To help protect the ozone layer is up to us in the end. While the Kigali amendment and the Paris agreement has gone a long way ensuring these harmful gases won’t be produced by industries worldwide it is still a phase out plan to 2050. A lot of irreversible damage can potentially be created by then. From natural catastrophes to implementation of new laws and policies that may reverse these agreements, not to mention that the Montreal Protocol doesn’t control how civilians consume.
Given the urgency of our climate crisis, it is on our hands to take actions towards an ecological future. We, at Sparkling Clean, support the implementation of a sustainable culture to impact and educate people around us. Although it might have slow impact on ecology at first, we believe in gradual wave effect, where those we teach may educate others around them and so on, leading to real, solid changes for future generations to come.
Here are the first 2 steps and 5 changes to help reduce greenhouse gases and your carbon imprint on the planet
Step 1- Calculate Your Carbon Footprint
The first thing you should do is to calculate your current carbon footprint to estimate your annual greenhouse gas emissions. Unless you understand where your emissions come from, you cannot take effective steps to reduce your impact.
Step 2- Don’t purchase any machinery that utilizes greenhouse gases (HFC)
pollutant hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) are still used widely despite the availability of HFC-free alternatives. Watch out for them on labels written as R-134a for refrigerants on AC’s, aerosol spray cans Freezers, iceboxes and ice-rooms.
E.g: Fridge alternative
HFC-free fridges use a refrigerant, R-600a or isobutane. R-600a has a very low global warming potential (GWP) of 3 compared with R-134a, the typical HFC used in fridges, which has a GWP around 1,400! R-600a is also very energy efficient, reducing your electric bill and even more emissions.
All fridges are labelled with a sticker located on the inside compartment that lists which refrigerant is used along with other manufacturing information. If you see “R600a” on this sticker, congratulations, you found an HFC-free fridge!
Note: Make sure to Check for refrigerant leakages in your car, AC, fridge and icebox.
Conduct regular inspection and maintenance of air-conditioning and make sure that the refrigerants are properly recovered and recycled instead of being vented to the atmosphere.
CHANGE 1- transportation choices
If people are to drive or fly less, it means less carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels. Opt always for transportations, such as bike/skate/rollerblades/scooter, car sharing or public transportation.
Cars: If you absolutely must own a car, opt for hybrid or electric car. Hybrid technology works in such a way that it allows the cars to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions significantly. Hybrid cars use more electricity than gasoline, thus help reduce carbon dioxide emissions. If you own a car, make sure to give people the chance to car share with you!
Flying: Air travel is probably responsible for the largest part of your carbon footprint. If you can’t avoid flying, go economy class as the flight’s carbon emissions are shared among more passengers. Business-class is responsible for almost three times, while the first-class can result in nine times as much emission as the economy.
Try to offset the carbon emissions of your travel by paying an amount of money for a project that reduces greenhouse gases somewhere else. Click here to learn how.
CHANGE 2- eating habits
Meat and dairy: When it comes to food habits, people should not consume meat at all or at least reduce consumption at significant levels. Meat accounts for nearly 60% of all greenhouse gases from food production, study finds.
Livestock meat and dairy are responsible for 14.5 percent of human-made global greenhouse gas emission of methane (25 times more potent than CO2 at trapping heat in the atmosphere over 100 years) that beef and sheep belch out.
Every day that you forgo meat and dairy can reduce your carbon footprint by pounds means 2,920 pounds a year.
Grow your own veggies or buy locally: The more people start growing their own plants for food, the more greenhouse gases we can eliminate from monoculture production and market transportation. Transporting food from far away, whether by truck, ship, rail or plane, uses fossil fuels for gasoline and also for cooling to prevent produce from spoiling in transit. Some foods have huge food miles. These miles are often made by vehicles that release a multitude of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.
Besides, growing veggies requires very little energy as compared to that of meat. Hence, changing our lifestyles i.e., eating mostly fruits, veggies, grains, and beans, is just the right step towards reducing greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.
CHANGE 3 – consumerist habits – reduce, recycle and buy smart
Recycle: When people recycle close to half of their household waste, they can save around 2,400 pounds of carbon dioxide each year. Instead of throwing excess waste into the atmosphere, increasing the amount of carbon dioxide. Buying second hand and reusing objects is another form of recycling.
Reduce: Less stuff means less waste. Take your own reusable bag with you whenever you are out to shop. Try to avoid items with excess packaging. Choose the product wisely while you buy it. Support companies that are environmentally responsible and sustainable.
Buy Smart: When you do decide to purchase something new, choose quality, durability and bio-degradable products over: cheap, low quality and synthetic materials. Purchase locally to lower transportation fossil fuels and avoid plastic packaging.
Don’t buy quick cheap fashion: buy quality clothing that will last. Trendy, cheap items go out of style quickly and get dumped in landfills where they produce methane as they decompose. The average US-American discards about 80 pounds of clothing each year, 85 percent of which ends up in landfills. Besides, most fast fashion comes from China and Bangladesh. Therefore, shipping them to far-off places means the consumption of fossil fuels.
CHANGE 4- energy consumption choices
Renewable energy: There is the need to adopt renewable sources of energy such as wind, solar, hot rocks and wave power. If one is to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases, then they have to replace their entire energy systems by opting for electricity from green energy sources.
If you cannot buy a private renewable energy source, opt for signing with renewable green energy companies for ur heat and electricity bills.
Lower your consumption to save energy:
– Buy home appliances with energy efficient models.
– Keep ur AC temperatures at moderate levels – setting it 2 degrees lower during winter and 2 degrees higher in summer could save around 2,000 pounds of carbon dioxide gas annually
– Opt for fans instead of air conditioning.
– Opt for compact fluorescent light bulbs – if a CFL is used instead of a 60-watt incandescent one, it saves $30 over the life of this bulb and it lasts 10x more than incandescent bulbs. They also use two-thirds less energy while giving off 70% less heat.
– Add insulation to your walls together with windows – it helps lower the amount of heating, which costs more than 25% the amount of energy which is needed to heat and even cool the home.
– Don’t abuse the hot water – you may wash their clothes in cold or warm water to reduce energy required to produce it. By setting the water heater at 120 degrees Celsius, it can save energy a minimum of 500 pounds of carbon dioxide each year.
– Dry clothes naturally.
– Switch off the electricity – Unplug any appliances that are not used, like mobile charging systems, because even though they are switched off, they sap energy.
CHANGE 5- relationship to soil and water
Making sure our soil and waters stay safe from pollution is of essence to diminish greenhouse gases. Water and soil are the planets natural filtration system, we need to make sure they are balanced and abundant.
They are intricately connected, and need specific nutrients to keep balance. Meaning we must be mindful of chemical productions that deplete their micro-organisms. Working to preserve water and soil’s balance will avoid DNA changes to food, higher temperatures and a malfunctioning filtration system that contributes to the greenhouse effect.
– Plant a tree
Trees absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and, in turn, give off oxygen. One tree absorbs around one ton of carbon dioxide in the whole of its lifetime. Hence, if someone has the means to plant trees, now is the time.
– Use water sparingly
For example, when brushing your teeth you should turn off the water. Also, when shampooing the dog or washing your car, you have to stop the water flow until you are done. Install a low-flow shower head to reduce water use, and taking shorter showers helps, too.
– Use non-toxic household products
Most of the household cleaning products are considered toxic besides being petroleum-based. These products are considered as the main causes of high levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
These toxic chemicals can be eliminated by making the right choices in the supermarkets of purchasing products that are less hazardous to the lives of people or the environment. Sparkling Clean’s job!