It’s true the overwhelming effects of climate change are evident right across the globe and, in reality, what we are witnessing comes as a direct result of human activity – for man is living out of step with the world
What we need is urgent action, not just from governments and politicians, but from the wheels of industry, the media and marketing moguls, the multinational corporations, and from each and every one of us, for we all have a role to play.
The reality is, we have a choice, and we can either be part of a global solution or face, what Sir David Attenborough described as, the end of civilization…
The problem is, there is no easy fix.
Time is fast running out, and if we continue to ignore the monumental change that is happening across the world on an almost daily basis, we will reach the ‘tipping point’ – or point of no return.
Unfortunately, we are not talking 100’s or thousands of years we are talking 10!
Yes, the latest scientific evidence reveals that we need to stop the planet warming beyond the revised 1.5C. above pre-industrialised levels, before 2030…
And that is no easy task. Our future depends on our ability to ‘transform’ the way we think, and act so that we can rise to the challenges of the 21st century and secure a more sustainable future for mankind.
To survive, we must put aside ‘self and ego’ and embrace a new mindset, one that goes beyond a term in office and short-term gain as we cannot safeguard our future and the future of mankind, based on our current thinking or working practices.
The transition to a low-carbon, resource efficient future is not just feasible, it is possible but the problem is, we are not there yet.
What we need to understand is, that even if we could stop using fossil fuels right here right now, we would not stop the effects of climate change, although, we would have more of an opportunity to adapt to life in a changing world — but one, that we would not recognise from our past…
The reality is, the carbon released by the burning of fossil fuels that helped shape our world will take years to disappear, not just from our atmosphere, but from our oceans too. This is why we need ‘urgent’ action so that we don’t just divest from fossil fuels, but find a way to satisfy our insatiable demands, whilst lowering the volume of emissions we create. And this will be achieved, through the use of innovative technologies, for example, carbon capture and, the reforestation of our planet.
The reality is energy demand is set to grow by a further 45% by 2030…
So although we can’t just flick the switch and make things better, we can look to mitigate against the effects of climate change by being ‘smarter’. Moving away from the inefficient, centralised energy systems of our past and replacing them with a range of smarter, more intuitive low-carbon and green technologies that utilise the rapidly emerging, digital technologies and artificial intelligence (AI) so that we satisfy our demands, without adding to global carbon emissions.
Working in collaboration, we can share our knowledge to ensure countries adopt and implement technologies, that will not just help them develop their economies, but help them deliver a range of affordable, climate-smart, energy solutions to meet their growing needs.
Future-proofing not just communities, but entire countries by making them ‘climate-resilient’. More able to withstand the impacts of climate change is not just good business practice; it is how we will transform our world.
Looking forward, we can judge our tomorrows, not on the scars of yesterday but on the actions we take today.
And, as we look to lower global greenhouse gas emissions, (GHG) it is essential, that we all get ‘climate-smart’. Our future needs us to take responsibility for our lives, and it is not about pointing fingers, apportioning blame, living in the dark, banning the supermarket or the car, it is about fostering a much needed renewed sense of responsibility and care for mankind.
So what can we do?
Here are 5 easy ways we can significantly reduce the impact our lives have on the world.
1 WALK MORE
It may sound like old hat, but we really do need to put down our car keys and walk more, not only is it better for our health, it will reduce the amount of harmful emissions that come from our cars, improve the air quality in our towns and cities and reduce congestion helping to create cleaner, safer communities that are better for our health and well being.
Don’t forget, ride the bus, cycle, walk and let the train take the strain whenever you can.
Unfortunately the volume of emissions that come from transport* are wreaking havoc on the planet, and one of the worst culprits is flying. So, why not fly less and take time to discover where you live, and if you do fly you need to consider planting some trees to offset some of the carbon that your journey creates.
Carbon offsetting is not perfect, but by recognising the damage flying does, and offsetting against it, we will be making a positive contribution to the environment. And we can do more, by ensuring that our gardens and outside spaces become wildlife havens, just ask me how.
*When referring to emissions from transport, it is important to realise, that there are both long-lived emissions like CO2 that stay in the atmosphere for a long period of time and short-lived ‘black’ emissions that come primarily from diesel cars these, are incredibly damaging to the atmosphere but only exist for a period of a few weeks. It is also worth noting, that the largest transport contributor comes mainly from cars…
2 WASTE LESS
Yes, the more we waste the more we accelerate the effects of climate change…
Unbelievably, food waste when it rots creates methane, a gas that is 23 times more damaging to the planet than CO2, and that is really bad news for the planet. The problem is, however, that we currently waste almost 1/3 of the food we produce and to make matters worse, almost half of it could be eaten… and this has to stop.
So, we need to buy local, buy fresh and buy loose. Have a cupboard makeover and reorganise our pantries and lives, and always check what’s in the fridge before we head out to the shops.
We can reduce the amount of pre-packaged, convenient and ready-made food that we buy, we can cook more, learn to love our leftovers, compost if you can, and we can all look to reduce the amount of meat we eat. So, whether we opt to do a #meatfreemonday, or look at going vegan or meat free three or four days a week, we can all make a huge difference.
If you would like some help with some, uber easy uber tasty, recipe ideas, look out for my post.
3 GET ENERGY SMART
Improving the energy efficiency and energy performance of our homes and buildings is vital, in our fight to reduce GHG emissions. So let’s get energy-wise.
Our homes and buildings are responsible for +28% of global carbon emissions, so, by becoming energy smart we will significantly lower the impact we are having on the world, and reducing the emissions from our homes will help save the glaciers because everything we do locally has a huge impact globally…
We can start by taking time to unplug, turn off, turn down and say hasta la vista to standby. Only wash when we have a full load, only boil the water we need, and heat our homes only when we are at home!
And if your appliances are 10 years old or more, it is time to replace them with energy-efficient ones, as these will make a big difference, not just, to the planet but to your pocket too.
Draw your curtains and don’t forget to insulate your loft.
Watch out for my top tips to greener living…
4 GET PLASTIC WISE
Another thing we can all do, is get plastic wise. Reducing the amount of plastic we use in our daily lives will make a huge difference to the health and well being of everything.
And that means we need to say no to bottled water. Why not save yourself a fortune and buy a water filter, and don’t forget to take a reusable water bottle with you wherever you go. Imagine how much money we could all save too.
We can say no to cling film, as it is bad news for our health and is a disaster for the planet. If you, like millions of us have a packed lunch, then say no to the pre-packaged sandwich of old and buy a super cool lunch box and make your own. Ditch the plastic razor, wave goodbye to the plastic scourers, replace your plastic toothbrushes with bamboo alternatives, say hello to the lovely shampoo bars, natural soaps and deodorants’.
We can ditch the straw, change our t-bags! Buy fresh, buy local and ditch the gum! For more handy hints watch out for my uber cool shopping guide.
5 GET INVOLVED
It may sound obvious, but if you want to make a difference, you need to get involved. Getting involved in our local community is not just good for us, it will help us to create much better places and spaces that will help us transform our world.
If we have time on our hands we can volunteer. Volunteering is not just about working in a local charity store, it can be about helping a neighbour, mentoring someone who might need a helping hand, cleaning our parks, beaches, streets and waterways or helping to create community gardens or wildlife spaces.
We can fundraise, host a fashion swap, we can donate, bake, walk or cycle but whatever we do, do something good.
Working in our local community will help us create ‘better’, more inclusive neighbourhoods, and places where people feel valued and want to live, play and work. In doing so, we will help to reduce the very modern problem of social isolation, as although we live in a truly connected world, social isolation is not just something for the old, loneliness is endemic, and that is not good for any of us. So be that start of a new conversation and be the change.
In fact, we all need to reduce, refuse, reuse, repair, rethink, regift, repurpose, recover and recycle…