I’ve been really hesitant about writing this. I don’t speak out about it, except in extreme cases, and I wasn’t sure I would ever blog about it. But I have grown more confident in my thought process and I think it’s time I start writing about it.
Humanity has a large role in destroying our blue earth.
Yes, I just said it. What put me over the edge is the terrible hurricanes our nation had endured this year alone. I’ve lived through half a dozen hurricanes, each worse than the last. Scientists have openly stated that, “While hurricanes occur naturally, human-caused climate change is supercharging them and exacerbating the risk of major damage” (Washington Post, 2018).
While it is still a matter of debate as to whether climate change will increase the number of hurricanes, it is more and more clear that humanity is boosting their severity. “There will be a warmer and wetter world over oceans, and more energy available for evaporation,” the researchers wrote. “Nearly all of the extra heat trapped by the greenhouse gases that humans have produced goes into the oceans. More heat in the oceans means more water vapor and, therefore, heavier rain and more flooding”. Hurricane Harvey is a great example: when Harvey cycled over the Gulf of Mexico, it sucked up more moisture into the atmosphere and dumped record amounts of rain on Houston. Scientists noted that “record high ocean heat values not only increased the fuel available to sustain and intensify Harvey, but also increased its flooding rains on land…Harvey could not have produced so much rain without human-induced climate change.” (Washington Post, 2018).
So what does this mean for you and I? Well, we can actually make a difference through several small steps. There are six steps that can positively impact our environment and slow climate change. Not to mention, these steps inherently force you to live more mindfully and ethically.
Shop smart: resist fast fashion by thrifting and/ore buying sustainable pieces from locally-made companies.
Recycle, donate up-cycle: there are plenty of organizations that will take second-hand goods, especially around the holidays
Reduce your plastic use: An easy first step is to ditch plastic straws. I bought some inexpensive metal straws from Amazon a year ago and haven’t bought a plastic straw since.
Smart energy usage: According to the National Park Service, turning your thermostat down 3 degrees Fahrenheit in the winter and up 3 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer will reduce carbon dioxide emissions by about 1,050 pounds per year. By using a programmable thermostat, you can automatically lower your monthly energy bill by giving your heat and air conditioning a break while you are asleep or out, in addition to reducing carbon dioxide emissions another 1,050 pounds per year.
Use energy-saving light bulbs – LED: Along the same vein, using energy-saving light bulbs can reduce global warming pollution by more than 90 billion pounds over the life of the bulbs - that is the same as taking 6.3 million cars off the road. So, replace your incandescent bulbs with more efficient LED bulbs.
Plant a garden: Trees in particular absorb carbon dioxide and give off oxygen. A single tree will absorb approximately one ton of carbon dioxide during its lifetime.
I have so much more to say on this topic, but there is only so much one can handle at one time. I hope you can do your own research on climate change and what you can do to help our beautiful earth. Regardless of whether you believe humanity has a role in worsening our climate predicament, our earth IS GETTING WORSE. There are simple things we can each do to reduce our carbon footprint, with little lifestyle change. For those wanting more, there are plenty of resources available to direct you in your quest for a clean, efficient lifestyle. Check with your local power provider as they often have alternate energy source incentives (think solar power); research ways you can positively impact your community and how you can educate yourself on what matters most to you.
That is my two cents for now! I have so much more rushing through my brain, though I hope I can correctly communicate it in the near future. I am learning alongside you too!
P.S. For those moved by history… climate change is about to obliterate ancient history in island nations such as Scotland. As a history major, I will shout to the roof tops that this is DEVASTATING. Please take a look at how climate change is affecting the world as a whole, and not just our own little bubble. It is often worse than we think.