To help our planet sustain the current atmospheric temperature and keep it habitable for all the species which are living in it today. If we do not go green today and do not try to reduce our carbon footprint, the global warming will keep its pace or may even speedup until earth becomes the inhabitable barren wasteland. This is inevitable but this is not the immediate concern, immediate concern is the catastrophes which started to appear around the world due to the rising global temperature.
These global warming related catastrophes include but not limited to series of wildfires erupting on their own, floods, heat waves, cold waves, droughts, tropical storms, cyclones etc. These catastrophes earlier were appearing in the world every once in a while but now the frequency of them have increased very much. Recent two events are most notable, in this past summer season, in UK series of uncontrollable fires kept erupting in a series, they resulted in such a high temperatures which UK have not seen even in past.
Another such most recent example is series of floods in Asia, specially the current floods in Pakistan. In these present floods, according to stats which are about a month old, 33 million People affected. 1.7 million house destroyed, 6.4 million people needed humanitarian assistance, 0.65 million people displaced and death toll a month ago stood at 1355. These all stats are from a month ago and catastrophe still continues.
These two above mentioned examples are just two among sea of such global warming related incidents. In this past summer season we heard about many heat waves including the many of them in Pakistan. Than every year some big hurricane appears somewhere in world with its humongous distractions. So, in short, it is high time now that we do something about the global warming and change our ways.
What is being done already
Imran Khan, a political leader in Pakistan and former prime minister of Pakistan, in this regard led a great campaign in past, the campaign called Billion Tree Tsunami. Which successfully achieved target of planting a billion trees in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) province of Pakistan. Now a current campaign started when same leader was prime minister is called Ten Billion Tree Tsunami, the target of which is to plant 10 billion trees across the country.
So, some of world leaders have much earlier realised that some good steps need to taken to fight global warming. Recently in a United Nations gathering the former Prime Minister of England and current parliamentarian Boris Johnson mentioned in this regard, that we should follow the example of Imran Khan where he led the campaigns of planting billions of trees.
However, it is the required that more and more world leaders not only realise the global challenge of global warming but they must also actively take steps towards going green. Progressing countries like Pakistan which are hit the most by global warming are not even emitting 1% of greenhouse gasses and waste chemicals which are root cause of today’s global warming.
What are the Environmental Challenges
There are many environment related challenges, ranging from plastic waste, use of one time non recyclable materials, not recycling the recyclable materials, all the plastic waste ending up in oceans but the most pressing matter at the moment is of emissions, the chemicals, green house and toxic gases our industries as well as transportation systems emitting into the environment.
People and world leaders in past were talking about going fully green and converting everything so that there are no carbon emissions at all. But seems like it has been realized the zero carbon emissions are not very easily achievable but every country and community must at least be carbon neutral.
Carbon Neutrality and ‘Net Zero’
Carbon neutrality means that only emitting enough carbon into the environment which is easily absorbed and net quantity of carbon in air remains the same. There is another such term, which is much more wider, thats Net Zero, when some business, country or community talks about taking steps towards net zero environment affect, than they are not only talking about Carbon but also working to balance the quantity of other greenhouse gases which include nitrous oxide, methane and other hydrofluorocarbons.
Many countries and communities have even announced dates for achieving carbon neutrality. For example, United Kingdom have announced its emissions target of achieving ‘Net Zero’ by 2050. Even better, two countries, Suriname and Bhutan have already achieved carbon neutrality. Uruguay and Finland are next in line to achieve carbon neutrality in 2030 and in 2035. There are few other countries which want to achieve carbon neutrality before 2045 but rest have world commits to reach carbon neutrality by 2050. Pakistan also showed commitment to become carbon neutral by 2050. China, Kazakhstan and Ukraine showed that they will be carbon neutral by 2060. Australia and Singapore have however committed that they will be carbon neutral on sometime between 2050 and 2100. Your can see detailed data about countries’ carbon neutrality goals.
Individuals’ contribution in Going Green
So as we can see that intentions are there and world collectively is thinking to go green. Now it also the high time that we as individuals also start thinking and taking steps towards green living. First step could be trying to cut energy consumption or at least trying to convert our energy source to a green one, like adding installation of solar panels etc in your todo list or priorities. Much more can be done, letting go the old high energy consuming electronics and lighting and replacing them with newer technology which is energy efficient. Making sure to turn off lights and appliance wherever possible or at least when not in use. Participating in programs offered by government like net metering etc, where you are encouraged to produce your own electricity by renewable resources and sell the extra power to government for distribution on to the National Power Grid.
Other steps which individuals can take is minimise the use of gas guzzling vehicles or even avoid using vehicles whenever possible, for example when you are going to nearby market for few things, just walk to it, it will not only protect environment but is also good directly for our health. Also try to avoid use of single use plastic, whenever possible, also try to avoid and discourage use of hard to decompose shopping bags, new eco-friendly bags are better are the correct way to go.
For individuals there is a famous environment tip, that is to Reduce, Reuse and Recycle, which means reduce usage of single use items or throw away items, reuse stuff until it is usable and when you have to get rid of stuff make sure it goes to a recycling plant, instead of a landfill.
You can also educate people about their daily life actions and their impacts on environment. Like here in Pakistan people have a habit of burning everything. Specially, any kind of waste they have, they put it together and set it on fire. Lots of people do have awareness about it that burning stuff is not the way to go and it is bad for environment, many others do it anyway, so talking such people and making them aware of bad effects of this bad habit on environment, will also help.
Other actions to protect environment are very well known and these include, planting a tree whenever possible, conserving water, carpooling or using mass transportation systems whenever possible, convenient and safe. Environment protection is now our collective responsibility. Not only world leaders, businesses and communities must be working on steps to curb global emissions and taking steps towards better environment, individuals also need to do whatever they can do on their own, whenever and wherever possible. These small, tiny steps taken by individual on their own are very important in achieving those big goal to be achieved on global level.