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Planet is under attack


After Victor’s presentation on Environment Sustainability and how AI and technology can help humanity, I’d like to write a bit more about the problem of Global warming and climate change.

There is a strong consensus among scientists that human actions have a direct effect on the temperature increase on our planet. Nowadays, humanity emits vast amounts of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, mainly carbon dioxide and methane. To remind you, those gases hold the heat radiated from the Earth in the lower atmosphere and create a greenhouse effect.

Not only emissions but also deforestation and other human activities cause an increase of CO2 because trees and ocean are not able to absorb even more increasing quantities. The resulting global warming effect drives the climate change process, which results in rapid changes for some regions and catastrophic natural disasters. As a result, not only humans but wildlife suffer enormously.

According to the United Nations report, humanity must keep the raise of temperatures well below 2 degrees Celsius. Otherwise, it will start the irreversible process: the release of gasses under the permafrost and a further increase of temperatures, even if humanity will completely stop emitting CO2.

What can humanity do about global warming? First of all, all countries should unite, acknowledge the emergency, and do their best to reduce emissions. The Paris Agreement signed in November 2016 is a step forward. But it doesn’t provide the complete solution to the problem. A study found that declared pledges, even when fulfilled, won’t stop Global warming. We need even higher standards and faster solutions. One might argue that humans can engineer climate, but the current technology is in its infancy. Having more trees in every part of the world might help to reduce the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere, but we need to plant millions of them and stop cutting and burn existing ones!

My feeling is that most people around the world are not aware of the problem. The Earth needs our attention: we should vote for the politicians, who promise to act on the climate change issues; we should vote with our wallet by supporting businesses that care about the environment. And we must start from ourselves and reduce our carbon footprint.

I found an interesting article by Huffington post on 7 ways to reduce carbon footprint. Let’s summarize the main points.

  1. Stop Eating (or Eat Less) Meat.  This is a hard, but very important point. It takes a lot of resources to produce meat.
  2. Unplug Your Devices. The devices drain energy even when they are turned off!
  3.  Drive Less. Whenever possible, use a bicycle, public transport, or walk. It does not only help the environment, but physical activities improve your health!
  4. Don’t Buy “Fast Fashion.” Probably, you already have too many clothes in the wardrobe. Think twice when buying a new one!
  5. Plant a Garden. It is especially true for Japanese cities that are full of concrete. Even a balcony garden will help!
  6. Eat Local (and Organic). There are high costs for the environment to get food from one place to the other, especially when they are far apart.
  7. Line-Dry Your Clothes. It is essential, but not too hard, to follow this rule. I try to choose sunny days to do the laundry.

I would add a rule to decrease plastic use: bring your own bags to the supermarket, choose products that are less wrapped in plastic.

If my article made you rethink some of your habits and learn more about global warming, I would be delighted. Only together, we can make the world a better place.

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