Positive Actions to Fight Climate Change
Climate change is a bigger topic than ever all over the world. And for good reason! To get back to basics, there are some differences in the terms we now use to describe weather patterns that are currently affecting the planet. According to NASA, global warming refers to the long-term warming of the planet that has been happening since the early part of the 20th century. This has been especially evident since the late 1970s as a result of an increase in fossil fuel emissions since the Industrial Revolution. Climate change, however, is a much broader term that refers to a range of global weather and environmental phenomena created predominantly by the burning of fossil fuels, which added “heat-trapping” gases to the Earth’s atmosphere. Examples of climate change include increased temperature trends, sea levels rising, ice mass losses, shifts in the flowers and plants blooming, and extreme weather events.
As many of you will know, just over a month ago (May 2019) the UK Parliament declared the issue of global climate change an “emergency”; since that time, other countries have re-evaluated their own ideas on the issue. The declaration states that the UK would work closely with countries who are committed to fighting climate change in order to reduce carbon emissions by 80% by 2050; local councils have taken this a step further, hoping to be carbon neutral by 2030. Much of Australia has followed suit, with the ACT being the first state to make the declaration themselves; from October, Canberra will effectively run on renewable energy.
The UK declaration has changed the language around climate change—by making this issue an “emergency” people across the world are becoming more aware of the very pressing issues our planet is facing. If we don’t change our actions, serious consequences may occur: a report issued by the UN in 2018, “Global Warming of 1.5°”, estimated that terrible food shortages, wildfires and a horrific die-off of the world’s coral reefs would occur as soon at 2040 if governments did not take strong action. More recently, Australian researchers from Breakthrough National Centre for Climate Restoration, David Spratt and Ian Dunlop, predicted that climate change poses a threat to human existence by 2050 without serious mitigation actions in the next decade. Devastating and frightening to say the least.
So, the big question! What can we do to help our world fight the climate change crisis? The David Suzuki Foundation offers some good tips. Push for renewable energy in your community and adopt it in your home (solar panels, for example) if possible. Choose “green” commuting options, like riding a bike, public transport, or car share. Buy and use energy-efficient appliances in your home and unplug your electrical devises when you leave for the day; this will save you money too! Adopt a climate-friendly diet, by eating organic local produce, less or no meat, and even growing your own fruit and vegetables in your backyard if you can. And at every opportunity, “consume less, waste less, and enjoy life more”: this means living with the things you have, recycling wherever possible, enjoying activities that don’t deplete resources, and focusing on life’s simple pleasures. When in doubt, do as the bees do, and make conscious decisions that help the survival of our incredible planet, day in and day out.