Global warming is a crisis we can no longer ignore. Our planet is being affected and changed by human activity, such as pollution from large scale industry, the growth of agriculture and the increasing sizes of cities. If global warming continues to rise, it could have a devastating effect on sea levels, wild life and natural habitats, as well as increasing problems such as food shortages. So what can we do as individuals to help?
Every person and organisation creates a carbon footprint, which is the emission of carbon dioxide gas that contributes to global warming. As individuals, we can do our bit to keep our own carbon footprint as small as possible. One of the easiest ways we can do this is by reducing energy use and the amount of waste we produce.
Here are some suggested ways you can reduce your carbon footprint:
- Walk or cycle instead of driving or using public transport.
- Carpool where possible.
- Use sustainable energy sources, such as getting home solar systems from Going Solar.
- Save energy by turning off appliances instead of leaving on standby.
- Buy local fresh produce, rather than produce that has travelled hundreds or thousands of miles to be on the supermarket store shelf.
- Conserve water. Try collecting rainwater to water your garden and house plants, or reuse bath water. Fix any leaking faucets.
- Use natural products that do not contain chemicals that could damage the environment when washed into waterways. This includes detergents, soaps and shampoos. Always look for natural ingredients.
- Recycle plastics, metals, paper and card. Donate old clothing to charity stores, or if you are good with a sewing machine, see if you can make something new out of something old. Old electronics can often be recycled too.
- Avoid single-use plastics. Opt for reusable instead. That includes using a refillable cup for your favourite coffee shop, going to whole food stores and buying in bulk using your own containers, and choosing items with paper and card packaging instead of plastic.
- Research ways you go zero waste in your home.
- Did you know that cotton is one of the most damaging crops in the environment? It takes vast amounts of water and heavy pesticides to grow cotton for clothing. When you are looking to buy something new, research sustainable brands.
- Choose natural fabrics rather than plastic or synthetics.
Global warming and the effects that we have on the environment are a problem that we should all be concerned about. We can all make a difference by shifting our mindset and looking for alternative eco-friendly substitutes for the things that we use. When we take responsibility for our individual effects on the planet, it helps us change to positive habits that we stick to. Also, when you work to lessen your personal carbon footprint, you will naturally find yourself telling others about it and encouraging them to do the same. Alone, it might feel as though you are fighting an uphill battle, however when many are working towards the same goal we become stronger, and this is good news for the planet.