Climate change is one of the most pressing issues facing our planet, but the good news is that everyone can do something about it. From switching off the lights when we leave a room to recycling, and from using public transport to not replacing things that aren’t broken, there are many steps we can all take to help safeguard the future of the planet.
What is climate change?
Climate change can be attributed to the greenhouse effect which is a naturally occurring process where the earth’s atmosphere traps the sun's energy and in turn warms the earth and enables life.
However there is now very strong evidence that significant and rapid global warming in the last 100 years cannot be explained by natural causes alone. Humans are changing the climate through our actions, especially through the burning of fossil fuels (coal, oil and gas), agriculture and land clearing. Households in Australia are responsible for 1/3 of energy use so there are lots of opportunities for us to reduce Australia's greenhouse gas emissions. The following diagram shows where greenhouse gases are produced in the home:
Buying more energy efficient appliances and using them wisely, getting solar hot water heating and reducing the use of heaters and air conditioners can make a big dint in your household emissions! Visit the Smarter Choices website for more information on purchasing energy efficient applicances.
What are the risks of climate change?
It is difficult to predict the consequences of climate change - but some potential impacts include rising sea levels, reduced food production, drought, species extinction, heat waves and more severe storms and flooding. Check out the Adapt NSW website for more information about climate change and adapting to climate change impacts or download their Metropolitan Sydney Climate Change Snapshot document:
What can we do?
There are many simple actions we can take to help reduce the threat of climate change. For starters try following some of the hints on the following pages:
The Australian Government's Your Energy Savings website also provides some great tips and resources to help you live a more sustainable life.