The theme for the 50th Earth Day is Climate Action. Climate Change is a phrase we have all heard before. A phrase we can all have a discussion on, and a phrase we have all made a poster about at some point or the other. But, we don’t always understand what climate change REALLY means and why Climate Action matters to me and you, and not just polar bears.
This Earth Day, we've decided to go back the basics. Here are 6 things we think you should know about climate change and how you can make a difference:
1. Okay, so what is climate change, really?
It’s simple. Human activities (emissions from industries, burning fossil fuels, manufacture of household items) release CO2 into the air. This traps more heat, and makes the planet hotter.
The average temperature of the Earth is 15 degree celsius. This keeps fluctuating. However, it has constantly been rising, faster than ever before, over the last few decades.
So this rise in temperature is essentially climate change, and it's important because it upsets many ecosystems and habitats.
2. What happens when the planet gets hotter, other than melting glaciers?
Everything on our planet is connected. We'll say that again. EVERYTHING. The mosquitoes in your home are connected the flowers outside, which are connected to the soil, which is connected to freshwater, which is to the sea, and which to some species of fish you have never heard about.
So when one part of our ecosystem gets affected, all of it is disturbed, and every member of the chain, including us, faces challenges.
For some (read: humans) it may be a season of drought and for some (read: Sea turtles) it may be the danger of extinction for their entire species.
As the glaciers disappear, those living in these areas get affected first. However it doesn't stop there.To break it down, here are some things that happen when the planet’s temperature rises
- Sea level rises, when glaciers melt. It could cause fresh water shortages. Fresh water, that is a basic necessity for all humans.
- Overall climate change causes floods, storms and heatwaves.
- Plant and animal extinctions take place as habitats change faster than species can adapt.
- World Health Organization (WHO) also says that health of millions could be threatened by increases in malaria, water-borne disease and malnutrition, directly liking it with climate change.
3. How much time do we have?
We are already late. Irreversible damages have been made. Experts believe that the next 12-18 months really decide if we will ever be able to restore equilibrium. If you are seeing more sustainable brands around you, people adapting zero-waste lifestyles and mainstream companies giving sustainability a serious thought, the efforts have already begun. But there is a long way to go.
Just remember this: Even if we start now, large glaciers can take hundreds of years to respond to changes in temperature. And it takes CO2 decades to be removed from the atmosphere. So yes, the time to start was yesterday.
4. Why do most people still not care about climate change?
Here is the main problem. Most people think that the climate change problem is far away - both in time and distance. They think it’ll affect us after decades and as of now only the far-away poles are affected.
And maybe that's true. But changes need to be made NOW.
But if that doesn't scare you, it's normal. The human brain is not wired to understand futuristic existential threats. This is one of the biggest challenges for sustainability initiatives: Getting people to care.
We worry about immediate dangers. It's our fight or flight instinct. And a lot of good old procrastination.
But this doesn’t mean that climate change is not real and doesn’t need us to act now.
5. So what can I do? Does my effort even count?
From big companies to household products - all are responsible for emissions that cause climate change. So where do we begin?
At Arture, we believe that the biggest hurdle is believing you make a difference. That one cloth bag, 10 less printouts, one-recyclable plastic box - it all counts. It makes a difference. It really does.
It's only when each of us individually believes we can make a difference - can we really do so.
Also, every person who makes a sustainable choice affects others in some way or the other. We all have a vegan friend who made us consider going vegetarian, a friend who introduced us to sustainable shopping brands etc. We all have a bigger positive impact than we think we do.
So start wherever you can and everywhere you can. Buy wisely, discard wisely. Read labels when you buy, look for recycling initiatives when you discard your clothes or electronics. Pick up metal straws, and reduce plastic packaging for groceries.
6. How cork helps...
While choosing cork as a material, we ensured we choose a material that causes the least disturbance to its ecosystem - both while being harvested from a tree, as well as while discarding it.
In fact, the oak trees require cork to be harvested from the tree, to survive. The cork layer can be harvested from the tree again and again without harm. The first harvest occurs when the trees are around 30 years old, and is repeated every 9-12 years thereafter. This process is healthy for the tree. So be assured that your cork accessory is not only not doing any harm, but doing good.
A simple switch from leather to cork can make a difference.
If you want to learn more about sustainability, and how to adopt it in your everyday life, here are some useful links:
- A read on how to get started with sustainability with few simple steps
- Read about what Earth Day is all about and how it started
- An Indian YouTuber who teaches you how to grown your own produce, and stay sustainable
- Some sustainability influencers to follow on the 'gram:
Happy Earth Day to y’all, and good luck on your sustainable journeys.
Arture’s got your back…pocket!