The cause of climate change is very complicated and depends mainly on greenhouse gas emissions. Although greenhouse gasses are from several sources, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), human behavior causes the main production of greenhouse gas. While it’s not clear that stopping climate change is an option, there are several actions that can be taken to cut back the emissions of greenhouse gas. These actions are the following: be aware of your major source of emission, change and reduction in our transportation habits, reducing the use of electricity, reduction in red meat consumption, and reuse, recycle and planting. Some of the actions noted may be difficult to accomplish due to lifestyle or work obligations, but trying them out will make an enormous difference in the fight against climate change.
The first step in resolving a problem is to be aware of it. The second step is to analyze the nature of the issue and collect information that will contribute to the solution of the problem. Therefore, we need to be aware of the major emissions related to our respective area. The information related to this type of emission can be found on the Global Footprint Network which provides the ecology footprint. The ecology footprint is the assessment of ecological resources used and resource capacity of a country for a period of time. An ecology resources study provides an important incentive regarding a specific greenhouse gas emission. By knowing the source of a community emission, the one who is part of that community can decide the best way to cut back on its personal emission.
According to the Environment Protection Agency (EPA), transportation represents about 28% of greenhouse gas emission. Although using transportation is almost inevitable, we can reduce our travel frequency by avoiding trips that are unnecessary. Also, there are several alternatives to cope with the transportation system in order to cut back emissions. For example, walking and biking will cut emissions, boost our immune system, and save money. Therefore, this method is a triple win. Instead of traveling to meet in person, a video conference can save a lot of time and money. Using public transportation is another way to cut back emissions, or the use of a hybrid car in order to use less fuel, since fossil fuel is a key source of greenhouse gas. As the EPA reports, “Greenhouse gas emissions from transportation primarily come from burning fossil fuel for our cars, trucks, ships, trains, and planes. Over 90 percent of the fuel used for transportation is petroleum based, which includes gasoline and diesel”.(https://www.epa.gov/ghgemissions/sources-greenhouse-gas-emissions).
Producing electricity is a source of greenhouse gas emissions similar to transportation, because the production mainly relies the burning of fossil fuels. According to the EPA, “Electricity production generates the second largest share of greenhouse gas emissions. Approximately 68 percent of our electricity comes from burning fossil fuels, mostly coal and natural gas.” There are many different actions that can be taken in order to use less electricity. For example, unplug and turn off any electric device that is not in use because although you turn off a device if it’s still plugged in, it’s still running electricity. Additionally, the use of the washing machine can be reduced by washing a full load of clothes. These tips don’t seem that important, but the habit of practicing them has an important benefit on the environment.
The production of red meat provides its contribution in greenhouse gas emissions. The livestock industry has used about 30% of land space in general. This land space causes the cutting of several trees. Trees represent a great absorber of carbon (C02), therefore mismanagement of forests will have a huge impact on the greenhouse gas emissions. The reduction in meat consumption will help with a healthy environment and lifestyle. Meat lovers will have difficulty cutting down in their consumption, but it is important for them to know the benefit that comes with the reduction in terms of their health and the environment as well.
The reuse of material will reduce the production of new one. Any reduction in production is a gain to the environment since production tends to deliver an important amount of greenhouse gas, about 22 percent of the total amount. As the EPA states, “Greenhouse gas emissions from industry primarily come from burning fossil fuels for energy, as well as greenhouse gas emissions from certain chemical reactions necessary to produce goods from raw materials.” Another method to help reduce emissions of greenhouse gas is to recycle plastic or glass containers that are disposable. This step will help avoid the production of new items, which uses fossil fuels and it will lessen the overload of filling up our landfills with waste.
Coastal vegetation is an important factor in fighting climate change. Coastal vegetation can get rid of an important amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Beside the cooling effect, planting trees can help reduce the risk of floods and degradation of the landfills as well. The best way to participate in such program is to join a community forest restoration program. Additionally, growing food in your backyard, such as fruits or vegetables, is one of the easiest ways to afford organic food. Planting offers so many benefits such as food production and carbon dioxide reduction, therefore it is important to grow your food when it is possible because it’s important to eat healthy and protecting the environment while doing so is an added plus.
Beside the steps mentioned to cut back on greenhouse gases, there are many others. These steps don’t guarantee a stop in climate change, but it will help slow down the process of climate change. Since these steps are hard to be implemented fully, no conclusion can be stated. On the other hand, people need to be aware that climate change is a real threat to humanity and there are several ways that we can fight against it. Unfortunately, it seems as though we need something drastic to happen for people to start doing what is best for the environment. As Auden Schendler and Andrew P. Jones write, “The world would need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions faster than has ever been achieved, and do it everywhere, for 50 years. Northern European countries reduced emissions about 4 to 5 percent per year in the 1970s. We’d need reductions of 6 to 9 percent. Every year, in every country, for half a century.”