Climate change and carbon footprint
Making good choices for the environment means, at first, trying to make the right choices to protect our local environment by reducing our carbon footprint. If everyone of us would be more thoughtful about how and what we conserve, the sustainable practices we adopt, the amount of waste we reduce and the size of carbon our carbon footprint, we would start to notice significant effects both locally and globally.
Human activities are increasing greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere causing the most significant impacts of global warming, with carbon dioxide being the largest contributor.
If greenhouse gas emissions continue to grow rapidly, it is expected that, by 2100, the global average air temperature over the Earth’s surface will warm by around 4°C above mid-19th century temperatures. There are many likely ramifications of this warming. However, if emissions are reduced sufficiently rapidly, there is a chance that global average warming will not exceed 2°C and other impacts will be limited.
Thinking about global waste, the Eurobarometer estimates that 77% of European citizens would prefer to repair their objects rather than replace them, but do not do it because it costs too much. Instead, they end up buying a new product.
In addition, just in Europe, 64.4 million tons of plastic are produced each year, which in total have a value of 355 billion euros and only one third is recycled. This involves very high disposal costs, just think that at the European level the cost of beach cleaning alone is 630 million euros, while at the global level we reach 13 billion a year. These costs are increasing more and more, in fact only in Italy between 2010 and 2017 the cost index of waste management increased by 16.3%.
How can we face climate change? We would absolutely hope and expect governments and big companies to invest into positive environmental policies, we should continue to ask for and push for our political representatives to care for and protect our planet. The best way for individuals to make a positive impact on the environment is living sustainable. If we all put in a little practice every day on actions which would reduce our carbon footprint, we would start to realize some great results.
Sustainability’s positive impacts aren’t just limited to the environment – it also has positive impacts on the economy and society at large. That’s why sustainable development, first introduced in 1987, means development aimed at satisfying the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Approaching development with a circular and sustainable mindset can help us achieve our goals.
So, it’s important to understand how living sustainably can be vital for our planet and our lives. Here are some tips to start living a more sustainable life and reduce your carbon footprint:
1. Avoid disposables
- Use recyclable containers when packing food or goods in general.
- Use cloth napkins instead of paper ones.
- Replace paper towels with rags.
- Carry a handkerchief instead of paper tissues.
- Think twice before throwing something in the trash – what can be recycled instead of becoming household waste?
- Look for quality, long-lasting products that can be used multiple times.
- Seek out products made with recycled materials.
- Clean out jam or jelly jars and reuse them as drinking glasses.
- Turn empty plastic containers with tight-fitting lids into under-sink compost bins.
- Learn what can and can’t be used for garden compost and start a compost bin. However big or small, you can use compost for house plants or a garden.
5. Walk or bike
- Lead by example: not all trips need to be taken by car.
- Walk to dinner together with friends or family.
- Try to reach everyday spots (supermarket, office, etc.) by walking or with public transit.