This German campaign to spread awareness of the effects of global warming was perhaps a light-hearted take on the matter, but the underlying message was a serious one, drawing attention to the fact that flooding of major coastal cities. Perhaps it may have been more effective if they’d chosen a city that wasn’t 260 miles away from the nearest coast though…
The more that the effects of global warming are allowed to progress, the greater the chance of sea level rise and subsequent mainland flooding. To find out how the different areas of London might be affected click the links to East London, Central London and West London if the barriers were to be overwhelmed by a storm surge. But there are things we can all do to reduce the effects of global warming. Below is a countdown of the top 10 most effective things you can do to help.
10. Plant a Tree
Carbon dioxide contributes to global warming by absorbing heat energy from the Earth and trapping it in the Earth’s atmosphere. It doesn’t, however, stop light energy from the sun from penetrating the atmosphere, and what results is an increase in temperature, which causes melting at the poles and an increase in sea level. Plants and trees absorb carbon dioxide and convert it into oxygen, thus helping to maintain carbon dioxide levels, but with deforestation taking place, carbon dioxide levels are only increasing. One tree can absorb approximately one tonne of carbon dioxide in its lifetime.
9. Eat Less Meat
By eating less meat you will be (indirectly) reducing the amount of methane released into the atmosphere. Methane is the second most prominent greenhouse gas, and a lot of it is produced by cows who, due to their complicated digestive system and poor diet, constantly exhale it. By reducing the amount of beef consumed you will be decreasing the amount of cattle purpose bred for meat, therefore significantly reducing the amount of methane released into the atmosphere. You might also reduce the size of your waist band!
8. Reduce and Conserve Heat
Heat loss is one of the biggest energy wastes in our homes. This can be reduced by replacing all single glazed windows with double glazing and keeping all windows and doors closed during winter. Putting on an extra layer and reducing your thermostat by two degrees can make a massive difference and ultimately save you money on your household bills. Covering pots and pans whilst you cook keeps the heat in and reduces the amount of energy needed to heat your meal.
7. Use Less Hot Water
Heating water is one of the most energy consuming things we do. Using less water can reduce the amount of energy wasted in this process. This can be achieved by doing simple things such as taking a shower instead of a bath, and keeping small amounts of water in the kettle – why heat two litres of water when you only need a cup? When doing small loads of washing, make sure to use the half load or economy button and wash at a lower temperature.
6. Change Your Lightbulbs
Most light bulbs are inefficient as they give off large amounts of heat. Compact fluorescent light bulbs use 60% less energy than standard light bulbs and last ten times as long. Replacing all of the light bulbs in your house with CFL bulbs won’t just make life easier for you, it will significantly decrease your energy bill, therefore using less energy resources and reducing emissions.
5. Reduce Your Driving
When driving, emissions can be reduced by using the correct gears and driving at a reasonable speed, whilst keeping your car maintained properly means that less energy is used to keep it running. But where possible, cars should be used only when necessary. If you’re just making a short journey consider walking, or using public transport such as buses and trains for longer ones. If you absolutely have to drive to get to work or school, why not consider a carpool? This will cost you much less money and you can always rotate who drives to ensure that it’s fair.
4. Consider Your Choice of Car
If you absolutely have to have a car to get about, when you next upgrade, consider get something a little more efficient. The more miles a car can do to the gallon, the more carbon dioxide you will be saving. Better yet, consider switching to a hybrid or electric car. Hybrid cars use much less fuel than petrol cars, whilst electric cars run completely on electricity.
3. Turn it off
Think how much money could be saved by turning the lights off when you leave a room. Or by turning your laptop or television off when you’re not using them instead of putting them on standby. Now thing how much saved energy that equates to. Think about using efficient lighting instead of having a combination of lights and lamps all in the same room and turn all running water off when you’re not using it.
2. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
Disposing of waste requires a large amount of energy (just think of the fuel used by waste disposal vehicles), but this can be reduced by choosing products that use less, or recyclable, packaging. You should recycle wherever possible, remembering that paper, glass, aluminium and some plastics are recyclable. If you don’t have a recycling program in your area, take the initiative to suggest starting one. A significant portion of emissions come from the methane released from decomposing organic waste. Composting this waste properly will prevent this from happening.
1. Encourage Others
Spread the word about global warming and the initiatives above that can help to reduce it. Tell your family, friends and neighbours about the simple changes you’ve made in your life and encourage them to do so too. Introduce the changes to the work place too or suggest some of the measures to your boss – things like planting can trees can even be good publicity for your company. Finally, write to your town mayor or local MP suggesting local changes or calling for action to be taken against global warming.