12 tips to prevent climate change

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Source:  Gulf News Report  www.gulfnews.com  

Leave the car, take the Metro

Driving your car an average of 16,000km a year can release up to 2.6 tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere. Try using public transport whenever you can especially now Dubai Metro is up and running, or carpool to work. You can also keep your car in good health with properly pumped tyres to minimise air pollution. Driving with under-inflated tyres can affect your vehicle’s gas mileage by two to three percent. Over a year, this is like wasting an entire tank of petrol.

Go local

Did you know that the average food product travels about 1,500 miles to get to the supermarket? And that transporting food accounts for 30,800 tons of greenhouse gas emissions every year? Try to shop for locally produced fruits and vegetables whenever possible. You can even opt for organic produce once in a while which is grown with no pesticides or fertilisers that can pollute groundwater reserves.

Water waste

Making plastic water bottles for drinking water releases significant amounts of air pollutants that you should try to use multi-use bottles, like the one you’d use during exercise. The manufacture of one kilogram of PET (polyethylene terephthalate) – enough to make about 17 1.5-litre bottles – entails the release into the air of 40 grams of hydrocarbons, 25 grams of sulfur oxides, 18 grams of carbon monoxide, 20 grams of nitrogen oxides, and 2.3 kilograms of carbon dioxide. 

Bin the burgers

Burgers not only harm your waistline but also the environment. From field to fork, growing animals to eat accounts for about 18 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions globally – more than emissions from transportation. Beef and lamb require by far the greatest amount of energy while poultry, dairy or pork requires far fewer energy inputs. For people who choose to eat meat and dairy products, reducing your consumption of animal foods is the most effective way to reduce your carbon “FoodPrint.” According to a recent study, the fossil fuel requirements of an omnivorous diet were more than twice that of a vegetarian and seven times greater than a vegan. Every meal makes a difference, so you can begin by switching to a veggie option once a week. 

Recycle, recycle, recycle

Despite the fact that bottled-drinking-water bottles can be totally recycled, of the 14 billion water bottles sold in the United States in 2002, 90 per cent wound up in landfills. There are recycling bins in the UAE so locate one immediately in a school or supermarket near your home. You can also recycle paper packaging and glass. It might take the extra effort of getting your valuable recyclable material to a bin rather than have someone pick it up, but it is well worth it in the long run. 

Offset when you jet off

Going home or on holiday can put a serious amount of CO2 emissions into the air as you will most likely be flying out of the UAE. Dubai to Paris will emit around 1200 kgs of CO2 according to www.carbonfund.org which calculates the distance of your trip and offsets on your behalf by financing three projects based on renewable energy, methane, energy efficiency or reforestation and avoided deforestation. Offsetting that return flight to France will cost just Dh44. Try it with any destination. 

Save water, save money

Save water to save money and save the environment. You might not realise it but the UAE is suffering from a serious water shortage. The water that comes out of your taps is essentially sea water that has gone through an expensive and energy-consuming process called desalination. All the salt is removed so the water meets international quality standards, but isn’t it a waste to just let it run out the drain? Take shorter showers to reduce water use. It’s precious. And make sure you have a faucet aerator on each faucet. These inexpensive appliances conserve heat and water, while keeping water pressure high. 

Go easy on the A/C

Turn off the air conditioning. As temperatures drop around the region, open the window and let the breeze in. You should also use a drying rack to dry your clothes all year round – there’s enough sunshine to dry it quickly. You could also set your thermostat a few degrees lower if you really need to have it on. In the summer set it a few degrees higher and you’ll notice the savings you make on your bills. Behind the scenes, less energy will be consumed to create the electricity that powers your A/C.

Recycle your phone

Keep electronics out of the rubbish. You don’t need to throw your mobile phone away, or your television because you can also recycle it. There is an ongoing phone recycling campaign going on with Nokia, who accept all phones. Drop-off points are listed here: http://mea.nokia.com/find-a-store-en/store-locator/application-container?storelocator_content_country=AE. Your local municipality should have information on where you can take your hazardous products. E-waste contains mercury and toxics that never degrade and can accumulate in soil and water bodies year after year to levels sufficient to contaminate the food chain.

Switch to energy saving lightbulbs

How many residents does it take to change a lightbulb? Change all your lightbulbs to energy saving bulbs which consume about one-fifth of the power of incandescent bulbs, last 10 times longer and emit 70 per cent less heat, thereby reducing the need for air conditioning. Lighting accounts for about 15 per cent of the electricity bill. The best way to reduce the bill is to reduce the cost of lighting by using energy-efficient LED light bulbs. When you reduce your bill you reduce your impact.

Turn it off

Don’t leave your electrical equipment on. A third of household energy use is down to TVs, DVDs and computers being left on stand-by which uses almost as much electricity as it does when it’s switched on. So to turn it off and unplug. In the UK it was found that gadgets left unnecessarily on standby or connected to chargers squander electricity worth £740m each year and are responsible for 4m tonnes of excess carbon dioxide emissions each year.

Say NO to plastic bags

Say NO to plastic bags and use one of your own made of cloth, jute or even a backpack. As long as you reuse it and even minimise the amount of plastic bags leaving the store, you are helping. Those ‘free’ bags are not really doing you any favours so pack your own shopping and use your own bags. Plastic bags are ugly, kill wildlife and pollute the environment as they are discarded of carelessly.