Though some still deny it exists, most people agree that climate change is no good thing. How can taking fewer selfies help to stop it?
Olivia from SoR sat down with young expert David Saddington to explain climate change. Climate change means changes in long-term weather patterns. What should concern us is how human activity is causing our planet to heat up.
Climate action is a strategy to reduce the effects of climate change. This week politicians from around the world met at the Paris Climate Change Conference (COP21). They are trying to get the first legally binding, universally agreed climate action plan set down on paper. No pressure.
1) Keep Campaigning
On the first day of COP21 thousands of people around the globe marched to call for climate action. Campaigners ignored the fact that a march in Paris had been called off after ISIS attacked the city. SoR headed down to the People’s March for Climate in London;
We also compiled a handy guide for those thinking of becoming activists. Even if you’re more of an armchair warrior you can still campaign. Find your local MP and tweet or email them asking them to keep climate change on the agenda.
2) Get Educated
Campaigning keeps the pressure on politicians to do more. However our environment expert David thinks getting educated is key to really making an impact on climate change. According to him we need to properly understand how climate change impacts things we already care about.
He writes in free eBook “How To Save Humanity” that he wouldn’t be surprised if climate change was already affecting our day-to-day routines. We need to ask questions about how climate change affects global food supply chains which ultimately impact the price of your food. What effect does it have on our health? We also need to ask how climate change is linked to issues of conflict and national security around the world.
That’s where we come in. We recently broke down the debate over whether climate change has a hand in causing conflict. Approaching climate change in this here-and-now way makes it much easier to get to grips with.
3) Meat-free Mondays?
It would appear that eating meat is extremely damaging to the planet: More so than eating other types of food. Greenhouse gases like Carbon Dioxide (CO2) traps solar energy within the atmosphere. This means the planet heats up. It’s estimated that food production contributes around 25% of greenhouse gases. A 2006 report by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) suggested that the meat industry causes more greenhouse gases than either transportation or industry. One expert even says that giving up red meat would be better for the environment than giving up your car!
Why is meat so bad? According to PETA the process of transporting, feeding and killing animals is “extremely energy-intensive”. This basically means it uses up A LOT of energy. The same goes for processing and storing the meat. All of this creates greenhouse gas. PETA says that producing one calorie of protein from meat releases 8.5 times as much carbon dioxide as producing one calorie of protein from grain. A British study found that switching to a vegan diet reduces your food-related carbon footprint by 60%. This prevents 1.5 tons of CO2 from entering the atmosphere each year. Perhaps saving the planet starts with meat-free Mondays?
At the very least, if you do go for a steak; think before you Instagram it…
4) Take Fewer Selfies
Humans increasingly rely on technology. Email, search engines and Skype calls allow us to find and share information without travelling. You’d think that less travel would equal less pollution of the atmosphere. However the rise in internet usage is increasing the amount of greenhouse gases heating our planet. No, we’re not kidding: Your selfies are melting the polar ice caps.
A Shout Out UK article by Joshua Aldwinckle-Povey describes how every time we upload a picture or post a status update this information gets stored in a data centre. These are vast warehouses filled with computer servers. The problem is that these data centres are contributing 2% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions.
To be fair, it might not be on us to stop using the internet – but for internet providers to come up with a way of storing data that doesn’t hurt the environment. Companies like Apple are trying to turn things around by building data centres run on renewable energy.
FYI Google says that every Google search creates 0.2g of carbon dioxide (CO2). We promise to plant a tree to make up for the searches needed to write this article.
5) Climate Action Starts At Home
Climate action doesn’t have to be big. Small changes can make a massive difference. Things like purchasing energy-saving lightbulbs, washing clothes on a lower temperature or turning off lights and electrical items when not needed. You can find out your “carbon footprint” (your personal impact on the environment) using this online calculator.