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Be Savvy About Climate Change

As part of the December 2015 Paris Climate Accord, nearly every country in the world agreed to limit the global average temperature increase to 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels.

In September 2018, a report was published by the world’s leading climate scientists and in it they made their starkest warning so far: that our current actions are not enough for us to meet our target of 1.5C of warming.

We must do more.

Science clearly makes evident that climate change is real and we are definitely starting to see every day on our news channels some of the ways that it affects the world: more flooding, more extreme heat & cold, wildfires, melting ice and so on.

We no longer need to question whether climate change is happening  or whether humans are causing it. Instead, we should be asking ourselves: “what can we do?” and “what can I do that will have the biggest impact?”

Avoiding the worst impacts of climate change means taking consequential action now and here are the many challenges:

  1. Transitioning to renewable energy (solar, wind, hydropower, geothermal energy and biofuels)Eden Private STaff, Renewable energy
  2. Transport: switching to decarbonised/clean electricity
  3. Buildings: as homes, offices, shops are responsible for around a ¼ of the world’s energy related emissions via electricity, heating, cooling, computer servers and so on, we need to embrace zero-carbon electricity
  4. Industry: in order to meet net-zero emissions, industrial emissions will need to be slashed by around 80% and huge commitments to investment need to be made to implement carbon-free processes to make such commodities as cement, iron and steel
  5. Land Use: a whole portfolio of actions are required with regards to the usage of land and the best way forward is to intensify agriculture while reducing our consumption of foods whose production  results in huge gas emissions – predominantly from cattle
  6. Us: the biggest challenge of all is ourselves. We need to confront our weaknesses as we continuously contribute to the problem every time we use an appliance, drive a car, use hot water, travel etc etc. Change means making sacrifices and that is the uncomfortable truth. More of us need to see that green alternatives will improve our quality of life

So, what can we actually do that will make a difference?

Well, the good news is that the cumulative effect of small, low effort actions can still have a huge impact. The more each individual does, the closer we get to helping avert the worst of climate change.

  • Cars & Driving: a third of carbon emissions from an average household comes from driving your car. If you can’t go electric, then switch to a smaller, more fuel-efficient car and avoid diesel
  • Fly Less: pre-Covid, around a tenth of household emissions were from flying, so any reduction in the amount you fly is a bonus
  • Food: as more and more land is cleared worldwide to cope with demand for intensive farming, the deforestation releases lots of carbon. Changing to a more plant-based diet could significantly help reduce emissions from the agricultural industry and above all try to reduce/avoid beef. Also eat seasonally so that fruits, vegetables, meat, cheese etc do not have to be imported in such huge quantities
  • Be Home Smart: if replacing a domestic appliance, try to choose an energy-efficient model. Also adopt simple changes such as not leaving appliances on standby mode, lower the temperature of your hot water, use a low-flow shower head and don’t use a tumble dryer
  • At Work: offices are a major source of unnecessary emissions so make sure you do your bit by switching off lights, switch off your workstation, unplug phone chargers when not in use and if you don’t need to travel into the office every day that will be helping too
  • Longer Term: although this won’t contribute significantly to carbon emissions reductions over the shorter term/next 10 years, the biggest single impact anyone can have on their long-term carbon footprint is to have one less child/a smaller family

We are constantly told that the climate situation is urgent and we must act NOW. This is of course true and we can all have a go at tweaking a few things in our lives in order to help make a difference.

carbon Neutral, eden private staff

In addition though, we could also take a more positive stance by adopting the attitude that it’s not just the next 10 or 12 years that count, we can work on climate change all our lives. If we miss the 1.5 degrees target then let’s fight for 1.6 or 1.8 and if we miss that then strive for 2 or 2.4.

This fight is permanent and we should never give up.

August 16, 2021

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