Making a difference in the fight against climate change can be done by following precautions in everyday life to limit carbon emissions. Melting ice, rising sea levels, frequent heat waves are some of the consequences of climate change. On the dock, there are above all greenhouse gas (CO2) emissions, which are growing by more than 2 points a year.
Long-term solutions require profound changes in the way we use the Earth’s resources and produce energy, but there are little things we can start doing right away, at work or at home during the holidays, to reduce our impact on climate change and global warming. Here are 6 simple tips …
1. Limit meat consumption
We can contribute to the fight against global warming by eliminating the consumption of meat for at least one day a week: the FAO (United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization) believes that one fifth of global emissions of harmful gases has origin from the production of meat. Here are some numbers to evaluate the environmental impact of some food choices: for each kg of pork and poultry a variable quota is produced ranging from 3.2 to 4.6 kilograms of equivalent carbon dioxide (kg CO2eq), for each kg of beef fillet up to 60 kg of CO2 is reached. In terms of water footprint, about 4,300 liters of water are needed to produce one kilogram of chicken meat, about 6,000 per kg of pork and 15,500 liters per kg of beef. If we consider the environmental impact, the replacement of beef fillet with other protein sources of vegetable origin such as legumes would reduce the potential global warming by 80%.
2. Use the bus or bicycle
The mobility sector is the one that is most rapidly increasing its greenhouse gas emissions compared to the rest of the industry. Optimize transport, according to the projections quoted by the UN, could cut emissions in the sector by 50% by 2050. But from the outset we can decide to take the bus or move by bike.
For example, if we all went to work by bicycle, the impact would be enormous: reduction of air pollution, reduction of diseases such as cardiovascular problems and tumors (and related medical expenses), reduction of traffic and noise pollution. Do you want one more reason? Using a bicycle on a daily basis helps to keep in line, lowers blood pressure and the risk of getting diabetes. This is demonstrated by a study conducted by the Moriguchi City Health Examination Center in Osaka.
3. Eat everything in the fridge
A good practice also for the portfolio: reducing waste means avoiding spending an average of $316 a year on foods that are thrown away without being consumed. But food waste is not only a food problem, but also an impact on biodiversity and the climate. The data released in the report “Food wastage footprint. Impacts on natural resources”, implemented by the FAO Department of Environmental Management and Natural Resources, in fact, indicate that the carbon footprint (i.e. the emission of greenhouse gases) of the food produced but not eaten – therefore wasted every year – is estimated at 3.3 billion tons of CO2.
A vicious circle is triggered: climate change in turn could reduce agricultural productivity, decreasing global food supply and damaging the poorest populations and families who base their income on crops, cattle breeding and fishing. How can you waste less? For example, planning weekly meals in advance; use a shopping list thus avoiding impulse purchases; at home, remember to freeze food to keep it longer; if you often throw away cooked food, reduce the portion sizes.
4. Choose a recyclable toothbrush
It seems absurd, but when we change the toothbrush, we produce much more waste than we think. If we consider that dentists suggest replacing the toothbrush every 3 months or even more often, imagine how much plastic we can produce. The solution is not to stop brushing your teeth, but to make sustainable choices, for example, to prefer toothbrushes in recyclable wood. There are many on the market at variable costs, between $3 and $10.
5. Spread the laundry
At the dryer, we prefer a simple solution like the drying rack. In addition, if the clothes are spread well, in many cases you can also save the electricity of using the iron.
6. Keep pets
Dogs and cats eat meat-based foods, foods with high greenhouse gas emissions, but there are no better steak cuts in their bowls: when a cow is slaughtered, almost 50% of the animal is removed as unwanted waste or unsuitable for human consumption. The meat that ends up in animal feed is therefore a by-product of human meat consumption. In short, dogs and cats can be considered our allies in the fight against climate change. In addition, a dog can help us improve habits, for example by increasing the number of healthy daily walks.