Climate change is happening fast, and the 2019 Australian bushfires were a stark reminder of this reality.
With 19 of the 20 warmest years on record all occurring since 2001, earth is now the warmest it has been in more than 120,000 years. Calls for action on climate change have fallen on deaf ears for almost 20 years, but now it looks like we’re on the verge of breaking point. Can we still save our planet?
After the British government set targets in the UK for a net zero emissions future by 2050, the court of appeals ruled plans for a third runway at Heathrow Airport as illegal.
Many scientists have began practicing what they preach in their own home as climate change begins to escalate furthermore. So, which of these measures can we learn from to reduce our carbon footprint?
Since a one hour 20-minute return flight emits 0.24 tonnes of carbon, air traffic is one of the biggest contributors to carbon being released into the atmosphere. Experts have said travellers should restrict themselves to just one short haul flight every two to three years.
Taking the Eurostar to the continent or travelling via car-ferry-car journey would be an alternative for many to consider. The argument for travelling by plane collapses when the same trip by car and boat would produce 0.08 tonnes of carbon — less than a third of the emissions produced by a plane for the same journey.
|Newcastle to Belfast Round Trip: Car-Ferry-Car vs Plane|
|Mode of Transport||Distance||Time||Emissions per km/hr||Total|
|Car-Ferry-Car||734 km||13 hours||120g per km||88,080g (0.08 tonnes)|
|Plane||584 km||1hr 20 mins||90g per hour||240,000g (0.24 tonnes)|
Some experts are taking a stand as the stats stack up. Professor Dave Reay from the University of Edinburgh is setting the best example for his children. He gave up flying in 2004 and has opted for the staycation, taking his family on trips around the British Isles instead of jet setting to the other side of the world.
They even took the ferry to Amsterdam, proving that a lack of flying doesn’t have to prevent you exploring other cultures.
A Plastic Free Life
Plastic is continuously being dumped into our oceans- this being one of the biggest concerns around climate change. Almost eight million tonnes of plastic enter the ocean every year, which consequently destroys the environment, as well as the animal and plant life to which they play home.
There is plenty you can do at home to help prevent this. In 2011, more than 250 million people engaged with Plastic Free July to help clean up the streets and oceans. Carbon specialist Siobhán Pereira chose to go plastic-free in her bathroom and is encouraging others to do the same. Switch your plastic toothbrush for a bamboo or biodegradable alternative for starters, as well as choosing an eco-friendly soap.
Pereira gave advise to people about the lifestyle change she made, saying: “We’ve got so used to going into the supermarket, putting something into our baskets and coming home, but we haven’t considered what happens at the end of its life.” Supermarkets are working to reduce plastics in the fruit and veg aisle but with higher costs associated with eco choices, are we being priced out of saving the earth?
Go off the grid
We often complain about the obstacles that come in the way of our life and crave an opportunity to put everything on hold now that materialistic possessions dominate social media channels. With everything available at the touch of a button, from switching your heating on at home before you have left the office for the day, to ordering clothes through your smart phone, technology is making everything more convenient for consumers.
So, let’s get back to the basics. Choose an off grid gas supply and strip back the factors that contribute to a rising carbon footprint to have a telling impact on the planet. It could be worth investigating the price of LPG and potentially switch your oil heating for the more environmentally friendly liquefied petroleum gas (LPG). LPG produces less carbon emissions when burned and can also be used for domestic tasks, including fuelling an oven, as well as your boiler.
It is possible to make change happen if you really want to. Take a leaf out of Dr Alison Green’s book. The national director at Scientists Warning has opted to put her house on the market to downsize her carbon footprint. She plans to grow her own food, insert solar panels to source electric, and make a commitment to running an eco-friendly house.
In order to save our planet, scientists are really trying hard to demonstrate ways to do so after years of warnings and a lack of reaction. Governments are finally starting to wake up to climate change, but until the everyday person is sold on the idea that life will be better for them, it seems we may be having the same conversations in 10 to 15 years’ time.
Although we have been slow to react to climate change due to human convenience and affordability, there are now options out there. Will you make the change today and give our planet the chance to survive?