What you can do to combat the climate crisis

by Sharmin Ahmed

Photo by Marcus Spiske on Pexels

The climate crisis and rising global temperatures is one of the biggest and most alarming problems the entire world faces. It affects everyone, it affects you and it is an issue that only continues to grow. The sea level is rising and polar ice caps are melting, leading animals such as polar bears to extinction. The number of severe droughts is increasing and agricultural yields are on a decline. Here is what you can do to help:

Research! Research! Research!

Never stop learning: read books, research papers and follow advocates devoted to tackling the issue. The scientific literature may be intimidating, but there are many organisations dedicated to helping the average person understand. ClimaTalk is one of the organisations here to provide the resources you need to educate yourself and stay up-to-date with the climate crisis.

Shout out!

Let your voice be heard. Talk to your family, your friends, your colleagues or classmates. Engage in discussions online. Address the issue and spread awareness. Not everyone is aware of the damage of the climate crisis, nor does everyone accept it. The more people we can reach, the more we can do to battle against the crisis and the greater an impact we can make.

Be sustainable!

Ride a bike, walk, or take public transport to your destinations instead of a car to help reduce carbon emissions and greenhouse gases, one of the main causes of human-induced climate change. According to Gov. uk, in 2019 the average petrol car emitted over four times more CO2 per passenger than the equivalent journey by coach [1].

Graph sourced from Gov.uk [1]

Reduce, reuse, recycle!

Avoid single-use items and find reusable or recyclable substitutes. Upcycling and repurposing what you already have instead of throwing things out is another way that you can reduce waste. We must reduce waste as much as we can because it can harm the environment in several ways. The UN Environment Program states that one-third of all plastic waste ends up in soils or freshwater, allowing them to enter the food chain [2]. Furthermore, 80 to 90% of plastic fibres found in sewers are sludge and may contain disease-causing organisms which can even enter our tap water [2].Shop at thrift or charity stores for the stuff you need and donate what you don’t need. Thrifting is a great way to stop textile waste and helps reduce the demands for new clothes, which in turn reduces the consumption of water [3]. The fashion industry uses large amounts of water to produce materials in the dyeing process [3]. Another alternative to buying new is to repair your own favourite clothes instead of tossing them. 

Eat your veggies!

Eat more plant-based meals. You do not need to become a full-on vegetarian, but a global shift to a more plant-based diet could reduce greenhouse gasses such as methane by 70% (methane being the second largest contributor to global warming to carbon dioxide) as animals require a lot of resources to source [4]. You could even grow your own produce in your garden or by your kitchen window. By doing this you can help reduce the fossil fuels needed to burn when transporting food from other countries.

Build community!

Get involved with your local community and charities. Help protect your local green spaces like parks or public gardens as they take in carbon dioxide and turn it into oxygen. They can also help keep the temperature cool and absorb rainwater to reduce floods and provide habitats for a number of species.

Pressure corporations and your local politicians!

We as individuals can’t do much unless the ones in power change their ways. Big brands produce everything we use and eventually throw away. They arguably play one of the biggest roles when it comes to climate change [5]. Big brands contribute largely toward the emission of greenhouse gases and unsustainable items and can continue to get away with this as long as public officials let them [4]. Email your local politician to inform them about the climate crisis and the actions they can take as well as sign petitions and support organisations dedicated to tackling the climate crisis so we can push for change. The entire world must band together if we truly want to make a difference. Our planet is dying and we must save it.

[1] https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/transport-and-environment-statistics-autumn-2021/transport-and-environment-statistics-autumn-2021#:~:text=on%20average%2C%20326.3%20kilotonnes%20of,emissions%20came%20from%20cars%20alone accessed on 22nd July. 2022
[2] https://www.unep.org/news-and-stories/story/plastic-planet-how-tiny-plastic-particles-are-polluting-our-soil accessed 22nd July. 2022
[3] https://thriftworld.com/blogs/article/updated-how-thrifting-is-helping-the-environment#:~:text=Minimizing%20carbon%20emissions%20is%20critical,clothes%2C%20thus%20reducing%20carbon%20emissions accessed 22nd July. 2022
[4] https://www.pnas.org/doi/10.1073/pnas.1523119113 accessed 22nd July. 2022[5] Axelrod, J., 2022. Corporate honesty and climate change: Time to own up and Act. NRDC. Available at: https://www.nrdc.org/experts/josh-axelrod/corporate-honesty-and-climate-change-time-own-and-act accessed July 23, 2022

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