BY AVA BROINOWSKI THOMPSON, AGED 13
Every day after school I get on the bus and stare out the window at passing scenery until eventually the bus comes to a halt at my stop, after which I have to drag my insanely heavy bag home… although that’s irrelevant. Outside the bus window I see all sorts of bits and pieces; people and their dogs, shops and houses, graffiti and posters, but yesterday afternoon I saw a wonderful reminder of how we can join in a movement to help the environment. It was a couple of slowly fading posters proudly titled ‘Celebrate Earth Hour!’
For those who don’t know, Earth Hour is an annual environmental campaign that publicises the importance of battling climate change by switching off lights and electrical devices for one hour at 8:30pm on the 24th march. I think this is a great opportunity for anyone and everyone to take part in reducing their carbon footprint. However, one hour each year isn’t necessarily going to do enough to help the planet and so this article is going to be dedicated to a few thoughtful and less-obvious ways for people to help halt climate change besides Earth Hour (make sure you participate)!
Before I write about a few simple things you can do, I’ll explain why people should care about reducing their carbon footprint impact on the planet and how global warming is affecting earth. In short, climate change causes the climate to heat up, which first and foremost causes the ocean levels to rise because of melting icecaps. This causes floods on coastal areas but also drought further inland because of the drying up of water away from the ocean. Climate change also causes natural disasters to become more violent and more prevalent, therefore causing the destruction of ecosystems/habitats as well as cities and towns that humans inhabit. Weather patterns become far more irregular, with precipitation increasing in some areas and heat increasing in others. All in all, the planet becomes far more chaotic and all walks of life are negatively affected. I don’t think anyone or anything deserves to have their home and their lives threatened, and so here’s a few thoughtful ways you can aid in saving the earth, as well as yourself.
#1: always make sure your energy consumption is needed
For example: if you’re cold put on a nice fluffy jumper or wrap yourself in a blanket instead of turning on heating. Less planet-destruction, far more soft and comfortable! Or if you have to go out somewhere and it’s easy to walk or ride a bike, do what’s better for the planet and don’t drive.
#2: when buying almost any products, make sure they are made of recycled material
This trick doesn’t sound like it could save significant energy. However, factories that produce almost anything use plenty of energy, water and materials such as wood, foil and plastic, as well as producing air and water pollution. Something as simple as making sure the things you buy are recycled can easily help cut down on the amount of energy you indirectly use.
#3: turn off the tap when brushing your teeth and don’t waste shower or bath water
A surprisingly large amount of water is wasted when people forget to turn off the tap whilst brushing their teeth. The water isn’t being used for anything and is just left running when you are not rinsing or wetting your brush and this excess use can add up to thousands of litres per year being wasted. So make sure to turn off the tap!
#4: make sure to throw glass, aluminium, steel cans and paper in the recycling
These materials can be recycled and put to further use. This means that you’re not only saving them from being put in landfills and taking decades to decompose, but also cutting down on the energy and pollution used to produce more of the product. It’s very easy to make sure you put the right materials in the right bins and it can very well save the planet.
So there are a few great ways that you can help save the planet (as well as by participating in this year’s Earth Hour). I believe that by simply completing a few of these simple steps, we can all help halt global warming and save countless species, and the beautiful planet we live on. Thanks for reading and have a wonderful earth hour on the 24th march!