We all know it, we've all heard of it and we've all had to adapt to it. Climate change, is one of the most urgent global issues and has been for a long while now. This is not a quick-fix situation and it is important to accept that with so much damage already done, it will take everyone to do their little bit to work towards a better future for our planet. It seems that because of the permanence of this issue, people have become complacent and indifferent to the issue at hand. Due to the fact we cannot see the damage in front of us, we take on an 'out of sight, out of mind' attitude; 97% of scientists around the world agree that climate change is resulting from human activity and with no action, the consequences are fatal.
With this in mind, people make small changes in their lifestyle with the promise that they are doing good for those that will come after them. This has been the mentality for a long time now and it does beg the question, does climate change really start at home?
Home is where the hard work starts
We as a society have been overwhelmed with information and warnings on climate change for years now. So much so that when it comes to trying to help, nothing ever seems enough, and finding a place to start can feel like an impossible task. However, incorporating small things day-to-day is a lot easier than it would seem.
The first thing and maybe the easiest is to limit your amount of wastage, in particular with food. This is not a case of forcing yourself to make use of every last squeeze you can get from a teabag, instead, this is the idea that we plan our shopping carefully to make the most without having to throw much away. The growth, production, and packaging of food all contribute to greenhouse gases that are responsible for climate change.
"It has been estimated that if food waste was a country, it would be the third highest emitter of greenhouse gases after the US and China... One third of greenhouse emissions globally come from agriculture, and 30% of the food we produce is wasted- about 1.8 billion tons of it a year."
As a response to this, many people have taken up vegan/vegetarianism. Although this does not completely eliminate the contribution to packaging and wasting produce, the production of plant-based products is a more considerate process. When you unpack the impact that eating green has, the consequences are substantial.
"As we've previously explored, going vegan stops the deforestation, soil degradation, and greenhouse gas emissions associated with meat production, helping to slow climate change and secure our global food supply."
Knowing the amount of change that comes from being mindful of your food is rewarding. However, it has also been documented that the results can vary. Some studies show that opting for vegetarian choices would only reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 3%, so it really is about doing what you can when you can.
In addition to this, investing in energy-efficient appliances and your usage is another great way to help. No one is expected to spend hundreds in order to reduce their carbon footprint but taking into account the way you use your devices is just as vital.
Usage of household gadgets has increased drastically since the start of the pandemic, naturally, nobody takes into account how much energy their fridge is using. Nonetheless reducing your energy usage will automatically reduce the demand for fossil fuels and therefore an immediate effect on emissions that contribute to climate change. Knowing that simply turning off a plug or reducing the amount of water in the kettle can be preventative against further damage, is a gratifying thing.
Is it really up to me?
Whilst these precautions we can take in our personal lives are good in a sense of trying to lessen the damage that has already been done, is the state of climate change too far gone to undo? We as people can only do so much and yes, each of us doing our part will have a larger impact than we know, but are we fighting a losing battle doing this on our own.
Large corporations with large factories will undoubtedly produce more emissions than a single household and with the consumerism culture in our society, it is hard to see that changing anytime soon. It has been reported that 100 energy companies have been responsible for 71% of all industrial emissions since human-driven climate change was recognised. In spite of the fact that statistics like this can leave us feeling defeated and with no hope, it is enough to know that what we can do, we are doing. It is now the responsibility of government officials to encourage this behaviour and do more to preserve the world we have.
Climate change might not have predominantly come from our homes, but the actions we take to help certainly does and it starts with us.