A lot of people equate weather with climate but it’s not that straightforward. David Tebbutt digs deeper.
“Global warming? Geddaway. Look at all that snow. Hasn’t snowed like this since I was a nipper, and that was before the roads were full of cars and the skies full of aeroplanes.”
You can imagine your dad or your nan saying that. And they’d be dead right. But, if that’s the case, what’s all this nonsense about global warming, or climate change as we’re now obliged to call it?
That is the deniers’ argument, that the weather ebbs and flows regardless of what we do to the atmosphere, so we may as well carry on as we are. The warmists point to the greater frequency of peculiar weather events and suggest that this is caused by humans messing with the climate. Then the scientists come marching in with their own views on what we’re doing, how dangerous it is, and so on.
But none of them, not even the Met Office, is capable of grasping the fantastic complexity of the world’s environmental systems. They use information from things like greenhouse gas emissions, population growth, heat from industry, and so on, to offer best guesses and, it has to be said, these do veer towards human-induced climate change.
Planet Earth At the long-term and global level they point towards a general warming trend. At a local level, they suggest that other factors come into play. This is where it gets complicated, because the general public would prefer simple, easy-to-understand predictions. But that is not the scientific way. At a local level the weather is unpredictable, especially in a small offshore island like the UK, which has a varied topology and is surrounded by sea. We all know that the weather just a few miles down the road can be totally different from our own. A lot also depends on land use: farmland has a different effect on humidity and air circulation than a town, for example.
The best the meteorologists can do is to deploy massive computers to try to model the climate over a long period and the weather over a shorter timescale. We humans occupy a very thin layer of the Earth’s atmosphere and we mostly want answers relating to just that bit, which we get in our beloved weather forecasts. But the climate folk look at the whole atmosphere and, indeed, a lot of the ocean too. Between them, ocean currents and the atmosphere act to redistribute heat around the planet. Just over 70 percent of the Earth’s surface is water and we’ve still got only a vague idea about the tiniest fraction of it, so no doubt they’re right to look.
The more the scientists learn about the past and the present, the more information they can put into their models. And, it seems logical to say, the more sensors they have sampling various aspects of our environment – the acidity and temperature of the seas, the cloud cover and precipitation of various parts of the world, for example – the better they will become at predicting what’s to come.
Since the oceans cover so much of the Earth’s surface, you can be certain that large chunks of the world remain unobserved at the surface. Satellites play an increasingly important part in resolving this difficulty, but the bottom line is that the computers (or, more accurately, the scientists feeding the data to them) still have to guess or extrapolate from the readings of the nearest sensors, be they surface- or space-based.
There is also the matter of that great hot ball in the sky that sustains us though we take it so much for granted. (We always forget to look up – Ed.) We’ve worshipped it for centuries without grasping its potential to provide us with an eternal source of clean energy if only we had the wit to catch it and distribute it on a wide scale.
Coming back to the extreme weather events, the floods, the droughts, the snow and so on, on a geological timescale, these are natural variations. There’s no reason why we shouldn’t have a bit of cooling followed by a bit of warming, floods followed by droughts. After all, the Earth went through over 30 ice ages before we were even around, so no one can explicitly nail mankind as the root cause of all climate problems. However, it won’t be long before the increasing frequency of current “1 in 400 years” events will make even the most reserved climate scientist reconsider mankind’s influence on both the climate and the weather.
But let’s not get confused that they are the same thing. Or that they’re equally predictable. Except in the most general terms, they’re not.
How to be More eco-Responsible in 2018
Nowadays, more and more people are talking about being more eco-responsible. There is a constant growth of information regarding the importance of being aware of ecological issues and the methods of using eco-friendly necessities on daily basis.
Have you been considering becoming more eco-responsible after the New Year? If so, here are some useful tips that could help you make the difference in the following year:
1. Energy – produce it, save it
If you’re building a house or planning to expand your living space, think before deciding on the final square footage. Maybe you don’t really need that much space. Unnecessary square footage will force you to spend more building materials, but it will also result in having to use extra heating, air-conditioning, and electricity in it.
It’s even better if you seek professional help to reduce energy consumption. An energy audit can provide you some great piece of advice on how to save on your energy bills.
While buying appliances such as a refrigerator or a dishwasher, make sure they have “Energy Star” label on, as it means they are energy-efficient.
Regarding the production of energy, you can power your home with renewable energy. The most common way is to install rooftop solar panels. They can be used for producing electricity, as well as heat for the house. If powering the whole home is a big step for you, try with solar oven then – they trap the sunlight in order to heat food! Solar air conditioning is another interesting thing to try out – instead of providing you with heat, it cools your house!
2. Don’t be just another tourist
Think about the environment, as well your own enjoyment – try not to travel too far, as most forms of transport contribute to the climate change. Choose the most environmentally friendly means of transport that you can, as well as environmentally friendly accommodation. If you can go to a destination that is being recommended as an eco-travel destination – even better! Interesting countries such as Zambia, Vietnam or Nicaragua are among these destinations that are famous for its sustainability efforts.
3. Let your beauty be also eco-friendly
We all want to look beautiful. Unfortunately, sometimes (or very often) it comes with a price. Cruelty-free cosmetics are making its way on the world market but be careful with the labels – just because it says a product hasn’t been tested on animals, it doesn’t mean that some of the product’s ingredients haven’t been tested on some poor animal.
To be sure which companies definitely stay away from the cruel testing on animals, check PETA Bunny list of cosmetic companies just to make sure which ones are truly and completely cruelty-free.
It’s also important if a brand uses toxic ingredients. Brands such as Tata Harper Skincare or Dr Bronner’s use only organic ingredients and biodegradable packaging, as well as being cruelty-free. Of course, this list is longer, so you’ll have to do some online research.
4. Know thy recycling
People often make mistakes while wanting to do something good for the environment. For example, plastic grocery bags, take-out containers, paper coffee cups and shredded paper cannot be recycled in your curb for many reasons, so don’t throw them into recycling bins. The same applies to pizza boxes, household glass, ceramics, and pottery – whether they are contaminated by grease or difficult to recycle, they just can’t go through the usual recycling process.
People usually forget to do is to rinse plastic and metal containers – they always have some residue, so be thorough. Also, bottle caps are allowed, too, so don’t separate them from the bottles. However, yard waste isn’t recyclable, so any yard waste or junk you are unsure of – just contact rubbish removal services instead of piling it up in public containers or in your own yard.
5. Fashion can be both eco-friendly and cool
Believe it or not, there are actually places where you can buy clothes that are eco-friendly, sustainable, as well as ethical. And they look cool, too! Companies like Everlane are very transparent about where their clothes are manufactured and how the price is set. PACT is another great company that uses non-GMO, organic cotton and non-toxic dyes for their clothing, while simultaneously using renewable energy factories. Soko is a company that uses natural and recycled materials in making their clothes and jewelry.
All in all
The truth is – being eco-responsible can be done in many ways. There are tons of small things we could change when it comes to our habits that would make a positive influence on the environment. The point is to start doing research on things that can be done by every person and it can start with the only thing that person has the control of – their own household.
Top 5 Changes You can Make in Your Life to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint
In a world, where war rages and global warming threatens our very existence, the inhabitants of earth need to be extra vigilant in their efforts to go green. This includes reducing your carbon footprint on the earth and leading a more sustainable life.
Many homeowners feel perplexed by all of the options available to reduce their carbon footprint. They may even feel (falsely) that making their household more green will fail to make that much of a difference in the fight to save our planet.
Even a single home going green has a massive impact on the environment. We can win this battle on home at a time. If you’re interested in accepting the challenge of making your household a green home, read on below for a few of the top changes you can make in your life to reduce your carbon footprint. We all stand to benefit from making the earth safer for future generations – and your wallet won’t complain when you start to see the savings in annual energy costs.
Switch From Dirty Energy to Clean Solar
The ION Solar reviews tell it all–solar is the best way to go. Whether your goal is to slash your energy bills, or to reduce your carbon footprint, the sun is a fantastic source of renewable energy.
It’s important to get past the hype from solar installers. Instead, listen to the plethora of impartial customer reviews that mention everything from a $20 energy bill, to the incredible feeling of knowing that you are doing your part by going green and minimizing harmful emissions in to our atmosphere.
The average investment is $15,000 to $30,000 for installation and purchase of solar panels. Optional battery power packs can help provide consistent power during both night and day. And many government agencies provide federal, state or local grants to help offset upfront investments in clean energy.
Depending on which installed you choose, your household may qualify for low-interest or zero interest loans to cover the up-front cost of your installation. And the loan payments are usually less than your current monthly power bill.
It really is a win-win, as home buyers are looking for homes that feature this technology – meaning solar power installation improves the resale value of your property.
And there are a number of additional home modifications that can help improve the energy efficiency of your home. A programmable thermostat can better manage energy consumption from home cooling and heating systems while you’re away from home. And weather stripping your doors can help keep cool air in during the summer, and warm air in during the winter.
Of course, energy conservation starts at home. And this includes setting a powerful example for your kids. Teach your children how to close windows, strategically keep doors open or closed based on airflow, and encourage them to leave the thermostat alone – opting for adding or removing layers of clothing instead.
Unplug Appliances and Shut Off Electronics
Unplugging your appliances when they aren’t in use, such as the toaster and the coffee maker, has more of an impact than you might think. Set your TVs and stereos on sleep timers, instead of letting them run around the clock. The cumulative impact of wasteful electronic device usage is horrible for our environment – putting unnecessary strain on our electrical grid.
One of the simplest and easiest ways to reduce your carbon footprint is by recycling. You are already throwing this stuff away anyway, right? It doesn’t take much more effort to just put recyclables in a separate container to be recycled, now does it?
Oh, and did I mention that you can earn money for recycling? Yes! Many cities and towns have recycling centers that will purchase your clean plastic and glass bottles for reuse.
Minimize Your Water Usage
Water is one of the easiest things to forget about when it comes to reducing your carbon footprint. Preserve water by turning off the faucet while brushing your teeth. Shorten your shower by a few minutes and turn down the heat on that water heater. You’ll be surprised at how much lower your water bill and your energy bill will be.
Saving money and reducing your carbon footprint? What isn’t to love?
These are just a few of the top ways that you can reduce your carbon footprint and start living a greener lifestyle. And we aren’t factoring in all of the advantages that we’ll reap from public investments in a smarter energy grid.
From decreasing your water usage, to switching to solar for your home’s energy needs, you will feel good at the end of the day knowing you are doing your part to save the future of this planet for generations to come!
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