Small changes can have massive effect on global warming
Latest article from Angela Terry
Green Green campaigner and consumer expert, Angela Terry, separates climate change facts from fiction and here she explains how you can take simple, practical steps to help save the planet. Follow @ouronehome & visit https://onehome.org.uk/ for more advice.
Q: When it comes to stopping global warming, do small changes really matter?
A: Yes, of course! The climate crisis is a daunting global problem and the world’s governments have to work together to tackle pollution and fund resilience.
But that doesn’t mean that our personal choices aren’t important. They’re crucial.
Heating and cars
Energy and transport are the two biggest sources of greenhouse gases in the UK. If we all change the choices we make – especially in terms of how we heat our homes and travel around – we can make a huge impact on our carbon footprint.
In fact, we won’t get to net zero without us consumers embracing clean technologies.
It’s not about turning back time or living in caves. Going green is about making our society healthier, wealthier and cleaner. The good news is that many of the key changes will save us money.
For example, insulating our homes will not only stop cold draughts but substantially cut heating bills.
Walking more or jumping on a bike will make you healthier and happier too.
Money is power. Every time we buy something, we are making a choice.
And if we make positive choices, it all adds up.
We don’t need a handful of people doing sustainability perfectly.
We need everyone doing it as best they can.
Be the change
It’s not about individual actions or system change. We need both. They’re interlinked. “Be the change you wish to see in the world” said Mahatma Gandhi.
One of the best ways to change a system is to lead by example and create a ripple effect among your peers. And companies notice consumer trends.
Climate change requires a big shift – we need to halve our carbon emissions in ten years. We need the environment to become a key consideration for everyone when they’re spending money.
And you can start today – maybe walk your kid to their friend’s house instead of driving them or cook a meat-free meal.
Sharing your changes
When you make a green change to your life – like holidaying in Britain, buying an e-bike or sticking insulating tape around draughty windows – it’s important to share this with friends and family. Telling people is key when it comes to normalising such behaviours.
By sharing that you’re taking the train instead of a flight or fitting solar panels, you are promoting real action on climate change. Fixing global warming is something that involves all of us. We only have one home and we all have a part to play in saving it.
Reality TV star Kylie Jenner has been branded a “climate criminal”.
According to CelebJets – a Twitter account tracking private aircraft – her jet flew for 17 minutes from LA to a nearby town.
Journey would have taken 40 minutes by car.
She provoked a backlash against her environmentally destructive habits by sharing a picture on Instagram of her and boyfriend between two private jets with the caption “‘Wanna take mine or yours?” With 40 million Twitter followers alone, she could use her fame to be a climate leader.
Swap clothes with friends instead of buying new.
You’ll have all the fun of changing your look without increasing your carbon footprint.
You could make an evening of it. Get in some fizz and invite friends over, asking them to bring at least one item they’d like to give away.
Why are temperature records being broken?
This summer temperature records have been broken throughout the Northern Hemisphere in China, Japan, the US, here in the UK, across the rest of Europe and even in the Arctic Circle.
It has been the hottest day ever in so many places.
What’s going on?
These unprecedented heat waves are because of global warming.
It’s all down to greenhouse gases, especially carbon dioxide gas.
This is produced from burning fossil fuels, just like the oil and gas burnt in our power stations and in our boilers and cars.
As carbon pollution is released into the atmosphere, it acts like a blanket around our planet, absorbing the sun’s heat, which then warms our oceans and land.
The more fossil fuels we burn, the hotter our planet is going to get and the more extreme our weather becomes.
It’s getting hot in here
The average temperature on Earth has risen by 1.1 C since 1880.
Most of that warming’s occurred since 1975.
It might not sound like much but these heatwaves are an indication of the gravity of what such rises mean.
The 2015 Paris Agreement committed all countries to keeping to 1.5C of warming by cutting pollution.
As things stand we are headed for a catastrophic 3C by 2100.
Faster than predicted
Climate scientists have warned about global warming for decades.
What’s happening now is that their projections are not only being proven right but things are heating up even faster than they expected.
With heat waves come wildfires, as they create the tinder dry conditions that help them spread faster, burn longer and rage more intensively.
In the UK, we’re not prepared, as the devastating infernos raging across the country recently illustrated.
There have been almost 500 wildfires so far this year in England and Wales, compared with 237 last year.
But even in southern Europe, this year’s wildfires have been especially destructive.
Extreme heat is deadly. In Spain and Portugal 748 people died in the recent heatwaves.
It’s also a threat to growing crops and having enough affordable food for everyone to eat.
The heat wave in India earlier this year, for example, torched the subcontinent’s wheat crop and created a major issue for global wheat supplies.
This summer’s soaring temperatures are a wake-up call.
The reality is that we can change our future and stop them from spiralling out of control if we act now.
Fact or fiction
Climate change is affecting food production.
Worst effects are in equatorial regions. Even in the UK, farmers are experiencing problems. For example wheat yields dropped 40 per cent in 2020 due to weird weather patterns.
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