The fact that climate change is an ever-growing, man-made risk is shockingly still a divisive debate among the general public, with most people unable to grasp the severity of the situation and how they’re contributing to it. They don’t realize that 2016 was the hottest year recorded since 1880, that sea levels are rising at their fastest rate in 2,000 years, that global flooding is predicted to triple by 2030, or that 21.5 million people have been displaced since 2008 as a result of climate change-related weather occurrences.
If they did, they would join the 43 percent of UK residents who do, too and take proactive measures to counteract their carbon footprint. Here’s how you can start helping now:
Walk more and utilize public transit
If possible, opt to walk or bike more often than driving. Not only will this reduce greenhouse emissions, but it will save you money on gas and parking, and help improve your cardiovascular health! If walking is not an option due to weather, distance, or general health, take public transportation as often as possible. If you have the kind of job you can perform at home, you may want to discuss telecommuting options, even part-time.
Buy second-hand instead of new
While there may be key things you only feel comfortable buying new, consider giving gently-used items a second home. Buying second-hand furniture, clothes, books, and more are instrumental to sustainability. This delays the amount of time before these items will reach over-crowded landfills, as well as saving the resources it would cost to manufacture more of them. Think that cost is too low to make a significant difference? Consider the 2,700 litres to make one cotton t-shirt, or the 6,800 litres it takes to create one pair of blue jeans!
Reduce water usage
Studies have found that the average person in the UK uses approximately 150 litres of water every day—so, where is all our water going? Ever leave the tap on when brushing your teeth? That wastes six litres per minute. Have a leaky tap in your home? That can add up to 5,500 litres of water a year! Sure, you can turn off the water while you brush and fix that leaky tap, but what about your toilet? There are approximately 45 million toilets in the UK, using a whopping two billion litres of water every day! If you truly want to make an environmental difference, consider an alternative. Specialist companies like Mr John furnish portable toilets that can save over 470 million litres of water every day!
Donate or recyclable electronics
Longevity is a feature you look for when you purchase a computer, smartphone, or other electronic, but that same benefit becomes an environmental nightmare when you’re ready to part ways with your e-waste. The glass alone has the potential to take 1 to 2 million years to decompose! Greenpeace has found e-waste to be extremely toxic, thanks to the rechargeable batteries’ cadmium, LCD screens’ lead, printed wiring boards’ mercury, and much more. While the raw materials can be recycled, they often find their way to landfills or overseas. Donating your electronics will help reduce e-waste and also give someone the opportunity to own something they may not have been able to afford otherwise—it’s a green win-win!
Eat less meat
While no one is forcing you to become a vegetarian, cutting out meat (especially seafood) one or two days a week and limiting your portions can make a huge impact. This will take the burden off of the cropland that grows the food your food eats, as well as limit the amount of antibiotic- and hormone-treated animal waste that could infect our water. An increase in seafood consumption is even more detrimental to sustainability efforts. With commercial fishing operations working to meet the demand, many species of fish are in danger of extinction. In fact, certain conservation experts fear our oceans could be empty as soon as 2048 if no changes are made. So, the next time you reach for a second helping of beef or order fish for dinner again, consider how easily you could make a difference instead.
Now that you have a better understanding of the current climate change issues we’re facing and how your everyday decisions affect them, join us in taking the first step toward a more sustainable tomorrow.