Climate change, the most challenging issue the mankind is facing today. It keeps the human existence in question with the calamities and the forecast data we see today. The recurrence of tsunamis, storms, earthquakes, floods, drought is nothing but the disorder we created to nature. From a smartphone in our hand to the largest industry in the world is a contributing factor to this disorder. In thermodynamics, we call this disorder an entropy which never decreases. The irreversible impact we cause to nature is just a crisis we have thrown at ourselves. Climate crisis is only the biggest mistake everyone does collectively. Instead of blaming a state, it is better to question ourselves.
Nearly 2/3 of global emission is linked to human consumption. A report from the International Resource Panel (IRP), UNEP, 2017 says that consumption of global materials has reached 88.6 billion tons i.e. triple the amount in 1970. This amount of consumption which is called global ecological footprint has surpassed the annual earth’ production by 1.7 times. Agriculture and livestock were responsible for most of the GHG emission, which is more than combined of all the transportation emissions. Also, it is responsible for 74% water footprint and 80% deforestation. Of the total, 50-80% consumption is for household purpose, mostly in BRICS countries. An eminent person says and I quote “Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s needs but not every man’s greed.”
Behavioural impact on climate change
So how our decisions and actions impact climate change. For instance, while commuting being a thirst for water, you will purchase a water bottle. Fine enough! What about the plastic bottle? You might through it possibly on roads or bins. That plastic bottle may float in rivers/oceans, buried in soil, in our food we eat or whatever if not it gets recycled. Now you made a direct contribution to pollution spending money from your pocket. Why spend money to make pollution? Carrying a water bottle from home could have saved money, safe water from home (healthy), reducing pollution. It could be a single water bottle. But remember this, it takes a hundred and thousands of years to degrade. If a single water bottle can do up to this, then think about Million water bottles being brought every minute worldwide. 80% of water bottles end up in landfills and oceans.
It is not only a water bottle or plastic, there are many other aspects in a row to think. The food we waste, the energy we use, the waste we through, etc. An individual behaviour may not make much difference, but a million or billion people’s can decisively make a difference. The behaviour or the decisions we take are influenced by many conditions like income, environment, social and economic conditions. Whatever the situations or the circumstance, still it is possible to make an optimum decision regarding the environment.
Most institutions think education brings perspective change, but it was proven to be less effective regarding the environment. However, increasing knowledge and change in attitudes could bring behaviour change. External motivations like increasing in reward/punishment will have a short-term impact only. It needs continual interventions. However, adding educational campaigns to the external model could bring notable behaviour change.
We should give internal motivation utmost importance because it is sincere self-realisation that comes from inward. Self-satisfaction and self-efficacy could bring a perspective change that can be driven to realise the environment and climate changes. Realising personal values and supportive social norms could enable sustainable behaviour in socio-economic conditions.
All the above models were to bring a perspective change on how we act or react to the environment and climate changes. The human existence is closely associated with the environment. Prevention is better than cure. It is the need of an hour to discuss and act accordingly to mitigate climate change. If we wish our children & family on a nice beach holiday, then we should act now because 73% of beach litter are microplastics. If we wish our children & family in a nice countryside holiday, then we should act now because the drought is increasing its presence. If we wish our children & family on a nice snowy holiday, then we should act now, because they are melting faster than ever.
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