We hear on a daily basis about climate change, but what is it and what can an individual do to make a difference, if anything?
Climate change or global warming, refers to the rise in the average temperatures of the Earth. The majority of the scientific community advocate that climate change is due to the use of fossil fuels which release carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the air. These gases trap heat in the atmosphere. The world is heating up at a much faster rate than previously thought by scientists, it is then thought this causes shifts in weather patterns, which can lead to severe conditions like those that lead to the bushfires experienced in Australia recently.
Many countries have signed up to reduce carbon emissions, however most pledges have targets set many years in the future, so leaving this to companies and the government isn't going to happen soon enough, it does require a bit of input and change by us all. It's very unlikely that an individual household will solve climate change by adjusting their shopping or driving habits alone – although these are important. Of course most things are obvious and have been promoted for years. Switching off lights and devices not in use, drying clothes without a tumble dryer, flying less and taking public transport are just a few. Car share websites pull people together going the same way at the same time, this can save on fuel and money.
Got a meeting? Is it possible to do this by video chat rather than several people driving to a location? Where energy comes from, specifically the burning of fossil fuels, is one of the highest contributors to global warming.
Could you switch your energy to a greener energy supplier, who invest in energy from natural means? This means that the energy in your home is made in a more environmentally friendly way before it even reaches you. Energy suppliers often run incentives to improve your insulation and it's worth checking if yours is up to the job, after all, keeping the heat in your home costs you less.
Next time we’ll continue this exploration, looking at food choices, clothing and fashion. Meanwhile, it’s worth remembering that by implementing small changes we can make an immediate impact on our carbon footprint. If you would like to test your household’s footprint, visit www.footprint.wwf.org.uk
. For more ideas and chat on greener and eco friendly living visit Greener Sedgefield on Facebook.