A series of articles focusing on how to combat climate change and environmental damage caused by our daily habits and rituals.
Climate change is an anxiety-producing phenomenon many find difficult to think about. This could be for several reasons, mostly because it can overwhelm knowing where to start, or that our brains are wired to prevent us from thinking about death. Including our own.
The wealthy are more likely invested in industries with large carbon footprints and extravagant personal resources that can pressure politics and media. As a consequence, their voice is more renown and a foundational source of trust. But these interests can skewer perception and reality. These are the so-called titans of industry. Their immense influence can stammer belief systems, though there are things we can do in our own lives to limit the damage they wreak.
Our choices have powerful effects on the environment and as a consequence of our actions, thousands of bee colonies are dying, lake water levels are unpredictable and record temperatures are being documented.
Like the old adage of charity begins at home, so does the fight against climate change. And like cleaning up after yourself, it should also be continuous.
1. Carry a reasonably sized water bottle
A very obvious yet widely unpractised ritual. Carrying a reusable bottle limits a need to purchase disposable plastic ones, which are often not recycled, left as litter or placed in regular rubbish bins.
There are now plenty of apps available to help locate a water station, which you can use to plan ahead.
2. Eat less meat, be pescatarian or flexitarian
Proven to be a toxic debate, eating less meat is something we’ve all heard of late. But the facts are, eating less meat can limit your carbon footprint and so can moving to a sustainably sourced mediterranean diet.
In his video for climate lab (below), Dr M. Sanjayan explains methane produced by cows can be as much as 25 times more potent than co2. Our addiction to meat is destroying vast swathes of land to raise cattle and is increasing each day. This in turn has a cataclysmic effect on greenhouse gas emissions, not to mention, most animals are treated cruelly and unfairly by ranchers where animal abuse is unmonitored.
Nowhere has been more impacted by the meat industry than the Amazon rainforest. Whole eco-systems along with animals and invertebrates are being destroyed as a consequence of choices we make. There have been devastating consequences for climate and biodiversity.
3. Vote with your choices
Companies like Coca-Cola and Pepsi cause a world of pain for local communities of (usually) remote towns of developing nations by extracting thousands of gallons of water per day. It takes approximately 3 litres of water to produce one litre of Coca-Cola/Pepsi. This, in turn, causes water shortages where they produce beverages in countries including India and Guatemala.
You can also resist the harm they cause by abstaining from products they parent own which include Doritos, Quaker Oats, Tropicana, 7 Up, Naked, Gatorade, Fanta, Sprite, Dasani, Smartwater, Honest Tea along with partner companies such as McDonald’s, Burger King and Subway. Boycotts hurt, no matter how small they are.
You can also decline purchase from companies who choose to donate to predominantly climate change denying political parties. In the UK, the Conservative party are one of those, who frequently flirt with fracking. They’re supported by companies such as Melton Mowbray pies, Next clothing, Warburtons bread, Soreen malt loaf, Amira Rice and the Saga company, plus many more corporations you can boycott.
4. Flush the toilet less
One of the most underrated ways to combat climate change is to flush your toilet less. One flush potentially uses approximately 3 gallons of water (depending on the age of your toilet) which dispatches a mere few trickles of urine. One solution is to flush every 3 uses and on every defecation. According to the Green Age, flushing accounts for 1/3 of water use in each UK household.
5. Start an insect-friendly habitat
Invertebrates are extremely important creatures for pollination and the eco-system. Even insects considered to be irritants (such as mosquitoes) act as a food source for bats who pollinate desert and tropical plants.
6. Use less energy
This can be done in several ways but the simplest method is usually the easiest. Examples of how to use less energy are…
· Instead of using new cups for each brew of tea or coffee, reuse the same one throughout the day. They’re your germs, no one else’s.
· When having a shower, stop and start the water. Drench yourself, lather in shampoo, conditioner, soap and restart the water as and when you need.
· If you’re cold, put on more clothing, not central heating.
· Turn off standby equipment such as plugs, kitchen appliances and multi-socket adaptors.
· Install a smart thermostat
· Change lightbulbs to LED
· Use a cold wash cycle on your washing machine
· Ensure your workspace is tailored around natural light
· Add insulation to your home
7. Eat local
Buying local means your food retains more nutrients. As food ages, it loses vitamins and minerals. Food travelling long distances, although sometimes frozen, will lose much of its content by the time it gets to you. Buying local means better quality produce, not to mention you will be supporting local farms and limiting carbon emissions.