Going Against Climate Change While Staying Home: Is It Possible?

Choosing to stay home plus the application of other isolation measures prove to decrease the usual greenhouse gas emissions significantly. However, will these changes continue in the long run, or are people just waiting until they can go back to what they used to do?

During the coronavirus pandemic, many of the people worldwide have decided to implement drastic measures to contain and reduce the spread of the virus, such as home quarantine and lockdowns in each city, state, or country. Amid all these, the most important question arises: does staying home help people go against climate change?

According to Kimberly Nicholas, there are three critical things that people do, which contribute significantly to carbon emissions: traveling by plane, using your car, and eating animal food products. With what’s happening nowadays, the avoidance of going out and moving, people are already two-thirds toward lessening carbon emissions without genuinely noticing it. Nicholas is a researcher at the Lund University Center for Sustainability Studies in Sweden.

In a statement released by Christopher M. Jones, he said that while some precautionary measures could have little to no effect or even worsen the reduction in the carbon footprint, overall, the extra effort helps alleviate the situation and save lives. The decision to close down schools and businesses while urging the people to stay home sheds light on the most important thing now: which is to save lives. Jones is a lead developer at the CoolClimate Network. CoolClimate is an applied research consortium at the U.C Berkeley Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory.

Four Significant Areas That May Contribute To Major Changes

With the continuous battle against the coronavirus, there are precautionary measures taken as of the moment. With these solutions, there are four areas that experts think will help reduce harmful emissions:

#1: Transportation

Any travel, be it on land or air, contributes to the carbon footprint. With the abrupt halt in going out and a law that now orders people to practice social distancing, the planet is on it’s way to better days. According to Dr. Nicholas, the most common way an average American contributes to greenhouse gas emissions through driving, that’s why any action that reduces driving and implements working from home affects the pollution the planet has. On the other hand, traveling by air also has a significant effect. Dr. Nicholas said that a round trip to London (from New York) produces harmful emissions compared to an eight-year-long preventive recycling program.

Dr. Nicholas was part of a study back in 2018 wherein their team studied and examined greenhouse gas emissions according to the measures that people take to go against climate change. She is currently writing a book that focuses on the climate crisis and actions taken by individuals to reduce this.

According to Dr. Jones, the effects of greenhouse gas reductions depend on where people live. There are 25% of Americans who live in the suburbs while another 25% live in the rural parts, and reducing travel and commuting means that the people cut down on driving. However, for the 50% of Americans living in urban areas who use mass transit, the reduction of commuting doesn’t have much of an effect on the environment. Speaking from his own experience, Dr. Jones says that the train he takes going to work still operates whether he decides to use it or not, so there’s not much of an impact overall.

#2: Home: It Depends

In line with a statement earlier released by Dr. Jones, where a person resides is a significant factor in determining the levels of greenhouse gases they contribute. For people who live in an area that has a colder temperature overall, they’re most likely to use the heater more, now that they’re practicing quarantine. Individuals who live in areas with a moderate to hot temperature don’t need to use the heater as much.

In addition to the location of your home, the energy mix is also an essential factor. For example, California gets 31% of the state’s electricity from non-coal sources. This way of living reduces the emission of harmful products into the environment, unlike the Northeast part of America, which still depends on coal for energy and power. Overall, consider the source of the power and the temperature of an area, and you can roughly determine if the people can contribute to a reduction in greenhouse gases/ carbon footprint.

#3: Food Consumption

If you’re wondering if there is a connection between eating out or staying at home and the carbon footprint you produce, Dr. Jones says that the results are vague as of now. He sees no evidence that shows the efficiency and benefits of eating out compared to staying in and vice versa. However, Americans waste approximately 25% of the food they buy. And if you choose to drive long miles to get a particular food, then the emissions most likely increase.

On the other hand, Dr. Nicholas states that where you eat doesn’t matter as much as being conscious of what you eat. Choosing beef products causes an impact on the climate. When you select the lesser foods in the food chain such as vegetables, it creates a smaller environmental effect. Overall, people should focus more on buying rice, herbs, or beans if they want to help the planet.

#4: Shopping

It’s no brainer that people will start turning to online shopping to be able to get their needs while also abiding by the law. Avoiding personal contact has forced people to make do with online groceries/stores, and overall, it also helps with reducing harmful impacts on the planet. In general, fewer vehicles are better than the usual traffic back then. If you wish to try online shopping, you can visit couponlawn.com to get great deals. On this website, you’ll find fantastic offers that you won’t find elsewhere.

Overall, the best thing that would come out of this pandemic is that people will try to find new ways to continue life while helping the planet.

Reference: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/13/climate/coronavirus-habits-carbon-footprint.html