With so many reports coming out recently stating that the future of the planet will be decided in the next decade it can feel overwhelming to even try saving the planet. Thankfully there are things you can do right now to save the world from ecological collapse. You can be ambitious or make just tiny changes to your diet: the point is that it all helps and you can start today!
3. Other than that, what’s the best daily action I can take?
One 2017 study co-authored by Lund University’s Nicholas ranked 148 individual actions on climate change according to their impact. Going car-free was the number-one most effective action an individual could take (except not having kids – but more on that on that later). Cars are more polluting compared to other means of transportation like walking, biking or using public transport.
In industrialised countries such as European nations, getting rid of your car can reduce 2.5 tonnes of CO2 – about one-fourth of the average yearly emissions (9.2 tonnes) contributed by each person in developed countries of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
“We should choose more efficient vehicles and, whenever possible, switch directly to electric vehicles,” says Maria Virginia Vilarino, co-author of the mitigation chapter in the IPCC’s latest report.
With the pace of climate change continuing unabated you might feel like there is nothing you can do about it. There is actually a lot you can do to save the future from climate change induced by corporate greed. The easiest thing to do is just to stop buying things you don’t need, but there are other things you can do too. Over at Lifehacker they list many options for you to pursue to make a positive difference in the world. Remember that every time there’s an election vote for someone who also wants to stop climate change.
This past week UN scientists released a statement which basically says we’re doomed unless we dramatically change our climate policies now. That sounds stressful, and it should be. So how can we as individuals make a bit of an impact to help curb climate change? There are many things we can do to improve the world with the best thing being to stop buying stuff you don’t need.
3. Set some rules
Most of us don’t want to damage the environment deliberately. We just don’t have the right habits installed in our daily life. It’s normal to produce waste which is why everyone is doing so.
Start by carrying a reusable straw and a coffee mug with you every day. Set a reminder on your phone for your shopping day to carry a reusable bag with yourself. Then start reminding your housemates and your colleagues too.
Seeing so many “green” products on store shelves can be confusing as you might not know what the right decision is. Over at The Guardian they’ve written up a handy guide to help you and it basically comes down to take a moment and think about lifecycles of products. Their article is also filled with neat tidbits like half of us half reusable bags but we don’t all use them regularly, so even just using that bag more can be a simple step to help the planet.
Of course, the best thing you can do when it comes to consumption is to just buy/use less stuff.
The breakdown on compostable packaging
Naively, you might think that the compostable-plastic takeaway tub you ate your lunch from is easily compostable and that, if you dropped it into a food waste bin, in a few months some keen gardener will be scattering it on their allotment. That is highly unlikely. These plant-based, PLA-plastic products need to be industrially composted in specific units that are so scarce in Britain, most compostable packaging is burned or goes to landfill.
In fact, put that compostable salad tub in a food waste bin and you actually create a problem. Food waste is composted by anaerobic digestion to produce biogas and fertiliser, but, first, any packaging has to be removed. “Compostable products have no gas value,” says a spokesperson for waste recycler ReFood. “Drivers check customers’ bins when they collect. If there is a lot of packaging, then they won’t be able to accept the waste, but this doesn’t happen very often.”
In its initial production, compostable packaging is more eco-friendly than traditional plastic packaging, but, at the moment, it is no silver bullet.
Solution: at lunch, rather than a takeaway from the works canteen or a local cafe, sit in and eat off a plate using metal cutlery. It is far greener. “Until the waste infrastructure is in place, telling people packaging is 100% compostable is, at best, problematic and, at worst, greenwash,” says the Carbon Trust’s Jamie Plotnek.
Google Maps, Apple Maps, Mapquest, and other American-made mapping solutions work really well in developed regions where there are lots of businesses, however, outside those ares their maps lack quality. Rural parts of countries around the world don’t have the detail of urban centres when it comes to things like building locations and paths. This is particular true in the developing world.
Open Street Map (OSM) is better in the majority world and now it’s easier than ever to help the world get mapped. Using their online editing tool you can help poorer parts of the planet get the maps they need. Why are maps so important? It helps emergency workers respond effectively after a disaster and to help OSM be more useful coders have created the HOT Tasking Manager.
You can spend five minutes of your coffee break helping others from your computer.
The Tasking Manager is a mapping tool designed and built for the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team’s collaborative mapping process in OpenStreetMap. The purpose of the tool is to divide up a mapping project into smaller tasks that can be completed rapidly with many people working on the same overall area. It shows which areas need to be mapped and which areas need the mapping validated.
This approach allows the distribution of tasks to many individual mappers in the context of emergency or other humanitarian mapping scenario. It also allows monitoring of the overall project progress and helps improve the consistency of the mapping (e.g., elements to cover, specific tags to use, etc.).