As a medical student, we explore various subject areas and my one of my interests is public health. I am currently working on my healthcare sustainability project and have come across various articles on raising awareness about climate change and encouraging people to adapt to an eco-friendly lifestyle. This has been a hot topic lately especially with COP26 being held in Glasgow.
What is COP26?
‘COP ‘stands for ‘Conference of the Parties’ and this year, the 26th annual summit was held in Glasgow from 31st October to 12th November 2021. The aim of this summit was to bring countries together and talk about agreeing to tackle climate change challenge. The ‘Paris Agreement’ was discussed in COP21 where every country committed to limit global warming and aim a reduction of 1.5 degrees by adapting to various national plans.
How can we help?
We can all make conscious changes in our everyday life to reduce our individual carbon footprint. On average, a person living in the UK has a carbon footprint of 12.7tonnes CO2e. From 2017 data, we discovered that UK’s total annual emission is 5.27 tonnes of CO2! Interestingly, over 100 companies are responsible for about 71% of all global greenhouse gas emissions. So, you might be thinking that even if you make changes, it won’t make a difference. Instead it would be better to target big businesses with strict emission policies.
Global warming effects are becoming more and more evident every day. You can see extreme weather events becoming more serious, ocean levels rising, and this is making us all worried. It is all about taking an action as it will contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emission. Even by cutting down your carbon footprint by small lifestyle adjustments, you are creating a better environment and taking part to combat climate change.
Some thoughts on how we all can try making a change –
- Choose a green energy supplier
I first noticed my electricity bill when I first moved from my campus accommodation. I realised that I would be paying cheaper if I switched to another company. When I was doing my research, I found out various green companies use 100% renewable energy and consequently reduce my carbon footprint. Not only was I being more eco-friendly but it also saved me money!
2. Avoid using mobile data
A simple and easy change can help reduce energy usageis by using less mobile data. Using mobile data required twice the amount of energy used in Wifi and it would be even more if you are downloading big files or streaming videos.
So, make sure to check if the mall or café you are at has free wifi, as it would help you save mobile data, money and energy!
3. Hang on to your old devices (keep a warranty)
I know that black Friday is coming, and it can be tempting to buy the latest iPhone model or laptop, however, think how you are impacting the environment!
These electronic products use vast amount of energy to manufacture and even when you are disposing them. So, make sure to use them as thoroughly as you are potentially reducing your own carbon footprint.
If you have to throw your old electronics then make sure to throw them at the Dundee City Council Recycling Centre. (https://www.dundeecity.gov.uk/service-area/neighbourhood-services/environment/waste-electrical-and-electronic-equipment-weee-domestic). There is also Curry PC that offer free in-store recycling.
4. Making changes at home
When was the last time you replaced your old lightbulbs? Did you replace them with LEDs? When purchasing my new bulbs at home bargains, I learnt that LEDs last 10 times longer and use 85% less energy compared to my old ones!
Water usage – It is getting colder, and we all love our warm showers. However, make sure to be aware of how long you are using that boiling water and keep it as short as you can.
Check your insulation – Ask your landlords or add to improve your insulation at home. We discovered that our windows didn’t shut properly and asked our landlords to fix it. Small changes can make big differences.
5. Vegetarian diet
Ever tried going veegtarian ? I know easier said than done. For me, I have always been a vegetarian my whole life. However, almost all my friends eat meat and fish. The largest greenhouse gases producers are beef and king prawn production companies. I am not suggesting to go completely meat less diet and turn to vegan options. But make more conscious choices, like looking at the food packaging and seeing if it’s been sustainable sourced. For example, when buying a fish that has been caught by the least impact on the ocean.
Some of my friends have changed their diet after watching various documentaries about the food industry impacting our planet. I have also cut down on my dairy intake as it helps reduce my carbon footprint.
I have tried making these small changes and would encourage you and your friends to do so! We all have our bit to do to reduce carbon footprint and help our planet.
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