The world is already 1.2°C warmer than pre-industrial times and every fraction of a degree counts. Research shows that with 2°C of global warming we will have more intense droughts and more devastating floods, more wildfires and more storms.
Unless we act immediately to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, we will not be able to stave off the worst consequences of climate change.
Here are 7 ways you can be part of the climate solution:
1. Transform your transport
Transport accounts for around a quarter of all greenhouse gas emissions and across the world, many governments are implementing policies to decarbonize travel. You can get a head start: leave your car at home and walk or cycle whenever possible. If the distances are too great, choose public transport, preferably electric options. If you must drive, offer to carpool with others so that fewer cars are on the road. Get ahead of the curve and buy an electric car. Reduce the number of long-haul flights you take.
2. Rein in your power use
If you can, switch to a zero-carbon or renewable energy provider. Install solar panels on your roof. Be more efficient: turn your heating down a degree or two, if possible. Switch off appliances and lights when you are not using them and better yet buy the most efficient products in the first place. Insulate your loft or roof: you’ll be warmer in the winter, cooler in the summer and save some money too.
3. Tweak your diet
Eat more plant-based meals – your body and the planet will thank you. Today, around 60 per cent of the world’s agricultural land is used for livestock grazing and people in many countries are consuming more animal-sourced food than is healthy. Plant-rich diets can help reduce chronic illnesses, such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes and cancer.
4. Shop local and buy sustainable
To reduce your food’s carbon footprint, buy local and seasonal foods. You’ll be helping small businesses and farms in your area and reducing fossil fuel emissions associated with transport and cold chain storage. Sustainable agriculture uses up to 56 per cent less energy, creates 64 per cent fewer emissions and allows for greater levels of biodiversity than conventional farming. Go one step further and try growing your own fruit, vegetables and herbs. You can plant them in a garden, on a balcony or even on a window sill. Set up a community garden in your neighbourhood to get others involved.
5. Don’t waste food
One-third of all food produced is either lost or wasted. According to UNEP’s Food Waste Index Report 2021, people globally waste 1 billion tonnes of food each year, which accounts for around 8-10 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions. Avoid waste by only buying what you need. Take advantage of every edible part of the foods you purchase. Measure portion sizes of rice and other staples before cooking them, store food correctly (use your freezer if you have one), be creative with leftovers, share extras with your friends and neighbours and contribute to a local food-sharing scheme. Make compost out of inedible remnants and use it to fertilize your garden. Composting is one of the best options for managing organic waste while also reducing environmental impacts.
6. Dress smart
The fashion industry accounts for 8-10 percent of global carbon emissions – more than all international flights and maritime shipping combined – and ‘fast fashion’ has created a throwaway culture that sees clothes quickly end up in landfills. But we can change this. Buy fewer new clothes and wear them longer. Seek out sustainable labels and use rental services for special occasions rather than buying new items that will only be worn once. Recycle pre-loved clothes and repair when necessary.
7. Plant trees
Every year approximately 12 million hectares of forest are destroyed and this deforestation, together with agriculture and other land use changes, is responsible for roughly 25 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions. We can all play a part in reversing this trend by planting trees, either individually or as part of a collective.
[Note: This story is a part of ‘Punascha Pruthibi – One Earth. Unite for It’, an awareness campaign by Sambad Digital.]