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10 things every person can do to prevent climate change

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sunflower by Marcel Sigg via flickr

With news of ice sheets gradually melting, global temperature and sea levels rising, and extreme weather phenomena like intense rainfall and hurricanes, one cannot deny that Mother Earth is indeed suffering from climate change.

We might not be aware of it, but everyone is contributing to this phenomenon through our carbon footprint. Carbon footprint refers to the total volume of greenhouse gas emissions produced in relation to any human activity, and is expressed in tons of carbon dioxide.

Simply put, it is a measurement of the environmental impact of an individual’s lifestyle or an organization’s operation. The problem lies in the increasing emission of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases that are trapped in the atmosphere, and have adverse effects on the Earth’s temperature.

So, our lifestyle choices add up to our carbon footprint. Even the simplest activity such as choosing your outfit of the day can already increase carbon footprint.

If you are going to backtrack on the production of your clothing, and measure the greenhouse gas emission produced in manufacturing it up until it landed on your wardrobe, you will gain a better understanding of how we contribute indirectly to climate change.

Since we are all involved in this, know that we can also contribute in the battle against global warming and climate change. Here ten small things that you can do to help save Mother Earth.

  1. Rethink your mode of transportation.

More and more cities are taking into account walkability and cyclability in roads when it comes to urban and infrastructure planning. This is very much welcome since these activities reduce carbon footprint. Plus, walking and biking are great forms of exercises, so you get to improve your health while saving the Earth at the same time!

If you cannot avoid using your vehicle, plan your trips and errands so you can combine them in a single trip. You can also opt for carpooling to save gas fees.

  1. Conserve water.

Climate change is affecting even our water sources. Did you know that an estimated 2.7 billion people experience water scarcity for at least a month every year? Furthermore, according to the World Wildlife Fund, by 2025, water shortage will be a problem experienced by two-thirds of the world’s population.

To help in water conservation, make sure to turn off faucets and showers every after use.  In case of leaking pipes, fix it immediately to prevent more water wastage. Make every water drop count.

  1. Choose organic.

Eat wisely and do the Earth and your health a favor. Buy locally grown, organic food items as much as you can. It is even recommendable to grow some of your food because even the transport and storage of food contributes to greenhouse gas emissions.

  1. Reduce energy use.

All appliances consume energy. The simplest way to reduce energy consumption is to switch off the lights. Turn off and unplug television, cable boxes, game consoles, and computers when not in use. You can also opt to switch your light bulbs to LEDs since they use less energy while still delivering the same amount of light.

  1. Recycle stuff.

Recycling is a key component of waste reduction that can help in limiting greenhouse gas emission.

When purchasing stuff, choose those that are packaged in recyclable materials, such as glass jars and cans. Also, it is recommendable to buy products that are eco-friendly and utilized recycled packaging materials.

Make recycling a habit in your household. For instance, you can re-use plastic bags to pack small items, or use glass jars as containers for smaller household items. Segregate aluminum cans, steel cans, newspapers, magazines, plastic bottles and other recyclables. You can bring them to local recycling facilities, and earn a small amount of money in return.

  1. Repurpose and upcycle.

Don’t throw everything away just yet! Sort out your stuff, and see if you can salvage anything through repurposing and upcycling.

Don’t know what to do with tissue paper rolls? You can actually turn them into cable organizers. You can also upcycle an old tire into an ottoman. There are a lot of do-it-yourself tutorials in Pinterest that can serve as an inspiration to find another use for an item. Not only do you save money, keep your home organized and newly-decorated, you reduce waste and energy in recycling these stuff.

For gently used clothes that no longer have that “spark” for you, charity institutions are always welcome for donations.

  1. Forget about the dryer.

16 million tons of carbon dioxide – would you believe that that’s the volume of carbon dioxide emission coming from clothes dryer alone in U.S. homes? Imagine its effect on the global temperature, and how it contributes to climate change.

If you’re doing your own laundry, maybe it’s time to rethink about how you dry your clothes. Switch to air drying if you can. Not only does it reduce energy consumption, which means more savings for your pocket, but air drying also causes less wear and strain your clothing.

  1. Buy high efficiency appliances.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s ENERGY STAR program has made it easier for you to help in caring for the environment. All you need to do is simply choose to buy electronic products labeled with ENERGY STAR. These products promote energy efficiency as they utilize up to 40 percent less energy than other models.

  1. Go green in terms of power.

Check with your electricity supplier if you can choose a renewable source of energy such as geothermal or hydroelectric sources. If you can, installing solar panels in your home is also a good alternative.

  1. Close up holes in your home.

Seal in cracks in your home, and make sure there are no gaps in windows and doors. This way, you can ensure that the heat stays inside your house regardless of the season. You can also buy a programmable thermostat, which adjusts temperature each day, and reduces energy consumption by 20-30 percent.

BIO

Stacey Marone is a freelance writer. She is fascinated with traveling, exploring new cultures, languages and people. Her hobby is to gather interesting facts and stories and she gladly shares them with everybody.

 

Energy

Are the UK Governments Plans for the Energy Sector Smart?

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The revolution in the energy sector marches on, wind turbines and solar panels are harnessing more renewable energy than ever before – so where is it all leading?

The UK government have recently announced plans to modernise the way we produce, store and use electricity. And, if realised, the plans could be just the thing to bring the energy sector in line with 21st century technology and ideologies.

Central to the plans is an initiative that will see smart meters installed in homes and businesses the length and breadth of the country – and their aim? To create an environment where electricity can be managed more efficiently.

The news has prompted some speculation about how energy suppliers will react and many are predicting a price war. This could benefit consumers of electricity and investors, many of whom may be looking to make a profit by trading energy company shares online using platforms such as Oanda – but the potential for good news doesn’t end there.

Introducing New Technology

The plan, titled Smart Systems and Flexibility is being rolled out in the hope that it will have a positive impact in three core areas.

  • To offer consumers greater control by making smart meters available for all homes and businesses by 2020. Energy users will be able to monitor, control and record the amount of energy they use.
  • Incentivise energy suppliers to change the manner in which they buy electricity, to offer more smart tariffs and more off-peak periods for energy consumption.
  • Introduce new standards for electrical appliances – it is hoped that the new wave of appliances will recognise when electricity is at its cheapest and at its most expensive and respond accordingly.

How the Plans Will Affect Solar Energy

Around 7 million houses in the UK have solar panels and the government say that their plan will benefit them as they will be able to store electricity on batteries. The stored energy can then be used by the household and excess energy can be exported to the national grid – in this instance lower tariffs or even payment for the excess energy will bring down annual costs significantly.

The rate of return on energy exported to the national grid is currently between 6% and 10%, but there are many variables to take into account, such as, the cost of battery storage and light levels. Still, those with state-of-the-art solar electricity systems could end up with an annual profit after selling their excess energy.

The Internet of Things

Much of what the plans set out to achieve are linked to the now ubiquitous “internet of things” – where, for example, appliances and heating systems are connected to the internet in order to make them function more smartly.

Companies like Hive have already made great inroads into this type of technology, but the road that the government plans are heading down, will, potentially, go much further -blockchain technology looms and has already proved to be a game changer in the world of currency.

Blockchain Technology

It has already been suggested that the peer to peer selling of energy and exporting it to the national grid may eventually be done using blockchain technology.

“The blockchain is an incorruptible digital ledger of economic transactions that can be programmed to record not just financial transactions but virtually everything of value.”

Don and Alex Tapscott, Blockchain Revolution (2016)

The upshot of the government’s plans for the revolution of the energy sector, is that technology will play an indelible role in making it more efficient, more flexible and ultimately more sustainable.

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Energy

4 Case Studies on the Benefits of Solar Energy

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Demand for solar energy is growing at a surprising rate. New figures from SolarPower Europe show that solar energy production has risen 50% since the summer of 2016.

However, many people are still skeptical of the benefits of solar energy.Does it actually make a significant reduction in our carbon footprint? Is it actually cost-effective for the company over the long-run?

A number of case studies have been conducted, which indicate solar energy can be enormously beneficial. Here are some of the most compelling studies on the subject.

1.     Boulder Nissan

When you think of companies that leverage solar power, car dealerships probably aren’t the first ones that come to mind. However, Boulder Nissan is highly committed to promoting green energy. They worked with Independent Power Systems to setup a number of solar cells. Here were the results:

  • Boulder Nissan has reduced coal generated electricity by 65%.
  • They are on track to run on 100% renewable energy within the next 13 years.
  • Boulder Nissan reduced CO2 emissions by 416,000 lbs. within the first year after installing their solar panels.

This is one of the most impressive solar energy case studies a small business has published in recent years. It shows that even small companies in rural communities can make a major difference by adapting solar energy.

2.     Valley Electric Association

In 2015, the Valley Electric Association (VEA) created an 80-acre solar garden. Before retiring from the legislature, U.S. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid praised the new project as a way to make the state more energy dependent and reduce our carbon footprint.

“This facility will provide its customers with the opportunity to purchase 100 percent of their electricity from clean energy produced in Nevada,” Reid told reporters with the Pahrump Valley Times. “That’s a step forward for the Silver State, but it also proves that utilities can work with customers to provide clean renewable energy that they demand.”

The solar energy that VEA produced was drastically higher than anyone would have predicted. SolarWorld estimates that the solar garden created 32,680,000 kwh every year, which was enough to power nearly 4,000 homes.

This was a major undertaking for a purple state, which may inspire their peers throughout the Midwest to develop solar gardens of their own. It will reduce dependency on the electric grid, which is a problem for many remote states in the central part of the country.

3.     Las Vegas Casinos

A number of Las Vegas casinos have started investing in solar panels over the last couple of years. The Guardian reports that many of these casinos have cut costs considerably. Some of them are even selling the energy back to the grid.

“It’s no accident that we put the array on top of a conference center. This is good business for us,” Cindy Ortega, chief sustainability officer at MGM Resorts told Guardian reporters. “We are looking at leaving the power system, and one of the reasons for that is we can procure more renewable energy on the open market.”

There have been many benefits for casinos using solar energy. They are some of the most energy-intensive institutions in the world, so this has helped them become much more cost-effective. It also helps minimize disruptions to their customers learning online keno strategies in the event of any problems with the electric grid.

4.     Boston College

Boston College has been committed to many green initiatives over the years. A group of researchers experimented with solar cells on different parts of the campus to see where they could produce the most electricity. They discovered that the best locationwas at St. Clement’sHall. The solar cells there dramatically. It would also reduce CO2 emissions by 521,702 lbs. a year and be enough to save 10,869 trees.

Boston College is exploring new ways to expand their usage of solar cells. They may be able to invest in more effective solar panels that can generate far more solar energy.

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