Steps you should follow to reduce Global Warming
In 2015, countries across the world gathered in Paris and pledged to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) set a goal of keeping global warming under 2 degrees celsius. However, a UN report published in 2018 indicates that both of these goals are nowhere close to being reached. Furthermore, even if all countries were to keep up their pledge, it would not be enough in the current scenario. The damage wrought over the past five years requires a much stricter regulation on the emission of carbon emissions. In 2019, the earth’s surface temperature was around 0.95 Celsius degrees warmer than the 20th-century average. Today, studies suggest that the need of the hour is negative carbon emissions, i.e. technology that could remove/reduce the carbon content in the air.
Most of the solutions for the dangling sword of global warming revolves around the change in the behaviour and attitudes of people. One hundred companies, mostly oil and coal producers, are responsible for generating 71% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. Scientists are exploring new realms to address this concern, and the world is seeing rapid advancement in science and technology for the same. However, the human race must adopt sustainable practices in everyday life to combat this issue effectively. Here are a few steps you can take towards reducing your carbon footprint:
1. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
The three Rs are the simplest, yet most important actions you can adopt to lead a sustainable lifestyle. Reduce your purchases, and try to move towards a minimalist lifestyle. Additionally, you can reduce waste generation by reducing packaging in the products you buy. Reduction of household garbage by 10 per cent can save 1,200 pounds of carbon dioxide annually. A large number of items come packed in heavy and non-recyclable plastic wrapping, which you can avoid. Use reusable products like steel water bottles and glassware for storage. Finally, try your best to recycle all the waste in your houses such as paper, plastic, glass, newspaper and aluminium cans. According to a recent study, recycling half of your household waste reduces around 2400 pounds of carbon dioxide in a year.
2. Switch to Renewable Sources of Energy
With advancing science and technology, there are multiple cost-effective options available to switch to renewable energy sources. While the initial installation of a solar panel might be expensive, it is profitable in the long run. Even if you cannot switch entirely to a zero-coal system, try to purchase appliances that work using renewable sources such as solar-powered heaters and lights. Green architecture is gaining popularity over the past few years. Hence, it will be relatively easy for you to find an architect or designer who can offer sustainable solutions at your budget.
3. Reduce your Heating and Cooling
Most of the carbon emissions into the atmosphere can be traced back to the release of chlorofluorocarbons or CFCs by heating and cooling devices. The International Energy Agency estimates that the number of installed air conditioner units will increase from 1.6 billion in 2019 to 5.6 by the middle of the 21st century. Electricity is one of the largest contributors to greenhouse emissions. Hence, invest in architectural changes using better insulation materials to make your walls and windows airtight rather than spending a hefty amount on coolers or heaters.
4. Plant Trees
There is a vast range of research that indicates that trees act as extremely effective carbon sinks. Fern defines a carbon sink as anything that absorbs more carbon than it releases. According to an analysis conducted by Swiss University ETH Zürich, a worldwide planting programme could remove two-thirds of carbon emissions in the atmosphere. While the numbers of the study have been debated upon vigorously, there is a common consensus around the fact that planting trees do contribute to the reduction of the rate of global warming. A single tree absorbs one ton of carbon dioxide in its lifetime- so plant trees in your backyard or street, or enrol yourself in as many plantation drives as possible.
5. Create Sustainable Transportation Habits
82% of emissions from transportation are due to cars. Adopting sustainable transportation habits is a feasible and cost-effective solution that all of us can attempt. Such a lifestyle can be pursued through multiple actions. You could choose to use smart bikes or cycles for travel, or even walk shorter distances. You could also explore public transport or carpooling if your destination is in a well-connected location. Even if you need to take a taxi or a cab, try to plan and choose rideshare rather than a private vehicle. If you are purchasing a new car or bike, invest in a climate-friendly one even if it is relatively expensive; the financial and environmental returns make up for the initial costs.
6. Purchase Energy-Efficient Products
Almost all home appliances come with an energy rating today- air conditioners, washing machines, heaters, refrigerators, dryers etc. While we often look for purchasing price before buying any appliance, it helps to keep in mind the operating costs as well. While energy-efficient appliances might be costlier to purchase, they save a lot of electricity and consequently your money during usage. One simple switch you can make is to use LED bulbs rather than the standard lighting systems. With the rapid growth in technology, LED bulbs have evolved to provide lighting that is quite natural and gentle on the eyes.
7. Conduct an Energy Audit
While all these steps will help you make a shift towards eco-friendly living, it is crucial to track your carbon footprint as well. Sustainability is not a one size-fit all concept; different households might need additional procedures and facilities based on financial resources, number of people and location. Conducting periodic energy audits can help you note down the effectiveness of your actions, and inform the next steps as well.
8. Be a Climate Warrior
Once you start these practices, you are sure to see positive changes in your expenses. The most important thing to do here is to amplify the necessity and the advantages of leading an eco-friendly life. Use social media and your other networks to share your journey of sustainability and inspire those around you. Combating global warming requires collective action, which can be mobilized only through conversations and discussions. Create associations in your communities, conduct rallies and encourage your neighbours and friends to make a switch to greener living.
Beyond all these tips, the immediate step you will have to take is to be mindful of your habits. Actions as simple as switching off lights or electrical appliances when not in use, or turning off the tap while brushing go a long way in reducing wastage. Remember that these are just a few simple tips you can follow to adopt a more eco-friendly lifestyle. You cannot change all your practices in a day. Sustainability is a choice, and every individual’s approach towards sustainability will be different, and your efforts depend on the time and money you have at your disposal. Always remember that adopting an eco-friendly life is a journey, and all that matters is you taking a step towards it!
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