By: Julienne Gwyn Masendo
For a while let us all pretend that we don’t have enough problems in our own plate so I could aware you with this global phenomenon that we’ve been disregarding for as long as we can remember – climate change. Re-educate yourselves before you try to look for something else to read in this newspaper that’s more appealing to you (yes, I know how informative articles could be boring), at least with the basics about climate change because just in case you haven’t noticed, we’re clearly doing a terrific job in taking care of this Earth since temperature is constantly rising, more droughts are expected, hurricanes are becoming more intense, sea level is increasing so yes, we’ll be drowning sooner or later. And no, I’m not scared, are you?
Greenhouse gasses and excessive carbon dioxide emissions are just some of the culprits and since we don’t tend to count ourselves and our activities as one of it so let’s just blame it all to Trump. And you know how we all are fond of great stories and how we look forward to its rising and falling action just to unravel their mysteries at the end? Well, I think you don’t want to anticipate the resolution of this climate change thing because trust me; it’s the only sad story that is NEVER EVER ENDING. I don’t think anyone of you though is looking forward to its climax for it will just get hotter and hotter – the Earth, of course not you.
Let us look into reasons why there’s climate change and what it’s doing to our beloved Mother Earth. The information that you’ll be digesting ahead is based on an article from The New York Times and The Daily Conversation. Don’t worry explanations will be simplified since your love life is already more complicated.
For starters, let me introduce to you the Sun. The Sun is the largest star in our solar system that radiates energy in the form of heat and light. That energy that we harness is called solar energy. We benefit from the sun in numerous ways, not just in solar power but also in the natural processes of our planet such as photosynthesis so plants could make food and make the air breathable. Feeling smart already? There’s more. The rays of the Sun enter Earth by ultraviolet rays and exit as infrared rays. Instead of escaping our atmosphere some infrared rays get trapped because of certain gasses namely; Carbon Dioxide, Methane, Nitrous Oxide, Hydro fluorocarbons, Per fluorocarbons, and Suphurhexaflourides. Of course we won’t talk about all of them since you haven’t even read the last five words so we’ll just focus on the most common gas we know, Carbon Dioxide.
The growth of Carbon Dioxide emissions started in the Industrial Revolution where factories emerged and began mechanizing the process of manufacturing products. This contributed to the urbanization of our society and where, at present, we still continue to develop our community in ways that could make our daily lives easier. Burning of fossil fuel is a huge contributor since we need the energy from it and the byproduct of this combustion creates almost three times the amount of CO2 from its actual weight. It’s like you’re creating a fart that’s three times worse than yourself – almost three times.
The CO2 and other gasses that we’ve excluded from explaining are causing the radiated heat from the sun to be trapped in our atmosphere which, of course in return, causing our temperature to rise. What others results happen in the process? If Carbon Dioxide levels increase heat, our atmosphere also increases and if temperature rises, more droughts will be expected and hurricanes and typhoons will be worse because heating of the surface causes weather patterns to destabilize. In addition to that, if we don’t get our acts together, Antarctica might become iceless sooner or later which means cute Polar bears can become extinct and it will also cause sea level to rise and some coastal cities will be left under water. Oh yes! We’ll definitely be drowning, I just hope by that time we already know how to swim!
HINDRANCE TO THE SOLUTION
Some of you might think that, “Oh, we should stop burning fossil fuels and opt for more natural alternatives for the daily consumption of our needs.” Well we would’ve done that if we don’t need some electricity, transportation, and industrialization which just happened to be the primary economic sectors – to make things simple; removing those three would cause a major economic breakdown in our society. And if things aren’t already worse, this environmental problem will always be politically inclined since the search for the cure will, of course, be hindered by politicians for some major business sectors are feeding on fossil fuels.
To simplify, it would be impossible to live without transportation, electricity, and industrialization and that at present, it would be difficult to push through solutions with these problems so the only thing we can do is minimize the emissions and think of ways where we can be more environmentally friendly.
As the saying goes, “prevention is better than cure”, we obviously aren’t good in the preventing part since we’ve already done damages in this planet, so going green is one solution where both the environment and ourselves benefit. Here are some simple ways that is suggested by Melissa Denchak of ndc.org:
Use renewable energy
The production of electricity has a huge contribution to carbon dioxide emission. Powering up your home with renewable energy and using solar panels will cut the cost of your utilities and save you a lot of money.
Reduce water waste
Keeping the tap on while brushing is one way most of us are guilty of, taking long showers is another. Saving water too can reduce a lot of carbon pollution since it takes a lot of energy in pumping, heating, and treating water. According to the Alliance for Water Efficiency, you consume 2.1 gallons of water when you keep the shower on for one minute, so the longer and the more singing you do in the shower, the more water you waste. By keeping the tap off while brushing and by taking short showers you are already helping the environment.
Do not waste food, eat less meat
In the US, 10% of the energy is taken for the production and processing of food. Only 60% of the produce is consumed and the rest ends up in the landfill, so actually just eating your food helps. Also, according to a website called greeneatz, eating less meat can also lessen greenhouse gas emissions. Beef is a huge contributor. 27 kilos of CO2 emissions produce per kilogram of beef which is equivalent to driving 63 miles in your car. So giving up meat (or minimizing at least) and choosing more vegetables will help save the environment and keep your body healthy.
Use LED bulbs
Incandescent bulbs use 80 percent more energy than LEDs. LEDs can also be cheaper in the long run. By opting to use LED, you save energy and money.
Opt for fuel efficient automobiles
The more fuel your car consumes, the more dangerous the environment will be and the more money you’ll also spend. Staying practical and using gas-smart cars or fully electric vehicles save you fuel and money. In 2011, the average fleet of vehicles in the US consumes 28.3 miles per gallon. We’ll be averaging a 54.5 miles per gallon once light trucks and all cars meet the 2025’s clean car standards which means saving the cost of pumping fuel by $80 billion dollars and cutting automotive emissions by half.
You see? There are ways to prevent the deterioration of our environment but the question is, are you willing to be part of it?