Climate change is a topic that is discussed far more regularly now with people paying far more attention to their own individual impact on the environment. Around the world, people have very different political views on this subject. However, the fact remains that most scientists are warning people and governments about the consequence of not doing anything. Different countries have very different policies on this but there is a lot of different things that people can do at an individual level to help in this global fight.
Within the home you can look to improve on your current heat efficiency in many ways – this has a direct impact on your personal commitment to climate change efficiency. When you think of the amount of wasted energy that households have, it is incredible. It is easy to put central heating on in all the rooms, even if they are unoccupied, rather than heat the areas that most need it. In addition to this, if a household does not have the correct level of heat entrapment, then it will escape and cause you to waste further heat to compensate for this.
There are companies out there that can help you get the best insolation in terms of doors, patios and windows. One of these is American Vision Windows who have specialists on hand in order to analyse your current home and give advice as to what opportunities there are to improve. You will find that most modern homes nowadays are built with things such as double-glazed windows or doors. If this is not something you currently have installed in your home then you should look into it as this is one of the most powerful opportunities you will have. Not only will you be able to retain heat in your home more efficiently, but you will be far more protected from any noise from outdoors. Replacing windows and doors will also allow you to choose different colours and material types which can help make inroads to any home improvement activities you are completing and potentially make a large increase in terms of your home value.
Solar panels are also something that homeowners (and commercial companies) can consider and in the past decade, these have become pretty popular. Different states in the US will also compensate some value towards this in terms of tax relief in order to incentivise people to go down this route. They may not be the prettiest of items connected to the roof of the home however the energy savings in terms of price are awesome. These are clearly far more effective in places where there is a lot of direct light however most areas in the US are typically suitable to have one of these installed.
Far more individuals and companies are ensuring that they are recycling waste. Even when you go to fast-food restaurants such as McDonald’s you will see that they have different trash cans for waste that they encourage customers to use. The impact on unrecycled waste is significant to our environment and there is a specific focus around plastic now. There are many different emotional pictures and videos that show how plastic waste is dumped into the sea and can harm our ocean life as it is not biodegradable.
For the home, many US states that offer trash disposal in different forms to account for recycling. This can include specific pick-ups for plastic or paper waste. Within the house, you can purchase trash can separators where this is made a whole lot easier for you to manage. If there is no regular pick up from the authorities for recycled items, then there are plenty of these recycling stations dotted around the state that you could drive to. Even some parking lots or supermarket areas now have the large recycling centres attached to them.
Another different to think differently about this is the way you transport goods from the supermarket. Most people will rely on the supermarket to provide them with either a plastic or paper bag. In countries like the UK, the government has now interfered with this and have now legalised that plastic bags must be chargeable. This is to try and entice people to bring their own carrier bag. The price of the bag is not significant and is only around 10p. However, many people now choose to take their own bags to the supermarket instead of just buying new ones every time they are there. The US has not yet gone down this formal route, but it is something that has been the topic of conversation with some states due to the success that they have seen on this within the UK and other countries.
Most people own a motor vehicle, and, in some areas, it is no longer seen as a luxury but more of a necessity. This could be since people need to travel to their workplace and there is no other reliable way to get there. People in the US love their big motor vehicles and reflecting on the vehicle they own is important as this is a significant impact to Co2 emissions. There are now electrical vehicles introduced on our roads and we expect these to be far more popular as the years go on. Unfortunately, there is still a long way to go for these to become the norm on our roads. The fuel that the motor vehicle uses is also important to reflect on in terms of diesel and unleaded.
When travelling to work, there are some basic things you could consider reducing your environmental impact. If it is not walking distance, then why not consider cycling? Some companies offer employees a cycle to work scheme where they can get great rates on bikes (some even give these out for free!). If this is not an option, then you should consider a car share scheme where people who live in the same area as you could share the car and you all travel together. As a result, instead of taking four or five motor vehicles to work, there may only be the need for one.
Within the US, food is imported from many parts of the world as well as being made in the country. The further afield the food is made, the greater the impact on the environment. There are estimations that 13% of the global emissions are down to transportation of food. The packaging on our food has improved significantly over the past few years where you can see on many occasions the origin of it. It may cost a little bit more believe it or not to purchase locally produced items however it is something that is actively encouraged to support the environment (but also to support local business and farmers).
One of the easiest commodities that people can access in the US is water. It is also a commodity that is wasted a lot. Whether this is people taking baths instead of showers or leaving taps running when not required, individuals can reflect on this make smarter choices. In some areas of the US, there is not as much water due to minimum rainfall and there is a need for people to be extra vigilant. In places like Nevada, there have been some scares on the levels of water reducing significantly in the dam that is used to support major cities such as Las Vegas. When things get tough, you may see the local authorities interfering and forcing policies such as “hose pipe bans”. We should all be a little more proactive and take the necessary actions in advance that may reduce our need to even have these bans implemented.
Do Your Bit
It is a fact that our world is changing and there is no getting away from it. Due to our activities on the planet, temperatures are rising which then has a direct impact on food, animals and in some areas, the ability to live. We have a list of extinct animals increasing all the time due to this and we also have rising sea waters due to the melting ice making some areas potentially inhabitable. There is a rising world population and unless people take real accountability for their actions, there is a danger to future generations.
We are seeing local states and government implementing some subtle differences to the way business are operating in order to try and reduce the carbon footprint which can only be welcomed but we have a long way to go. Start by making simple changes! Reflect on the heat being used in your home and if it is being contained within (and not wasted). Have a think about how you are travelling to and from work. Next time you go to the supermarket, look to see on the packaging where the food was produced. If everyone was to make these simple changes, the overall impact would be quite significant.