In a new report released Monday by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the U.N. is sounding the alarm for humanity to wake up to the realities of climate change. Calling the IPCC report a “code red for humanity” in a statement, U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres said the report must “sound a death knell for coal and fossil fuels” before they destroy the planet.
The IPCC report details how the extreme weather events we’re seeing on a global scale will only worsen in the years to come, and human activity is behind the destruction. Citing over 14,000 studies, the report clearly outlines that unless massive action is taken immediately to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the average temperature worldwide is anticipated to meet or exceed the 1.5-degree Celsius warming threshold within the next 20 years.
Action Against Climate Change is Urgently Needed
The message behind the IPCC report couldn’t be more clear: action against climate change is needed urgently. With news like this, it can be easy to get discouraged about the future, but as the report outlines, humans have the power to turn the tides in a positive direction.
The future of the environment is in our hands. Here are five ways you can help fight climate change:
1. Reduce Your Carbon Footprint
You’ve heard it time and time again, but reducing your carbon footprint is one of the most important things you can do to help the climate change crisis. CO2 emissions need to be cut significantly over the next decade, so every little bit counts and your behavior could ultimately impact the decisions others in your community are making, too. Examples of how to do this include adopting a green travel philosophy, reducing your driving and flying time, and opting for walking, cycling or public transportation instead. Bonus: walking is a natural mood booster so it won’t just reduce your carbon footprint, but improve your mood too. You can also support companies that plant trees to help remove carbon from the air, like Ecosia search engine.
2. Pressure Your Government to Take Action Against Climate Change
The report says we will need “unprecedented changes in all aspects of society to deal with climate change,” and that everyone needs to get involved. It’s not just up to policymakers alone to create change — we all need to use our voice to demand change. Write a letter to your local or federal government leader urging them to take action against climate change to put the necessary pressure on policymakers.
3. Go Vegan to Affect Climate Change
Switching up your diet or at least reducing the amount of meat and dairy you consume is another powerful way to reduce your carbon emissions. Due to methane gas released by cows and the large amounts of water, fertilizer and land needed to raise them, the meat industry is a major contributor to climate change. If you’re a big fan of burgers and steak, try being a weekday vegan and opt for some more environmentally-friendly meals throughout the week like lentils and beans. Check out Cowspiracy on Netflix for more on this.
4. Forget Fast Fashion
The fast fashion industry is another major contributor to climate change due to carbon emissions from shipping, water consumption, pollution and the depletion of non-renewable resources. Instead of fueling the industry by continuing to buy from major big-box retailers, try shopping vintage or buying from local creators who are engaging in ethical, sustainable practices. Pre-loved sustainable fashion is in vogue and we’re seeing more and more that sustainability is on trend with fashion designers.
5. Be Mindful of Your Water Usage
By reducing your overall water usage, you’ll be cutting back on the amount of energy needed to heat and treat water, which will ultimately contribute to reducing your carbon footprint. You can also help save the oceans and avoid contributing to the toxic waste that ends up in them by switching to all-natural cleaning products and reducing your use of single-use plastics.