Climate Change and What You Can Do to Help
Global warming. Carbon footprints. Greenhouse gas emissions. Climate change and its disastrous effects has been a hot topic for years. More recently, the age-old climate change debate has become less of a debate, and more of a deafening cry for help—one which is often extremely polarizing, especially on a political level. Regardless of your political standing, however, it’s become impossible to ignore the science behind the buzz. According to the latest from environmental scientists, if trends continue, our planet and humanity as we know it is in store for an inevitable mass extinction. So, what can you do to help?
In order to understand exactly how you can help, you first have to be aware of the root causes of climate change. Though there are many factors, climate change is largely the result of an expansion of the greenhouse effect, which is when the earth’s atmosphere traps in heat and other chemicals, raising the average temperature of the planet. These chemicals include anything from methane, to nitrous oxide, chlorofluorocarbons, carbon dioxide, and water vapor, and can be the result of many human activities, such as burning fossil fuels, clearing land for agriculture and industry, and even meat consumption. All of these factors play a part in contributing to the greenhouse effect, and have been the subject of continued debate.
But climate change is much more than the “global warming” buzzword we’ve been hearing about for the past two decades. The rise in temperatures has far-reaching implications that range from endangering wildlife, disrupting valuable ecosystems, and vastly shortening our time left to be sustainable on earth. In essence, the clock is ticking.
While some of the changes that are necessary to reverse the effects of climate change need to be implemented on a large scale, many people are resistant to change because of our planet’s societal norms. Outreach groups and awareness organizations have been actively fighting the uphill battle that is conveying the seriousness of climate change to the public. In order to successfully combat the damaging effects of climate change, society needs to be less reliant on fossil fuels, and allocate more resources towards sustainable energy, among other things. In the meantime, there are things that individuals can do to make a difference.
Changing your habits can significantly impact your carbon footprint and promote a cleaner, more sustainable planet. Electric or hybrid cars are a cleaner transportation alternative, and are becoming more and more popular. If that’s not financially feasible, then carpooling, bike riding, and combining trips can also help to cut down on your personal consumption of gasoline. Using less plastic is another way we can help the environment. Once created, plastic stays in our environment forever, unable to be chemically broken down or eliminated. Landfills and other waste locations are littered with the material that greatly harms our wildlife and are plaguing our oceans as well.
Another more extreme option may be to consider changing your eating habits and switching to a plant-based diet. Vegetarian or vegan lifestyles severely impact the environment by reducing the dependency on large scale farming operations, which often pollute, neglect, and damage our environment. Supporting local growers is a great option that allows you to stimulate local economy, while promoting a more environmentally conscious way of harvesting crops.
If you’d like more information about the future of our planet as it relates to climate change, there are plenty of online resources that discuss the topic at length and that could help you be a more informed consumer.