“The future is today…because somewhere on Earth, it is already tomorrow.” – The Future Book
The UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD) also referred to as the Rio +20 or Earth Summit 2012, presents a sporting chance for the world leaders to take the bull by the horns and make bold decisions and commitments for a new era of greener, cleaner development. Investing in renewable sources of energy, eco-friendly infrastructure and energy efficiency will not only create jobs and incite recovery, but also help tackle climate change.
The Planet has seen negotiations and counter negotiations, thus, at this juncture, it is hungry for bold political, environmental and social actions––for a new paradigm of sustainable development––embedded in our lifestyles and in the way we do business in the society. Making a real difference in this regard requires a creative range or blend of ideas and policy instruments––backed with actions––i.e., a mix of both the political and the practical.
What am I saying? The world leaders cannot do it alone. We as a society have a stake in ensuring environmental sustainability and promoting sustainable development. Think about food, how a home works, how we move from place to place; about how we communicate, how we run businesses, how we dispose of wastes, how we care for forests, etc. Every one of these areas, and lots more, is ripe for notable intervention that can save huge amounts of carbon from entering the atmosphere.
You may wonder why so much emphasis on sustainability and sustainable development. The official international environmental negotiations are not advancing as quickly as the damage we are doing to our Planet, and we still fold our arms. We are well aware that the changes in the balance of nature portend grave threat to the security of our shared future. The planetary ecosystems are failing––and we know it. Hundreds of millions of young people will look for jobs in the coming decade––and we know it. Yet, humanity still pays lip service to the quest for environmental sustainability and sustainable development.
Unequivocally, humanity consumes enormous amounts of energy, drain water supplies, and devour food and resource in an unsustainable way. Humanity's total ecological footprint was estimated at close to two planet Earths - in other words, humanity uses ecological services almost twice as fast as Earth can renew them. This causes climate change, which is threatening human life with rising sea levels, storms, floods etc. Unequivocally, if we knowingly continue to live in a manner, which harms and jeopardizes planet Earth, soon all the goodness the Earth has to offer us will be devoured.
To this end, therefore, it is pertinent to note that only a decisive and staunch commitment by both Dick and Harry will effectively ensure sustainable development. Sustainable development must grow in the economic, social and environmental spheres–in every nook and cranny of the world. And fundamental lifestyle adjustments are required for this to take place.
Consequently, the one word forecast for a more sustainable future is: CHANGE. We must start making less polluting choices. Low-carbon living is the key to our future; it will create less carbon dioxide emissions. More so, reducing our carbon footprint will not only help the planet, but also improve the quality of our lives.
You can start now to calculate your current emissions, so you can see how much you save in a year––you’ll be surprised how well you do! To calculate your emissions use the Carbon Calculator.
However, on a practical note here are several tips for you to employ, the more people that adopt this thinking, the more we heal our green habitat–– the Earth:
- Plant deciduous trees to shade houses, since trees can remove fifty pounds of carbon from the air each year.
- Buy Smart: purchase energy efficient appliances that display the Energy Star Label.
- Turn off lights, televisions and other electronic devices when not in use.
- Walk, bike, carpool, and use mass transit, as well as limit travel by using communication technologies.
- Replace tungsten bulbs with energy-efficient fluorescent bulbs or compact light fixtures.
- Purchase a fuel-efficient car or alternative fuel vehicle, like fuel cell car, solar car, etc.
- Manage heating and cooling with timers and sensor controls.
- Reduce the resources you use
- Reuse resources as much as possible
- Recycle as and when you can
- Rethink before you buy and dispose
Although behaviour change is said to be the Holy Grail of sustainability, it’s in our best interest to change for good. By so doing, we will be more responsible, thus, safeguarding the ability of the future generations to meet their own needs. An ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure!
The questions that beg for answers now are:
- What lifestyle changes have you decided to adopt today in order to reduce your carbon footprints?
- And, how are you using the innovative social tools that Digital Media provide to mobilize climate action(s)?