By Allison Philips
Senior Copywriter and Edge Contributor
The latest UN report on climate change, released in August, was pronounced “a code red for humanity” by UN Secretary-General António Guterres. The report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the UN group established in 1988 to evaluate the science around climate change, details wide-ranging and potentially disastrous climate changes across our entire planet.
These climate changes have been brought on by greenhouse gas emissions and global warming. They run the gamut from heat waves, droughts, and fires to melting glaciers, huge amounts of precipitation, and floods, along with the rise of sea levels.
Many of these climate changes may not be reversible, and we must act now to mitigate their effects. Governments must implement strategies aimed at lowering carbon dioxide emissions and other greenhouse gas emissions, which would improve air quality and lead to temperature stabilizations in a generation.
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Average Citizens Must Help Lead Changes to the Environment
While governments work to address the challenges brought on by climate change, there are many things the average citizen can do to alleviate environmental threats. Climate catastrophe does not have to be a given if we start working now.
“Learning about climate change and how to separate fact from fiction is probably the most powerful thing that average citizens can do. Once you know the facts, you can make everyday choices based on science and what’s right for you, your community, and your family,” states Dr. Daniel Welsch, the University’s Interim Dean, School of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).
What You Can Do to Save the Planet
To aid in helping our planet, contact your senator, Congress member, and other local and state representatives. Ask them to support climate legislation that will lower emissions and help us brace for any new climate shocks.
Also, find out what the level of carbon emissions is for your household. You may be able to lower your household’s carbon emissions, using the carbon calculator from the Environmental Protection Agency.
Carpool or use public transportation if you are headed back to work after being remote due to the COVID-19 pandemic. If you have multiple errands, make as many trips as possible when you are out driving. If your car is older or does not get great mileage, replace it with one that does.
Reach out to your electricity provider to see if you can shift over to “green power” – electricity provided by energy sources that feature low-carbon emissions.
Other options for combating climate change and helping the planet include:
- Consuming less meat
- Making fewer purchases
- Flying less
- Taking fewer long trips by car
Empower yourself by joining organizations that advocate for the climate and building a community to keep the spotlight laser-focused on climate solutions.
Climate change and the race to save our precious planetary ecosystems are imperatives that we must all address now, together. Now is the critical moment where our actions today could prove to be the catalysts that ultimately disrupt climate catastrophe tomorrow.
Our online bachelor of science in environmental science provides students with the opportunity to study various aspects of environmental science. These areas include environmental sustainability, environmental risk assessment and environmental technology.