What expats can do to help the environment

People worldwide are being encouraged to go green and minimise waste. Similarly, governments are creating incentives for households and businesses to start using renewable sources of energy.

The situation

The planet has been struggling in the past couple of years, with one species begin the cause of the problem: humanity. Once the world is finished battling the current coronavirus battle, it will again face yet another, tough, global crisis. Climate change, or global warming, has been discussed by scientists, world leaders and activists alike, who raised awareness or disregarded the phenomenon. Some claimed it to be an international emergency whereas others deemed it a myth, but its impact can be easily seen around us. The unpredictability of the weather as well as its consequences, are leaving a mark on the planet and in a way, our life. Organisations and several countries have been trying to tackle climate change for numerous years and are urging businesses and others to join the fight in their recovery from the pandemic. “This is the very last moment that we have, in which we can actually hope to stem some of these disasters,” broadcaster and environment activist Sir David Attenborough says.

Due to an increase in carbon dioxide emissions, the Earth’s temperatures have been rising as well, with its current temperature being at 15°C. The burning of fossil fuels remains to be one of the biggest causes of this climate phenomenon. What’s a major contributor? The cutting and burning of trees in forests, which releases carbon. Unfortunately, the time to save the planet is running out. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warned that “Taken as a whole, the range of published evidence indicates that the net damage costs of climate change are likely to be significant and to increase over time. Attenborough also joined to state that “This is the very last moment we have in which we can hope to stem some of these disasters,” during an interview on the BBC’s The Andrew Marr Show.

Lifestyle

  • Food: It’s simple – buy less in order to waste less. Plan your meals ahead so you’ll know exactly what you’re buying, and you don’t end up throwing away the leftovers – this will save you money as well! In addition, when in the supermarket try avoiding food that’s packed in plastic: we’ve heard a lot about the damage that single-use plastic is having on the world and especially sea life. An alternative is using small, reusable produce bags that will do just as good of a great job! A move away from home can instil a new lifestyle and a new diet. Would you consider a plant-based diet? Some reports claim that high consumption of meat and dairy produce is fuelling global warming.
  • Travel: This would be a fairly obvious idea to think about when considering what you can do to help mitigate global warming. Most normal cars emit carbon when turned on, which means that having less cars on the road will help the environment thrive once again. It’s interesting to point out two pictures that were posted on the internet during the pandemic, showing the same area before and during the coronavirus. It conveyed that the area during the pandemic was much brighter and clearer – not because of the virus but due to the lack of cars on the road, therefore, less air pollution. There are several methods of transport that you can use: buses, trains, trams and even sharing a taxi with someone! If you’ve got a short distance to cover, why not walk it?
  • Support local: Smaller and local businesses tend not to have the same environmental expense caused by transportation as bigger chains do – hence promoting a greener lifestyle. If you’re looking for more reasons for why you should support local, click here.

Your new home

With a fresh start on the brink, you may consider looking for a home that is high in sustainability. A bonus for such a home is that it would boost your living comfort as well as lower your energy costs.

  • Light bulbs, showerheads, refrigerators, washing machines, dishwashers, dryers – whenever you’re buying appliances for your home, make sure they are high-efficient. Don’t worry – it’s understandable that to buy everything at once can be quite costly. However, you can buy appliances one at a time and keep in mind that these will help your lower your bills in the long run.
  • Another option is installing solar panels that will generate electricity and power your home. If the country you’ve moved to doesn’t see much sun, this isn’t a feasible option for you as the yield of solar panels depends on how much sun is reflected on it.
  • You could invest in a solar water heater if you tend to use a lot of hot water. Similarly, a heat pump has more energy efficiency

What can you do?

Support the change – talk about the changes you’ve made to help the environment. Encourage your friends and family to do the same. Since you’re an expat, your ability to take action isn’t as strong as it would be back home – as you cannot support candidates who are in favour of helping the environment but you can still join and support groups and green initiatives.

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