Climate change is one of the biggest issues facing us today. Our use of fossil fuels over the last century has caused the earth to warm, leading to devastating impacts for our planet.
This has impacted the planet in many ways including wildlife going extinct, forest fires and coral reefs dying. Not only does climate change affect our wildlife and nature, it affects the quality of air we breathe in.
The impact of farming and deforestation, along with burning fossil fuels have affected climate change. These activities release greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. According to Spun Out, the level of greenhouse gas becomes unsafe when the level of carbon dioxide in the air is above 350 parts per million. Currently, we are over 400 parts per million.
A wide range of celebrities and climate activists came together to participate in the global launch of Countdown, TED’s climate change initiative. Some of the celebrities who joined included Jaden Smith, Ava DuVernay and Priyanka Chopra Jonas.
Jaden Smith often uses his platform to highlight important social and environmental issues. Jaden hosted a segment on leadership with former American Vice President, Al Gore focusing on factors such as governmental policy, city infrastructure and business models and how they can play a role in solving the current climate crisis.
Jaden explained that he has been passionate about fighting for a cleaner environment from a young age.
“When I was about 11 years old, my surfing teacher taught me that the ocean was alive and my environmental teacher taught me that the ocean was dying,” he explained, “from that point on, I’ve just had an undying commitment to the crisis – and I really feel the urgency to act now.”
It is not just up to celebrity and climate change activists to speak out and help change the current climate situation. Everyone can do at least one thing to promote a healthier environment.
Introduce more plant-based foods to your diet
We’re not saying everyone has to be a vegan or vegetarian but cutting down on meats and dairy products can help hugely. Cows release a lot of methane on a daily basis, this is a greenhouse gas. Almond milk uses up to 50% less water to make compared to cow’s milk. By cutting down on red meats and dairy we won’t need to farm as many cows in the future. Depending on your personal and dietary needs, trying a meat-free Monday or learning how to make one or two veggie lunches can really make a difference. Just be sure to check with a parent, guardian or GP before you cut anything out completely!
Make a greener commute
If you normally get a lift or drive almost everywhere, you should start to walk, cycle or taking public transport more. Emissions from the fuels burned in our cars can contribute to an unhealthy climate. By taking public transport or car-sharing you are reducing the number of vehicles on the road (and you’re saving money). The next time you’re meeting a friend or heading to the shop, as yourself do you really need to hound a parent or older sibling for a life? Or is the 15 minute walk not that bad at all?
Start a conversation about climate change
Education is here for this one. The more you know, the more you can talk about it and educate others in your social circle. Whether it’s watching David Attenborough’s doc on Netflix or reading up on Greta Thunberg’s latest statement, or simple looking around yourself and being open to discussions, it can go a long way.
With this knowledge, striking up a conversation with your friends and family about climate change can make a big difference. You may help one person become more climate aware, or you might just learn something new yourself. Within your family try to think of different ways you can collectively be greener in the home.
Avoid plastic where possible
Most plastics are made from fossil fuels and others can’t be recycled. Plastic bottles and waste are constantly making their way to rivers, beaches, wastewater and more. Instead of buying a plastic bottle of water, opt for a reusable bottle that can later be recycled or reused when it needs to be replaced. The same goes for shopping bags, straws, plastic cutlery and coffee stirrers, skipping the bits of plastic you don’t need is so easy and makes such a difference.
Get politically active
Even if you are too young to vote, talk to your parents, older siblings and other family and friends about issues you care about in Ireland. When it comes to voting, different political parties have different views on certain elements, you can always look up which parties support the things you care about and talk to your voters about these important topics. While you can’t vote, you can sign petitions, get involved in virtual protests and educate yourself on what is being done by the leaders in Ireland so you can talk to others about it.
In your day to day life try to make more conscious decisions of what you are eating, what material you are using and if you are contributing to a green future. The benefits of climate justice may not be seen immediately, but if we don’t act now the next generation (who could be your children, nieces, nephews and even grandchildren) unfortunately won’t live in the same world we do today.
Words By Emily Clarke