Climate change is a catastrophic challenge that is breathing down our necks and 13-year-old Greta Thunberg made it clear at United Nations General Assembly last week. While many are rallying to tackle the challenge, there are still those who are not yet aware of the situation.

Recent reports from a UN panel of scientists show that water levels are rising, the ice is melting at an alarming rate, and species are moving habitat because of uncontrolled human activities. Climate change is leading to phenomenons such as more frequent droughts and heatwaves. The temperatures are constantly rising and the Arctic is reported to be ice-free before the end of the century. The loss of mass from the Antarctic ice sheet in the years between 2007 and 2016 were tripled that the 10 previous years.

The effects of climate change

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The Earth’s glaciers are melting at an alarming rate

Huge amounts of carbon are stored in the permanently frozen regions of the world such as in Siberia and Northern Canada. The melting of ice will free up hundreds of billions of tonnes of CO2 and methane to the atmosphere by 2100. This would be a significant limitation on our ability to limit global warming in the centuries to come.

All this extra water gushing down to the seas is driving up average ocean water levels around the world. What’s even worse is that we are mercilessly polluting the oceans by dumping all our wastes in there besides polluting the atmosphere with harmful greenhouse gases. We are already witnessing signs of seasonal shifts as the weather patterns are constantly changing.

We are also directly responsible for the extinction of more than 100 species of animals in the past century. Today there are even more that are endangered. Loss of species can directly upset the eco-system, which can lead to a series of chain reactions and have a chronic effect on the environment as a whole.

The loss of forest cover over the past century has been a big blow to the eco-system and the world. Trees are our natural air purifiers as they take in carbon dioxide and they release oxygen. But we are cutting and burning them down with no regard for the consequences whatsoever.

We need to act now or it might be just too late

The situation we find ourselves in is very precarious, even more so for future generations. If things continue at this rate, there is a mass-extinction looming ahead. However, all hope is not lost yet. The younger generation of our world showed us just that. The inspiring speech given by Swedish activist, Greta Thunberg rang many bells around the world.

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Forest fires and ecosystem degradations contribute to 16% of the GHG emissions. (Pinterest)

You should reflect on your actions and start caring about the world that you will soon pass-down to your children. It’s of no use blaming the governments and politicians. If you want to bring about a change, the change has to start from you. According to reports from the experts, we need deep, rapid cuts in carbon emissions of up to the required 45% reductions by 2030. If we do so, we still have a chance to slow down the change in our climate and the environment.

It is high time that we educate ourselves and those around us about the environmental issues of this world. Be more aware of the choices you make. Transpire a sensitivity towards the environment. Make little sacrifices for the sake of the Earth and also your children.

VoucherCodesUAE brings you simple ways you can stop climate change from your home.

Climate change: how can you deal with it?

Educate and Practice

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Educate and practice (Pinterest)

Spreading awareness about environmental issues in your social circle can go a long way for helping the cause. Try having healthy interactions with your family and friends regarding the issue. Also, share some posts now and then on your Social Media platforms to remind people of what’s at stake.

Always try your best to educate people about global warming and its causes and after-effects. Tell them how they can contribute their part by saving energy that will be good for the environment.

First of all, it has to start at home. Educate and practice, that is the only way it can be inculcated into the psyche of people. We cannot just sit back and let our government do everything. The change has to come in a way that people start thinking and feeling about the situation.
These three simple habits helps the environment in unfathomable ways:
1. Reduce, Reuse and Recycle – the three R’s
2. Use locally produced groceries, goods, and services.
3. Make each community as self-supporting as possible.

Switch to sustainable sources of energy

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Sustainable source of energy. (Pinterest)

Power up your homes with renewable sources of energy. Sustainability is the future. Choose a utility company that generates at least half its power from wind or solar energy.

There are companies in Dubai like the Yellow Door or Dewa that generate renewable sources of energy. These companies will help you switch to a clean source of energy, lower your electricity bills, reduce Carbon dioxide emissions and enhance sustainability.

63% of the world’s energy is generated from fossil fuels. This amounts to 40% of the total energy we obtain by burning coal, petrol and natural gas every year. Use less electricity to conserve fossil fuels or better, switch to a renewable source of energy.

Hydro-electricity projects generate 16% of the total electricity consumed every year. It is the largest source of electricity generated from a renewable source. If climate change continues at this rate. All the glaciers that produce the water for hydro projects will melt away. This will strip us of the ability to generate hydropower in the future.

We are going to run out of fossil fuels one final day. So making a switch to renewable sources makes even more sense. First of all, it is eco-friendly and secondly, it will also help conserve fossil fuels for future generations.

Preserving nature and eco-system

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Preserve Nature and it will preserve you. (Pinterest)

When it comes to global warming and climate change, nature lies in the midst of it all. Nature faces the effects of climate change, but it also plays a much broader role. If we help preserve nature, it will help us in fighting climate change. If we exploit and burn our nature it will contribute to global warming.

The loss and degradation of forests such as the ‘Amazon fires‘ in our recent memory directly constitute 12% percent of the total carbon emissions in a year.

A group of leading experts has published research called Natural Climate Solutions. The studies show us that the potential of these nature-based climate solutions is more than 30% greater than previously thought. 60% of cumulative greenhouse gas emissions from human activities are being absorbed by plants and soils or by the ocean.

Ecosystems, of course, vary in their capacity to store and segregate carbon. Of all ecosystems, forests have the greatest amounts of cost-effective remission opportunities as well as the largest carbon storage capacity. It makes up about two-thirds of all nature-based climate solutions globally.

Better conservation, restoration, and management of ecosystems – forests, wetlands, and oceans – play a critical role in the healthy functioning of the carbon cycle and the balanced regulation of the planet’s climate.

Even if we live in regions that have little or no forests, we can indirectly contribute by applauding and supporting programs such as the Global Footprint Network and Earth Day Network.

Drive sensibly

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Make your cars fuel-efficient

Your cars are convenient for going around, but it is also contributing a lot to the on-going climate change. Studies show that all vehicles including cars, airways, and others, are the main source of air pollution.

A staggering 70% of the carbon monoxide pollution is caused by vehicles every year. It is one of the main greenhouse gas that is leading to climate change. Moreover, carbon monoxide also directly affects your health. It is a harmful gas that displaces oxygen in the blood and deprives the heart, brain and other vital organs of the oxygen.

Drive only if it is necessary. You could use a cycle or walk if the destination is not that far away. It is eco-friendly as well as a healthy habit. Prefer using public transportation such as metros as it is a much more fuel-efficient way to travel.

Drive vehicles that are very well maintained and are energy-efficient. Here are a few ways you can be more efficient with your cars.

  • Keeping your tires inflated properly can improve your gas mileage by more than 3 percent.
  • Fuel-efficient cars such as Gas-smart cars, hybrids and fully electric vehicles, save fuel and money.
  • A simple car tune-up can boost miles per gallon anywhere from 4 percent to 40 percent, and a new air filter can get you a 10 percent boost.
  • Turn off your engine when stuck in traffic.

Invest in energy-efficient appliances

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Energy Efficient LED lights. (Pinterest)

A lot of appliances in our homes have become outdated. Although they may be working just fine and making your lives easier, they still consume a lot of energy. You should consider upgrading all the appliances at your home to more energy-efficient models.

Old refrigerators and air conditioners are very harmful to the environment as they use Hydrofluorocarbons. The HFC’s are 100 to 3000 times more potent as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide and can remain in the atmosphere for long periods.

Invest in refrigerators and AC from companies like Itomic, Advansor, Shecco, Obrist and Earthcare Products – companies that are against HFCs. These companies promote the use of fluids like ammonia and propane. These liquids are more eco-friendly and a good substitute for the HFC.

Simply turning off your television, DVD player, stereo, and computer, when you’re not using them, will save you thousands of tons of carbon dioxide a year. So don’t leave fully charged devices plugged into your home’s outlets. Unplug rarely used devices or plug them into power strips and timers. Adjust your computers and monitors to automatically power down to the lowest power mode when not in use.

Overhaul your home lighting systems with LEDs. LED lightbulbs use up to 80 percent less energy than conventional bulbs. A 10-watt LED that replaces your traditional 60-watt bulb will also save you AED 460 over the lightbulb’s life.

The same goes for all the other energy-efficient appliances. They may cost you a little upfront. But they will save you more money in the long run. It is also a very valuable contribution to the cause of stopping climate change.

Don’t waste food

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Stop wasting precious food. (Pinterest)

The global food system is responsible for up to one-third of all human-created greenhouse gas emissions.  It is one of the largest contributors to climate change.  The fact that 33% of the food produced goes to waste every year serves a serious negative impact on the efforts to prevent climate change.

Big picture- energy and transportation tend to be the face of climate change. However, the food industry’s impact is arguably larger and deserves more of a focus. While wasting food, you are also wasting all the resources that go into the production and transportation of food.

The cost of food production is very high. Even more so these days due to the continuous rise in population. So, growing the food that goes to waste ends up using up 21% of our freshwater, 19% of our fertilizer, 18% of our cropland, and 21% of our landfill volume.

Moreover, the wasted food that goes to the bin and ends up in a landfill also hurts the environment. The food that breaks down in landfills, releases methane to the atmosphere. Methane is a greenhouse gas that is 25 times more effective than carbon dioxide in trapping heat.

Methane accounts for 20% of greenhouse gas emissions. Besides, other adversely-affective gases are also released to the air in the production process of the food.

Water is essential to life on Earth. Producing food also requires a lot of water. it is used in several stages starting from irrigation of the soil till the processing period.  By wasting billions of tons of food every year, we are also wasting billions of gallons of water that went into its production.

Stay plastic-free

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Say no to Plastic.

Plastics are the biggest components of pollution, due to their undegradable nature. Plastics are not de-composable like other forms of waste. They are the biggest pollutants of the soil and ocean. Try using alternatives for plastics such as shower friendly papers and plant-based plastics.

Also, carry a water bottle around with you so you don’t have to buy water that comes in plastic bottles. Avoid using plastic straws, use matches instead of disposable plastic lighters or invest in a refillable metal lighter. Use a razor with replaceable blades instead of a disposable razor. Make fresh-squeezed juice or eat fruit instead of buying juice in plastic bottles. It’s healthier and better for the environment.

Only 9% of all plastic waste ever produced has been recycled. About 12% has been incinerated. While the rest -79% has accumulated in landfills, dumps or the natural environment. Moreover, many tiny plastic particles are swallowed by farm animals or fish who mistake them for food and thus can find their way onto our dinner plates.

If current trends continue, our oceans could contain more plastics than fish by 2050. So, by all means, say no to plastic.

Proper waste management

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Three-R’s of waste management. (Pinterest)

The three Rs- Reduce, Recycle and Reuse are the main constituents of waste management. This waste management is the guidance suggested for creating a sustainable life. They are very easy to implement. By bringing small changes in your daily lifestyle, you can reduce waste so that less amount of it goes to the landfill.

Refuse to buy items that you don’t need. Reuse items more than once. Dispose of the items that are no longer of any use at appropriate recycling centers. By following these small steps you can contribute towards a healthier planet.

The concept of “reducing what is produced and consumed” is essential to waste management. Less production of waste is directly proportional to a lesser need for reuse and recycle. Here are some examples of how you can reduce, recycle and reuse your waste-

  • Printing on both sides of a paper.
  • Using emails instead of paper mails.
  • Using cloth napkins instead of paper napkins
  • Buying durable goods with a longer warranty
  • Using multi-purpose items.

You can also reuse some items like old jars and pots to store items in the kitchen. Use old newspapers to pack items rather than using other packing papers. Donate your old books and clothes to NGOs who will put them to good use. It’s also very essential to have a compose pit if you have some space in your backyard. A compost pit will all turn all degradable wastes into fertilizers for your garden.