental cost of trash and carbon output, and you know it is clean and safe from your own use!
- Ask questions. As judges, we are driven to learn the rules of the game, but what if more climate impacts start affecting events and travel ability? We are all in this together, so ask how your own actions impact the world around you.
There is a larger fear out in the world that should be addressed: a belief that individual action and efforts will not make a difference on the greater scale of society. As a counterpoint— more and more people are concerned with the state of the world, environment, and even the everyday resources you use. Taking care of our planet through individual actions can have large impact over time, despite the fact that it cannot be the only action we take!
More must be done to build a sustainable society for the future. An individual magic player or judge may not change the entire system, but collectively we all add impacts which are compounded by us all together.
One final thought to leave you with: small actions may not make a huge difference, but starting on the path of change will help us all grow together to a better future. Our way of life and sustained society may depend on it. Happy travels, and add green to your judging!