Climate change and YOU!
Do you know that you have been playing a very active part in climate change each and every minute all through these years! Whether you were driving your car, or using your new top loaded washing machine or switching on the air cooler after getting back home from a long tiring day at work or having an entire plate of grilled meat all by yourself, you were actually contributing to your personal load of carbon emission – Your CARBON FOOTPRINT.
Carbon footprint is the total amount of greenhouse gas emissions that result directly or indirectly from an individual’s lifestyle or a company’s operations or a complete life cycle of a product or a service. It is expressed in equivalent tons of carbon di oxide.
In other words, it is a tool to analyse and measure an individual’s impact on global warming! A tool that can easily point out the offenders and the reprobates. Hence it is duly important for every responsible human on this planet to keep a track on those futile and unavailing footprints that they tend to leave behind! Do you feel like an offender already? Don’t worry! You can easily kick off that carbon habit by minimal modifications in your lifestyle.
Here are some nifty tips that will come in handy.
Leave behind greener footprints instead
Confused? It means – “Plant trees”. What better can you bestow for the environment? Plant trees wherever possible and maximize your efforts to maintain them. But today we live in jam-packed metro cities, in compact homes stacked one above the other where a lush verdant lawn and a ginormous garden with beautiful croutons, climbing roses, daffodils, camellias, sledges and palms is nothing but a distant dream!
What can be done?
Use your balcony (that has so long only been dumped with those ‘extras’ and ‘unwanteds’) to create a mini garden. Indoor plants can also be a great option here. So what are you waiting for?
Go.. Get your hands dirty!
Less is more!
Yes! Incline yourself more towards reusable, recycled and long lasting products. It does create a massive difference. For example, when you purchase a jacket or a pair of jeans that is cheap, then you wouldn’t have a second thought in throwing it after a couple of uses. This habit will gear up your emission ratio. Therefore go in for reusable and lasting options instead.
In other words, Consume less!
Do not fall prey to what is called “fast fashion”. These clothes have a very very short life and transfer from the closet to the landfill very soon. A simple T-shirt might have caused emissions as much as two days of your house electricity bill. Such clothes produce methane gas as you dump them after a couple of uses into the landfills when your mind convinces you in purchasing newer and better ones trending in the market.
Putting up solar panels
I know most of us would have freaked out by now! Yeah! I said “Solar Panels”. Installing solar panels is definitely a costlier option, but come on just have a look at your closet, look at the number of unused clothes, shoes and other possessions that remain untouched for ages together. When that money invested in mere hoarding can be used for something else that is going to be a teeny part of a massive change..
Then why not?!
Reduce your FOOD-prints!
Try and reduce your food wastage. You can do that by simply planning your meals, storing the leftovers in a suitable way and by proper disposal of the food wastes (compost your food wastes; it can be a great input for your kitchen garden).
To all those days you involuntarily gave up on meat and dairy, kudos to you!! Because you kicked off that carbon emission by 3.6 kilograms. You can also opt for more local and seasonal fruits and vegetables as it reduces the cost of transportation and storage thereby. These foods do not have to sit for days and weeks together in trucks and storage rooms in varying atmospheric conditions, taking turns, to reach you!
Go local and seasonal! You can definetly fit into those 4 year old favourite pant of yours that you have outgrown- I bet!
Switch to energy efficient options!
Are you an entrepreneur? Setting up your own office? When you purchase your office equipments and other electronic goods, go for energy efficient options. Prefer environmentally responsible and sustainable sources. Compact fluorescent lamps and incandescent light bulbs waste 80 to 90 percent of their energy as heat. Switch to light emitting diodes instead. They last 25 times longer and consume less than half of the energy comparatively.
Avoid air conditioners and go for fans instead! Does it sound insane? Summers and without air conditioners? Well… OK then.. Let’s look for a more practical option. Try insulating your rooms, doors and windows. In that way, you get your room’s temperature down quicker, hence cutting off a larger part of those electricity bills.
Bike or walk to work or catch the bus!
Try your best to opt for public transportation systems. If you find it difficult without cars, there are other options you can go for to reduce the energy consumption. Try car pooling, avoid traffics and use alternate roads instead (certain apps can help you with traffic updates), do not carry any kind of extra weight, while on long trips use cruise control that can effectively reduce the gas consumption. Properly maintained cars can increase the fuel efficiency by 4 percent. Save flying for truely prime and indispensable proceedings.
Now for the carry home message!
Remember the 3 R’s we have been taught over and over the years? Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. Add one more to the list- Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Refuse.
Reduce – Cut off your major expenses by making a list of what you actually NEED (not WANT). Adapt a minimalist lifestyle.
Reuse – Properly maintain and reuse the products you buy. If maintained properly it would last longer.
Recycle – Once you have reached the threshold limit of any reusable product, recycle it in a proper way so that it becomes less harmful for the environment.
Refuse – Say NO to one time use products (plastic cups, paper plates etc). Encourage reusable long lasting products instead.
These minimal changes when taken seriously, can definitely contribute to a massive difference. Let us all behave responsible enough and kick this carbon habit ‘hard’. In fact it is our moral obligation to make this planet a better place to live in, isn’t it?
Author, Amreena Jan is a masters graduate by profession and a writer by choice. An international research holder in nanotechnology (IDRC, Canada). Known for her witty humorous writing style, she is also a social activist. A co-author and editor of the book ‘Basic and advanced concepts of food engineering’. She is also a content creator and blogger with an International recognition @ thequirkydna.blogspot.com