Guide to Stopping Climate Change with Simple Lifestyle Changes
A single stone thrown into water can create magical ripples. If you believe in that old saying, you should then believe how an individual act can make a difference and truly create ripples of change. This is very true in the case of mitigating the effects of climate change. Here’s the deal: every small act should matter if the act itself is done consistently and in harmony with related initiatives.
Our planet needs every human
being to contribute in the process of its healing before it runs out of time – before we all run out of time.
Facts of Climate Change
Some people would say we’re over-reacting – that climate change is not such a big threat. Some even call it a figment of our collective imagination.
But scientists from NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) are certain that evidence of climate change is “unequivocal”. Earth’s average surface temperature has risen about 1 degrees Celsius since the late 19th century. From the industrial revolution to the present generation of oil-dependent economies, carbon dioxide and other human-made emissions increased to dangerous levels. Those naysayers are too afraid to face this reality.
The recent statement of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) erases all doubts about the urgency that everyone must contribute. Not just a few advocates, not just several groups, but every single person on the planet. According to IPCC, to stop climate change, we need to limit global warming to 1.5ºC. To achieve this, there needs to be “rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society.”
What does that mean? It means every single one of us is part of the solution.
Teaching Sustainable Management Systems
Planting such positive values must start at a very young age. This is the reason we put so much of a premium on primary education – it directly impacts the adult they become.
In other words, if we want to raise children who value life and nature, who appreciate that every living thing on Earth is precious and thus, must be preserved, we need to step back, review and update our educational system.
Teaching sustainability and sustainable management must be integrated into the educational system. Lessons in science for grade schoolers could be enhanced by discussing issues such as GHG (greenhouse gas) emissions and air emission calculations with more prominence. Children as young as six can be taught how to utilize a carbon equivalent calculator and learn to calculate carbon footprints as part their routine.
Trend-conscious teenagers can be given lessons on sustainable lifestyles, starting with responsible travelling and buying eco-friendly products. Preferring ecotourism companies that are committed to responsible travelling and sustainable lifestyles are some of the individual climate actions that are doable both by kids and adults.
Reducing Emission Levels
Approximately 7.6 billion people on the planet contribute to carbon emissions every day. So many of us unknowingly do things that are not sustainable – what we eat, how we travel, how we lead our lives can have an impact on the planet. It’s therefore not surprising that only 2 years ago, the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere passed the red line when it reached an unprecedented 400 ppm (parts per million). With this trend, scientists predict a CO2 concentration of 500 ppm by 2050 which is short of saying we’re all headed for disaster.
But all hope is not lost. The IPCC is clear on what needs to be done: Global net human-caused emissions of carbon dioxide would need to fall by about 45% from 2010 levels by the year 2030.
Reaching this objective requires the cooperation of every mindful human being who cares about seeing next generations survive and thrive.
Individual Climate Action
Given a closer look, IPCC’s solution is not too difficult. In fact, it’s so simple and straightforward. All we need to do is to lead simple, healthy lifestyles in which we care for our well-being and the well-being of others.
Everything we do needs to be sustainable: travel, tour, eat and work. A CO2 emissions calculator or application will help you take note of your carbon footprint.
Individual climate action takes on many forms, including choosing leaders who puts forward policies to mitigate climate change. But changing your lifestyle and daily routine can make a whole lot of difference. For instance, sustainable travel and sustainable tourism on both international and local levels, are always the better option if we think about the environmental impact of travel. Imagine 7.6 billion people travelling constantly, using vehicles that run on dirty fuel?
Flight emissions are highly unsustainable and contribute the most CO2 emissions. Around the world, airlines use only dirty fuel for their planes, and flight emissions increase by the year given the high demand in tourism and travel. Using CO2 emissions calculator will let us know how much carbon footprint we leave every time we fly. This is the reason sustainable tourism needs to be practiced without question and why sustainable travel needs to be part of our daily routine.
A study by the Lund University cited four actions that could result in a substantial decrease on a person’s carbon footprint:
Choose a plant-based diet
Avoid air travel
Live a car-free life
Have smaller families
The study also notes that living car-free would save about 2.4 tonnes of CO2 equivalent per year. On the other hand, living a plant-based diet will save .8 tonnes of CO2 equivalent a year.
Live a healthy lifestyle – that’s all we need to do!
First, when you choose a plant-based diet, you don’t only save yourself from harmful meat-based products, you also help reduce the emissions from cattle ranches, piggeries and poultry farms. Agricultural emissions make up 9% of greenhouse gas emissions in 2016, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency.
Second, when you choose sustainable tourism, you help reduce the emissions from transportation that use dirty fuel. Choose sustainable travel international by taking short flights and then travelling by land using clean fuel such electric-powered vehicles. If you are on a tour, be a responsible tourist. Travel light and follow the tenets of responsible tourists: take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints.
Third, bike, walk, or carpool/take public transit to your destination. It’s not only good for the heart and lungs, it is the miracle pill to a healthy and fit body.
And fourth, don’t add to the booming world population. Smaller families are happier, more comfortable and contribute less emissions.
Every small act can lead to significant results in mitigating climate change. Unsustainable human activities have done so much damage to the planet, but there is still time to let it heal.
As human beings, we are all responsible for the future of Earth – the only habitat for living things.
There is an old Asian saying : “A broomstick can only sweep dirt when all the sticks are bonded together.” If our individual action becomes a collective action, it will create millions of ripples that will change the course of the future for our planet.
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