Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions – What You Can Do

#greehouse #climatechange #environment #ngscience
In this NGScience climate series, we look at the things you can do as an individual, community, country and a planet to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help save the Earth from the far-reaching consequences of human induced climate change.

In our previous two videos, we learnt that the greenhouse effect is a natural process whereby greenhouses gases in the Earth’s atmosphere trap some of the heat from the Sun escaping back into space thereby creating a more stable temperature for life to thrive. We also learnt that many human activities are resulting in far more greenhouses gases in the atmosphere and this is causing the Earth to warm at a much higher rate than normal – a process called human induced climate change. The impacts of human-induced climate change are far-reaching and complex. They include alterations in precipitation, greater frequency in extreme weather events like wildfires, floods, hurricanes and droughts; sea level changes; and ocean acidification. Earth’s ecosystems are changing at alarming rates and the organisms that live face extinction if they are unable to adapt to change. Human-induced climate change also poses serious risks to human health, food security, water supplies, infrastructure, and economic activity.

Sounds pretty gloomy right? And it really is. The good news though…there’s plenty of things we can do as individuals, communities, countries and globally to slow human-inducing climate change and help save our precious planet.

A major contributor to increased greenhouse gases in our atmosphere is the burning of fossil fuels for electricity production. To reduce our demand on fossil fuels we can reduce energy consumption by using energy efficient appliances and turning off lights and electric devices when they are not in use. We can also encourage local governments to adopt renewable energy sources like solar, hydro and wind power. You can also take matters into your own hands by installing solar panels on the roof of your house or school. This way, you’ll meet all or most of your electricity requirements using the clean, renewable energy from the Sun. You could also use solar water heating to provide your household with warm water for bathing and washing.

Fossils fuels are also burned to power the vehicles we use including motorcycles, cars, buses and trucks and airplanes and ships. To reduce greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles we can simply use them less often. If your school or local shops are nearby, trying walking or riding a bike. In recent years, the use of electric vehicles are becoming more and more popular. Rather than using a combustion engine that burns petrol, diesel or gas, an electric vehicles runs purely on electricity and has the same performance as a vehicle with a combustion engine…sometimes ever better. Switching to electric vehicles will also drastically reduce hazardous air pollution in our cities.

Trees and forests play an important role in reducing greenhouse gases because they act as a carbon sink. When trees and other plants photosynthesize, they absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and store it in their tissues. In this way, they help to offset the greenhouse gas emissions that come from human activities. When humans come along and clear forests for land use, a process called deforestation, we prevent this absorption of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, again contributing to increased greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. We can encourage governments to stop deforestation and only used timber from sustainable forests whereby the trees grow back at the same rate they are being used. Planting trees and plants is another way you can be actively involved in reducing greenhouses gases. Check if any tree planting activities are taking place in your community.

You may recall that cows are an unlikely contributor to increased greenhouse gases in our atmosphere. When digesting the grasses and grains they eat the release the greenhouse gas methane. To reduce methane emissions from cows, we can simply choose to eat less meat and focus on a more plant based diet.

In recent years, scientists and food nutritionists have developed traditional meat products like minced beef, burgers and sausages that are made entirely of plants. Many meat-lovers cannot tell the difference between these plant-based protein foods and their meat counterparts. Some even think they taste better! There’s also alternatives to dairy foods, like almond or oat milk and even dairy-free cheses!

I’m off to try some now!

Thanks for learning and I’ll see ya next time.

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