By: Audrey Timson
Climate change. The imminent threat that we’ve all been told is going to extinguish the whole human population and erase our entire existence if nothing is done to prevent it in the next 10 years. This is something that is happening now – in our lifetime. It seems daunting, yes – a force powerful enough to wipe out over seven billion people that we can’t even see. Except we can. We see it in the Amazon’s burning forests and Greenland’s melting glaciers, it affects us through hurricane Dorian and Indonesia’s wildfires. Just because it’s not tangible, doesn’t mean it isn’t real. But how can one person’s actions possibly impact a crisis as severe as climate change?
Surprisingly, minor adjustments and changes in your own lifestyle can influence the future – our future. Prince Charles believes that these next 12 months are critical to battling the epidemic. So if you’re not up to attending the UN Climate Summit or striking in the streets, here’s 5 things you should already be doing – but if you’re not, here’s 5 things you can do to battle climate change from home.
Okay, so maybe Bali doesn’t exactly have any public transportation like trains or buses but that doesn’t mean there’s no way to reduce your transportation footprint. Carpooling is a great alternative. If your driver or parent drives only you to and from school every day, consider joining a carpool – there’s various that commute to school scattered across Bali – or even start your own!
Having five people in one car together rather than all separately can greatly reduce the collective carbon footprint. I, personally, get the pleasure of spending my hour-long commute in the company of five other girls. Not only is it 1) way more fun, and 2) more affordable, but 3) it’s an easy way to help the environment. Really, there’s no excuse not to.
Firstly, try to reduce food waste. Surprisingly, something as simple as finishing your dinner can actually benefit the environment. Obscene amounts of energy are used to process food, and most of it just ends up in landfill. Therefore, if you’re wasting less food, you’re conserving more energy. Up to 10% of all global greenhouse emissions stem from food waste so please, finish your food!
Secondly, reducing your meat consumption can also be immensely beneficial. According to the UN, more people could be fed using less land if individuals cut down on eating meat. However, this doesn’t mean you have to become a vegetarian, in fact, you probably shouldn’t. A new study says that eating some meat is better for the environment than going fully vegetarian as while you may be cutting down on meat, you’re eating double the amount of dairy which is only a little bit better. Eating less dairy, more vegetables and one portion of meat per day is the best diet for the environment and luckily, it’s easy to implement too.
3.Electricity and Water
Saving electricity may seem a bit extreme, but it’s easier than you probably think. Something as little as turning off the lights in your room before you go out. Opting for a fan over AC. Turning off the TV after watching a movie. All these small things add up to lower your carbon footprint significantly.
Conserving water is similar actually. Turning off the tap while you’re brushing your teeth. Taking shorter showers. It takes a lot of energy to pump, heat, and treat water, therefore, using less water uses less energy. Shorter showers for a longer lifespan!
The fast-fashion industry is huge and powerful, and tempting too. Most of it is so much cheaper than quality brands, why waste money? But you also have to think about why everything they make is so affordable. The clothing is cheaply made, which means it wears faster and needs to be replaced more often – which results in more waste. Moreover, the UN says that the fashion industry consumes more energy than the aviation and shipping industry combined, and by 2030, it will have only increased by 63%.
A way to make sure you aren’t supporting this while still not spending too much is thrift shopping. Buying second-hand clothing when you can is ideal and not to mention, fun, so next time you happen upon a thrift store, go in, don’t support fast-fashion!
Not only is it crucial to educate yourself about this issue, as we’re the ones that have been left to deal with it, but it’s also equally as important to educate others whenever you can. Talk to your friends and family about this, discuss solutions and try to make people understand how important it is to help out – whether it be in big or small ways. The more people you educate, the more people they can then educate. So don’t forget, your voice may be the single most powerful thing you can exploit to fight climate change – so use it.
While there are various other things you can do like recycling or even going zero waste, these are some of the simplest things that have the biggest impact. Fighting climate change starts and ends with us – the younger generation. What we do now determines our future. So let’s make sure we actually have one.