Despite what some public figures claim, climate change is very real. There is undeniable evidence that our world is changing, and it’s not necessarily for the better. Climates around the world are changing and humans are directly influencing this change. But is it too late? Or can the negative effects of the Industrial Revolution and the burning of fossil fuels be reversed? Is there still hope yet for humanity to save our one and only planet from the brink of destruction?
We all love being cool during the hot months and having our food chilled in refrigerators. Who doesn’t love leftovers? Unfortunately, the chemicals used to keep buildings and food cold (chlorofluorocarbons and hydrochlorofluorocarbons) are incredibly harmful to the environment. In order to reduce the major hole in the ozone layer, there have been governmental ordinances implemented to prevent the use of these chemicals; while that has helped a bit, there are still some refrigerants in circulation. If we could better manage these refrigerants, then we could do our planet a huge favor. Ironically, these refrigerant chemicals emissions occur in their largest percentage (90%) during disposal. Meaning, if we can properly dispose of our air conditioners and refrigerators, then we can help make a major, positive impact on our planet.
Human beings waste food; that’s not exactly a surprise. However, what is a surprise is how much of an impact our food waste has on the environment. Precious resources are used for human food preparation every single day, and greenhouse gases are emitted as a byproduct. It would be one thing if human beings ate all of the food that was prepared, but that simply isn’t the case. Currently, the United Nations has a Sustainable Development Goal in place designed to halve the world’s food waste by 2030. If we can adhere to these goals set forth by the UN, increase communication at all levels of the food supply chain and improve infrastructure and streamline processes, we can reduce the greenhouse gases created by food production by 70.53 gigatons by 2050.
This is another well-known environmental issue plaguing our planet and its ecosystems. According to Greenamerica.org, the percentage of tropical rain forest area in the entire planet has been reduced by 7%. Not only is deforestation killing beautiful plants and destroying the natural habitats of animals, it also emits a large amount of carbon dioxide into the air. This, obviously, contributes immensely to global warming. Luckily, certain initiatives are in place to help restore these forests to their former glory. And, if all goes well and we can restore the potential 751 million acres of deforested land, we could reduce up to 61 gigatons of carbon dioxide by 2050.
The damage caused by burning fossil fuels may be large, but it isn’t irreversible! If we can, as a society, come together and right some of these wrongs, we may be able to make a brighter and better future for ourselves and subsequent generations.