I am sure you have heard a lot about climate change by now with the Glasgow 26 Paris summit in late 2021. When I discuss this with friends and family many of them have no clue about it or they respond by saying oh! I have been hearing this for ages now, nothing much has happened… it is just hype you see!
My heart aches to hear that…I already feel I was so late to understand the urgency of this topic.
Yes! you are right, this news comes from ages… Way back in the 1930's it was predicted about this issue and was confirmed in 1960 when a Geochemist measured and recorded an annual rise in the Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. But well, I think it is human nature, we don’t act unless it gets urgent and has deadlines. So here we are in this mode of crisis where we have been given only 10 years to find solutions to reduce the carbon emissions to keep climate change in control so all the living species on this planet can survive! It is really so urgent, and we all can do our bit to prevent it.
To know more about the COP26 you can visit here.
What is climate change really?
In simple words, Climate change means a long-lasting change in temperature and weather patterns. Such changes can be due to natural phenomena, but it is noted by scientists that since the 1800's the main reason for this change is human-induced. These changes are happening because of the greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and methane that have formed a blanket around the Earth which is trapping all the heat and not letting it be released. These greenhouse gas emissions come from burning coal for various industrial uses, fossil fuels for transport, Pesticides, and fertilizers used in Agriculture, Garbage landfills emit huge amounts of methane, Deforestation, etc. All these activities have already caused immense damage to our Ecosystem and we are experiencing the bad effects. The planet is already warmed by more than 1-degree Celsius and it needs to be limited to 1.5 degrees celsius.
Why should we be bothered now?
You might wonder how a 1 degree increases even matter so much! The important point to note is the operation of the entire Ecosystem gets disrupted due to this small increase. There will be Food shortage, Water scarcity in some places and some places will disappear underwater completely. One such example is the city Jakarta which is sinking at a fast rate due to excessive extraction of groundwater. Change in the climate patterns is already being experienced by every one of us. The increasing wildfires, hurricanes, floods, unseasonal rains, etc. You see the harm is already happening!!
Well, you might say, what can we people do about it? It is the Governments who need to bring the change. Remember, the power lies in the hands of us people who bring profits to big corporations.
Our purchase drives the economy! So just imagine if we are more mindful of choosing what we bring to our homes then the pressure on the economy will be to adopt clean energy and produce ethical and ecofriendly goods or services.
Sadly at present, our Economy is extracting more than nature can produce and polluting it more than we can clean it!
We, adults, need to live by example to our kids so they are more mindful of how they treat the environment for their own survival.
I am sure every one of you wants your kids and the younger generation to experience nature in its entire beauty as we did…We cannot take away that from the younger generation just because of our negligence and irresponsible behavior.
How is human health in danger due to climate change?
With Polluted food, air, and water there will be a rise in respiratory and cardiovascular diseases. Food and water-borne infectious diseases will increase. Pandemics like COVID will only increase going forward if we don’t act soon. Women’s health, especially pregnant women are at greater risk with extreme weather and as global temperatures rise. More wildfires and pollutants from factories will worsen the air quality.
How is agriculture causing climate change?
Modern industrial agriculture is destroying the soil and killing the millions of microorganisms present in the soil. The tremendous amount of petroleum-based pesticides and fertilizers sprayed into the soil kill beneficial microorganisms and bacteria too!!
Organic soil full of nutrients can capture 3 times more carbon than any other method. Healthy nutrient-rich soils can hold water and will need less water to grow.
Higher temperatures and unpredictable weather and rainfall patterns due to climate change is affecting agriculture in a big way. It reduces the crop yields and crops get attacked by more pests and weeds thus destroying crops and resulting in a major reduction in food production. With declining soil quality due to the use of toxic chemical pesticides and the increasing population, there will be a serious Food shortage by 2045. According to the UN by 2045 the world population is believed to hit a whopping 9.3 billion people thus causing a serious food shortage. According to the UN, only 60 to 70 harvests are left until 2050!!
The real statistics to the problem
The world we are creating now will lead to 3 to 4-degree warming. If the governments do not implement actions before 2030 it will be devastating, and we will never be able to keep it in control within 1.5 degrees Celcius.
Do you know to have at least a 50% chance of success we need to do the following,
Global emissions need to come down by 50% by 2030
Another 25% by 2040 and Net-zero by 2050
New regenerative agricultural practices
Complete reduction in coal production, extraction of oil, and fossil fuels.
Even the Internal combustion engine
What can we do?
Well, you might wonder, what can I do about this? One big step is If we stop and refuse products that are harmful to the environment, then you can be assured it is good for your health too. Moreover, this will demand a market to produce what you want. It is only because of our consumption does the economy work. We have the power to drive the change by merely changing our habits and demanding clean products.
Some ways in which we can be responsible, and act is:
1. Support organic and regenerative farming.
Healthy organic soil can capture 3 times more carbon than any other method. Be willing to pay a little more for organic produce because it takes a lot of effort to grow without those toxic soil polluting pesticides. Try it at your home and you will know how much effort it takes. When you grow your food at home, you treasure it and use it. It tastes so delicious too! You can buy one piece of clothing less and can easily accommodate organic food in your diet.
It is worth every penny spent for your health too. The nutrition in food grown today is 90% less than what it used to be decades ago because we started to pollute the soil ruthlessly.
Buy organic food and support organic agriculture. Our soil is dying and will not be able to yield anymore in a few decades from now if we don’t stop the harmful pesticide culture.
When buying always check for organic certification. To know more about organic food certification click here.
Eat Local whenever possible. Make Food purchase groups and visit the local organic farms to pick veggies for yourself and your friends. Always carry your own bags and eliminate using plastic bags. Food flown from very far has a big carbon footprint so reduce emissions and opt for healthy organic food whenever available locally or the place nearest to your country. Demand for no plastic packaging. If it cannot be avoided at this stage, then recycle them responsibly but do not let them get to the landfill.
2. Start composting your food waste or find some soil makers in your neighborhood
You can find soil makers who can compost for you. One such beautiful site is www.makesoil.org Go and check it out if you can find a soil maker in your neighborhood. If not start small at your home. I haven’t been successful in some of my attempts but work is in progress. Will get there soon. Taking the first step is very important. Organic soil full of nutrients is what will save us. We need more organic matter because that is home to the thousands of microorganisms that keep our ecosystem working efficiently. Food that ends up in landfills does not degrade but becomes the second-highest greenhouse emitter by releasing a dangerous and potent greenhouse gas called methane.
If you live in Dubai, UAE then you can access the off-site composting services provided by a company named The Waste Lab.
The Waste Lab is a women-owned, impact-driven startup that aims to create an opportunity for every food scrap to become a solution rather than a burden on our society and environment. By offering nature-enabled and data-driven solutions, The Waste Lab is building a community of individuals and businesses that understands and practices proper organic waste sorting at source and disposal which, in turn, will be used to create healthy compost and other byproducts that benefit our local soil, local farms, local food, and local jobs.
In their household subscription packages, they offer a door-to-door collection service and off-site composting. Right now, they are catering to Dubai residents with plans to expand to Abu Dhabi soon. They have very nominal prices for their subscriptions. For more details, you can visit https://www.thewastelab.com. They are happy to offer The Eco Loop subscribers the first 2 weeks free! Get in touch with them at firstname.lastname@example.org and mention the reference of The Eco Loop to get you started!
3. Reduce heat island effect
Firstly, what is the Heat Island effect?
Did you know the concrete buildings emit heat into the atmosphere and will not absorb it like the trees? Due to this, you will notice the cities are warmer than villages and small towns. Unfortunately, many villages and small towns do not appreciate their life and want to convert them into a city landscape.
Make your spaces greener by growing more plants. If you cannot then support who can. Donate to Reforestation and green movements. Trees are the angels that can absorb heat and CO2 and help in reducing the heat.
Deforestation is the cause for the steep decline in many species of animals and beneficial insects thus disturbing the entire ecosystem.
In many towns in India, monkeys are losing their homes due to deforestation and attacking households for food!
4. Use and support Smart technology
Support, invest or donate to clean renewable energy. If you must buy, invest in smart electronic devices that help you work efficiently with less energy and water use.
Next, when you buy a car, invest in an electric car so you can say no to fossil fuels and reduce your emissions. If you don’t travel much daily, then opt for public transport it will be great on your pocket too and makes a good economic sense. Use electric scooters and bikes for easy and flexible traveling to close-by places or to conveniently reach your points of public transport destinations.
5. Reduce dependence on plastic
Plastic is a petroleum product. Slowly reduce and eliminate your use of one-time-use plastic products, especially the flimsy plastic bags you pick for every fruit and vegetable you pick. They add up to a huge quantity of unrecyclable plastic every family household will generate! They easily escape into our water bodies and other natural habitats which leads to the death of marine life and other animals who eat it mistaking it to be their food!
If you want some good genuinely sustainable options for picking your produce and storing it properly in them, then you can check the bags at this link here. https://www.theecoloopshop.com/zero-waste-essentials These bags are made of 100% Fairtrade certified organic muslin and mesh cotton fabric. It has many uses from picking bread to making nut milk, sprouts and keeping your produce fresh for longer so there is less food waste. You can directly store your fresh produce in the refrigerator after removing the price tags on it. Easy and hassle-free plastic-free shopping.
If you order your fresh produce online, select stores that deliver with the least plastic.
When you get it in recycled paper envelopes, recycle the envelopes and store your produce in organic cotton bags.
To know why to opt for Organic cotton check the link here. https://www.theecoloopshop.com/post/organic-cotton-the-way-to-go
To know more about Plastic and its harm to human health and the environment check here https://www.theecoloopshop.com/post/plastics-curse-to-human-health
6. Switch to a more Plant-based diet
The meat industry is the biggest polluter and the rate at which deforestation is happening to graze the cattle for our food is taking away all the carbon-absorbing mechanisms from the planet. The meat is also adulterated so even if you reduce your intake be sure to buy free-range organic meat with no hormones and no antibiotics.
With the amount of microplastics in the Sea, Eating fish cannot really be a healthy option in my opinion. Also due to overfishing, the ecosystem in water bodies is getting disrupted and many species of organisms in the water bodies are going extinct.
7. Practice Eco-minimalism
Consumerism is the biggest enemy for our survival on the Planet. Buy only what you need which is as Ecofriendly as possible and use them well and dispose of them at end of their life responsibly. This endless spree of shopping mindlessly is getting too heavy on the Planet and all the litter and waste generated is just forming mountains just to go nowhere but emit methane. This habit will surely save your pockets and reduce clutter in your homes making it more peaceful.
8. Spread the word and live by example
Each one of us has the power to influence one more person in our family, friends, workplace, or vicinity. Let’s spread the word and make more people aware of the urgency of this grave problem. Actions speak louder than words, so your efforts to live more sustainably will definitely influence people in your circle.
There is Hope, we can pull this off!
I am sure when we all come together and just make small changes in our habits, we can reverse the damage we humans have created. This change is very much needed in this hour for the human species to not go extinct like many other species that are going extinct!!
Books referred – “The Future we choose” and “Sustainability – a history”
Written & Compiled by Pallavi Santhapuram
Disclaimer: This blog is for information purposes only and is not intended to change anybody’s personal views. All the information provided in this blog is true to the best of my knowledge, but there may be omissions, errors, or mistakes. The blog should not be seen as advice of medical, legal, or any other type. I reserve the right to change or update the focus or content on my published or upcoming blogs at any time. The information within this article is researched and compiled from the references provided.
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