The expression “global warming” refers to changes in the climate caused by anthropogenic activities. To be specific to the exploitation of natural resources such as burning fossil fuels and cutting down forest areas on a large scale.
Such activities result in the emission of greenhouse gases consisting mostly of carbon dioxide. These gases capture the infrared radiation emitted from the earth’s surface and do not allow it to escape and hence get trapped within the earth. The trapped gases are responsible for warming the Earth, ultimately changing the climate.
Climatic changes such as recurrent heatwaves, irregular rainfall, increase in sea level make it evident that global warming is not a hoax. The negative influences on humans and the environment makes global warming an important issue the world is facing right now. It is very much necessary to adapt to the unavoidable consequences as well as find mitigation methods to avoid further consequences in the coming future.
Necessary international measures are being taken by both scientific and political groups. Even though there are various solutions available to reduce global warming, it is still up to us and governments to employ them. Some of the solutions are given below which will give an idea of how one can implement them to prevent global warming.
1. Plant more trees
We have often heard how planting trees can save the earth and prevent climate change. Rainforests are responsible for capturing the excess carbon dioxide present in our atmosphere but have been facing destruction in the past few years.
Every six seconds, a football field’s rainforest is destroyed by humans. This results in the release of carbon dioxide back into the atmosphere stored by the trees. Therefore planting trees is a cost-effective way to capture the extra carbon dioxide present in the atmosphere which ultimately prevents global warming.
It is estimated that two-thirds of man-made carbon could be eliminated by regrowing lost forests. But growing forests everywhere is not proper or efficient. In a report published in Science Advances, planting trees in Brazil, Indonesia and India could resourcefully capture atmospheric carbon because these countries have vast expanses of biodiversity.
2. Follow a sustainable commuting lifestyle
Transportation nowadays contributes to the emission of massive amounts of carbon dioxide. Burning one gallon of fuel is equivalent to producing 20 pounds of carbon dioxide, i.e. producing 9 tons of carbon dioxide per year per vehicle. At least a common individual can do it,
- Share a ride instead of booking a private cab.
- Don’t accelerate and brake frequently.
- Walk if possible.
- Travel through public transport.
- Prefer an electric model when buying a new vehicle.
Gasoline cars are responsible for 82% of emissions, but if we adopt the above strategies, we can significantly reduce emissions.
3. Use electricity wisely
One of the major contributors to global warming is electricity. Heavy appliances (like refrigerators, air conditioners, water heaters, etc.) consume a lot of energy and it is advisable to use them efficiently.
Efficient production, as well as the use of electricity, can result in a reduction in the use of fossil fuels and emissions of greenhouse gases. Renewable energy (solar, wind, etc.) does not negatively affect climate change and is recommended to be equipped.
A simple way can reduce electricity consumption and create an impact on the environment by reducing the use of heating equipment. Solar panels can be used wherever required which is an efficient and eco-friendly way of utilizing energy.
In conclusion, it is advisable to
- Prefer electrical equipment which has more energy stars,
- Use less air conditioner,
- Turn off the switch when not in use
- Consume less hot water and
- Switch to cleaner energy for the betterment of the environment.
4. Reduce, reuse and recycle
Waste generation and climate change are both related to each other and pose a serious threat to our planet. Hence it is necessary to recycle the waste products as it can reduce the raw material used as well as reduce the dumping of waste in open areas. Recycling alone is estimated to reduce the release of carbon dioxide by 6 gigatons which is equivalent to eliminating one billion cars for a year.
This simple change in our lifestyle can create a major positive impact on reducing global warming. Recycling generally consumes less energy than manufacturing a new product. For example, recycling aluminum scrap saves 95% of the energy compared to producing aluminum from raw materials.
Further, it is recommended to
- Buy recycled products,
- Recycle whatever you can,
- Reduce the use of disposables and use recycled products instead.
5. Conserve water
Water is very essential for human existence. But with the increase in demand for water, 1 in 3 people do not get safe water for consumption. By the year 2040, the water demand will increase by half.
Due to global warming, the demand for water has increased in recent times due to floods, droughts and other climate-related issues. But by consuming water efficiently, will stabilize the ecosystem as well as reduce the risk of climate change. Additionally, consuming less hot water can reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Water can be conserved by,
- Consuming it less during the production of products,
- Take shorter showers,
- Wash at a lower temperature,
- Spread the awareness.
6. Buy local goods and products
The food we consume travels almost thousands of kilometers to reach our plate. It is advisable to buy products/goods locally which can help boost the economy of the country and also support the farmers. But when buying locally, the contribution to pollution is much less because it reduces the greenhouse gas release caused by a reduction in transportation.
It is better to buy from local farmers rather than going to the supermarket. It has been reported that groceries bought from supermarkets consume up to 17 times more fossil fuels than groceries bought from local stores.
There are many benefits to buying locally such as reducing your food transportation, fresher taste and better nutrition. Consuming what we get during the season reduces the stress on our planet.
7. Eat less meat and more veggies
Consuming less meat is very essential for a healthier planet as well as a healthier lifestyle. But with the recent surge in the middle-class population, people are obsessed with meat. Consuming more meat can cause health issues.
Meat consumption is also not good for our planet. The livestock industry emits more greenhouse gases when compared to all automobiles. As an excuse to rear cattle, millions of trees are being cut down resulting in the release of trapped carbon dioxide.
Going meatless overnight is not possible, but every individual must cultivate the concept of ‘meat consciousness’. Shifting to a plant-based diet helps control global warming that is caused by the livestock industry.
The least we can do is to,
- Avoid or reduce meat-based diet,
- Make veggies as a part of your diet,
- Buy organic products whenever possible.
8. Invest in green energy
We know that global energy demand is high and energy consumption will increase by 50% by 2050. To achieve this enormous amount of fossil fuel is required. Since fossil fuels promote global warming, it is necessary to rely on renewable resources.
The renewable energy sector has been booming in recent times and for every investment made in this sector, the portfolio will be greener. It is estimated that a massive $5.1 trillion will be invested in this sector by the year 2030. In the near future, fossil fuel-related stocks will fall by 46%.
Few sectors that we can invest in are mentioned below:
- Water stocks (Invesco Water Resources Portfolio ETF, Invesco Global Water Portfolio ETF etc.)
- Wind power (General Electric, NextEra Energy Partners etc.)
- Solar energy (Invesco Solar ETF, Sunrun etc.)
- Green transportation (Tesla, FuelCell Energy etc.)
9. Stop using plastic
Plastics are manufactured from fossil fuels. The process involved before the manufacturing of plastics (such as extraction and transportation) generates an enormous amount of greenhouse gases. On average, 4% of petroleum production annually goes to the manufacture of plastics.
Since most plastics are manufactured for single use purposes, they are disposed of in large quantities every day. These disposed plastics are either burned or left to accumulate in landfills. About 850 million tons of greenhouse gases are released annually due to the production or incineration of plastics. Around 2050, that number will increase to about 3 billion tonnes.
In the presence of sunlight and heat, plastics undergo a chemical reaction that results in the release of harmful greenhouse gases. As our Earth is warming every day, plastic is breaking down into methane and ethylene, one of the major contributors to global warming.
Lastly, plastic is harmful to our environment and it is not encouraged to be used for daily necessities.
10. Spread the awareness
One of the important factors needed to tackle climate change is to spread awareness. “Climate Literacy” is achieved among the people by spreading awareness. People can change their attitude towards tackling climate change and help them adapt to it. With increased awareness, people can engage in informed decision-making and enable a person to follow a sustainable lifestyle.
Along with this you also see Top 10 Ways for Women Empowerment.