Climate Change Solutions

During the past weeks of this project, we have addressed the issues of the existence of climate change, causes and its effects. This week we are writing about the solutions to this huge problem. Few of the problems can be solved by only individual efforts. So, the main role in solving this problem is on large organizations and governments, and new inventive designs countering this issue.

First, let’s talk about in which ways an individual may reduce the impact of climate change. Individuals can change their impact contributing to climate change by reducing their carbon footprint. Carbon footprint, the amount of greenhouse gases produced by someone or something, can be reduced by an individual in many small changes in their daily lives. 

The first way to reduce the carbon footprint is to lessen the use of transportation, especially planes and boats. For one passenger, planes produce 0.32kg CO2 per km, ferry boats produce 0.115kg CO2 per km and an express boat produces 0.53kg CO2 per km. Compared to other forms of transport like electric cars and trolleys, which produce 0.043kg CO2 per km and 0.042kg CO2 per km respectively, these numbers are astounding. For reducing the amount of carbon produced it is key to use more means of transport like bikes, which don’t produce any carbon emissions, but if there is no other choice it is better to be using electric cars and trolleys, than planes and boats or regular cars (0.133kg CO2 per km.) Governments and other organizations should encourage citizens to buy electric cars, take public transport or take walks instead of traveling by car. For all of these to happen, it is necessary to have the appropriate infrastructure - safe places for people to walk and public transport which is comfortable for everyone.

The next way to reduce the carbon footprint of an individual is to reduce the amount of meat one eats. According to D. Tilman’s and M. Clark’s, "Global Diets Link Environmental Sustainability and Human Health," globally 14.5% of greenhouse gas pollution comes from livestock. An Oxford University study found out that almost 50% of all carbon emissions would be cut down if all people on earth went vegan. It is not necessary to specifically go vegan to cut down the carbon emissions, but it is important to reduce the amount of meat a person eats, even if it's eating meat only twice a week instead of eating it every day. It is also better to eat food products that are in season because the fruits and vegetables unavailable in a particular season have to be imported by planes and large trucks, which naturally increase carbon emissions.

Another way to lessen the carbon footprint is to buy second-hand clothes. Annually the fashion industry produces 1.2 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent per year. The new customers that regularly buy clothing are encouraging these industries to increase their production and at the same time their emissions. Even statistically speaking, fashion consumption has increased by 400% in the last 20 years. So buying less new clothing and more secondhand products will dramatically decrease the 36kg of CO2 per person in America, which comes from people throwing away their old clothes.

The use of plastic is one of the biggest problems as well. Some people throw plastic into the oceans or directly in the streets and nature. It takes 1000 years for plastic to decompose. Also, Leaving plastic in the wild is extremely dangerous because sunlight and heat cause the plastic to release powerful greenhouse gases.  So, governments need to build places where they would recycle plastic. This is common practice in many countries, for example, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, etc. 

The use of air conditioners should be reduced. Air conditioners have a high impact on the climate, both because of the energy and refrigerants they use — they produce greenhouse gases called hydrofluorocarbons. HFCs are short-lived pollutants, but they have an impact on global warming. Unfortunately, as the weather is getting hotter, the demand for air conditioners increases, so it will be relatively hard to encourage people to reduce the use of air conditioners.

Statistics show that a third of the food that we buy goes to waste. This is a lot of waste, especially if we consider produced greenhouse gases at every stage of food production. As individuals, we should try to buy only as much food as we need to avoid waste.

Of course, it is extremely important to use renewable sources of energy like sun, wind, waves. As the newest statistics show, with the development of technologies implementing renewable sources of energy is getting cheaper and cheaper.

Another solution for climate change is stopping cutting down the trees, deforestation. Every year 33 million acres of trees are cut down. When farmers cut down trees, the carbon which is stored in them is released into the atmosphere as carbon dioxide. According to the World Bank Group, between 1990 and 2016 502 000 square miles, 1.3 million kilometers of the forest was lost. Since humans have started cutting trees 46 % of trees fell.

It is extremely important to increase public awareness about climate change: governments should make educational campaigns to raise awareness. They may use flyers, schools, advertisements, public speaking etc. They should spread information about individual efforts that have impact on climate change, for example, effective use of water, buying proper amounts of food, information about proper diet, buying second-hand clothing and etc..

Climate Change is a global problem, which needs to be solved. Of course, it is important for us, as individuals, to make changes in our daily life; like reducing the use of plastic, water, and food waste, etc.  but unfortunately, this problem is too big to be solved only by individual efforts, it requires collective effort to be solved in as much effective way as it is possible. The process of climate change cannot be directly stopped, but it can be slowed down and restricted at certain points 







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