By Olivia Drayson – Expedition 8848 Education Team
Climate Science Series
At this point, I’m sure you’re frustrated by all the devastating consequences of climate change that many people are ignoring. We hope these articles have shown you enough to convince you that climate change is real, is capable of causing irreversible harm to our planet and its inhabitants, and is a direct result of human activity. While it may seem that only leaders of large companies and powerful nations can make an impact and fight climate change, that is not the case. Everyone has the power and the responsibility to fight climate change and each individual’s contribution can make a significant difference. In these articles, we will describe some of the many ways you can make a difference and show you where you can find out about many more.
Make Your Commute Greener
We all create a carbon footprint whenever we use electricity, drive cars and use energy that is created from burning fossil fuels. The average worldwide carbon footprint per person is around 4 metric tonnes of CO2 per year. We can all work to reduce our individual carbon footprint and lessen the effect we are having on the environment. The best ways to do this are by changing the way you travel. Commute by walking, cycling or driving electric vehicles if you can. Hybrid vehicles also reduce your carbon emissions significantly and can be greener than electric cars your local electricity source is very dependent on fossil fuels. Fly as little as you can as aircraft are the biggest carbon emitters of all forms of public transport.
Electricity is still predominantly generated from burning fossil fuels. Until we are completely reliant on renewable energy sources we must try to use as little electricity as possible. Switch off lights when you don’t need them, don’t open windows when the heating is on and air dry your clothes instead of using a dryer.
If you can, use renewable energy as they produce zero carbon emissions. You can install solar panels on your roof and can return excess electricity to the national grid.
Go For a Low Carbon Diet
The way your food is produced uses up a huge amount of energy. By making small changes to our diet we can, therefore, significantly reduce our carbon footprint. Firstly, cut down on meat. Even going meat-free once or twice a week can make a huge difference if we all join in. Secondly, opt for local, fresh produce instead of those that have been flown across the world. Cargo ships are the largest carbon emitters of all vehicles, so going for local produce alone can make a huge difference. Thirdly, if you can, opt for organic food as these have a lower carbon footprint. Grow at home as many vegetables and fruit as you can and use compost to reduce waste and grow organically.
Trees and other plants take carbon dioxide from the air as part of photosynthesis, thereby actively removing greenhouse gases from the atmosphere. Take action to fight deforestation by choosing the wood that is obtained sustainably and plant trees when you can. Each tree can remove up to a tonne of CO2 from the atmosphere in its lifetime.
Remember the 3 R’s-Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
Plastics require energy and burning of fossil fuels to be manufactured and also cause great harm to the marine ecosystems when not disposed of properly. As plastics take millions of years to decompose, they remain intact and can kill marine creatures that come into contact with them. We can reduce our carbon footprint and protect our ecosystems by reducing the waste we create, reusing what we have instead of buying new and disposing of the old and recycling plastics, paper, glass and metal when we do use them. See what recycling options your local area provide.
Consider How Your Choices Affect the Environment
With every product we buy, we are supporting the company that manufactures it and the practices they use. By simply switching the brands you purchase to ones that actively work to fight climate change can make a difference to what that company is capable of doing and encourages others to make similar moves.
In addition, when at the polling station consider how your representatives are speaking of climate change and their plans for the future. By allowing a representative’s stance on climate change factor into your decision, you can help shift the focus to the future of our planet.
Spread the Word and Demand Change
Politicians and CEOs of large companies do have the power to make decisions that can affect the planet. If you don’t think enough is being done, spread the word and demand change from your government. Get your family and friends to make their daily lives as green as possible and show the world that it can be done.
You Can Make a Difference
Change can only be made if we all adapt to a greener lifestyle and actively fight against climate change. This means that it is all of our responsibility to be aware of the consequences and make changes to our daily life. Climate change can be stopped but we all need to get involved if we want to do it before it’s too late.
- Photo by Markus Spiske temporausch.com from Pexels
- Calculate your carbon footprint: https://www.nature.org/en-us/get-involved/how-to-help/consider-your-impact/carbon-calculator/?src=social.nature.twitter.main&utm_content=1496673381&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter&utm_campaign=social.nature
- Why organic food is better for the environment: http://www.fao.org/organicag/oa-faq/oa-faq6/en/
- Plastics and the environment: https://1bagatatime.com/learn/plastic-bags-climate-change/