By Lorna Balie
Global Warming has confronted all of us through rising and dropping temperatures, extreme weather conditions and natural disasters such as earthquakes, floods, tornadoes and hurricanes such as recently witnessed in the Philippines. This Global problem is negatively affecting individuals and the environment. Some parts of the world are much more vulnerable to its effects than others, but in the same breath everyone is somehow affected because our world is extremely connected. More connected than we sometimes realise.
The question isn’t whether human activity is the main cause for extreme weather conditions and changes, but rather what should we as conscious human beings can do if it is so and thereby produce a sustainable, clean and more beautiful world.
Taking care of our world and ourselves should not be too difficult. After all it’s the accumulation of individual deeds that will make all the difference.
I’ve listed a few ideas that have been already been advocated from different voices to counter the global dilemma we’re facing. It shouldn’t be too overwhelming as they’re simple and practical, although it does require some lifestyle changes:
1. Become Vegetarian or Vegan. I find it challenging yet necessary in the context we live in. For the devoted meat-eaters and those who grew up in “meat-cultures”, if this is too daunting, try doing it once week or for a certain number of days. This is the most effective practical step. The best thing we as individuals can do is diminish the individual impact - the carbon footprint each of us are making that negatively affects the environment and in turn every other human being on this planet.
Why is this the most effective and vital step to take? The World Watch Institute reports that more than 51% of carbon emissions are caused by the animal agriculture (PETA). The United Nations reported that using animals as a source of food are one of the main causes of deplorable environmental conditions from a micro to macro scale. Raising animals as a sources of food emits Methane, Carbon Dioxide and Nitrous-oxide which is the main components of lethal gases in global warming. These gases trap heat in the atmosphere. Vegetarians also emit 7 times less carbon emissions than meat-eaters.
2. Shower rather than bath if you have the privilege of choosing between the two. Short showers are ideal! Trust me, you don’t need that much water to get clean.
3. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. Be creative!
Idea: reuse the back of a used paper. I have noticed people not doing this and it bothers me.
Another idea: Give away things you haven’t used in the last year! Someone needs them more than you perhaps. Plus it’s better to give than to receive and you’ll feel relieved and uplifted with less clutter, knowing someone else will make better use of something you had.
Also try recycling organic material by using it for compost. Recycle paper too, less energy is used when making recycled paper. 70-90% less!
4. Plant a tree! Encourage, friends, family, neighbours. Besides the world will look much greener and prettier.
5.Buy fresh food rather than frozen food as frozen food uses more energy. Also, buy organic food and local produce! International trade uses a lot more energy to transport the items to your country.
580 billion pounds of Carbon Dioxide is produced due to non-organic food! Our demand will also place pressure on producers to make certain changes.
7. Walk, ride a bike, or use carpooling or public transport. There are additional benefits besides lighter carbon footprints such as health, discovering new routes, and building a community - making friends! (Global Warming Facts).
8. Get educated! Understand the Global Warming issue and the different views, understand the ripple affects of your actions and the measure of your carbon footprint.
9. Take action! Whether it be political, humanitarian or educational.Spread the word about global warming. Get inspired and inspire others! Check out the Arctic 30’s brave action for some inspiration! Change your lifestyle, change your world!
There are so many tiny actions we can take as individuals, but these are fairly simple. Changing lifestyles and making different choices are tiny sacrifices compared to an immeasurable reward of a healthier, longer-lasting planet.