Climate Change is a real thing. Let’s get that argument out there for once and for all. It’s one of the most complex and potentially devastating problems facing mankind right now. The reason it is so complex is because of the multiple stakeholders involved in it. The numerous conflict of interest situations further doesn’t help the cause.
Do you continue to burn those fossil fuels indiscriminately under the pretext of development? Do you treat the falling groundwater table as collateral damage for those new homes to be built in? Does it make sense to cut that forest so that you can make a highway?
The lack of a clear answer to such questions, as well as a clear disregard towards the planet and its riches, has pushed us to a point where the Earth is showing signs of self-destruction.
The State of India
The situation is no different in India. According to a report released by the World Bank, Overall 600 million Indians will be moderately or severely affected by changes in temperature and rainfall. In the Pithoragarh region of Uttarakhand, cultivation of more than 30 traditional crops has been abandoned because the region is no longer sustainable enough to do so. The same World Bank report also communicated that if left on its own, climate change would lead to an average temperature as high as 29.1° C by the end of the century in India.
Thankfully, the nations have realised that it’s high time for efforts to be escalated in light of saving the planet. Ministry of Environment and Forests released a report listing 20 initiatives that the country is undertaking to address climate change at home. These steps come as part of India's larger National Action Plan on Climate Change. To tackle the growing threat posed by deforestation, a plantation drive has been proposed to counter it. The nationwide drive aims to add 0.8 million hectares of forest per year. Not only this, efforts are being made towards the development of renewable sources of energy as well, considering India is the 4th largest contributor of carbon emissions in the world. The Solar Mission sets a target to install 20 gigawatts (GW) of solar capacity by 2020 and 200 GW by 2050. It is the most ambitious solar plan that any country has put forward so far.
While all these are macro-level changes, it is imperative to understand that all these only function, if we as humans lend proper support to it. It is the human race that has led the Earth to its tipping point, and it is only through its collective efforts that we can bring about a positive change in our battle against climate change. These are the few daily things you could do to make sure you’re doing your bit in fighting climate change!
Become more energy efficient
This is one of the simplest ways to do your bit for the environment. By doing something as easy as adopting energy-efficient light bulbs, switching off electronics when you’re not using them and buying energy-saving appliances, you can go a long way in saving your planet. Such appliances typically consumer 25%-80% less energy and last 3-25 times longer than traditional appliances!
Change Your Diet To Suit Your Climate
The meat industry is one of the biggest contributors to climate change. Not only that, the fertilizers and pesticides used in cultivating agriculture also lead to soil degradation and groundwater level exhaustion, indirectly contributing to global warming. By resorting to more meat-free meals, adopting organic vegetables and reducing wastage of food, you can contribute to lower levels of heat generation by the Earth. According to the United Nations Development Programme, up to 40% of the food produced in India is wasted.
Green Your Commute
Indians spend one and a half hour (91 minutes) on average in commute on a weekday, higher than other countries such as China (57 minutes), Brazil (77 minutes). Such a high commuting time also leads to a greater amount of carbon emissions, which we all know is harmful to the environment. By making a conscious effort to reduce the use of private vehicles and adopt public transport, one can go a long way in reducing global warming, road congestion etc.
Make Your Demands Heard
Your efforts to save the climate can also be accelerated if your elected representatives and the government is also doing their bit at the national level. By pushing the legislators to include laws regarding climate change and rules restricting environmentally destructive activities, we collectively can go a long way in combating climate change at the national level.
The fight against climate change is certainly a long one. But it’s the little collective efforts of thousands of people that can contribute towards saving our environment. It is only through our combined efforts will we able to protect our Earth and leave it to our future generations
The ban on plastic in Mumbai has urged more people to carry their own cloth bags to stores, and that is a huge factor in saving the planet.
Collect your discarded paper, glass, plastic, and electronic waste to a local recycling center. They will make these items into other recyclable materials again, which further helps you buy more planet-friendly products.
Talk About Climate Change
Even though the effects of global warming and climate change are very visible, some people are still blind to its impact. Talking about it not only raises awareness but also helps make change faster. Discussing the issues and problems we have to face makes us more aware and more conscious.
Following these steps is easy and very cost-friendly. If you can integrate these habits into your daily life, you can help change the planet one habit at a time.