Welcome back and welcome to 2018. I think a post about fighting climate change is a good way to start a new year of my posts. Some researchers suggest that we have just a few years to start fighting global warming if we want to avoid the worst effects. But let´s not get all apocalyptic here. I know it can get very overwhelming (at least for me) when we start researching what is happening, what will happen if… and what I can and can´t do. When we see how most of the people are living completely unconscious about their actions, waste, pollution. How companies care only about money. That’s why I wanted to write down some of the things we can all do more of in 2018.
What is causing global warming?
Global warming’ is the temperature increase produced by adding greenhouse gases to the atmosphere. Greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide are result from burning fossil fuels like coal, or when all those cows in the meat and dairy industry fart or when the gas is released from bacteria in soil,… When those emissions enter the atmosphere, they trap the sun’s heat, warming the planet. Climate change is a consequence of global warming. The increased heat can become catastrophic by melting the polar ice caps, rising sea levels, and creating weather patterns that are less predictable, more volatile, and more dangerous. Because we’ve been warming the planet this way since the early days of the industrial revolution, we can’t completely avoid the effects of climate change. But by lowering our emissions now, we can avoid the worst effects.
I would like to tell you that switching to cotton bags or recycling will help solve climate change. It all helps of course, but we will need to do some big steps as well, if we really want to make a difference.
This is how we can help fight climate change
Get involved and speak up
The single biggest way you can make an impact on global climate change is to talk to your friends, family, cooworkers, leaders, … about it. Share your knowledge in a polite and interesting way so you can inspire them to make good decisions. If you want to take it further start a blog, Facebook, Instagram page or a podcast if you would like to share your passions to fight global warming. Check some good sources on the bottom of this post.
The percentage of greenhouse gas emissions from animal agriculture is 51 percent. Which means that after we clean up all the transportation, energy, industry and commerce in the world, we’ve done less than half the job. The other half is meat and dairy. Refuse to eat it. If this seems too challenging, consider giving it up one day a week. It will still be the most important action you can take for the planet, animals and your health.
Fly less and offset your carbon emissions
We should not stop exploring the world. The opposite, we should explore it even more. Learn about it and explore not only all the beauty of this planet, but also effects of climate change. But wait, don´t run off buying and an around the world ticket just jet. Let´s do it consciously and responsibly. Calculate the best option, look at alternatives to flying like train, bus, car rides and compensate for your CO2 footprint. What does that mean? Through pages like www.myclimate.org you can donate to climate protection projects.
- For instance, your flight From: Ljubljana (SI), LJU to: Berlin (DE), BER, Roundtrip, Economy Class, ca. 1,500 km creates 0.369t of CO2 and you can offset it by donating 10€ to different climate protection projects.
- For reference with your flight to so popular Bali you are resposible for aprox. 4 t of CO2, New York 2,5 t, London 0,5 t …
- A 500km car drive produces0.124 t CO2.
This shouldn´t be like cleaning your bad conscious or if you want to call it karma. But if you need to flight this is something that you can do to compensate for it.
Buy locally produced and organic food
Organic food is good for us because we’re not putting pesticides in our bodies, but organic food is also grown without synthetic fertilizers, most of which begin as byproducts of oil refining. Locally-manufactured products made with locally-sourced materials minimize transportation of goods. So grab an apple or an orange instead of kiwi and mango.
Reduce and reuse before recycle
It turns out that transporting and processing materials for recycling is carbon intensive. Recycling still uses less energy than making new products from scratch, but reducing and reusing are even cleaner.
Garbage buried in landfills produces methane, a strong greenhouse gas. Collect and compost food waste, and recycling paper, plastic, metal and glass. Let store managers and manufacturers know you want products with minimal or recyclable packaging.
Be energy efficient
Swap old incandescent light bulbs for the new compact fluorescent lights. They use only 25% as much electricity to give the same light. They last ten times longer. Turn off lights, TVs, computers, when you do not need them. Unplug your laptop and phone charger, TV, DVD player, Nintendo, Xbox….
Turn down your heating thermostat. Insulate your home, clean your air conditioning filters and install energy efficient showerheads.
Choose renewable power
Choose a utility company that generates at least half its power (best if all of it) from wind or solar and has been certified by Green-e Energy, an organization that vets renewable energy options. If possible install a solar system for electricity and hot water in your house.
Don´t have (another) child
This might sound a bit extreme, but having one less child reduces climate change impacts by 60 tons of CO2 emissions per year, in part because it’s not only a reduction of the emissions associated with the child but also means avoiding emissions that your child would have created. Researchers estimate each child increases a parent’s carbon footprint by nearly six times!
Raise little vegans that know how to live in the climate, respect nature and use public transit—survival skills for the 21st Century.
Reduce water waste
Saving water reduces carbon pollution, too. That’s because it takes a lot of energy to pump, heat, and treat your water. So take shorter showers, turn off the tap while brushing your teeth, and switch to water saving appliances.
“The EPA estimates that if just one out of every 100 American homes were retrofitted with water-efficient fixtures, about 100 million kilowatt-hours of electricity per year would be saved—avoiding 80,000 tons of global warming pollution.”
If you have a garden, collect rainwater and use it to water the garden and grass. It will also show on your water bill.
Living car-free reduces your CO2 emissions by more than 3 tons. Share a ride with a friend, take a train, bike, bus, walk, instead of taking a car everywhere. Even a 3 km car trip puts 0,9 kg of CO2 into the atmosphere. You might think that if you can’t go car-free, having an electric car is the best option. But if you live somewhere where the electricity comes from a power source—like coal—it might actually be better for you to drive a hybrid.
Buy less new clothes
It takes 2700l of water to produce a T-shirt. Approximately the amount of water an adult drinks in 3 years. Clothing consumption produces 1,5 tonnes of CO2 /household/year. The equivalent of driving 6000 cars.
25% of the carbon footprint of clothes comes from the way we care for them. Extending the life of your clothes for 9 months would reduce carbon, waste and water footprints by around 20-30% each. Buy second-hand clothes, swap with friends and experiment with the clothes you have. You might find new ways to wear your old clothes.
Wash your clothes smarter
Washing your clothes too often is wasteful and bad for your clothes. Wash them less frequently to make your clothes last longer and save time, money, and natural resources. Please wash them only if they are really dirty. I think if you shower (fast showers hehe) now and then your T-shirt should not be toxic after you wore it once. Or those sports clothes that you wear to gym every day or few times a week, do you really need to wash them every time if you are gonna sweat in them anyways and of course shower after that.
Check out this article for more info You’re Washing Your Clothes Too Often! (What to Do Instead)
Plant and protect trees
Forests play an important an important role in climate change. The destruction and degradation of forests contribute to the problem through the release of CO2. But the planting of new forests can help mitigate against climate change by removing CO2 from the atmosphere. Well, you don´t need to start going around randomly planting trees but feel free to do it around your house and supporting the organization that protects forests and plant new trees in them. That brings me again to donations.
Donate to right organizations
As I mentioned already you can donate to organizations to offset your carbon footprint, support reforestation. Support your local organizations that are fighting for renewable energy, reforestation, greener production of the local factories, eco-farming, veganism …. all the things that will affect you directly in an environment you live in.
We all know what is happening in USA and how big the problem that is for the whole world. When the government goes against the science, the result can be devastating.
We as individuals (except some politician or owner of a big company is reading this) can do our best, but it still can´t have the same impact as if the most powerful people in the world act on climate change. And there lies the most significant, game-changing action you can take to change the future. You can vote. Get up and vote for politicians that will act on this monumental problem. You’ll literally be saving the world if you do.
How will it affect you
Even a global temperature rise of 2 degrees Celsius will disrupt our lives and challenge our ability to cope. Think of it this way: What’s the difference between 0 and 1 degree Celsius? Well, that’s the difference between ice and water.
One degree can make a huge difference in the natural world and we’re on track to warm the planet 2–4 degrees Celsius by 2100, accelerating glacial melt, sea-level rise, and other changes. The world has already warmed about 0.8 degrees Celsius since 1880 (that’s 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit). That may not sound like much, but we’re already starting to see what a warmer world has in store for us. Intense rainstorms, severe droughts, and heat waves are becoming more frequent. Rising seas are damaging homes near the water. Some populations of animals are starting to die out. And that’s just 0.8 degrees! Now consider what could happen if we do nothing to limit the carbon pollution that’s causing global warming. In other words, the more we pollute, the worse things will get.
As World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim has explained: “Lack of action on climate change threatens to make the world our children inherit a completely different world than we are living in today.”
We’re already feeling the effects of climate change. But that’s precisely why we need to both prepare for the climate change impacts we can’t avoid and act quickly to cut the carbon pollution that’s causing the problem — and could make it worse. It’s not an either/or decision — we need to do both. The longer we wait to make the transition to clean energy, the worse this problem will get for our children and future generations. It’s our choice.
There is some good news too
We all know the bad news when it comes to climate change. What most people don’t know is that there is also a lot of good news. Check out the video bellow where they explore some of that good news, like the fact that real solutions exist and that we’re already seeing the benefits of them.
Good news is also that people are standing up and demanding change. You can decide if you want to be a part of the change or the problem. I sure hope you decide for the first option by including some of my tips into your life.