This year has brought up a lot of very important social issues. While I do try my best to keep those issues within my mind, I remember that we are approaching a point of no return in regards to climate change. The reality is that the effects we have been warned about for so long are now getting worse. With the current election happening right now, I can only pray that Biden will win. These issues cannot be ignored for much longer.
What is it?
Climate change used to be referred to as global warming. That was a term that was changed because a green house gas emission won’t only cause the globe to warm. We can think of the Earth having this perfect balance of cycles that make the weather what it is. Yet, as greenhouse gas emissions increase, some areas of the globe will get colder and have harsher winters. As a result, the term was changed to combat anti-science. So in the simplest of explanations, climate change is the Earths climate shifting to abnormal weather conditions. One example is that Australia (where I’m from) will experience harsher summers. This will lead to worse bush fires. Another example is North America receiving colder winters. This has been linked to warmer arctic temperatures. Climate change is definitely going to impact us due to harsh weather changes. So, how can we stop it?
What Causes it?
I think before discussing how it can be stopped, we need to understand what causes it. And there are a few things that I can think of off the top of my head.
- The cattle industry. Humans love beef. Unfortunately, cows produce methane through passing gas, which is worse than carbon dioxide because it’s 28 more times powerful. In order to stop it, we need to reduce demand for it and increase demand for foods like vegetables and other meats. Vegetables take up less land to produce and require less water as well. Even reducing beef intake to once a week would be a major step.
- The overuse of plastic. We use a LOT of plastic and in order to produce it, the refining process produces methane and carbon dioxide. It’s the same as with beef, we need to reduce demand for it and look at alternatives.
- Burning fossil fuels for energy. We live in a very fossil fuel based society. Politics is influenced by it, as seen with Trump. My understanding of it is that it’s good for the economy. That may be so, but the planet is going to still be around when we destroy it to the point it’s not longer habitable. The planet will recover eventually. My point is, we need to elect politicians who will make an effort to prevent climate change from getting worse. New jobs will be created through switching to sustainable energy. The economy will survive.
So I’ve gone into a little detail about what causes it and this list is by no means exhaustive. It’s just a few things we need to consider to combat this issue.
Reducing Meat Intake
I’m not saying become vegetarian or vegan. That’s not doable for a lot of people. I am going to say to research what meats are more sustainable to the environment than beef. Chicken is one alternative. But all in all, I do think we can incorporate meat free dishes into our lives 3-4 days a week. I have started to eat vegetarian during the week and I was surprised by how easy it was. The dishes are great and full of flavour if you know how to cook veggies right and there’s always a substitute for meat texture as well as flavour (liquid smoke). In saying that, it’s all about trial and error but you never know until you try!
Alternatives to Plastic
I often do the shopping, so I get to see all the plastic we don’t need coming into our homes. One key plastic item I think is the ones we use to wrap loose vegetables and fruits. We don’t need them. You can argue that you don’t want it to touch the trolley (or shopping cart). I personally have the mentality that I’m going to wash it and cook it to get rid of any bacteria. But there’s always alternatives. They sell these cloth bags that you can take to the supermarket every time you go. I definitely recommend them!
Some other items:
- Metal or silicone straws.
- Foods in cardboard packaging.
- Bring reusable bags to the supermarket.
- Buying from a local market. I do understand that not everyone has access to this though.
- Shampoo and conditioner bars.
- Bamboo toothbrushes. They’re becoming very afforable.
- Paper lunch bags.
- Plastic containers for food storage instead of plastic lunch bags or wraps.
- Bees wax wraps for food.
- Silicone baking sheets. This reduces the need for baking paper and they last quite a long time.
- Buying in bulk.
These are just a few ideas but I want to stress that combating climate change is about making the minor changes. We can’t be expected to cut plastic out entirely. But reduction is key, just like with the meat.
Nuclear energy has a bad rep because if the right guidelines and training aren’t in place it can be disastrous. One might argue that they’re prone to natural disasters as seen with the Fukushima in Japan (2011). This was a horrible disaster and many lives were lost. It was determined to be preventable and I can link the article below for further reading if anyone is interested. Nuclear power needs to be handled properly and negligence must be avoided. It’s currently the cleanest and most efficient type of energy we have. Yes, it does produce nuclear waste, however this waste can be used for purposes ranging from medicine to agriculture. It also requires uranium which is a natural resource and will run out. But it buys us precious time to come up with better technology.
We are running out of time and we will reach the point of no return. I am terrified of Trump winning this election because he has turned science denying into a political statement. My biggest fear is that the US will not make any progress to combat climate change and the world will follow. I sincerely hope Biden wins, not only because of climate change, but because the state of the US has becoming frightening. The increased racial tension because of the BLM movement and ignoring COVID-19 has truely concerned me. And the fact that the president has ignored the cries of people of colour and people affected by covid is horrendous. My thoughts are with you America ✊
Thanks for reading! I hope you enjoyed my post. Follow for more science posts and please follow my other blog My Little Corner for poetry!
Fukushima Disaster: https://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/10/opinion/fukushima-could-have-been-prevented.html