How Decarbonizing Your Lifestyle Can Help Us Win the Fight Against Climate Change
Every household can make a contribution.
A recent U.S. survey conducted by the media organization NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health reveals that more than three-quarters of American adults say they have experienced extreme weather in the last five years.
Meanwhile, according to Global Climate Risk Index 2020 and as cited in a 2021 United Nations op-ed, the Philippines is the second most vulnerable country to climate change. A 2021 Global Report on Internal Displacement also records a whopping 4 million Filipinos displaced from typhoons in 2020 alone.
Why you should care about global warming and climate change
For the past three decades, we've experienced changes in rainfall patterns, droughts, sea-level rise, public health risks, and threats to food security. There is no denying that climate change is a worldwide concern, and if we want to prevent it from getting worse, we need to reduce the amount of greenhouse gas emissions that are released into the atmosphere. Carbon in the atmosphere traps heat, making the earth warmer and changing our climate. Have you considered changing your lifestyle to help reduce the carbon footprint within your community?
Your carbon footprint is the total amount of greenhouse gases you generate by your choices and actions. Reducing your carbon footprint can help mitigate the effects of global warming and climate change.
One way to help win the fight against climate change is decarbonization, which is the process of reducing carbon emissions. You can start by making a few changes in your home and lifestyle to help reduce your carbon footprint. Here are a few examples.
How to help decarbonize your lifestyle
Choose energy-efficient appliances
Inverter appliances are excellent investments. You won't only save electricity, but you'll also reduce your carbon footprint. While you're at it, why don't you switch to LED lightbulbs too? They consume 90% less energy than incandescent bulbs and last longer.
Avoid fast fashion
Did you know that fashion production comprises 10% of global carbon emissions? Fast fashion does make shopping for clothes more affordable, but it has detrimental effects on the environment.
These clothes are manufactured rapidly to meet trends and demands, but they do not last long and often end up in landfills.
Fill your kitchen with local, seasonal products
When you eat locally, your food needs to travel less to get to your plate—less transport means less greenhouse gas emissions. Apart from that, local and in-season fruits and vegetables don't need additional heating, lighting, and refrigeration, which all contribute to greenhouse gas emissions.
Don't forget to bring your reusable bags when you shop for your produce. Single-use plastics will only end up in landfills (along with your fast-fashion clothing).
Support businesses that care about minimizing their carbon footprint
Many local businesses are conscious of small habits that can impact the environment–maybe it’s that cafe nearby with a solar power installation or that swimwear shop that delivers products in recycled paper packaging.
Support businesses that are powered by renewable energy. Renewable energy is collected from resources that replenish naturally and produce significantly fewer to no greenhouse gases–sources such as sunlight, wind, water, and geothermal heat.
Patronizing businesses that are mindful of their energy sources and make an effort to minimize waste is one way to help decarbonize your community as well.
What the road to renewable energy looks like
In the Philippines, we currently depend mostly on coal to provide our energy needs. According to a 2021 report from the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, coal contributes 57% of the country's power, while domestically produced natural gas contributes 19%. Meanwhile, the share of renewable energy in the power generation mix is only 21%.
Studies show that there are several environmental impacts associated with using coal. For one, it releases several gaseous by-products that can contribute to acid rain, smog, and haze. Meanwhile, heavy metals from coal ash can contaminate lakes and rivers.
The shift to renewable energy is possible, and flexibility in transitioning is key. Simply switching to new sources is not as easy as it sounds–solar and wind power are intermittent by nature, and big changes in infrastructure mean that there must be a source to keep up with the demand for a consistent power supply.
Natural gas is a “bridge fuel” that can help make this transition possible. It emits less than 60% carbon dioxide than coal—minus the harmful by-products such as ash and sludge. Natural gas plants can also quickly provide power in as fast as 15 minutes when other renewable power sources like water, sunlight, and wind are unavailable, making it the perfect complement to renewable energy.
Companies like First Gen Corporation help create the right infrastructure that helps us move towards these transitions. By providing clean energy through sunlight, wind, water, geothermal heat, and natural gas, they help pave the way in bringing us to a fully decarbonized future.
Follow First Gen Corporation on Facebook to learn more about decarbonization and the positive impacts of renewable energy on the environment. You can also check out their website for helpful resources you can discuss with friends.