The planet earth has gone through many climate changes from ice ages to warmer periods. However, today we are facing a serious problem. Current climate change issues are mostly human-caused and that’s why the impact is even more alarming. In the last decade, the planet has faced extreme and unusual weather events. Consider the followings: high winds cause tree losses, the decline in the snowpack leads to less water in rivers, and higher average air and water temperatures change the patterns of precipitation. All of these lead to serious changes in our climate and signal a severe climate alteration. The climate changes relate to all of us, every country, city and human being. Today, we must all take our steps towards improving the situation for the prosperous future of the coming generations. In this post, we will reveal how a New Yorker can take simple steps to help tackle climate change in NYC. So if you wonder how to prevent climate change then keep reading.
Climate Issues in New York
Currently, there is scientific evidence that shows how much the climate is changing on our earth. The 2015 report for New York City Panel on Climate Change has revealed that environmental issues are heavily affecting New York. The main areas of concern are the followings:
Average temperature in New York is increasing. There’s more than a 2 degree Fahrenheit increase in the average temperature compared to 1970.
Plants take 8 days less to bloom in the spring than they did in 1970, so spring begins a week earlier.
Annual precipitation has also risen. Between 1958 and 2010, the precipitation increased more than 70% across the northeastern United States.
There was also a New York sea level rise since 1900 by more than a foot.
The New York City Panel on Climate Change (NPCC) was initially formed as a scientific panel in 2008. It is comprised of academic and private-sector experts in climate science, social science, risk management, and infrastructure. NPCC experts’ climate projections of future changes make the scenario only worse. There are many factors that trigger climate change. Most of them are simple actions that we take on a daily basis, without the realization of how much we adversely affect the environment. There are 5 simple ways which will help us be more cautious and tackle New York climate change.
1. Efficient Energy Usage
Energy efficiency is one of the most important targets for improving the climate. In April 2018, the Governor of the State of New York, Andrew Cuomo, has announced a new energy efficiency target to reduce energy costs, thereby reducing energy consumption by 185 trillion BTUs (British thermal units), which is equivalent to the energy used by 1.8 million New York homes.
There are simple things you can do to use energy more efficiently. Consider the followings:
Turn off the lights when leaving the room.
Turn off your computer or TV when not in use.
Switch to energy efficient light bulbs.
Turn your company into an energy efficient business.
Use electric appliances efficiently: fridges, conditioners, and printers can all be used more efficiently.
Go green! Turn to renewable energy sources.
Renewable energy plays a key role in fighting climate change. Renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar energy, are the future of energy production in big cities like New York. With the help of renewable energy, New Yorkers will be able to minimize carbon emissions which are one of the greatest reasons responsible for global warming.
2. Fossil Fuel Consumption
Fossil fuels, including coal, oil and natural gas, are the world’s main energy source. Over the past century, burning fossil fuels has increased the CO2 emissions in the atmosphere. The process of coal and oil burning combines carbon with oxygen in the air and creates the CO2. The big amounts of CO2 emissions have increased the concentrations of greenhouse gases. When human activities change the natural greenhouse concentration in the atmosphere, this leads to tragic consequences for the environment. The vast amount of CO2 emissions are the main reason behind today’s global warming.
So how can we improve the situation? To reduce fossil fuel consumption in our daily life we need to take little steps that would change our lifestyle. Firstly, start riding a bike. Automobiles burn a lot of fossil fuel. Cars that are energy efficient may be too expensive, unfortunately. However, this is not the case for simple bikes. By switching to bikes, you will help reduce air pollution and have your own contribution in fighting New York climate change.
Recycling also helps reduce the greenhouse gas emission into the atmosphere. A large amount of energy is consumed every time a new product is made from raw materials. Recycling helps to reduce these huge amounts of energy consumptions. Extraction of virgin materials results in greenhouse gas emissions. Using recycled products for creating new products reduces the need for virgin raw materials. This translates into less fossil fuel burning, and thereby, reduced greenhouse gas emissions. So it’s essential that we recycle the products we use for fighting environmental degradation.
4.More Urban Greens
Trees play a critical role in keeping the air clean and by acting as a carbon sink for mitigating excess greenhouse gases. The Central Park in New York is full of native trees, which are currently facing a serious danger. The trees are also threatened by climate change. Of course, we are not capable of taking care of all the urban forests in the city, nevertheless, we can take the responsibility to look after the trees on our block. The idea is not to become a hero by saving a whole forest but to do whatever is in our power to save even a single tree. Trees clean our environment and provide us with fresh air, they fight the CO2 emissions, and in general, they are an essential part of a healthy ecosystem.
5. Reduce Your CO2 Footprint
By now, you must already recognize the role of CO2 emissions in climate change. Fossil fuels, inefficient energy consumption and failure of recycling all lead to additional greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere. But there are so many more actions we take that impact the environment adversely. Here are the main effects of CO2 emissions on our Earth:
On average, the planet earth becomes warmer. Some regions adopt the warmer conditions, but others don’t.
Warmer temperature leads to more evaporations and precipitation. Depending on the region, the weather can get wetter or dryer.
The oceans will get warmer, glaciers and ice will start melting and the sea level will rise. That’s why the New York sea level rise is a major problem alert for the climate.
Warmer weather also affects the way crops and plants grow. The areas where certain crops grow best will be affected most.
Here are some simple things you can do to help reduce greenhouse gas emission:
Use trains when possible
A single flight from London to New York results in almost a quarter of the average person’s annual CO2 emissions. In the modern world, it’s almost impossible not to use airplanes at all. However, it’s always better to use trains when possible.
Make your household energy efficient
Make it into a habit to turn off electric appliances when nobody's using them. You can use the daylight instead of turning on additional lights on, open a window instead of using an air conditioner or a fan, or wear an extra piece of clothing instead of turning on a heater. If you put an effort into changing your daily habits, you will be able to reduce your individual carbon footprint.
Switch to renewable energy
There are currently numerous renewable energy companies that provide solar panels and wind turbines to make your energy consumption “green”. Renewable energy is the only eco-friendly energy source, and supporting such businesses will lead to decreased demand for fossil fuel companies.
Eat less red meat
Cows and sheep produce a large amount of methane, which is a major global warming gas. Other types of meat such as chicken or pork emit fewer amounts of greenhouse gases. Of course, you don’t have to switch to an entirely vegan diet, but eating less beef will significantly cut CO2 emissions.
Avoid useless purchases
The temptation of buying new and useless trinkets and knick-knacks is real. People love accumulating a bunch of meaningless goodies. However, simply buying less stuff means lower emissions. It’s better to buy fewer but better things. Also, make sure to recycle to help save energy and instead of throwing away broken things to buy new ones, make sure to try fixing them first. Think sustainably.
By following these simple steps and changing your daily behavior, you will help New York reach REV goals, which aim to fight climate change and improve our environment. It’s not hard to figure out how to prevent climate change, it’s much harder to take a responsibility and act individually.