Time Is Running Out - 10 Things We Can do Today To Help Mitigate Climate Change
In October 2018, BBC news reported that - ‘scientists have issued what they are calling a ‘final call to save the world from climate catastrophe’’
After three years of research, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has issued a special report on the impact of global warming of 1.5C. The new study says that ‘going past 1.5C is dicing with the planet's livability and we could exceed the 1.5C temperature ‘guard rail’ in just 12 years in 2030.’ The report also states that ‘the world is now completely off track, heading instead towards 3C.’ (excerpt taken from 'final call to save the world from climate catastrophe’)
What will this mean for the planet?
A rise above 1.5C in temperatures associated with climate change will:
Affect the ability to grow certain crops such as maize and cocoa – ‘a life without chocolate!!’ - but in all seriousness a chocolateless world is the least of our worries.
Melt the Arctic ice – ice currently plays an important role in reflecting some of the sun’s heat away from the planet.
Cause a significant rise in sea levels due to the melting ice, which would be a threat to those living on low lying land, causing flooding and mass displacement.
Affect the water cycle causing both Severe flooding and Droughts.
Wipe out Coral Reefs if we reach 2 degrees of warming.
(The above are examples and do not include all possibilities)
If you are still under the impression that climate change will not affect you, then you are very much mistaken. If you live on planet Earth, then eventually, in some way or another, either you or your descendants will be affected by climate change if we continue to live the way we do.
Large-scale changes are going to have to be made to keep the temperature below the threshold of 1.5C. This responsibility will fall onto the shoulders of big corporations and governments. But remember, it’s all too easy to shift the blame away from ourselves onto those with seemingly more power, however….last time I looked, I was part of this planet and this global ecosystem, as are you. It is going to take all of us to work together and to do our bit to save the world as we know it. This is not a dress rehearsal, this is it, corny, but true. We have a chance and a responsibility as part of Earthkind to make changes where we can, if not for ourselves then at least for our children and our children’s children who will live in the future that we choose to create today.
Dr. Debra Roberts, who co-chairs the IPCC, says “lifestyle changes can make a big difference. That's a very empowering message for the individual."
We are powerful creatures on this planet, let us use our power for good. Here are 10 ways in which you can start to make a difference today:
Consider becoming a vegan or at the least a vegetarian. Raising livestock for meat, milk and eggs generates approximately 14.5% of global greenhouse gas emissions, which is the second highest source of emissions and is greater than all transportation emissions combined. It also uses about 70% of available agricultural land and is one of the leading causes of deforestation, biodiversity loss, and water pollution. If you find the idea of such a diet change daunting, then at least make the effort to give animal products up for one day each week. It will still be the most important action you can take today!
Reduce everyday electrical use. Buy energy efficient products. Turn off lights when leaving the room. Unplug appliances when not in use. Replace incandescent lights with CFLs or LEDs. Run dishwashers or washing machines when you have a full load. Dry your clothes on a line or an airer rather than in the clothes dryer. Install a water-saving shower head and take shorter showers. Switch to a ‘green energy’ supplier. Look for small-scale solar charging devices that you can use at home to charge small devices such as your mobile phone.
Insulate your home. Try to only use your heating/air conditioner for extremes or at least have it set on a lower setting when needed.
Buy low carbon products. Buy locally-manufactured products and locally produced food where and when you can, this helps to minimize transportation of goods. Avoid products with lots of packaging. Buy secondhand rather than new where you can but if you do buy new items, make sure they are made from sustainable, low-impact materials.
Plant trees or donate to people or causes who do. Trees absorb CO2 from the atmosphere, the more trees, the better.
Reduce and reuse and recycle. Ideally - buy less. The western world thrives on mass consumption. Think outside the box and find new weird and wonderful uses for things that you already have. Recycle as much of your rubbish as you can. You can compost your food scraps either in your garden or in a home composting bin.
Reduce car emissions. If you currently drive a fuel car, then consider walking, cycling or using public transport for shorter journeys or carpool. Ideally, consider making your next car electric or at least a hybrid.
Offset your carbon emissions. Even if you were to follow all the suggestions above, you would still, no doubt be responsible for emissions flying for example. These days we can choose to offset our carbon emissions generated by flights and other activities through companies such as climate neutral now or carbon footprint I look forward to the day when we can fly electric :)
Educate the next generation. To protect the future of the Earth we need to start educating our children about climate change and its effects. They are the future guardians of the planet. They will be the ones to continue with the positive changes that we make today. We need to live by example and get them involved in making our lives greener.
Actively fight climate change. Look out for climate change events such as petitions, fundraising, marches or protests that you can get involved with. Get involved with local government. Speak up, spread the word.