After hearing the news that there has been an estimated population crash of 52% of all vertebrates on Earth since 1970 (WWF Living Planet Report 2014), Sir David Attenborough, undoubtedly one of the worlds most connected and well informed naturalists, called for more positive action. Meanwhile, the US Senate questions whether “climate change is real” and whether “human activity significantly contributes to climate change” (A rejected amendment offered by Democratic Sen. Brian Schatz of Hawaii), days after NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration declared 2014 the hottest year ever recorded on Earth.
A predicted increase in average global temperature of 1.4 to 6 degrees Celsius in the 21st century may not sound like much but as most of us are aware, we live in a very delicately balanced ecosystem and the effects of climate change already include: loss of wildlife species, melting of polar ice caps, increase in sea levels, change in rainfall patterns, extreme weather conditions, hurricanes, heat waves, droughts, wildfires and coral deaths to name a few. Those of us in the know about intensifying climate change, post industrial revolution, may feel somewhat powerless in the face of political and economic interests. But while we may not be able to alter the current perspectives of big business, we can make positive changes in our own lives. Will that make a real difference? Well, at some point, one by one, we decided to start using more electricity, to drive more cars, to eat more exotic foods from further afield. It’s nothing new; we all (hopefully) know how to make positive transformations but how conscious are we on a daily basis?
Here are some daily reminders:
Wear a woolly jumper – Next time you extend your finger to press the “heating on” button, put on some extra clothes.
Lights out – How often do you find all the lights in your house are on but you’re just using one room? Light bulb above the head... lights out.
Choose less packaging – Paper and plastic. Around 15% of the carbon released in the environment is due to deforestation and plastic bags can take up to 1000 years to break down; leaching harmful toxins into the environment in the process.
Support local – Buy locally grown produce, grow your own and drink tap water. The further food has travelled to end up on your plate, the higher its carbon footprint.
Park up – Save some pennies, get fit and swap the car for walking, biking and public transport. Vehicles contribute to 20% of carbon emissions in the United States.
Plant some trees – Whether it’s in your own garden, a community venture or a reforesting project such as Trees for Life. www.treesforlife.org.uk
Be aware – Let’s not get to the point of no return. Choose to live on a planet full of vibrant colourful life and diversity.
Image Source: Paul Souders/Corbis