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2020: What you can do to combat climate change

  • Written by Dakota Murphey

    You don’t have to look too long or hard to appreciate the seriousness of climate change: more flooding than ever before in Central America, forest fires running rampage across Australia and great droughts hitting the Great Plains. There’s more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere than ever before according to NASA, polar ice caps are melting, and the ozone layer is disintegrating day by day.

    While this may all sound doom and gloom, protest movements, like that of the rebel group Extinction Rebellion, have helped bring the issue into the public eye. Many people are now finally starting to sit up and take notice of just how important climate change is – it’s not some distant event that will happen outside of our lifetime; it’s taking place in front of our very eyes right now.

    Love her or loathe her, Greta Thunberg is completely correct when she says that we have a global crisis on our hands – without implementing change or intervention, our planet will only continue to get worse.

    So, what can you as an individual do to help?

    With 2020 just around the corner, now is the perfect time to start thinking about how you can change to help not just yourself, but your fellow man as well. From making small changes to your home to making big changes to your lifestyle, here are five effective ways to help combat climate change.

    1. Pressurise the government

    While Brexit is the talk of the town these days, there will be no point squabbling over whether to leave the EU or not if there is no EU in the first place. Time is running out to stop the catastrophic effects of climate change and the UK government simply has to act now.

    By implementing a climate-friendly action plan, we as a nation can significantly cut greenhouse gas emissions and build environmentally-friendly communities, with cleaner air, greener jobs and thriving wildlife. However, in order for these plans to actually be put in place, the government needs to be pressurised to act. Petition websites like Change.org are typically a good place to start.

    1. Think renewable

    Putting pressure on the government is one thing, but how about putting it on your energy suppliers as well? In just five minutes you could switch to a green-energy provider who will provide your home with energy sourced from renewable means.

    If you want to go one step further, you could even think about installing a renewable energy system at your own home. Solar panels have significantly dropped in price over recent years and other systems, like ground-source heat pumps and biomass systems, are becoming more and more popular.

    1. Cut down on meat

    The meat and dairy industry contribute massively to the total amount of climate change-inducing emissions currently flooding our atmosphere – more than 14% globally. Therefore, to combat this, the simple thing to do is to cut down on your meat and dairy consumption.

    Now, I’m not saying you have to go completely vegetarian or vegan – even cutting down a burger a week could make a big difference. It’s all about demand after all. If there’s less of a demand for meat and dairy produce in the first place, less of it will be produced, meaning lower amounts of greenhouse gases will be emitted into the atmosphere.

    1. Avoid the car

    Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past few decades, you will know already how bad gas-guzzling petrol and diesel cars are for the environment. They spew out a ton of climate-wrecking emissions, contribute towards the breakdown of the ozone layer and increase air pollution.

    While some car trips are obviously unavoidable, in order to protect the planet, try to use public transport like buses or trains where possible. Alternatively, walk, cycle, car share or run to get to and from places. The more you can avoid taking unnecessary trips by yourself, the more you’ll help.

    1. Train it, don’t plane it

    While on the subject of transport, planes are one of the biggest contributing factors towards climate change. Therefore, rather than holidaying to far-flung destinations all the time, why not stay in the UK and Europe instead?

    It can be just as easy – and sometimes cheaper – to get the train to and from places, instead of a plane. From the mountains of Snowdonia and the lakes of the Peak District, to the romance of Paris and culinary delights of Barcelona, trains connect many of Europe’s best-loved destinations. Next time it comes to booking a holiday, think about travelling by train instead.

    Dakota Murphey has a wealth of experience in business management and has previously worked as a business growth consultant for over 10 years. She now enjoys sharing her knowledge through her writing and connecting with other like-minded professionals. Find out what else she's been up to on Twitter: @Dakota_Murphey

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