Happy International Mother Earth’s Day! A special day to appreciate our home and address the environmental issues that will help protect the future health of our planet. And this year we should stop to think about ”What can I do about climate change?” Earth day is recognised as the planet’s largest civic event and it all started on April 22, 1970 when 20 million Americans took a stand to protest environmental ignorance and demand for action and new processes to protect our planet. Today will mark 50 years of Earth Day.
The cause for action for Earth Day 2020 is climate action, and it is more crucial now than ever to think to yourself, what can I do about climate change? The Earth’s atmosphere is warming, faster than it probably ever has. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change special report on global warming, indicates that we have just over a decade to halve our emissions to avoid devastating impacts of climate change on humanity, wildlife and the life-support systems that make our world habitable. This includes our food supply, national security, global health, extreme weather and much more. Its research demonstrates the climate impacts at the current -1’C global warming as well as the risks of reaching 1.5’C and the irreversible losses that would take place at 2’C or more warming.
What is happening to our planet?
- Global temperature rise: The planet’s average surface temperature has risen about 0.9 degrees Celsius since the late 19th century. 2016 is the warmest year on record!
- Shrinking ice sheets: Data from NASA’s Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment show Greenland lost an average of 286 billion tons of ice per year between 1993 and 2016, while Antarctica lost about 127 billion tons of ice per year during the same time period. The rate of Antarctica ice mass loss has tripled in the last decade.
- Glacial decay: Glaciers are retreating almost everywhere around the world — including in the Alps, Himalayas, Andes, Rockies, Alaska and Africa.
- Sea level rise: Global sea level rose about 8 inches in the last century. The rate in the last two decades is nearly double and is accelerating little by little every year.
- Ocean Acidification: As a result of humans emitting more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, the acidity of surface ocean water is increasing. In fact the amount of carbon dioxide absorbed by the upper layer of the oceans is increasing by about 2 billion tons per year.
What are the causes of global warming?
According to AGU it is extremely likely that human activities, especially emissions of greenhouse gases, are the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century.
AAAS further supports that 97% of climate scientists have concluded that human-caused climate change is happening.
In 2005, several academics made a global response to climate change to express the urgency of global warming, confirming that ‘’Climate change is real..The evidence comes from direct measurements of rising surface air temperatures and subsurface ocean temperatures and from phenomena such as increases in average global sea levels, retreating glaciers, and changes to many physical and biological systems’’. They linked the majority of its cause in the recent decades to human activity.
In light of this, there is simply no time to waste. The time for change is now, and 2020 is a key turning point for our planet. There needs to be urgent action to be taken at every level to make a real difference from increased national commitments and policies to businesses thinking of potential climate impacts at every stage of the supply chain to individual citizens making positive changes to save the planet, and using their unique influence to drive change and make a real impact.
What can I do about climate change?
Use your voice, make an impact
Learn more about the science behind climate change. Add your voice to the issues that are shaping the climate debate as well as emerging, evidence-based data that directly relates to changes in our climate. Join Earth Challenge 2020 @Earth_Challenge
Understand your personal impact
Measuring your carbon footprint and understanding what of your personal impacts could be damaging earth, is the first step to managing your carbon footprint. Save the planet one day at a time and calculate your carbon footprint here.
Use Less Energy
Save energy in your homes by unplugging items when they aren’t in use, buy goods with high energy efficient standards, and consider making the switch to renewable energy
Reduce greenhouse gas emissions and consider public transport, cycling and walking as a main mode of transport. For more ways to live sustainably check out our page!
Shop smarter, think green.
Support companies driven by sustainability and have full transparency throughout the supply chain. Shop smarter, and make thoughtful purchases to minimise waste. Your power as a consumer can make a huge impact on the planet. Check out our other pages to find out more about sustainable fashion and beauty.
Support and Spread the Word
Your individual actions can make a difference, but together we can be a part of a movement to drive change. Consider communities around you such as your neighbourhood, schools, sport organisations, faith community. Collective action can have an immense impact. Here are also a few environmental activism communities in London that support climate change that you could be a part of.
Happy Earth Day 2020!
Nicola San Lorenzo