As 2019 closed down as the second hottest year in history, the effects of climate change has become undeniable. The year 2020 started not too happily, for minutes after the new year, Jakarta was hit by thunderstorms that soon flooded the city. Not long after, Australia blazed from the scorching heat of the bush fires that affected many, including some of the animals we know and love. As you can see climate change is not something to be taken lightly. For some of us, we may not feel the impacts of it yet, but no one can escape the consequences forever. So how can we contribute to bettering the environment? To fight climate change? It might not be easy, but as Greta Thunberg once said, “The climate crisis has already been solved. We already have the facts and solutions. All we have to do is wake up and change.”
Firstly, it is widely known that climate change is caused by greenhouse gases and that human activities are changing the natural amounts of greenhouse gases in the air. Over the last century, the burning of fossil fuels such as coal contributed a lot of those greenhouse gases in the air by emitting carbon dioxide. The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) stated that 65% of all global greenhouse emissions are carbon dioxide. However, the burning of fossil fuels is not the only culprit responsible for the high level of carbon dioxide emissions. Carbon dioxide can also be emitted through land use, such as deforestation, land clearing for agriculture, and degradation of soils. Since plants convert carbon dioxide to oxygen, all these contribute to increasing carbon dioxide emissions. So the question still stands, what can we do to help? Although it is no big secret that most of the carbon dioxide emissions are caused by large corporations, we contribute to emitting those because we endorse or support those corporations by using their products and services. One of the easiest ways that we could reduce our carbon footprint is to drive less. Or to not drive at all. If possible use public transport or carpool with your friends or family. Not only that it will reduce your carbon footprint, it will also save you some money.
Furthermore, 24% of all global greenhouse emissions are caused by agriculture forestry and other land use. Forests are being cut down so that we could plant crops to satisfy the demand of the people. Not only that, 33% of all crops in the world are used to feed livestock. These livestock contribute to some greenhouse gases such as methane. So it would be safe to conclude that eating less red meat would help support the cause. Not necessarily because it is healthier, but because it would help save the world even if it is only by a little. Instead of eating red meat, you could substitute by eating poultry or more vegetables.
And if you’re willing to take the next step to helping fight climate change you could sign petitions or donate to campaigns that aid in protecting forests like for example the #RenovasiUdara campaign from WWF Indonesia which promotes reforestation, agroforestry where in which food crops are mixed in with trees so no trees are being cut down and ban corporations from polluting the air. You might think that one person doing one small thing could not possibly make a big difference but in reality all those little things can add up to make a big difference.
Words by: Carina