(Despite living with a science teacher who has been teaching students on this subject for 15+ years, despite following widespread media coverage on the subject and also, despite participating in an online course on the science behind climate change, despite long and loud discussions with friends and family members, despite marching with local students on Fridays, despite wishing for a bright and healthy future for my grandchild.)
I don't have a science brain, failed utterly in maths, chemistry, biology and physics in school, cheated my way through exams, twice failed the statistics 101 course that was a requirement to my useless degree (I paid someone to impersonate me for my third and "successful" try) and my mind fogs over when I read or listen to any science or nature program apart from David Attenborough's anthropomorphic wildlife films.
But here is my attempt to sort it out.
First, two things to clear up (and all scientific errors are mine):
- Climate change is caused by the drastically increased emissions of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.
CO2 is released when we burn fossil fuels such as oil and coal. We mainly use fossil fuels for heating/cooling of buildings, for transportation (gasoline, jet fuel) and to generate electricity.
Methane is released by natural sources like animal digestion, soggy wetlands, natural gas and organic matter trapped below the surface of the soil. Main sources of high methane emissions are livestock farming, landfill waste, biofuel production and natural emissions such as the increasing thawing of previously ice covered landmass (in the Arctic, Siberia etc.).
While methane emissions are much lower than CO2 emissions, the impact is much more dramatic, about 20 times higher than CO2.
The only way to halt climate change is to drastically reduce and wherever possible, stop emitting these two greenhouse gases.
- Plastics are mainly an environmental problem.
Plastic use is an environmental problem, because of the waste created by (mostly single use) plastic, be it incineration, land fill or dumping it any which way. While waste recycling is not a bad thing in general its impact on halting climate change itself is minimal.
What made me write my previous post was a survey carried out by a US/German consulting firm who asked randomly selected population groups in the US and Germany: What reduces our personal CO2 footprint?
It's been covered by a variety of media outlets here. I think this is the best of them.
Hint: we are all clueless and to quote,
Nobody is even willing to acknowledge that what is convenient to them is actually producing a lot of carbon (CO2). The Germans like their meat so it's not so bad. The Americans want to fly so it's not so bad. It's all sort of the reverse of virtue signalling.
But being clueless is a choice. We are better than that. I still want to believe it. I think young people all over the planet want to believe it.
Ok, what next.
First, calculate your carbon footprint. If only as a first exercise. Click here for a good place to do it, as it covers everything from shopping to travel to suggestion for taking action.
And then maybe have a short listen here:
Someone recently called my a spoilsport when I mentioned climate change in a conversation. I am beginning to consider being one a duty.