Five things we do that unwittingly contribute to climate change

As global warming and climate change get worse, more efforts are being made to protect and preserve the Earth for future generations. 

Indeed, we’ve seen an increasing number of corporations and governments make pledges to improve sustainability and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The environmental cause is important to all of us at QNET. So it’s truly wonderful to see more organisations similarly getting on board. 

That being said, more awareness about the problem is still needed, especially among regular folks.

According to a recent global survey, most people generally want to do something for the environment and curb climate change. Most, but not all. There are still many who believe it’s a job for governments and industries and not individuals.

The reality is that while the average person doesn’t contribute to climate change as much as, say, the fossil fuel industry, things we do every day can cause irreparable harm to the environment. 

Here are five daily habits you may not realise are harming the Earth:

Chomping on lots of meat

Human beings may not actually need to consume meat to survive. In fact, some scientists believe our bodies just aren’t designed for it. Still, one of the biggest problems with meat consumption, however, is how it impacts the whole world. 

Did you know industrial farming contributes to 14.5% of global greenhouse gas emissions? This is because livestock produces a significant amount of methane (you can guess how that happens!), a gas that’s more toxic to the environment than carbon dioxide.

So, you may think that a steak for dinner doesn’t do much harm, but in reality, every little thing adds up.

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Not finishing your food

On the subject of diets, remember how our parents constantly reminded us to finish our meals? Well, it seems many people don’t.

And the result is some 1.8 billion tonnes of rotting fruit, vegetables and meat that lie in landfills each year, emitting harmful gasses. The stats show that if we all stopped binning our leftovers and/or spoiled food, we’d succeed in eliminating greenhouse gas emissions by as much as 8%.

Composting is one way we can make use of food waste and keep them off of landfills. It also keeps your plants healthy.

Leaving the light on

Energy efficiency has become such a buzzword that we use it all the time. But do we all always remember to turn out the lights every time we exit a room?

Sure, energy wastage by industries is a bigger problem that requires policy changes.

Nevertheless, we everyday folks waste a lot of power too, by simply setting air-conditioner thermostats too low, not maintaining appliances, and leaving electronic devices plugged in.

Start by making small changes like switching off devices that aren’t being used. That can really make a difference.

Going too digital 

On the subject of turning off electronics, did you know that digital devices also contribute to energy wastage? Or what about the fact that, collectively, digital tools emit as much carbon dioxide as the aviation industry?

That’s right! Planes consume and burn up a lot of fuel. But the rate at which the world’s gone digital — especially over the last year and a half of pandemic-induced lockdowns — has had an equally damaging impact on the environment. 

Being connected is a necessity, but does a household of five, for example, really need five iPads, including one for the baby?! 

Also, consider extending the life of electronics by refurbishing them instead of junking them in landfills that aren’t designed for e-waste.

Idling vehicles

You might already know how carpooling and taking public transport is better for the environment than driving solo. But did you know that idling your car — running your engine — for just 10 seconds can do as much damage?

If you’re wondering how much harm a single car can do, here are some sobering stats: Idling vehicles waste a total of 6 billion gallons (22.7 billion litres) of fuel and collectively produce 30 million tonnes of CO2 every year!

But wait! Doesn’t idling the engine before beginning a journey ensure optimum performance? A misconception.

Turns out modern cars are designed to avoid the need for idling. So leaving the car running while stepping out for a quick food or grocery run makes little sense.  

In short, when not in use, turn off the ignition! Mother Earth will thank you.

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