- Sean Voitov
What can you do to stop the world from burning?
Right now we live in a crazy world and it doesn't help when in the backdrop of all of the crazy things happening the world is on fire. Climate Change is happening everyday all over the world and yet there is still lots to achieve if we are to slow down it's rate of progress and even reverse it. And whilst it might seem decades away to the impact is already being felt with severe floods from the UK to New Zealand being caused by the rise of global warming.
Most countries in the world have accepted the need to do something about this, and certainly in Europe every country has a plan towards reach net zero or at least drastically reduce their emissions. But Governments come and go and are sometimes slow. Ultimately in an ideal world where everyone changed their lifestyle to become more sustainable the government wouldn't actually have to do much. It is the people who if in large enough numbers act together who can make change happen and quicker than before. So what can you a fellow student do?
What is climate change first of all? Maybe you already know this or briefly covered it when haggling over GCSEs but in order to reduce it it's important to understand what it is. The earth has an atmosphere that acts like a greenhouse, heat from the sun goes in and stays there for a while. It's through this life on earth that it was possible. But when we started burning oil and coal, known as fossil fuels, we started realising more of the gas carbon dioxide also known as CO2, the more of the gas there is in the atmosphere the harder it is for the heat to leave the earth which is just as important as heat entering the planet. Now what we experience is global warming. Through this warming the ecosystems of our earth including the weather that were once in equilibrium are now changing, also known as climate change and is what's causing severe weather and its volatile nature.
So if we are to stop climate change the main thing we need to do is look at what we do that uses CO2 and try and reduce it. If u take taxis or cars to a lot of places then try to see if it's possible to walk or cycle it. Clothes also are important. The clothes industry is not only a large pollutant but also a big waster of clothes which go into landfills and also just litter the planet. So rather than constantly buying new clothes stick to what you need and if you want to buy clothes go to a charity shop.
Keep plants! They're just great. Plants absorb CO2 as it's essentially their food, so having lots of plants in your bedroom even by a small amount reduces CO2, not to mention they make the air in your room cleaner, have been proven to improve your mood and also just look great in your room. Even a small plant is better then no plant.
Waste, waste is a really big factor in climate change. Firstly waste contributes to littering our planet as they can end up in landfills in the middle of nowhere or into our oceans. Secondly they too also release gasses. In official landfills they've been monitored to release some of the worst greenhouse gasses, gasses including CO2 that work to keep heat in out atmosphere, so with the more you put into that landfill the more is emitted. Yet most of what's put in the rubbish doesn't even need to be there, plastic, paper, glass and aluminium are recyclable meaning they are actually reused or go through a cleaner process of getting rid of. The same for food waste. Food waste is given to farmers to use as a compost to grow crops (and in fact if you have a garden that you can grow stuff in you can do something similar) but on the whole it is sent to landfills where they release greenhouse gasses so another really good way to reduce your carbon emissions is to just not waste anything you eat!
Speaking of food, the food you is also important! The consumption of meat is also a really big factor in global warming. This is because of two things. Firstly because we eat so many animals we own a lot and each one of them produces gas such as Co2 as well as methane, with between 15-20 billion farm animals on earth it's enough to make a difference to the rate of global warming and methane also has a larger impact per tonne than per tonne of CO2. There's also the transport and storage costs. Meat needs to be transported like every good and thus have good storage not to mention the amount of time it sits on the shelves. CO2 in packaging is used to keep the meat fresh and prevent it from going bad and again with the amount that we consume it's enough to make a difference. Adopting a more vegetarian lifestyle by cutting out meat already is a huge factor in reducing your climate footprint.
These are only a few of the many ways in which we can reduce our carbon footprint. Plus all the above are not only good for the planet for good for us. We live more sustainably, waste less money and also lead more ethical lives.