The future of our planet has dominated the news agenda this week, after recent warnings that this is our last chance to save the world from a “climate catastrophe”. Scientists have said that it’s the final call in what the BBC called “the most extensive warning to date about rising global temperatures”.
The new study reports that if temperatures rise higher than 1.5 C above pre-industrial levels the impact will be “rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society”. The results will damage the planet’s liveability and that temperature “guard rail” could be exceeded just 12 years in 2030 as we head towards 3C.
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Photo by @BrianSkerry | A newborn Harp Seal pup sleeps on the ice while its mom watches from the water behind. Historically these animals have thrived in this region, where come for a few weeks each year to engage in courtship, mating and pupping. But declining sea ice due to climate change over the last decade has caused problems for this species for without stable ice, the pups cannot suckle from their moms and may fall into the icy sea before they are physically prepared. Survival for this species is uncertain if these trends continue. Follow @BrianSkerry to see more wildlife photos from the sea! #climatechange #seals #harpseal #canada #conservation
When the stakes are so high, it’s easy to think that all of this is out of our control. But the world can’t meet its target without changes made by individuals. We spoke to Rachel Kennerley, a climate change campaigner at Friends of the Earth, on how to fight climate change on a daily basis:
Switch up your energy
“Where we get our energy from is a big contributor to carbon emissions. Renewables such as wind and solar now provide a third of the electricity in the UK, so make the switch to a green provider now.
“Companies such as Good Energy and Ecotricity offer renewable energy tariffs, and, if we all move away from the fossil fuel nasties, it will further show the government that we want a green future.”
Cut out meat – or eat less of it
“The emissions from intensive dairy and cattle farming are a big part of the problem. By eating less meat and dairy you can limit your impact in terms of carbon and methane emissions, and also enjoy a healthier diet.”
“It’s also important to keep in mind the impact of all foods you eat – in terms of the miles they have to travel to get to your plate. We all love smashed avocado, but try to form as much of your diet as possible from seasonal locally sourced ingredients. Your local greengrocer is good starting point for this.”
Ditch the car
“Petrol and diesel cars are a huge source of emissions, bad for both air quality and climate change. The majority of car journeys in the UK are less than a mile, so switching to active travel or public transport is another easy way to do your bit for the planet.”
“By hopping on your bike, or walking into town you’ll also find yourself getting fitter, while fighting air pollution and climate change.”
Keep the planet in mind when thinking about your next holiday
“Aviation is a huge part of carbon emissions – Heathrow Airport is actually the UK’s biggest single source of carbon emissions. Nobody begrudges anyone an annual exotic holiday but frequent fliers definitely need to think twice. From the mountains of Snowdonia and lakes of the Lake District, to Cornwall’s beautiful beaches, think about all the beautiful places in the UK you can reach without having to board a plane. European adventures are also easily done by train.”
“Making changes to your own lifestyle is fantastic, but you can also start to make a wider impact by getting involved as an activist. It’s easy to get started, simply write to your MP to talk to them about climate change, or ask your local council if they’re investing money in dirty energy. Just a short email can do the job. By being vocal you can put more pressure on politicians and make them take action on climate change.”
“Climate change is the biggest issue of our generation; one that needs us all to work together to keep the damage to a minimum. While government change is key, it’s great to see how many people have been inspired to take immediate action in their day to day lives.”