Greenhouse gases are gases in Earth’s atmosphere that trap heat. They let sunlight pass through the atmosphere, but they prevent the heat that the sunlight brings from leaving the atmosphere.
What are the main greenhouse gases? The most important ones are water vapor (H2O), carbon dioxide (CO2), nitrous oxide (N2O), methane (CH4), sulfur hexafluoride (SF6) and halocarbons, including chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), released exclusively by anthropogenic activities.
The greenhouse effect is an essential aspect for the birth and development of life on Earth: without that process, the average temperature on the earth’s surface would be -19 °C. Which means 33°C below the current average values.
Without human activities, the amount of greenhouse gases would remain in equilibrium with the ecosystem. On the other hand, anthropogenic emissions, like the use of fossil fuels, deforestation, intensive use of agricultural lands, intensive livestock farming can significantly change the natural temperature of the planet.
In order to achieve the goals established to fight climate change, it is essential to develop strategies to reduce the emission of these gases which are directly connected.
States and companies play a fundamental role in this process and we, as individuals, can actively contribute to reducing CO2eq emissions.
Besides the ability to reduce our emissions, we can also positively influence the behavior of people around us: like friends, colleagues, family members and members of the community.
Here a list of 5 good practices to use in your daily life for reducing your carbon footprint.
Think before you move
CO2eq emissions from transportation (including international aviation but excluding international shipping) in 2017 were 28% higher than in 1990. Emissions will have to decrease by two-thirds before 2050 to reach the target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 60%.
With the current health crisis, we have experienced a drastic drop but there is still a lot to do!
Here are some suggestions:
- Choose cycling, walking and public transit over driving wherever possible
- Trade your inefficient vehicle for an EV or a plug-in hybrid
- Don’t fly. Instead, use the train for long journeys. If you have to fly, buy a quality carbon offsetting that most airlines offer.
Check the food you bring to the table
Our food supply chain contributes significantly to GHG emissions and climate change. It is not just a matter of controlling how the animals are raised and the processes used for cultivation, but also how the products are shipped and packaged.
There are a few ways to lighten your impact:
- Support local agriculture and choose organic when possible.
- Opt for more plant-based meals by reducing your consumption of meat and dairy products. Beef, lamb and cheese have some of the highest carbon footprints among food products.
- Don’t waste food. When we throw away food, we waste all the resources that have been used for its production.
Don’t waste energy
Do you know what ghost energy is? It refers to the electricity that is continuously used in our homes, even when we are not there. This type of passive energy accounts for over 30% of household electricity consumption.
So, observe how you use energy in your flat. Turn off the electrical devices completely when they are not in use, use low consumption light bulbs or buy low consumption appliances. In general, we can all benefit from lowering our energy use at home since you will emit fewer emissions and you can also save a good amount of money.
Check what you buy
The goods we buy all result in emissions, through production, transportation and future disposal.
Consume and buy fewer things, especially new things. Rent, borrow and buy used wherever is possible and when you need to buy new, choose high-quality durable goods and make them last.
If you want to read more about this topic you can check our recent article on the Fast Fashion Industry.
Then follow the 5 R rule – Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Rot, Recycle. Reduce or Reject what cannot be reused or recycled. Eliminate single-use plastic and opt for reusable. Reduce your purchases and only buy when you really need them. Learn to reuse and recycle whatever you can instead of throwing it away.
Each of us has the power to have an active role in the evaluation process of products and services on the market. We can have a significant impact on companies’ production decisions and shape the market to make it more sustainable
It is a simple and effective practice. As simple as useful for fighting the emission of greenhouse gases and pollute less.
Our planet urgently needs concrete actions and the sum of these small actions can generate a positive change.