Carbon dioxide (CO2) is a greenhouse gas that causes global warming by trapping sunlight between the earth and the atmosphere, leading to an increase in temperature. Studies suggest that it can be difficult for people to take action towards climate change because they can’t see the carbon dioxide emissions and their effects. Some also don’t know what to do because it is such a large problem. This makes it challenging to tackle, because people feel too overwhelmed to make changes in their lives that could help decrease emissions. Psychology studies suggest that by making the impact of small decisions more visible, people find it easier to understand how they can change their actions in order to help the climate crisis. An example of this is sending households reports on how well they are doing on energy usage.
Can small lifestyle changes make a difference?
One example of a problem that has been successfully improved is the hole in the ozone layer. This case study shows how small changes in the way that we live our everyday lives can have a positive impact on the climate crisis. The ozone layer is a layer of the atmosphere that protects us from the sun’s rays, which can cause health problems. The ozone layer was degraded as a result of a chemical in aerosol products. Once this became clear, there was a drastic reduction in the number of aerosol products sold, as people chose not to buy them to help solve the problem. Eventually the chemical causing the problem was banned, leading to an improvement in the state of the ozone layer. This shows that both everyday choices and changes to laws can help the climate crisis.
Is it becoming easier for people to make sustainable choices?
In Africa, the United Nations has created a program to promote sustainable businesses and products. This will make it easier for people to make decisions that do not contribute to climate change. The programme aims to detach economic growth from things that could degrade the environment and contribute to CO2 emissions. This helps tackle the crisis in the same way that the banning of aerosols helped to reduce the hole in the ozone layers, as it tackles some of the root causes of the problem.
One part of this program is “Switch Africa Green.” This initiative focuses on promoting the development of sustainable businesses, and will help create jobs. Having a greater number of sustainable businesses makes it easier for people to overcome how overwhelming climate change can be, and will also help fight poverty.
Many find it difficult to make small changes that help tackle the climate crisis because the problem can seem overwhelming. However, the ozone case study shows that if people understand which choices help tackle the crisis, change can happen. These choices can also lead to wider changes in laws or policies. The UN program will make it easier for people to make these changes, and contribute positively to the environment.