One way to assess your affect on the planet is to check your carbon footprint. Here is a simple calculator you can start with from Cool California
Adopt a low carbon diet, it's fairly easy and it can have a great impact. You can cut down on consuming meat and dairy with very little pain to yourself. You can choose foods that have less miles to travel to your plate. You can avoid packaged and processed foods and you can choose seasonal and sustainable options.
"livestock production worldwide is responsible for a whopping 18 percent of the world’s total greenhouse gases" Audubon
"The food system is responsible for a third of global greenhouse gas emissions" EatLowCarbon.org
"dietary GHG emissions in self-selected meat-eaters are approximately twice as high as those in vegans" 2014 UK Study
Choose your transportation wisely. Bike or walk instead of drive, when you can. Choose public transport, and insist that your public transport is clean green and smart. If you don't have adequate public transport then call, write and urge your government to provide it. Publish articles, create social media campaigns and build awareness and push for change.
More bike lanes, green public transport and fuel alternatives are all things you can and should demand. Be polite, forceful and consistent.
Cut your energy consumption every way you can. Switch off, unplug and choose low energy appliances. Switch to renewable energy options if you have them. If you don't have renewable energy options then use your voice to push for options in the private and public sector.
Vote with your Wallet
Shop ethically, reduce your consumption and avoid brands that do not meet environmental & human rights standards.
Look out for labels like Fair Trade, Project JUST Seal, Organic and Ethical.
The little everyday things we do alone are important but even more vital are the things we do as groups, as citizens and as members of our society.
Contact your representatives in every way possible, connect with them, make your voice heard. Be civil, clear and persistent.
Vote for representatives who have a clear honest environmental and human rights platform. Make sure your representative knows those values matter to you and that they must meet those standards.
Run for office! Get to know the local, regional and government positions open to you and then represent your area, your values and fight to make things better.
Scientists are rigorous, they relish challenges and they are always looking to disprove or prove a hypothesis. This is why it's very important that Climate Change and the fact that we are causing it, are agreed upon by the overwhelming majority of scientists.
In fact the 3% of studies that supposedly fell outside of that consensus were proved to be flawed in recent studies.
Here is some reading to back that up:
"We examine the available studies and conclude that the finding of 97% consensus in published climate research is robust and consistent with other surveys of climate scientists and peer-reviewed studies."
This is the study that found the 3% of climate change denier studies were flawed or biased. Well worth a read.
"A common denominator seems to be missing contextual information or ignoring information that does not fit the conclusions, be it other relevant work or related geophysical data. In many cases, shortcomings are due to insufficient model evaluation, leading to results that are not universally valid but rather are an artifact of a particular experimental setup. Other typical weaknesses include false dichotomies, inappropriate statistical methods, or basing conclusions on misconceived or incomplete physics. We also argue that science is never settled and that both mainstream and contrarian papers must be subject to sustained scrutiny"
"researchers tried to replicate the results of those 3% of papers—a common way to test scientific studies—and found biased, faulty results"
"As opposed to politics, where vested interests contend for supremacy, science is a field where the single goal is to discover the truth. The spirit of science propels those who work in their various fields to make sure current popular beliefs are tested for veracity"
A little video to help introduce you to the topic:
The changing climate, due to global warming, is having serious effects on global health. We highlight what we are already experiencing and what is predicted to get worse.
Vector Borne Diseases
Thanks to a warming climate, disease bearing insects are finding suitably warm habitats further north than their usual borders and are spreading life-threatening illnesses like malaria more easily than before.
Countries will have greater stress placed on their health systems by vector borne diseases and waterborne diseases as the climate allows for their spread in areas unprepared & not resistant to their effects.
The warming world is placing great pressure on food production as droughts spread, floods increase and rainfall patterns become unpredictable. The new world will see reduced crop yields and an increase in plant diseases.
In a world whose agriculture was reliant upon the type of climate we have had for centuries, the sudden shifts in climate will outpace possible adaptation. In the meantime violence and humanitarian crises will result from the struggle over dwindling resources.
As heat waves increase and extreme heat puts lives at risk, not only will the health services worldwide be under extreme pressure but energy systems will need to work to improve cooling and building designs will require adjustments and updating.
The 2003 European heat wave caused more than 70,000 deaths with 14,802 in France alone.
Climate change already poses grave health risks worldwide, and communities must deal with the social and financial burdens of these effects over the short and long term. Without a clear understanding of the danger posed by climate change and an investment in mitigation and preparedness, many countries will face a series of health related crises.
This is an easy to read booklet that presents the essentials you need to know about climate change. Any reader will find this reference material easy to digest and understand.
Like any detective story, the search for the culprit in the climate change saga takes diligence and the hard and fast rules of scientific investigation. After long and painstaking studies, research has repeatedly found the fingerprints of human activity on current global warming.
How is that possible?
Multiple models and studies have shown that there is a causal correlation between an increase in greenhouse gases and an increase in global temperatures, both of which have been on the rise since the industrial revolution. That is indisputable at this point. Now the reason we can tell that the increases are our fault (rather than due to natural cycles etc..) is because we can actually trace the origins of the greenhouse gases to particular sources, exactly like a fingerprint
Greenhouse gases from industry have a lighter weight, their 'combined signal' is different than a carbon molecule from natural sources. That is one way we know that human industry and activity is a cause of global warming.
All the models used to predict climate change that include human influence come up correct while natural influences either do not correlate or would predict a much different current and future climate than the one we are experiencing.
In one study researchers managed to "apply diverse analyses to more than 1,700 species, and show that recent biological trends match climate change predictions" Read Article
As for the notorious 3% of studies that supposedly contradict the scientific consensus on climate? Well a new review of those reports shows that they are all flawed.
We cannot continue to ignore or deny our part in climate change nor can we shirk our duty to act to mitigate and reverse global warming.
No matter what your job or background if you are interested in helping climate scientists do their work there are ways you can volunteer or contribute and we have some suggestions for you:
Earthwatch Institute has been pairing volunteers with researchers that need help collecting data and it is all exciting and hands on work in the field and in the lab. Here are some of their Climate expeditions you can join:
Discover more expeditions on Climate Change
Prefer to work online from the comforts of your own home or town? Well you can help with these apps and online citizen science options:
Brought to you by NOAA's National Severe Storms Laboratory and the University of Oklahoma and Cooperative Institute for Mesoscale Meteorological Studies this app lets you submit your weather observations from where you are.
"The goal of Climate CoLab is to harness the collective intelligence of thousands of people from all around the world to address complex societal problems, starting with global climate change" Get working!
"The phytoplankton in the sea account for over 50% of all photosynthesis on Earth and, through the food web they support, theyunderpin the marine food chain. Living at the surface of the sea the phytoplankton are particularly sensitive to" Climate Change. You can help by downloading the app.
Congratulations! You are making a difference by deciding to join forces with others to fight climate change caused by global warming...
We have some recommendations for you:
Support UCS if you want your efforts to back "rigorous science to work to build a healthier planet and a safer world". You can donate to them too.
Check with your school, place of work or town to see what climate initiatives they have in place and join them. If they are doing nothing yet, then it's your chance to be a trailblazer and get them started!