5 Ways You Can Participate in Climate Action Locally
Given the knowledge that the boiling point of water is 100oC and that room temperature is approximately 27oC, a 2oC increase in temperature does not sound very significant. Not until you contextualise this temperature increase in terms of the Earth’s climate temperature!
According to NASA, there are endless detrimental repercussions of this temperature increase: sea levels and coastal flooding are increasing, beaches are eroding, a higher prediction of lethal annual heatwaves, and more… Yikes. Unfortunately, the culprits are none other than humans themselves. Between the numerous vehicles on the road, emissions by factories, and litter dumped into the ocean, it is no wonder that the planet’s health is being threatened.
Luckily, the climate crisis has garnered a lot of attention on social media platforms recently, especially amongst the youth. I have compiled a list of 6 ways you could participate in climate action:
1. Participate in Beach Clean Ups
The expectation of crystal clear beaches are now replaced with a stretch of sand littered with a myriad of trash items, from a loose plastic bag to things you wouldn’t quite expect to see by the seaside, like toothbrushes. Approximately 10% of all plastic products manufactured worldwide end up in the ocean.
One of the ways you can help change this is through participating in or hosting a beach-clean up. Make sure that trash is disposed of in the right places, otherwise it could end up polluting the ocean again! You could join in on clean-ups that are hosted for the public from time to time by organisations such as Seven Clean Seas, who have been invested in ocean clean-up operations since 2018. You can read more about them and their goals here.
Alternatively, you could organise independent clean-ups with people from your school or institution. If you’re heading out on a family vacation to the beach, why not spend an hour or so picking up trash? All you would need are gloves for hygiene and some trash bags (which is arguably still plastic, but if it is disposed of properly, makes up for the hundreds of trash items that you may pick up). Furthermore, pollution is not limited to the coastal areas; clean-ups can happen anywhere. Another organisation that actively hosts free-to-attend clean-ups is Trash Hero – check out the various locations you could go to, and just show up!
2. Join tree-planting programmes/Use Ecosia
The presence of trees in nature creates so many benefits for humans and wildlife. They absorb the greenhouse gases in our atmosphere and produce oxygen to ensure our survival. Fun fact: the ocean actually produces approximately 50% to 80% of the oxygen we breathe, but trees are also important to preserve the balance!. With this in mind, another great initiative you could join is a tree-planting programme. Planting programmes can happen on different scales, and with different aims. Some aim to prevent the extinction of endangered tree species. Others could aim to prevent soil erosion or to simply increase the number of trees in the world. A local Malaysian organisation that holds a tree-planting programme is the Malaysian Nature Society (MNS), currently looking for volunteers to help out at the Urban Community Forest (UCF).
If you’re restricted by distance and travel, what else could you do? I’m sure that during the pandemic lockdowns we’ve been through, you’ve done some searching on the web to fuel your curiosity. A search engine called Ecosia plants a tree for each search that is made on their page, removing 1kg of carbon dioxide from the air. It is completely free to use, it is legitimate, and it also runs on renewable energy sources.
3. Start composting
In the United States alone, approximately 80 billion pounds of food waste is accumulated thanks to human greed. Leftover food from meals are often left to rot, which is a real waste and does not benefit anyone. However, there is a way to give food waste a ‘second life’: turn it into compost. Compost is a fertiliser formed by the decomposition of natural products, which provides plants with the nutrients they need to grow. Compost provides an assortment of benefits for plants. These could help with texturing the soil to increase water retention and improve healthier air circulation within the soil.
So, how can you make compost? All you have to do is gather food items such as meat, vegetables, and even eggshells in a trough located in a shaded area. Then, sprinkle some water onto it. The food waste will eventually rot away. Once it does, you can add it to soil to boost the growth of your garden. Composting is a perfect ‘zero waste’ solution for those who have a passion for gardening.
4. Clean plastic items thoroughly
Plastic makes up 60% to 90% of all debris on Earth, making it a primary pollutant of the environment. Recycling is a great way to make sure that plastic items do not end up as pollutants. However, there is a lesser-known fact about recycling: recycling companies tend to dispose of plastic that is deemed ‘impure’. ‘Impure’ plastics are plastic items that have been contaminated, for example by fungi and rotten food. These plastic items are not recyclable because it poses health and safety risks on items made out of the recycled plastic.
Therefore, a simple way you can help ensure that the plastic you use is recyclable is to clean and wash your plastic items with soap. If the plastic has paper labels stuck onto it, peel them off. Although paper is recyclable, paper would be considered a contaminant as it is not the same material as plastic. Once you’ve done all of this, dispose of your plastic waste into recycling bins to ensure that it has a better chance of being recycled.
5. Spread awareness through conversation, campaigns, and petitions
Starting conversations is a method you can use to spread awareness regarding the climate crisis. This will encourage others to join you in taking action and being more mindful of their habits. To start out, you could try talking to close friends, family, employers, and colleagues about the environment. Then, make suggestions on how you could take climate action together. Awareness is vital to get a movement going. So, do some research for some statistics from reliable sources and let other people know. Thanks to this era of digitalisation, the process of signing petitions has never been easier. To reach out to people in power or bring environmental issues to corporations’ attention, search up online petitions that you can sign.
Campaigns are also a great way to bring environmental issues to light. Get together with a team of friends to hold campaigns in your school, institution, or workplace. If you would rather do something similar through means that do not involve physical interaction (understandable), you could do what I’m doing by writing this article. Or, you could share information and petitions on social media platforms such as Instagram. You should also make sure that you educate yourself by staying updated with environmental issues. Also, make sure to speak out whenever it is necessary.
Hopefully, these tips helped you out! With climate change getting worse and worse through the years, let’s do what we can to save our Earth.