Of the many global challenges we face today, there is perhaps none more urgent than climate change. Although fossil fuels and mass production have generated an extraordinary amount of wealth, rising levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere have led to a warming planet. On current projections, by 2100 our climate could warm by 4 degrees Celsius.
If we allow the regular temperature to rise over 2 degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial level, the results will be devastating and cause irreversible damage to our ecosystems and environment. For the survival of life as we know it, there needs to be enormous investment in research and development plus a radical transformation of our energy and economic systems.
At the local level, governments and communities are leading the way on climate change action by aligning themselves with up-to-date climate science and international agreements in a bid to work towards net zero emissions targets by 2050. Beyond Zero Emissions has released a Zero Carbon Communities Guide to empower communities and councils. It provides a simple framework and key steps a community can take towards a zero carbon status across all sectors within 10 years.
As individuals, we can all do our bit to reduce CO2 levels. Here are some practical ways to start emissions reduction in your home and community:
- Drive less. By walking or biking you will be burning less fuel thus releasing fewer emissions into the atmosphere. You’ll save money on petrol and avoid being stuck in traffic, which wastes fuel and creates more CO2.
- Use less energy at home; choose energy-efficient appliances (look for the ENERGY STAR label), turn off all lights you are not using and choose compact fluorescent or LED light bulbs (they use up to 80 % less energy).
- Consider adding solar panels to the roof of your home. Insulate yourself by putting a jumper on in winter instead of the heater.
- Insulate and seal your home.
- Recycle and reuse whatever and wherever you can.
- Reduce flight travel. Did you know that first- and business-class seats have a higher carbon footprint than economy ones?
- Buy less meat and choose locally produced/ organic produce rather than processed food.
- Throw away less food and avoid packaged food.
- Consider sharing things or renting rather than buying everything new.
- Read more about Zero Carbon Communities
- Learn about the Enhanced Greenhouse Effect
- More ways to reduce your carbon footprint
- Join the Challenge: Go Plastic Free
- Buy this practical guidebook The Energy Freedom Home
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Positive Environment News has been compiled using publicly available information. Planet Ark does not take responsibility for the accuracy of the original information and encourages readers to check the references before using this information for their own purposes.