Climate change is a major problem that is affecting the world we live in today. It is causing animals to become extinct, glaciers to melt, and abnormal seasonal changes to occur. These are all major issues that will negatively influence future generations. As a student, I can adopt a few practices to slow climate change. Firstly, I can take classes that will give me a deeper insight on climate change. By learning about climate change, I can implement changes to my life that will influence the environment in a positive way. After learning from the lectures, I will be in a position to teach what I have learned to family members, friends, and even strangers. This will add to the number of people with knowledge on the causes of climate change, thus reducing greenhouse gases (GHGs).
Another way I can slow climate change is to limit my energy expenditure. All forms of electricity generation have an environmental impact on our air, water, and land, but it varies. Of the total energy consumed in the United States, about 40% is used to generate electricity, making electricity use an important part of each person’s environmental footprint. Producing and using electricity more efficiently reduce both the amount of fuel needed to generate electricity, and the amount of greenhouse gases and other air pollution emitted as a result. One way to solve this issue is to use less electricity by unplugging devices that are not in use. Another way is to purchase a power strip and plug all electronic chargers into it, then switch the strip off when the appliances are not needed. Lastly, I can switch to compact fluorescent lamps (CFL) or light emitting diodes (LED) light bulbs. All of these small changes I believe will help slow climate change.
I read an article recently that stated 389 billion plastic bottles were produced globally in 2010 that were made from polyethylene terephthalate, a common type of plastic. The article stated that these types of plastic bottles are resistant to environmental biodegradation, meaning that a bottle thrown into the environment won’t degrade for 500 years. Each year, 17 million barrels of refined oil are used to produce water bottles, which is more than the amount of oil needed to fuel more than 1 million cars a year. This made me think: if everyone started using reusable water bottles, this will definitely decrease the amount of refined oil used to create water bottles. To implement this change into my own life will slow the effect of climate change.
Lastly, a change I can make to slow climate change is to vote. Although it’s important to take action to reduce our individual carbon footprints, we also need to focus on changing the larger system. That’s where we have the greatest opportunity to reduce emissions. Vote for leaders at all levels of government who take climate change seriously. Leaders should commit to setting science-based targets to reduce harmful carbon emissions, implementing clear plans to reach those targets, adapting to climate change, and shifting to a clean-energy economy. Registering to vote and then getting informed for all elections – not just the ones that get the most media attention – is vital. Candidates’ positions on climate change vary widely, so research the parties, ask questions about climate change at town halls or debates, and let your candidates know you are voting for the climate. Using my vote to support someone who believes in climate change can slow the effects of it.
These solutions I listed above are a few ways a “regular Joe” can positively impact the environment, thus slowing the effects of climate change.