“There’s one issue that will define the contours of this century more dramatically than any other, and that is the urgent and growing threat of a changing climate.”
~ U.S. President Barack Obama, U.N. Climate Change Summit, September 23, 2014
After such a statement, it is no surprise that during the last, 21st Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), governments targeted replacing fossil fuels almost entirely with clean energy in the second half of this century.
The more recent World Climate Change Conference in Paris in 2015 (COP21) brought business leaders and politicians alike to express their thoughts about climate change and what we must do as a planet to stop it’s rapid advance. Most attendees agreed that this is one of the biggest challenges that we are currently faced with, and came up with many ways to help preserve the planet for future generations.
To quote P. Defosses, director of French Pension Fund ERAFP, “The Paris agreement marks a tipping point. Going forward the world has a shared vision that will lead inexorably to investors moving away from fossil fuels and towards a future powered by low carbon energy. Investors will encourage every country keen to build a sustainable economy to develop a long-term low-emissions development strategy, including carbon pricing schemes, so that investors know ambition levels over the short, medium- and long-term.”
I think it’s fantastic that the governments are starting to take climate change and the environment more seriously, but the biggest change really begins with the individual. There are many ways in which we can help keep this planet clean, starting from our own homes and work spaces.
I have had a keen interest in clean technologies for a number of years now, and would like to share with you today the kinds of ways I decrease my personal “carbon footprint”. I hope this article inspires you to also make some changes in your life and see that sustainable living doesn’t require much effort, money or time.
Couldn’t get any simpler could it? I’ve stopped buying batteries every time they run out a long time ago. Instead, I use the ones that can be recharged and have noticed no difference in their quality or durability.
Most of us spend a lot of time at work, and I think it’s vital to think about how clean our office space is. At my work, there are recycling bins for the different kinds of rubbish and I avoid printing unless it’s absolutely necessary. When I do use paper, I always choose recycled paper.
Small things contribute a lot. Even unplugging your laptop once it’s fully charged – not only is it better for your computer as it reduces battery drainage, but it also saves electricity.
Lighting accounts for 30% of all electricity used in the US. Replacing your old incandescent light bulbs at home and in the office is a great and easy way to control how much energy you use. I now use compact fluorescent lightbulbs (CFL’s) or LED lighting wherever I can. LED lights use about 10% of the energy an incandescent lamp requires and produce a lot less heat, which can even save you on air conditioning in the summer.
Unplug your gadgets
Most of us are used to leaving cables and chargers plugged in to every socket in the house, but did you know that according to the, U.S. Department of Energy, by unplugging your devices you can save up to $100 each year on your energy bill?
If this task sounds daunting, consider getting power strips let you toggle the power flow on and off. This means you can control the power usage of clusters of devices so that they’re not consuming electricity when you’re not using them.
Indoor climate control
Draughts waste a lot of energy by losing heat. Proper insulation in your home can help prevent air from escaping and will in turn save you money on your electricity bill. My home and office space has a combination of insulation tools, from simple curtains and seals on doors to double-glazed windows to keep the air in.
If you have a thermostat or under-floor heating, make sure to turn it off when you’re not at home. Also, even the smallest changes can help – by making it just one degree colder in the winter and warmer in the summer, you can save a significant amount of electricity.