People are predominantly visual beings. We rely heavily on what we see to form our opinions and grasp the world that surrounds us. It is an important evolutionary tool, but it has been a double-edged sword. Hence we reach a particularly incendiary topic these days: climate change.
Have you noticed that spring is coming earlier, that plants are blooming at odd times, or that rains are more intense? If so, it’s likely you’re witnessing the first stages of climate change – and how we plan and manage our gardens will have to change. More and more scientists agree that we’re locked into a global temperature increase of 2 degrees Celsius, which is a number we’re told we can’t cross in order to maintain our planet’s equilibrium.
Your garden can make a significant difference in the fight against climate change. We can use trees, shrubs, and vines to shade our homes and reduce energy use while sequestering carbon from the air. The plants we choose can be composed largely of natives, which are genetically hardwired to tackle local weather extremes. And lawn-reducing planting beds that are thick and lush, just like we’d see in nature, make added contributions to minimizing carbon footprints while providing essential habitat for diverse wildlife.
It’s no secret carpooling is good for the environment, but in major cities where life moves quickly, it’s not always possible. People keep different schedules, work on opposite sides of town, or simply prefer to commute alone. The emerging popularity of electric vehicles has helped to alleviate the burden of vehicular carbon dioxide emissions, but are people making the shift to lower their carbon footprint when they can’t carpool?
The states in which commuters most commonly drive alone to work are some of the states with the fewest electric vehicles. This combination leads to a substantial carbon footprint. Below is a breakdown of the states creating the biggest impacts — both positive and negative — on the environment.
With gas-powered cars and trucks accounting for one-fifth of America’s total carbon dioxide emissions, a small change, such as driving with a coworker, working remotely more often, or switching to a hybrid or electric vehicle, can contribute to a major change! Read on to see where each state stands.
In October 2018, the world’s leading scientists, led by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, issued a “final call” on climate change, stating that the world is completely “off track”.
To avert long-term and irreversible harm to our climate will require “rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society”.
According to the report, the world has around 12 years remaining to enact these changes if we want to keep temperature increases to 1.5°. Currently, the world is on course for a worrying rise of 3° by 2030.
While government pressure on big businesses is ratcheting up, what can you and other citizens do to reduce the carbon emissions being released into the world around us?
Below is a guide with some things you can do to cut your carbon footprint:
As global temperatures rise, sea levels have also begun to climb, resulting in disastrous flooding that has devastated and displaced communities around the world. Unfortunately, sea levels will only grow higher in the coming years—temperature increases are likely to continue due to climate change and will rapidly melt glaciers. In this likely scenario, it won’t just be a few people underwater—sea levels could negatively affect more than 100 million people, equaling about one-third of the US population. Sea levels are expected to rise 8-34 inches by 2100, and flooding could make current coastal areas uninhabitable within the next century.
For more information about how sea levels could displace millions and cost the global economy trillions, check out this infographic from the Safety Management Program at Eastern Kentucky University Online.