I used to write about climate change quite a bit on my blog. The first posts date from 2013. I was usually prompted to write after having an emotional reaction to something I had read or heard – usually someone denying it was happening.
One of my earliest posts was prompted by claims that climate science was a hoax invented by scientists to further their careers. Hopefully no one believes that any more. Since then 8 years have gone by and the science of climate change is stronger than ever – not that it wasn’t strong back then, or even new.
The Irish scientist, John Tyndall, wrote about the greenhouse effect back in 1859. A century later came this video:
Then James Hansen gave his senate testimony to congress warning of global warning in 1988.
Fast-forward to 2021 and the latest IPCC report has just come out. The message is still the same but what could have been solved quite easily 50 years ago has now become much more difficult. It looks like we’re going to hit 1.5C of warming above pre-industrial times by 2040. That’s not far away now – just 19 years.
The solution is quite simple: our emissions must be zero. Not lower but ZERO. We also need to suck up all the carbon above 350 parts per million that we’ve already emitted and that we’re continuing to emit right now.
Here are four simple things every individual can do to make a difference:
- Stop eating meat. Livestock farming accounts for about 14% of all our emissions. You can still have a terrific life! I have lost none of life’s pleasures by eating exclusively plants. Indeed it has opened my eyes to lots of new foods and it has improved my health. There are, after all, some 20,000 species of edible plants on the planet.
- Get rid of the petrol/diesel car and walk and cycle more. Transport is now the biggest carbon emitting sector in the UK. Try using public transport rather than driving but the best is to walk and cycle more. It’ll improve your mental and physical health too.
- Use renewable energy. Most energy suppliers in the UK have a green energy option and there are some suppliers that offer green energy exclusively. It’s worth replacing light bulbs with LED bulbs – they’re much cheaper and you’ll see a decrease in your energy bill. Put on a jumper rather than turning the heating on. Turn the lights off. Insulate the house.
- Divest your pension/superannuation from fossil fuels. Divestment has been a successful strategy for bringing about change in the past. In the 1980s, divestment from companies in South Africa helped to end apartheid. It used to be quite difficult for individuals to divest their pensions because there wasn’t a fossil-free choice but there are lots now and they’re very good. I completely divested from fossil fuels last year just before the pandemic began and my pension has made huge gains that I wouldn’t have otherwise seen.
If you’re already doing these things and more then let me know! I want to hear from you. I’m the only person in my circle who has done these things and I can’t do it by myself. It is somewhat depressing not to know of a single other person who has done these four simple things but I feel sure there must be some readers of my blog who have gone further than me. If this is you and you’ve got more suggestions for what we can all do then please leave a comment.