“Energy conservation is not a choice but a pressing need if climate change is to be averted. You may not be able to influence big policy changes but you can follow these simple and effective steps to save energy in day to day life and help reduce carbon footprints.”
As a deadly blanket of smog leaves most of North India gasping for breath, floods tear apart another part of the country, as the other side reels under severe drought, climate change ceases to be a topic reserved for academic debates. It has leapt from the essays and seminar papers into the real lives of real people and is here to stay by the looks of it. Harmful carbon emissions like carbon dioxide, methane nitrous oxide etc are swiftly and surely killing the planet. To counter this, 14th December is observed as the Energy Conservation Day to raise awareness about the pressing need to save energy and avert climate change. One might ask what is the relation between the innocuous act of using an electric bulb, fan or fridge and the more serious climate change? The answer my dear friend lives in the wind!
What is the relation between energy conservation and climate change?
Emission of greenhouse gases, which play a significant role in causing natural disasters, is a direct outcome of unchecked human activities. Carbon emission is caused due to two main factors – nature sources like decomposition, ocean releases and respiration, and human sources like burning of fossil fuels like natural gas, coal, oil, deforestation and cement manufacturing. Despite natural sources being the greater source of carbon emission, human sources are the main cause of the problem. Nature has a mechanism to remove the carbon it emits and keep its level in safe range. Human activities, on the other hand, add carbon dioxide in air without having any mechanism to take it back. Households are accountable for nearly three quarters of global carbon emissions. Every hour, each of us is contributing to the emissions of greenhouse gases to the environment – by burning petrol when we drive, when we use cooking gas, or when we use electricity generated from coal to power our home appliances and electronic devices. With billions of harmful emissions in the atmosphere, cutting back on emissions is the only option if we want our future generations to inherit a breathing planet.
6 simple ways to save energy in everyday life
The potential solutions to climate change are rooted in lifestyle changes. Social issues like population growth, consumerism, industrialization catalyze climate change and need urgent intervention. You may find it beyond your control to influence big policy changes but you can do contribute your bit or more than just a bit by following these simple steps to save energy. Some of these points are common knowledge but we are too careless to incorporate them in our lives.
- Limit Your Needs
Nature has enough for everyone’s needs but not for everyone’s greed.
Let minimalism be the new style statement. There is no shame in repeating clothes and accessories. Capitalism thrives on our unending need to own and hoard things beyond what we need. This consumerism leads to unchecked production at the cost of ecological balance. So, own fewer things and use them well. This small change in mindset can go a long way in limiting carbon footprints.
2. Install Solar Panels at Home
Solar panels are not only eco-friendly but also pocket-friendly. In India the installation of solar panels is subsidized by the government. Many people are reluctant to install solar panels as they believe in the myth that the panels need bright sunshine to produce energy. Technological innovation has ensured that this is not the case. The panels can function effectively in any climate and weather – from the coldest mountains to the hot deserts.
- Gender Equality and Small Families
Large population translates into more production, hence more carbon emission. It might seem like an indirect and vague way of addressing the problem of carbon emission but studies prove that countries in which women have higher political status also emit less CO2 per capita. Societies where women have better employment opportunities and reproductive rights see a decline in population.
- Use Public Transport or rely on car pooling
While there is nothing wrong in owning the latest swanky car but make sure others too get a ride in it. Let the community of carpoolers grow. You get a double bonanza – save the environment while making new friends. You never know what benefits and insights fleeting encounters with strangers can bring you!
- With off Vehicles at Traffic Lights and Traffic Jams
The Hindi proverb goes – bond bond se sagar bharta hai. If only 40% of the vehicles stuck at traffic lights in just one city of India were to be turned off for as little as a minute, can you imagine how many liters of fuel would be saved? I’ll bet my last penny that the answer will run into thousands of liters.
If you are wondering whether seemingly inconsequential act of switching off vehicle engines and carpooling can avert climate change? Well remember small steps become giant leaps when multiplied by 7.7 billion, the current population of the world.