Although climate change is having, and is predicted to have adverse impacts on life on Earth, there are many different options and methods available to us to help stop further damage, and even reverse some damage already done.
With CO2 emissions being one of the largest factors contributing to climate change, many alternatives exist and being further developed to produce energy with a far smaller impact on the environment.
These green energy sources come down to wind, water, and solar energy (WWS), and these include such things as solar panels, wind turbines, dams, and hydrothermal plants.
As of 2014, 12.5% of Australia’s energy produced was from WWS, which overall isn’t very much, though some states in particular had far higher portion of their energy used coming from renewables.
South Australia had around 40% of its energy used from renewables, while Tasmania had around 95%.
It has been estimated that by 2030 all new energy could be produced with WWS, and all pre-existing energy sources being completely replaced by 2050.
Switching to renewable energy can also lower global energy demand by 30%, with improved power networks reducing the amount of energy lost in transporting it.
Altogether these alternative energy sources do not have an economic barrier, rather a socio-political one. Generally they would overall cost less than continuing to use fossil-fuel energy, and only require around 1% of the Earth’s land mass to provide room for the estimated number of systems needed.
Encouraging your local governments to increase funding for renewable energy, and purchasing your own more sustainable sources of transport and energy production are ways you as an individual can contribute to switching to renewable energy resources.
Though what other ways can we help prevent climate change and its impacts?
Environmental conservation is an important factor when considering climate change, as photosynthetic life take in CO2 and pump out oxygen, helping to stabilize CO2 emissions.
Ensuring that logging practices are sustainable and are not abused in environments resulting in mass habitat loss can go a big way in helping maintain forests.
Using reduced impact logging methods can minimize the amount of damage done to forests which are logged, and can also reduce carbon emissions from logging by up to 30%.
Getting involved in community environmental conservation groups and volunteering can also have a positive impact on your local environments.
Having a healthy local environment is useful for a variety of reasons, including boosting industry, agriculture, tourism, and providing many ecosystem services as explained in the previous post in this series.
Eating less meat can also help in combatting climate change, since livestock expel large amounts of methane, a potent greenhouse gas.
Obviously cutting meat completely out of your diet entirely may be too drastic for some, but simply reducing the amount of meat they eat can reduce the amount of demand for meat, which in turn will reduce the amount of methane being released into the atmosphere, and also open up more land for other uses.
Educating children in primary and secondary schools about climate change and the importance of the environment around them is also important, since the work being done to stop climate change will span over not just one generation.
Having looked through our past, present, and future, it is clear that climate change presents a huge challenge for all people and countries around the world, though the threat is well researched and the resources to solve this issue are ready and being improved upon everyday
Only through persistent cooperation on international, national, and local levels can climate change really be effectively managed, not only for the prosperity of mankind, but also for all life on Earth.
Mark A. Delucchi, Mark Z. Jacobson 2010, ‘Providing all global energy with wind, water, and solar power, Part I: Technologies, energy resources, quantities and areas of infrastructure, and materials’, Energy Policy, vol. 39, no. 3, pp. 1154-1169, doi: 10.1016/j.enpol.2010.11.040.
Mark A. Delucchi, Mark Z. Jacobson 2010, ‘Providing all global energy with wind, water, and solar power, Part II: Reliability, system and transmission costs, and policies, Energy Policy, vol. 39, no. 3, pp. 1170-1190, doi: 10.1016/j.enpol.2010.11.045