I’ve just watched The Inconvenient Truth. I first came across Al Gore when I read his book Earth in the balance* at university for one of my assignments. Now, when politicians are trying to out do each other on how green they are (in the UK anyway), I found it very interesting to hear that Al Gore’s interest in this subject is long standing and not for current political gain. Out of interest, my attraction in environmental studies started when I studied environmental chemistry as part of my A-level chemistry course.
I found the film absorbing, which surprised me because I had heard it was based around a live presentation. I already knew most of the facts, but I’m always happy to have a refresh, especially in such an easily digestible format. What I found fascinating was the amount of data Al Gore had to backup his arguments, which was more detailed or newer than any I’ve seen before. I found the film very convincing (perhaps not surprisingly) and I hope it has had the same impact on other people.
So when you are convinced that climate change is an issue what can you do? When it is talked about in the media the coverage is always about energy usage, particularly cars, but this is only one part of the issue. There is a little thing called embedded energy, which is the energy used to produce all food and non food items.
This means that every item we buy is contributing to the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, and in the current disposal society there are many items that are thrown away after just a short time of use. And don’t forget, as well as the embedded energy being thrown away there is also other values resources such as metal and plastic. Fine, you can recycle, but that is not the best solution. The best solution to reduce embedded energy is to reduce the things we buy and to reduce the things we throw away.
Things to consider:
- do you really need a new version of the item
- can you repair the item
- can you change the use of the item
- do you know someone else who wants the item
One of my successes recently was making a new cover for our radiator cat bed from an old dressing gown. Not only is the cat very happy, but I also reduced the amount of scrap material, there was no additional packaging and there were no additional transport miles.
Many people are sceptical about climate change, and I can’t blame them. However my view is to take the cautious approach; so what if climate change never existed I’ve still benefited from my behaviour by saving money by not buying unnecessary items.
If you want to know more about environmental issues I would highly recommend G Tyler Miller’s Living in the Environment: Principles, Connections, and Solutions* I bought a copy while doing my degree and have found it highly informative and easy to read (including lots of diagrams).
*Disclosure: these are affiliate links meaning if you buy something after following them I will earn a small percentage of the sale price, but it won’t cost you anything extra