Much has been written about the environment and it is an act of faith, and some would say of fact, that the environment is undergoing a possibly irreversible transition. Global warming seems to be increasing rapidly and there seems to be no way to stop it. The world’s population continues to grow, and the energy being used continues to increase. Yet, there may be several simple ways to attempt to stop the dreadful decline.
- Stop eating meat. Cows produce the largest amount of methane in the atmosphere that is the most effective greenhouse gas causing global warming, far more effective (x30) than carbon dioxide. Switching from fossil fuels (carbon sources) of producing energy (such as burning coal, oil or natural gas) to alternative means, such as wind, solar or wave power, will reduce the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, but significantly reducing the number of cows on earth will do much more. The only way to do this is for people to stop eating meat. I know it’s much to ask, but that is the simple fact.
- Use Led lights. Light emitting diodes (Leds) are widely available and although more expensive than the old tungsten fiber bulbs, they are much more efficient and longer lasting, and so more economical. Since they use about one eighth of the power required to produce the same amount of light, if all the world switches to Led bulbs then the amount of energy being consumed would be greatly reduced.
- Reduce plastic use. The amount of un-degradable plastic in the oceans is a disgrace. People should not only reduce their use of plastic in general and one-time use in particular (such as plastic bags from stores), but we should all insist on buying only degradable plastic. If there is public demand there will be supply. Such plastics as poly-carbonates that are naturally degradable are already on the market. There simply needs to be much more demand.
- Switch to electric cars. Electric cars produce no fumes or carbon dioxide. There is an argument that the electricity required to charge and run battery-driven cars produces as much as emissions into the air as from the cars. But, overall the air in our cities will be less polluted without cars emitting fumes and there will be fewer accidents if in future the cars are self-driving, so that everything is computer controlled and this will greatly reduce speeding and human error.
- Tube travel. Elon Musk has introduced the idea of tube travel, where people will sit in a cabin inside a tube and be transported at high-speed by pressurized air. Of course, this is a new means of mass transit and will take some time to become accepted. But it will be much cleaner and more efficient than current means of train or air travel between cities. If people can travel between San Francisco and Los Angeles or New York and Washington in a few hours in this comfortable and efficient manner, then the amount of fuel consumption and pollution will be greatly reduced.
These are only a few of the simple ideas that will help to reduce pollution and may help to improve the environment. However, it may be too late to actually reverse the effects of global warming.