For some time now, there has been a noticeable change in weather patterns. This can be seen in the increase and irregular amount of rainfall and temperature.
Data from America’s National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Goddard Institute for Space Studies, revealed that since 1980, the world became hotter at the rate of 0.2oC per decade.
Climate scientists predict that if the increase rate continues in the next century, the global temperature would warm to 2oC.
Human activities like the burning of coal, fuel and other natural gases are the big contributors to the rising temperature.
This has led to constant heat, flooding, drought and the disappearance of grasslands, among others.
To lessen the effects of climate change, going green, which means “taking actions that help protect the environment and conserve resources,” is important.
To further create awareness on the state of the planet, the United Nations, last Saturday, April 22, celebrated International Mother Earth Day, with the theme, ‘Invest In Our Planet.’
Here are eight environmentally friendly habits and items to adopt to prevent further harm to the environment.
Waste is an unwanted or unusable material. Waste also contributes to climate change because it produces harmful substances into the environment.
To reduce waste generation and production, a Meteorologist and Climate Scientist, Henry Olayiwola, called for a transition to environmentally friendly materials such as led lights and electric vehicles, including the use of energy-efficient and saving devices, water-saving devices and natural light and ventilation.
He also called for transformation to green spaces and the usage of compost and recycle bins.
“One of the ways we can do this is to make use of environmentally friendly materials like paper packages, straws, plates and recyclable materials. Make use of digital documents instead of relying on paper. Stop cutting down trees because a tree serves as a natural oxygen producer, air purifier and coolant and traps the carbon dioxide humans breathe out.
“We need to buy products that use less packaging and paper packages. Also, unwanted items should be given out to those in need of it or sold off instead of disposing them at the dump sites,” he added.
Olayiwola also noted that recyclable materials should be embraced to prevent more waste in the environment.
Sustainable agriculture is the adoption of organic farming and encouraging locally-grown produce.
Olayiwola said, “Ways to practise sustainable agriculture is by planting a tree, growing a garden, using greenhouse or glasshouse to plant produce that may not thrive in a particular region.”
The climate scientist further called for the adoption of green roofs.
He said instead of concrete balconies on high-rise buildings, “gardens and greens could be planted to help in reducing the rays from the sun as it absorbs them, thereby reducing the heat in a particular environment.”
Energy-efficient appliances use less energy and can save money on electricity bills.
The Communications Officer of the Renewable Energy Association of Nigeria, Godwin Jimoh, said, “To save energy costs, look for appliances with an energy-saving label, which indicates that they meet strict energy efficiency standards.”
To reduce energy consumption, Olayiwola advised, “When leaving your home, turn off the lights. When you are at home, whatever devices you are not using at the time should be turned off. Also, turn off your bulbs during the day and make use of natural light and at night when you need the bulbs, make use of energy-efficient led lights. You can also switch to alternative power-saving means of energy generation. Some devices have thermostats; this helps to regulate the temperature of the devices.”
Switching to a sustainable means of transportation involves walking, riding a bicycle, using electric vehicles or using public transport.
The meteorologist said, “When you are walking, you are exercising your body and mind; you also take in natural air and absorb natural light. When you ride a bicycle, you are exercising your body and helping to reduce the amount of carbon footprint and emissions from the environment. Using public transportation will help to keep more cars off the road, consequently, more emissions off the environment.”
Jimoh stated, “The use of electric vehicles is an aspect of going green which allows us to move away from carbon dioxide, a chemical compound emitting fossil fuels in vehicles, towards energy supplied from electrical power sources which are, in turn, charged through the electricity grid and save the environment.”
Water is life and every human’s friend. Reducing water usage means reducing the amount of wastewater that can pollute the environment. Saving water also helps conserve energy.
According to Olayiwola, this can be done “by using water-efficient devices, installing low flow water taps and faucets and reverting to a central water supply system and treatment plant.”
“This will help in recycling water and further prevent the need to pump water or drill more water boreholes. The continuous drilling of boreholes in the same area is toying with underground activities, which will weaken the earth’s core and cause widespread damage in the event of an earthquake,” he added.
A central water supply would help to preserve the environment.
Jimoh believes that renewable energy sources like solar, wind, and hydropower can provide clean and sustainable energy.
He said, “Installing solar panels or a wind turbine to power your home or business will provide stable electricity and reduce carbon emissions, especially from fossil fuel generators.
“In Nigeria, the solar energy industry has recently experienced an increasingly high adoption by micro, small and medium enterprises across the country.”
“Switching to wind, hydropower, solar and geothermal energy generation would help to relieve the reliance on coal for power generation,” Olayiwola added.
The usage of washing machines, air conditioners, refrigerators and generators generates deadly gases in the environment.
While the total disuse of these devices might be a herculean task, there are several eco-friendly versions.
Therefore, when buying these appliances, the climate scientist advises, “Buy the ones that are energy efficient, environmentally friendly and energy saving. Check out and avoid those that have chlorofluorocarbons in them because they emit substances that destroy the earth’s atmospheric ozone layer, which is responsible for blocking the harmful rays from the sun.”
Refrigerants with chlorofluorocarbons are illegal in Nigeria.
The plastic epidemic is a menace to the environment. This is because plastics do not decompose until after 200 years, so having a lot of this in our water bodies, drainage and dumpsites affects the environment.
Olayiwola said, “Plastics can be reused as wall fences and decorative materials in gardens and parks. Let us reduce the overdependence on plastic products and collect the existing ones for good use as alternative decorative materials or send them to recycling plants.”
Jimoh added, “Reduce, reuse, and recycle, are an essential part of going green. Reducing waste, reusing items, and recycling materials are ways to conserve resources and prevent them from ending up in landfills or polluting the environment.”