“...Temperatures climb ever closer to the 1.5°C mark— the milestone often touted as the point where natural systems begin to collapse, triggering permanent changes and transforming life as we know it.”
As stated in the World Wildlife Fund, the average temperatures of our planet are climbing to a level of irreversible damage. Increasing temperatures contribute to catastrophic wildfires, extreme heat waves, disastrous floods, and a variety of additional natural disasters. Due to energy production utilizing fossil fuels, escalated emissions of greenhouse gases have led to a climate crisis on the only home we have: planet earth.
Our planet is in need. Our planet is in danger. And as teenagers, it often feels as though we can only sit and watch while our world leaders continue to shove climate issues under the rug. Without the right to vote for leaders who prioritize environmental issues or hold critical government positions ourselves, what can we do to help our planet? Well, here are a couple of ideas:
Eat Less Meat.
Around the world, the livestock industry is responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions than all forms of transportation, including cars, planes, ships, and trains. Collectively making little changes to our diets can lead to a substantial difference in the stability of our climate. A Sky News article elaborates, “The average carnivore diet produces 7.2 kg of carbon dioxide a day, almost twice as much as a vegan diet.” Our personal food choices can make a critical difference in the safety of our planet, and being informed and intentional about our diet may reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions.
The ever-growing fast fashion industry has consumed massive quantities of water and toxic chemicals, leading to an increase in both air and water pollution. Instead of purchasing fast fashion products, people should attempt to shop in second-hand clothing stores, which have unique vintage pieces and timeless classics at affordable prices. Alternatively, online second-hand stores and marketplaces are a wonderful choice if thrift stores are scarce or do not have your desired styles; stores such as Depop, Poshmark, ThredUp, and theRealReal have a diverse array of clothing pieces at lower price points and are all accessible through any device you may have at home. Sustainably sourced clothing brands are another option, which can be found by researching a clothing company’s policies regarding worker wages, sources of materials, and other issues.
Walk! Bike! Longboard! Scooter!
Not only are these all great forms of cardiovascular exercise, but they are also an alternative to automobiles, which most commonly run on gasoline and emit CO2. Walking, running, biking, longboarding, skateboarding, scootering— all of these forms of transportation are enjoyable and cut back on harmful emissions. The next time you prepare to drive to school, ask yourself whether you can use an eco-friendly method of transportation instead. If you would like to have an even greater impact on the environment, consider asking other friends to walk with you, too.
Unplug When Possible.
A Reset Organization article states, “The total standby energy use of all households in the EU countries… is responsible for about 19 million tonnes of CO2 every year. By unplugging your device[s], you can save up to 305 kWh of electricity consumption in your household per year.” The next time you leave your house, remember to power off any desktop computers, switch off the lights, and unplug the television or other devices. By turning off these devices, you can save money on your electricity bill— all while protecting your environment.
A Degree Makes a Difference.
It saves roughly 6% of heating energy to keep your home at a single degree lower during the wintertime— lowering the cost of heating and also reducing the amount of fossil fuel required to keep your home heated. Consider speaking to your parents about an appropriate household temperature that can keep the family warm while lessening the dangerous consequences of global warming. Additionally, make sure to turn the heat off when the house is unoccupied for long periods, saving money and energy.
Washing and Drying.
Reducing the water temperature in your washing machine from 140°F to 86°F cuts the energy use of the machine by 67%; hanging clothes to dry on clotheslines instead of using a drying machine cuts the energy use of the machine by 100%. The next time your dirty clothes bin is full, consider washing your clothes using the cold water setting and hanging the clothes to dry in the sun. Lowering the energy use of household machines decreases the amount of electricity needed, which cuts fossil fuel emissions and the electricity bill.
We can all make a difference and confront the global climate crisis in our everyday lives. Every action counts.
Stanton, Audrey. “What Is Fast Fashion, Anyway?” The Good Trade, The Good Trade, 10 Mar. 2021, www.thegoodtrade.com/features/what-is-fast-fashion.
Keay, Lara, and Jack Hillcox. “Climate Change: Six Everyday Things You Can Do to Help Stop Global Warming.” Sky News, 10 Aug. 2021, news.sky.com/story/climate-change-six-everyday-things-you-can-do-to-help-stop-global-warming-12377097.
“UN Report Shows Human Activity Has Changed the Planet Forever.” WWF, World Wildlife Fund, 9 Aug. 2021, www.worldwildlife.org/stories/un-report-shows-human-activity-has-changed-the-planet-forever.
Winchester, Levi. “12 Things You Can Do to Help Fight Climate Change After 'Code Red' Warning.” Mirror, 9 Aug. 2021, www.mirror.co.uk/money/12-things-you-can-help-24720537.
“11 Tips for Saving Energy at Home: Energy.” Reset, en.reset.org/act/11-tips-saving-energy-home-11142018.
“12 Things You Can Do Right Now on Climate Change: Climate Protection.” Reset, en.reset.org/act/12-things-you-can-do-climate-change-0.
About the Author:
Nidhi Rao is a rising high school sophomore and the current secretary of her class. Since childhood, Nidhi has been passionate about gaining new perspectives on political issues and hopes to inform and inspire others by writing in The Alcott Youth Magazine. Additionally, she is interested in painting, hiking, kayaking, reading, and listening to music.