Your Climate Stories: Ryan Cope Walks the Talk With Her Friends and Family

Written by Guest Blogger on . Posted in Your Climate Stories

This is part of a regular series on Planet Change called “Your Climate Stories,” where we share reader stories about changes that they’re seeing and actions that they’re taking in their daily lives to help reduce carbon pollution and respond to the impacts of our changing planet.

Name: Ryan Cope

Location: Burlington, VT, USA

When I first became aware of what “carbon emissions” were, I thought, “Well, that means that as long as I limit how much and how far I drive, I’ll be doing my part to save the climate.”

It turns out I was way off on that one. The more and more I learned about our globalized economy and “how the world works,” the more I realized that pretty much everything we do creates carbon emissions … even breathing. OK, let’s not get carried away here. This is a story of how I choose to reduce my carbon emissions and it’s certainly not by breathing less, because I like to talk … a lot.

So, what have I done? What works best? For me, it was the decision to start biking and walking to work. My car actually died from lack of use, I drove so little. But besides the car, I also cut meat almost entirely out of my diet and now eat it very rarely. I choose to run outside instead of a gym (something about running in place for an hour is totally unappealing) and I have eliminated single-use plastics from every aspect of my life.

But perhaps the best thing I’ve done to reduce my carbon emissions comes not from what I’ve done or what habits I’ve changed. It’s getting my roommates, friends, family, and coworkers on-board with these ideas, getting them to see and realize their habits in connection with climate change and carbon emissions. Then they, in turn, tell all of their friends and the message gets passed on. One small drop ripples out and its effects can be felt for miles!


Ryan Cope is a fanatic about reducing unnecessary plastic waste from her life (as well as her friends lives!) and chronicles her adventures on the blog 7 In the Ocean.

Photo courtesy of Ryan Cope.

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Comments (4)

  • Auntie-Nanuuq


    I often go out on Nature Walks to gather sacred herbs…or often just to talk to Creator & our non-two-legged relations. When I do I always carry 1-2 extra bags so that I can also pick-up trash that other two-leggeds have carelessly left behind.


    • Ryan Elizabeth Cope


      In a time when it’s easy to get so discouraged by the way things are in the world, it’s always so nice to hear of others helping to keep our wonderful planet clean. Thank you so much for your comment! :-)


  • Karen Beswick


    Love your story. I’m interested to know more about how to reduce plastics. We definitely try, but I still feel like we’re using too much. What really gets me is the packaging of so many items – every chip, cracker and cereal is surrounded by plastic packaging that can’t be recycled or composted. And those little tops on everything; I always wonder why these can’t be recycled. I’ll check out your blog, and hope to learn more.


    • Ryan Elizabeth Cope


      Hi Karen!

      I’m just now reading your comment. You might find that perusing Beth Terry’s blog “My Plastic-Free Life” ( will help you in your efforts to reduce your plastic footprint. She has a lot of great tips that I found incredibly useful as I was ridding my life of excessive plastic waste. It’s a challenge, but one that is easily overcome when you become aware of all the alternatives! Good luck. :)


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Planet Change is a Nature Conservancy blog site designed to share stories about actions the Conservancy and others around the world are taking to fight carbon pollution and the impacts of climate change, and to help people feel the connections between climate change and their daily lives and understand actions they can take.

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