As the global human population continues to grow, so does its impacts are snowballing the environment. Today when we think of climate change, the picture that crosses our mind is of melting glaciers, rising sea levels, uneven temperature, depleting natural resources and so on.
Though the impacts are already taking place on all continents and across the oceans, however, the world is unprepared for risks from a changing climate. Today it will not be wrong to say that we live in an era of man-made climate change, which is a threat to human security if not cured.
Climate change has its effects on everything from finance to health. As a result, from financial planners to farmers, civil engineers to doctors and increasingly wide range of other professionals all will have to shift their framework for planning in the upcoming years. Similarly, educational content will also see changes driven by environmental findings and impacts.
Since the 1880s, the world’s temperature has risen by about 1C because of greenhouse gases resulting from human activity. “The world has three years to start making significant reductions in Greenhouse emissions or face the prospect of dangerous Global warming”, warns experts in an article in the prestigious journal Nature.
With so much of environmental issues already doing the rounds, it is high time to think what we as an individual can do to make changes in our climate. But even before that, it is important to understand what are the factors behind this climate change.
How Human Activity and Change in Climate Related
Here is how humans have impacted the environment over the years, due to which we experience uneven climate, and what that could mean for the future.
A boost in Carbon Dioxide Emission. In order to produce the energy that drives the world’s economy, countries rely on carbon-rich fossil fuels like coal, oil, and gas, and burning of these fuels have an adverse effect on the environment and human life. Burning these materials, humans have added nearly 400 billion tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
Atmospheric levels today are higher than that at any point in time.Moreover, carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is absorbed into oceans, increasing their acidity by 30 percent over the past 100 years. This change has far-reachingeffects on oceanic ecosystems and the food chains that support underwater plant and animal life.
Deforestation at a rapid pace. An exponential growth in human population means the need to produce, more food, more energy, and more shelters. For the same reason, forests are being cleared at a rapid pace. According to international data, an estimated 18 million acres of trees are clear-cut each year to make way for new development and wood products.
Forests cover about 30% of the world’s land area and are home to rich flora and fauna. Due to the continuous cutting of trees, not only animals are forced to migrate, but it also disturbs the oxygen is to carbon dioxide ratio.
Plastic Production. Technological advancement has led to the invention of new materials, and one of them is plastic. The product made from chemical compounds can remain active in the environment for thousands of years and have lasting impacts on the delicate regulatory cycles and ecosystems.
Today, the world produces approximately 300 million tons of plastics each year, and about 20-40 percent of that ends up in landfills. Moreover, 10-20 million tons makes its way to the oceans, upsetting aquatic life.
The chemicals used for producing plastic can disrupt animal endocrine systems, alter reproduction patterns, and cause cancer. Damage to the ecosystem done by Plastic costs around $13 billion a year.
Ozone Depletion. The ozone layer is known for its ability to absorb harmful UV rays that would be unbearable if falling straight on us. Ozone-depleting substances (or ODS) find their way up to the stratosphere where they peel the O3 of an oxygen, damaging its ability to absorb UV light.
Deforestation, oil and petrol engines, greenhouse gases and fossil fuels all of these contribute to the depletion of the ozone layer due to which change in climate is seen.
Acid rain, water pollution, genetic modification, there is so much more that has affected the planet in recent years. Nevertheless, done is done we cannot do anything about it. But what we could do is, take necessary actions to make sure things do not get worse.
How can you contribute to Climate change
Use Energy Wisely
By getting energy efficient, you will pollute less and save a major chunk of your money as well. Energy production means burning of coal and natural gas, which is dangerous to the environment. Surely we cannot stop the production of energy as industries are dependent on it. Instead, what we could do is use energy wisely.
Small changes you make add up:
- Change to energy-efficient light bulbs.
- Winterize your home to prevent heat from escaping.
- Dryers are energy hogs, so hang dry when you can.
- Wash clothes in cold or warm (not hot) water.
- Look for the Energy Star label when buying new appliances.
- Unplug computers, TVs and other electronics when you are not using them.
When you consume less power, you reduce the amount of toxic fumes released by power plants, conserve the earth's natural resources and protect ecosystems from destruction.
Power your Home with Renewable Energy
If you are always on a lookout for ways to save money, here are some hacks to help you save both money and the environment. Using renewable energy to power your home can reduce or eliminate your utility bills, and the tax incentives for installing renewables can make them, even more, cost-effective
You can consider powering your home with:
- Rooftop solar panels, which is the most common and effective method.
- You can consider installing a small wind turbine if you live in a windy area.
- Solar oven and solar water heating techniques can save a lot of energy.
- Air conditioning uses more electricity than almost anything else in your home so how about using solar air conditioning to cool up your room?
Cost of producing renewable energy is considerably low that will help to modernize our power sector and build a low-carbon economy that will fuel growth for decades to come.
Reduce and Reuse before Recycle
Reduction and reuse are the most effective ways you can save natural resources, protect the environment and save money. Recycling still uses less energy than making new products from scratch, but reducing and reusing are even cleaner.
You can consider buying products from specialized reuse centersas they are less expensive and just good as new. From old notes, used books, plastic files that will help you in assignment writing to old clothes and tons of other accessories, such stores have so much to offer.
Buy reusable over disposable items. Look for items that can be reused; the little things can add up. For example, you can bring your own silverware and cup to work, rather than using disposable items.
Riding and the environment
Reducing the time you spend behind the wheels can make you fit and contribute to environmental change as well. Riding in an Eco-safe can subsequently reduce your fuel bills and reduce emission that is harmful to the environment. Even if you cannot ignore traveling via car make sure you maintain your ride regularly.
Burning fossil fuels in cars releases carbon dioxide, which is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions. Here are few suggestions you can give a thought on
- for short journeys, walk
- ride smoothly
- create a car pool with workmates
- make use of public transport occasionally
- bike to work
- switch off your engine if you are stationary for more than a couple of minutes
Plants Trees Often
It is no secret that trees help the environment by absorbing carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, and CFC and it takes very few efforts to do so. Planting trees in your neighborhood really are one of the best things you can do for the local environment and for the planet.
By planting trees, you are restoring the natural ecosystem that promotes life. If you are not habitual to gardening, you can join some tree-planting activities or donate to certain groups or NGOs that have tree-planting programs.
Organic farming is known to produce safe and healthy food. On the other hand, it is also good for the environment. Organic farmers do not rely on fossil-fuel intensive synthetic inputs to manage pests or increase soil fertility. It also contributes to the reduction of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
In addition, soils under organic management stores a lot more carbon compared to those under conventional management, confirming the potential of organic agriculture to contribute to climate change.
Share your ‘green’ ideas with others. Over the past century, global communications have grown in many ways, making it possible to share ideas and discoveries at an incredible rate. Here are just a few of the ways in which you can share your thoughts with others
- create a blog which documents the energy-conserving changes you make in your own home
- establish a not-for-profit group which teaches others how to live sustainably
- create a recycling collective with your neighbours, where each person is responsible for the collection and recycling of a particular material or product
Say No to Plastic
Experts all over the world have estimated that in the next 20 years the demand for plastics will double and more the generation of plastic and we have to stop that from happening. Here is what you can do
- Stay Away From ‘Use And Throw’ Plastics
- Switch from Bottled Water always carry a personal bottle wherever possible.
- Switch to alternatives like cloth bag or jute bag
A healthy planet and stable climate are not political issues. It is all about families, communities and humanity’s future. Thus, it is important to get everyone on board, working toward climate solutions.
Saun is an environment expert and has been associated with cdr-report.com since its start. He loves to pen down his thoughts on habits, personal development and anything pleasing to eyes.