Easy ways in which we can help our planet

Table of Contents

iceberg

Curious fact: Every year, Antarctica loses 151 billion tons of ice, equivalent to the weight of Mount Everest.

We are currently facing an environmental crisis for which we are largely responsible, as our practices are unsustainable and many of the activities that we carry out on a day-to-day basis damage the environment. Thanks to the role we play in the deterioration of the environment, it is also our responsibility as human beings to learn how to reduce our impact, because at the end of the day, the state of the environment affects us directly.

What is the carbon footprint?

The term “carbon footprint” is used to refer to the impact that our activities (such as using cars, buying clothes, etc.) have on the environment, which goes hand in hand with the greenhouse gas emissions they generate. The importance of recognizing that we are all responsible for climate change, which plays an important role in the environmental crisis we are also experiencing, lies in the fact that as world population increases, so does our negative impact on the environment, demonstrating the importance of reducing our carbon footprint, and adopting a more sustainable lifestyle.

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How does the environmental crisis affect us?

Human beings and the environment have a two-way relationship: most environmental pollution is caused by human beings, and similarly, the environmental crisis has a very large impact on people. The consequences of our greenhouse gas emissions depend on their concentration in the environment, their physical and chemical properties, and the length of time we are exposed to them; some of these pollutants are carbon dioxide, ozone, nitrogen dioxide, sulphur dioxide, and others.
The bad news is that, in most of the world, we are exposed to pollution, especially in developed countries such as the United States, but this does not mean that the environmental crisis does not affect rural areas; in fact, according to the World Health Organization, there were 3.7 million deaths as a result of air pollution 10 years ago, and since then, the situation has only worsened.
Exposure to pollutants has been shown to cause acute and chronic adverse effects in humans.  Among the acute effects we can find health problems such as decreased lung capacity, respiratory diseases, weakening of the immune system, and increase in cases of asthma. Other more serious consequences include an increase in lung cancer patients, increased risk of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), impaired lung growth, premature death, and death from chronic cardiovascular and respiratory diseases.
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How to reduce our carbon footprint

Given this situation, we need to reduce our carbon footprint. While it is impossible to entirely get rid of it, the idea is to contribute as little as possible. While it may seem insignificant to start by changing one’s own habits one by one, it is important to keep in mind that if we all work together, we can make huge changes. In the following list we will talk about habits and actions that will help us fight climate change:

Food

  • Try to eat seasonal foods. Likewise, prioritize the consumption of local products, and that require minimal transport to reach your table.
  • Reduce your meat consumption, as livestock activities produce a large amount of greenhouse gas emissions.
  • If you eat fish, make sure it’s obtained through sustainable fishing practices.
  • Choose products with little packaging in order to reduce the waste they produce.
  • Use reusable bags to store your groceries.
  • Always buy only what you need, to avoid wasting food or generating more waste than needed.
Clothes
  • Prioritize second-hand or exchanged clothes.
  • Take good care of the clothes you buy, to avoid buying more than necessary.
  • Avoid buying clothes produced through “fast fashion”. This business model is characterized by the production of large quantities of clothes that are sold at low prices to increase consumption, but this practice is extremely harmful to the environment.
Transport
  • Use public transport or bicycles.
  •  If you have a car, use it wisely: for example, don’t use it for short distances.
Energy
  • Avoid using heating
  • Avoid taking long baths and take advantage of the water you use.
  • Don’t waste water when washing your hands, teeth, or dishes. Close the faucets that are not being used.
  • Save energy by unplugging electronic devices you’re not using, as well as phone chargers.
  • Reduce your waste.
Finally, an extremely important point is that, as responsible citizens, we must demand that our governments get involved in international agreements that seek to combat climate change, as well as to come up with laws and reforms that benefit our environment.  By being aware of our way of life, we can change our habits to ensure a better future for ourselves and our planet; this is a matter of collectively combating the environmental crisis we face.

Real story

Greta Thunberg is a teenager born in 2003 in Sweden. Greta has gained recognition and followers thanks to her hard fight against the climate crisis. She recounts that the first time she heard about climate change was when she was 8 years old, and that she never managed to understand why even though it was such an important issue, it seemed that nobody was doing anything about it.
A few years later, in August 2018, Greta began her campaign on a Friday when she decided not to attend classes and protest climate change outside the Swedish parliament, launching the “Fridays for Future” campaign. Since then, thousands of young people around the world have joined Greta every Friday to demand that governments unite against the environmental crisis.
Today, Greta has become one of the greatest references in the fight against climate change, even at her young age, which is a factor that has helped her, because she feels the urgency to save the planet where she has a whole life ahead of her, just like her generation and those that follow.
Listen to Greta giving a speech at the UN Climate Action Summit here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sHUHrBY0ayw&ab_channel=Scriptorium

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Conclusion

Combating climate change concerns us all, as it affects us both directly and indirectly. Humans, being part of this problem, must inform ourselves, educate ourselves, and investigate how we can contribute as little as possible to this problem: it’s a very distressing and stressful subject, but it’s a necessary conversation. Unfortunately, it will never be possible to reduce our carbon footprint in its entirety, but this is no reason to resign ourselves and refuse to change our habits. Let’s remember that at the end of the day, this is the only planet we have, and since we cannot live without it, we must take care of it so that future generations can enjoy it and act against climate change before it is too late.

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