Improvement Journey

What we can do about Global Warming

Global Warming, who would talk about big, boring, complicated issue like this just a couple of week before Christmas?  While we are in a jolly mood getting ready for the most beautiful time of the year, maybe we can also be a bit jolly about doing something good for the environment 🙂

I have been overwhelmed by the information in social media and news about the enormous and imminent problem that we face about our planet’s health.  Mother earth is dying and despite all of the warnings that she has given us, all of the studies and reports from the world’s brilliant scientist and the fact that we can feel the change in our daily life that our world needs our help, most of us (including me) still choose to ignore it.

 

We always find excuses (and it is so easy to find it) for ourselves not to take the “slightly inconvenient” way whenever we face an opportunity to take a better decision regarding the health of our environment.  Well, there are people and communities who are highly conscious and do everything they can to help the environment and God bless them.  But what can we do on a personal level regarding this issue?

Everywhere we heard news about a forest fire, the ice is melting in the north pole, global warming, unpredictable weather, climate change.  These kinds of news even when we choose to ignore it, at some point it does makes us wonder.  It does make us question ourselves “what can we do?”.   While we try to contribute ourselves in regards to this issue, at the same time we know that the problem is so complicated that we start to doubt the effectiveness of our effort.

When governments are still allowing businesses to do a lot of damage to the environment, would it matter if I choose to bring my own bag to bring my groceries?

I have this kind of doubts as well, and more than one time I let it get the best of me.  But most of the time I try to remind myself, that if I can only do one thing for the benefit of others and for the gratitude I have towards this life then I shall do whatever I can.

I saw a video about a girl who has been living with zero waste for the past 5 years of her life.  Although it is really inspiring, I don’t think I am ready to commit myself in such a way.  I mean do you even realize how much waste we produce only from the packaging of products that we use?  For example, how much waste we produce only to have breakfast.  The packaging of the bread or cereal, the box/gallon of milk, the tea pack, the coffee can.  Everything came with packaging (worse they are plastic packaging) and it has to go somewhere.

Do you know where all of the waste in your neighborhood ended up?  How is the recycling process?  In Singapore, based on the waste and recycling statistic in 2016.  On average they are able to recycle 61% of the total waste that they received.  However, the waste that they are able to recycle is wastes such as construction debris, ferrous and non-ferrous metal, etc.  While In fact, domestic waste (food, plastic, paper/cardboard) recycling rate is only 21%.  These are the kind of waste that “WE” produce.  For example, according to the statistic plastic waste recycling rate is only 7% and food waste is 14%.

What did they do with the rest?  In Singapore, they burned it down.  Incineration has met with public resistance in several countries because of perceived health risk.  While the government is totally aware of this risk, incineration is one of the most cost-effective ways of waste disposal.  I am not talking about the right or wrong way that our government chooses to deal with the waste disposal.  But clearly, our government need our help in this matter.  I mean isn’t it make sense that we should be responsible for our own waste?  And waste is just one of the many factors that causing global warming.

Let me start with some of the facts about our dying planet:

Plastic bags and other plastic garbage are thrown into the ocean kills as many as 1.000.000 sea creatures every day.  Billions of plastic bags are made each year. Of these bags, one hundred billion are thrown away according to Worldwatch Institute, with less than 1% finding their way into a recycle bin. The end result of this is around 1 billion birds and mammals die each year by the ingestion of plastic.

A large study has found that up to one-half of all plants and animals species on dry land could face extinction by the year 2050 due to global warming. According to the World Resources Institute100 species die each day due to tropical deforestation.  A plant called the rosy periwinkle, which grows in the “rainforests” of Madagascar, has been used to make a drug that can cure some kinds of cancer. Imagine all the other miracles we may have already lost out on.

Just about every single healthy person reading this article has between 70 and 90 industrial chemicals and pollutants flowing through their circulatory system at this very moment. We get these from the air we breathe, the food we eat, and the water we drink.

Only about 10 percent of the billions of pounds of pesticide chemicals (some 35,000 different chemicals total) used on produce since the 1940’s have been tested for their negative effects on humans.

The planet’s average surface temperature has risen about 2.0 degrees Fahrenheit (1.1 degrees Celsius) since the late 19th century, a change driven largely by increased carbon dioxide and other human-made emissions into the atmosphere.  Most of the warming occurred in the past 35 years, with 16 of the 17 warmest years on record occurring since 2001. Not only was 2016 the warmest year on record, but eight of the 12 months that make up the year — from January through September, with the exception of June — were the warmest on record for those respective months.

Humans are pouring carbon dioxide into the atmosphere much faster than plants and oceans can absorb it.   These gases persist in the atmosphere for years, meaning that even if such emissions were eliminated today, it would not immediately stop global warming.

These are just a fraction of many frightening facts about global warming and it definitely concerning.  So once again I ask myself what can I do on a personal level about this issue.  Here are some of the things I found that we can do and is “doable”.  It always starts with one person, making a change for the better and others will follow.

The motto is “Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle”

  • Have one reusable bag in every bag that you have.  Use this bag instead of a plastic bag from the store whenever you went shopping.
  • When you purchase your groceries, specifically ask them to reduce or if possible not to use a plastic bag.  Even when they say that their plastic bag is environmentally friendly.
  • If you have a habit of drinking with a straw, then buy yourself a non-disposable straw.  Don’t buy a plastic straw, no matter how convenient that is.  Same thing with your cutlery.  When you are eating out at the food court, ask for a non-disposable cutlery. 
  • Use a cloth to clean your table or countertop instead of paper towels.
  • Minimize the use of disposable diapers, use cloth diapers instead
  • Use handkerchief instead of tissue paper.
  • Invest in reusable products for your food container.  Instead of buying a plastic container, try to invest in a glass container.  It is healthier and lasts longer.  The same thing with a water bottle, bring your own water bottle anywhere you go.
  • Reduce the usage of an air conditioner and electricity.
  • Turn off your devices and Pull out the cables when not in use.
  • Be mindful when you use water.  It might be a hard habit to break, but it is necessary.  Close the tab when you’re brushing your teeth, soaping, and shampooing.  Once in a while shower with cold water instead of hot water, it is also healthier.
  • Invest in energy efficient products and use the feature.
  • Change a light bulb to LED bulbs.
  • Walking, cycling, and use public transportation for commuting.
  • Plant a tree, or donate and volunteer in environmental focus organization.
  • If possible choose a healthier choice for the products that you consume.  Support the local producer and eat less meat.  The research, led by scientists at the Oxford Martin School, found that shifting to a mostly vegetarian diet, or even simply cutting down meat consumption to within accepted health guidelines, would make a large dent in greenhouse gases.  Adhering to health guidelines on meat consumption could cut global food-related emissions by nearly a third by 2050, the study found, while widespread adoption of a vegetarian diet would bring down emissions by 63%.  Source The Guardian
  • Plan your grocery shopping trips and buy only as much as you can consume.
  • Buy rechargeable battery instead of non-rechargeable batteries.
  • Purchase household products that are used frequently in large or economy-sized packaging.
  • Buy refill packs for your cleaning and personal products.
  • Choose products with less packaging and support products with packaging made from a reusable or recyclable material.

I hope some of these tips can help us to actively contribute ourselves.  Write in the comment on other great tips that you do regarding this issue.

thank you for reading and stay positive.  This might be my last post for this year, so I want to wish you a Merry Christmas and a happy new year!

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