Earlier this month, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (I.P.C.C) released a report on global warming.
According to the report, the atmosphere’s average temperature will increase by 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit (1.5 degrees Celsius) by the year 2040, due to greenhouse gas emissions, resulting in famine, drought, mass-extinctions and many other catastrophic events.
Now is the time to save the planet and ourselves before we reach the event horizon.
According to NASA, the average global temperature has been steadily increasing since the industrial revolution.
Since 1880, Earth’s atmospheric temperature has climbed by 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit (0.8 degrees Celsius) with two-thirds of that increase happening after 1975.
Many people, myself included, blame negligent politicians and corporations for the current and impending destruction of the planet and our livelihoods, and, of course, they should be held accountable for they are our leaders, but what about the general public?
The average American?
Individuals are just as responsible for climate change as Exxon or Conagra, after all, we purchase the goods they and many other corporations produce without a second thought. We, as an intelligent, adaptable species, must commit to changing our habits to save the planet, rather, save ourselves. There are many practices and ideas that anyone can adopt to reduce their carbon footprint.
Businesses produce products and services based on consumer demand.
If we change our buying habits and the way we live our lives, the economy will adapt to match those changes.
Did you consider not filling up your gas tank this week and maybe bicycling to work or school?
Alternatively, maybe getting rid of your car altogether? Neither did I, but I wouldn’t dismiss the idea.
Have you committed to vegetarian or veganism? That’s a no for me; although I am considering it.
These ideas are outrageous to some, who would rather watch the world die than walk a few blocks for a burger and fries.
Some small changes can be as easy as changing a light-bulb, literally.
There are energy efficient bulbs that can replace less efficient types thus reducing energy consumption. However, why stop there?
Switching to a green electric company, who produces electricity solely from the consumption of solar and wind energy, is a great way to reduce our carbon footprint drastically.
A drastic change that many Americans would find crazy would be to change our diets, but many would never adopt a vegetarian or vegan diet due to social rejection, cultural identity or stubbornness.
Although if we all adopted a plant-based diet, we could significantly lower greenhouse emissions.
Methane produced by livestock, the beef, chicken, and pork most Americans eat, attributed to 16 percent of greenhouse emissions in 2015.
That may not seem like much, but methane is 32 times more potent to the climate than carbon dioxide.
Thus methane heats the atmosphere more intensely than equal amounts of carbon dioxide, according to the I.P.C.C.
The I.P.C.C also states the U.S. wastes between 30-40 percent of all food produced.
The methane and food waste statistics are alarming, but by reducing or eliminating an animal-based diet and reducing waste, we can (businesses included) reduce a large amount of greenhouse gases from entering the atmosphere.
Another way to reduce greenhouse gases is to buy produce from local farms.
This method would reduce or nearly eliminate emissions from transporting fruits, veggies, and dairy from vast distances to your dinner plate.
In the United States and other industrialized nations, there’s this cultural concept ingrained into the minds of people that say,
“You need a car, your very own, and you can’t share.”
If you don’t have a car, well, “Why don’t you have a car?”
We, humans, have lived for thousands of years without the automobile; it’s not a necessity.
I’m not saying ditch your ride and hoof it, but if we all occasionally tried alternative methods of transportation, all 326 million of us, by either carpooling, scooting, bicycling or using our God-given legs, we can reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Are you still there? You haven’t given up on humanity yet, have you? There’s just one more thing.
The best solution to lead the fight against climate change is to petition to our representatives.
Let them know we care about climate change and humanity’s future.
The members of the House of Representatives are elected to represent us, the citizens of the United States.
Although, whether you’re liberal or conservative, climate change is not a political issue; it’s an international, humanitarian crisis.
If we took to the streets and protest for climate change legislation the way civil-rights activists did in the 60s for minority rights and if the elephant and mule stopped waging war on each other, we could begin to see real progress toward stabilizing the exceedingly tumultuous environment.
We’re not saving the planet; we’re saving ourselves.
All of us must take action to alter this course toward destruction.
The tree hugger has finished his rant, but let me leave you with this dire and inspiring quote from the comedic genius George Carlin:
“There’s nothing wrong with the planet. The planet is fine—the people are [doomed].”
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