Climate Change: Why You and Why Me?


Our latest blog comes from students at Maynooth University as part of a campaign to encourage public understanding of the effects of our actions on the environment. It was originally featured at www.thirstyfortheenvironment.wordpress.com

As an individual how would you reflect upon the following?

“Climate change is now affecting every country on every continent. It is disrupting national economies and affecting lives, costing people, communities and countries dearly today and even more tomorrow (United Nations, 2018).”

This statement was taken directly from the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals, goal thirteen to be precise. While I support the work the United Nations is doing to tackle the problem of climate change, I find myself lost in this statement. What can I do to fight climate change? How can I as an individual help make a difference? More often than not, the actions taken by large cells of anti-climate change advocates focus on the community and not the individual. While it is vital to have people come together to fight climate change, it is also just as important to have the individual (you) fight it too. This article was created with the individual in mind and how you can help prevent climate change in everyday life.

Greg Seaman’s article ‘Global Warming / Climate Change: What We Can Do About It’ will be the basis for this discussion. In his article, he cites three areas where individuals and households can help tackle climate change. These three areas being the reduction of electricity around the home, improvement of vehicle fuel efficiency and conserving energy in the home and the yard (Greg Seaman, Eartheasy, 2009).

Reduction of electricity around the home: Here we see Greg Seaman talk about how an individual can change their home appliances or the use of their home appliances to help save energy. He gives examples such as buying energy efficient appliances when you are looking for a replacement or by simply using curtains to maintain the heat within a room (Greg Seaman, Eartheasy, 2009). All of the examples given by Greg Seaman show how easy it would be for me or you to help tackle climate change by taking these steps. These different examples show that sometimes rather than protesting or campaigning, one can also tackle climate change within the confines of their own home.

Improvement of vehicle fuel efficiency: Something we take for granted every day is having the ability to get in your car, start the engine and travel wherever you see fit. However, having this ability also brings with it some negative impacts on our planet. Since the invention of the steam engine in 1784 by James Watt, there has been an unprecedented need for fuel to power our different methods of transport. Greg Seaman shows how by taking a large step by buying a fuel-efficient car or simply by “practising fuel-efficient driving”, we can help reduce our carbon footprint (Greg Seaman, Eartheasy, 2009). Perhaps not every individual has the financial means to buy a fuel-efficient car, however, all of us drives have the ability to use our cars in a smarter way. I know when I drive, sometimes I may rev the engine more then I should. As individuals, we can all learn from this, drive that little bit smarter or better yet, walk there instead.

Conserving energy in the home and the yard: From reading this title, one may think this involves outdoor appliances like BBQs or garden maintenance machinery. While these appliances are important, Greg Seaman demonstrates by just eating locally produced food one can help tackle climate change. The reason for this is because all of the food that comes from abroad would have to be refrigerated and or stored correctly in different modes of transport. These different systems of storage can use large amounts of energy and fuel. One could also paint their home a lighter colour if they live in a warm climate or a dark colour if they live in a cold climate (Greg Seaman, Eartheasy, 2009). By doing this, an individual could save energy and minimise the use of heating.
These three areas are simple yet effective means of tackling the on-going issue of climate change as an individual. While Greg Seaman provides an excellent article as to how we can do this, there is one area where he does not explore.

To fight climate change, we as individuals must educate ourselves.

I am a firm believer in the power of education. Unfortunately, the topic of climate change is a difficult one. Without the education, it is hard for anyone to understand the levity of it or how it can be prevented. As mentioned at the beginning of this article, more often than not anti-climate change cells focus on the communal and not the individual. To come together to fight climate change we must first be individuals that understand it. There are many ways we as individuals can achieve this. You can study credible study’s on what to do or absorb the information of organisations who fight climate change.

It is up to you, the individual, to educate yourself on the threat of climate change. You will not only save your own life but the lives of many. Here is a lighthearted video on the topic this article has discussed.

Bibliography

The United Nations (2018) Goal 13: Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts [Online] Available from: > https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/climate-change-2/ < [Date of access 07/04/2018] Greg Seaman (March 3rd 2009) Global Warming / Climate Change: What We Can Do About It [Online] Available from: > https://learn.eartheasy.com/articles/global-warming-climate-change-what-we-can-do-about-it/ < [Date of access 07/04/2018] PICSClimateInsights (September 13th 2013) What YOU Can Do About Climate Change [Online] Available from: > https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VTfgNFz1DBM < [Date of access 07/04/2018]

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