Allen Ssempa is a Public Relations professional from Kampala, Uganda and a first time writer for We Are Restless.  As part of our celebrations for #ShowTheLove week (7-14 Feb)  this post focuses on how we can all help deal with Climate Change.

Climate change is here and immediate action has to be taken. What was once considered an issue for the far distant future, now has upsetting impacts that are meeting us in the present. The 1992 United Nations Convention on Climate Change and its 1997 extension (the Kyoto Protocol) did not just introduce the notion that there had been a noticeable change in global or regional climate patterns from the mid to late 20th century onwards, but they also attributed the change largely to the increased levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide produced by the use of fossil fuels.

It has also been agreed that tackling climate change requires coordinated action by nations around the world. More industrialized countries have taken the lead in reducing greenhouse gas emissions while the developing world have committed to do the same. In all this, the pressure seems to be handed to the governments, the people in power.

Yet it is correct to deliberate that the common man also has a part to take on. You and I can work alongside the government to regulate heat waves, drought, floods and other climate change effects on human health.

The most powerful way that the average person can combat climate change is to become informed about it, says J. Marshall Shepherd, former president of the American Meteorological Society and professor at the University of Georgia. To him, becoming climate change literate is  the biggest impact individuals anywhere in the world can have on the threat.

“If you educate yourself about what’s going on with climate change and what can be done about it, you can make more informed choices when it comes time to vote for the people with the power to make big decisions”, he adds.

Changes can also be made in our homes where the government has little or no control. We can mastermind the revolutions where we stay. In 1991 Gerald Foley in his book “Global Warming: Who Is Taking The Heat” observes that making charcoal is particularly damaging because it produces a substantial amount of methane. Improved cooking stove programmes, especially those focused on dissemination of improved charcoal stoves in urban areas, can help preserve forest trees and combat global warming. By reducing charcoal use, he argues, carbon dioxide and methane emissions are reduced.

Other home changes can include using only energy saver bulbs and other electronics that use less electricity and help save on power. Curbing the use of polythene bags and making use of recycling methods. Reducing water waste. Installing solar panels. Taking note of how much greenhouse gas you emit and staying greenhouse gas emissions cautious.

It does not stop at home. If you have a desk job, there are plenty of things you can do to reduce your emissions while at work. You can set computers and other office equipment to power down during periods when you’re not using them.

Opting for public transportation, biking, walking, carpooling or telecommuting instead of driving. While driving, try not to do hard accelerations, don’t spend more than 30 seconds idling, and go easy on the gas pedal and brakes. Make sure to regularly check your tire pressure.

Getting involved and educating others about the big picture. The safe environment strategies in your daily life can have a small impact, but the whole planet has to be on board in order to instigate global effects. Using all communication channels available to you, you can spread the work on climate change, its impacts and how we can be in control.

As he left office recently, President Barack Obama in his eloquent and well thought out message highlighted the importance of protecting the ocean and tackling climate change. As he said: “It’s been said that we don’t inherit the Earth from our parents so much as we borrow it from our children.” I wholeheartedly agree.

 

What do you think?

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