Global Warming…Danger at All Measures! (Part III – Take Action!)

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In our second article, we tackled the risks of climate change but what can we do? There are plenty of things we can do to tackle climate change and enjoy a more sustainable lifestyle.

At home: Get your house in order!

  • Switch to renewable energy. Buy nonpolluting green electricity generated from natural sources such as solar, hydro and wind power.
  • See the light. Use compact fluorescent light bulbs; they reduce the amount of fossil fuels that utilities burn. They may cost more than ordinary lamps but you end up saving money because they use only around 25% of the electricity needed to provide the same light. Not to mention that you save 45 kg of carbon for each incandescent bulb that you replace with a compact fluorescent, over the life of the bulb.
  • Turn it down. Heating and air conditioning draw more than half of the energy that a home uses. Turn down the heat or air conditioning when you leave the house or go to bed. You can easily install a programmable thermostat that can save up money and carbon.
  • Turn it off.
    • Turn off lights when you do not need them; it saves energy and money!
    • Turn off televisions, videos, stereos and computers when they are not in use. These appliances use 10%-60% of power even when on "stand by"; a power strip is a practical way to switch off the VCR, TV and DVD player standby losses; you can cut off all 3 devices at once.
  • Save it. As the temperature rises, it is predicted that there will be a shortage of water.
    • Do not let the water run while shaving, brushing teeth or washing vegetables.
    • Reuse water from washing vegetables to water house plants.
    • Take short showers.
    • Wash economically.
    • Flush wisely.
  • Recycle. Products made from recycled paper, glass, metal and plastic reduce carbon emissions as they use less energy to manufacture than products made from new materials. Recycling paper also saves trees and lets them continue to reduce climate change naturally as they remain in the forest, where they remove carbon from the atmosphere.
    • Reuse paper for scrap and recycle.
    • Print on both sides of a page when possible.

On the Road

  • Walking or riding a bike rather than driving a car saves 0.5 kg of carbon for every 1.5 km.
  • Use public transportation if walking or biking are not good options. A group of people traveling together significantly lowers the overall carbon footprint.

Out shopping

  • Bring your own bag. Using your own bag instead of the plastic or paper ones provided by stores reduces waste.
  • The less packaging the better. Product packaging is just a waste. Less packaging could reduce what you buy. This means less waste in landfills, which release large amounts of methane that causes global warming.
  • Use tap water. Do not buy bottled water if you know your tap water is safe to drink. Transporting water from its source to the supermarket is an expensive waste of energy. The plastic and glass water bottles add to the mountains of rubbish that we produce.
  • Think before you buy. To reduce over consumption, buy items that will last longer instead of buying the same item several times, or consider buying second-hand.
    • Reduce the amount of materials you use by buying in bulk.
    • Avoid disposable products.
    • Reuse containers and clothing.
    • Repair and sell things you no longer need.
  • Act globally, eat locally. If you shop at a supermarket, the food you buy may travel in a plane from the other side of the world, burning fossil fuels the entire trip. Shop at a local farmers markets and you will find fresh and healthy food, and help save our climate.

In the garden

  • Plant a tree. Trees absorb CO2 from the air and use it as their energy source, producing oxygen for us to breathe.
    • A tree planted in the right place near your home can provide cooling shade in the summer and save on air conditioning costs.
  • Save water. Collect rainwater to water your garden.
  • Stop using chemical pesticides.
    • Welcome birds. Birds eat aphids and other garden pests, reducing the need to use chemicals. Use traps, parasites and other natural predators such as ladybirds, to protect your plants.
    • Use natural alternatives. Use neem oil; a type of vegetable oil pressed from fruits and seeds of neem, and mix it up with some garlic oil to spray on tree trunks and diseased plants and shrubs. This works like a charm on pests, bacteria and fungus.
  • Save energy and get fit. Do not use electrical equipment like leaf blowers; they consume so much energy for so little gain. Use a rake instead; it is low impact and better for your health too!

References
panda.org
powerscorecard.org
wikipedia.com

*Adapted from the official website of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).
**Published in the PSC Newsletter, Summer 2010.

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