I don’t know about you, but I have been known to use the terms Global Warming and Climate Change interchangeably. I would be wrong in assuming they are the same thing.
They are in fact NOT interchangeable, so let’s start off by clarifying these terms.
According to the EPA,
- refers to any significant change in the measures of climate lasting for an extended period of time
- includes major changes in temperature, precipitation, or wind patterns, among other effects, that occur over several decades or longer
- refers to the recent and ongoing rise in global average temperature near Earth’s surface
- it is caused mostly by increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere
- global warming is causing climate patterns to change
- global warming itself represents only one aspect of climate change
For the sake of this article, we will cover global warming and how to limit our contributions to greenhouse gas emissions at home.
Greenhouse Gas Emissions
You have probably heard of these pesky things called greenhouse gases that lead to global warming.
According to the EPA, greenhouse gases trap heat in the atmosphere.
There are different sources of emissions, such as:
- Carbon dioxide: burning coal, natural gas, and oil (fossil fuels), solid waste, trees
andwood products, as well as certain chemical reactionslead to emissions
- can be removed from the atmosphere by plants absorbing it in the biological carbon cycle
- Methane: emitted during the production and transport of coal, natural gas, and oil
- emissions also result from livestock and other agricultural practices and by the decay of organic waste in municipal solid waste landfills
- Nitrous Oxide: emitted during agricultural and industrial activities, as well as during combustion of fossil fuels and solid waste
- Fluorinated Gases: synthetic, powerful, potent greenhouse gases that are emitted from a variety of industrial processes
Now that we know a bit more about the types of greenhouse gas emissions, let’s find out
What Do Greenhouse Gas Emissions Mean for our Environment?
To answer this question, I am going to turn it over to Bill Nye The Science Guy- Bill, Bill, Bill, Bill!
Sorry, I got carried away there.
Let’s learn from an expert, shall we?
Bill Nye explained the link between greenhouse gas emissions and global warming better than I ever could.
Now that we know what greenhouse emissions are and how they affect our environment,
How Do We Keep Our Greenhouse Gas Emissions To A Minimum?
Not to sound cheesy or like every other article you have read but small changes at home really do have a big impact on the amount of greenhouse gas emissions entering our atmosphere.
Here is a list of a few small changes you can start to implement in your home to help keep greenhouse gas emissions in check (courtesy of the EPA).
Change 5 lights
- replace your 5 most used light bulbs with energy star bulbs
- energy star bulbs generate 75% less heat and use 75% less energy than standard light bulbs
- the switch from standard to energy star light bulbs helps to decrease carbon dioxide emissions
Buy Energy Star Appliances
- next time you’re in the market for a new appliance, pick an energy star certified product
- energy star appliances can save you money on your electricity bill
- switching to energy star appliances decrease our carbon dioxide emissions
The 3 R’s
- Reduce, reuse, and recycling at home helps conserve energy and reduce carbon dioxide emissions
Efficient Water Use
- use less water at home by
- not letting it run while brushing your teeth
- having showers most of the time instead of baths
- fix leaky taps and toilets as quickly as possible
- water your lawn less
- this reduces carbon dioxide emissions by reducing the amount of water pumped, treated, and heated required for your household
- this ties in with the 3 R’s
- reducing the waste we send to landfills reduces carbon dioxide emissions
There you have it, a handful of reasonably simple steps you can take at home to help decrease your greenhouse gas emissions.
Implementing these as they come up in your household, for example changing light bulbs as they burn out instead of all at once, are pretty easy, non-disruptive steps to take to help combat climate change at home. At least in my opinion.
Using eco-friendly products around your house will also help decrease your greenhouse gas emissions, as well as providing a few other pleasing benefits.
Benefits Of Using Eco-Friendly Products At Home
They are safer for the user and consequently those who dwell in the home.
Truly natural products (those that have been verified by a third-party organization) are free from harmful chemicals or at least adhere to strict guidelines set by a third-party organization that can cause skin irritations and breathing issues among other unfavourable side effects.
Better for the Environment.
Through biodegradable ingredients, eco-friendly products help to reduce pollution in our waterways.
With no use of toxic chemicals, green products help keep the air we breathe just a little bit cleaner. Well, at least they don’t contribute to the pollution we breathe in on a daily basis.
Generally speaking, eco-friendly products are packaged with recyclable material. This minimizes waste going to a landfill to rot for years and years and years….
Purdy Smelling Home
Instead of the awful chemical smell, green products typically use essential oils as fragrance, making cleaning a joyful experience! (note sarcasm: while I would much rather smell essential oils rather than chemicals, it’s not enough to make me actually like cleaning!)
These are just a few of ‘small scale’ impacts of going green. But let’s face it, this is where we feel the impact of our actions the most.
Our small changes at home have a global impact on our environment as well.
While these aren’t tangible changes we see immediately, like our awesome smelling house, they are important and will have a lasting positive effect on our environment.
If you have any unanswered questions after reading this article, please leave me a comment and I will do my best to answer your queries.
My goal is for us to automatically link what we do in our daily lives to the effect it has on our environment, without thinking too hard about it.