This is not a drill – our actions are causing the Earth’s climate change crisis. Now’s the time to act.
Reality check: our planet’s future is grim. It’s not looking good. Earth is the only home we’ve got, but it’s heating up ‘cos we’ve neglected to care for it properly. The latest report from the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) gives us a bleak snapshot of what’s coming: rising temperatures and sea levels, affected ocean ecosystems, and extreme weather consequences like intense heatwaves, severe floods and droughts.
Because of human influence, the IPCC warns that climate change is “widespread, rapid and intensifying”. It’s also “irreversible”. If that’s not a real-life nightmare, we don’t know what is. Singapore’s not exempt, either – this affects the entire world. Temperatures on our island are 1.8°C higher than in 1948, according to the Meteorological Service Singapore. And as the planet heats up, our island may experience heavier rain and relentless heatwaves. That’s why net-zero greenhouse gas emission goals are more pressing than ever. We’re running out of time to act against global warming, which means change needs to happen now.
9 ways to fight climate change
1. Don’t waste food
As food waste gets dumped in landfills, it produces methane gas. So plan your meals, buy only what you need and get creative with leftovers. Avoid shopping while you’re hangry – we all know what that leads to!
2. Reuse, reduce and recycle
Yep, the three Rs you learnt in school still apply. Choose reusable bags, cups, straws and bottles, stay away from single-use plastic products, and upcycle as much as possible. Don’t throw away items if they can be recycled or given away in good condition. And consider repairing something that’s broken down instead of replacing it.
3. Say no to fast fashion
Fast fashion may be enticing for its affordability, but our planet pays the price. The fashion industry is responsible for depleting non-renewable resources, emitting greenhouse gases, and using up tremendous amounts of water and energy. So instead of buying cheap clothes to wear once or twice, shop secondhand or vintage, go for fashion swap events, choose sustainable fashion brands, and purchase quality apparel that will last longer.
4. Monitor your carbon footprint
Opt for public transport or car-sharing services instead of cruising around on vehicles. Alternatively, walk as much as you can – it’s good for the environment and your health. Or cycle! And when travel starts up again, book direct flights to help reduce emissions during takeoff and landing.
5. Cut down on meat
The environmental impact of eating meat isn’t a new topic. Meat consumption contributes to the release of greenhouse gases like methane, nitrous oxide and carbon dioxide, which in turn play a part in global warming. Even if you can’t imagine a life without steak or lamb chops, reducing your red meat and dairy intake or swapping beef for chicken still makes a difference. Plant-based foods, here we come!
6. Save electricity
It all starts at home. Switch off and unplug your devices when they’re not in use, use LED bulbs, choose kitchen and home appliances with lower energy consumption, take shorter showers, run your washing machine on lower water temperatures, and so on.
7. Spread the word
That’s what social media is for. You don’t have to be a climate change activist to join the movement, but every little share and retweet helps to grow awareness of climate change and its consequences. Supporting environmental groups and charities will also put pressure on big companies and the authorities to take real and meaningful steps towards change.
8. Plant trees and more trees
Trees are a godsend when it comes to protecting our biodiversity and removing excess carbon dioxide from our atmosphere (hooray for photosynthesis!). To counteract deforestation in areas like the Amazon rainforest, support tree-planting campaigns or forest restoration projects.
9. Stay hopeful and keep at it
Don’t despair! Before you sink into defeat, know that every small change adds up. Now that we’re aware of what awaits if we stick to our old ways, let that be your motivation to act – for the sake of our planet and the generations to come.
Of course, this list isn’t exhaustive. You can also grow your own food, compost food waste, opt for renewable energy, and make your home a sustainable one filled with eco-conscious items. We got this, y’all!