We can make a difference!

By Pooja Mishra

Source : eqt.com.au

Source : eqt.com.au

Our environment is constantly changing and we cannot deny the fact that we should be more aware of the problems that surround it. But being aware of the problems is not enough, we should come up with different ways to solve them. Whenever we think and talk about all the environmental problems that we are facing today, we usually refer to pollution, natural disasters, global warming, population, the depletion of natural resources, climate change, deforestation among others.  We tend to overlook all the small problems that we create with our daily habits without even realizing. The way we live our life and do things can also affect the environment. But there is a simple way of avoiding these problems by doing small things and adapting some eco-friendly habits in our day to day life.

I have seen many people while walking on the street, in subway, sitting in a coffee shop, who don’t even care about what is going on around them. But it doesn’t mean that I have not seen people who do care. I decided to talk to them and find out their concern towards the environment. I asked the same question to many people, what was the last eco-friendly choice they have made recently.

Mamta Saxena, mother of a 3-year old says, “My son is very young but I still try to teach him the importance of healthy and clean environment. I always ask him to throw all his garbage in the bin and now he understands that. Even in my community I have seen many people who don’t follow the waste disposal and recycling guideline, so this time in community meeting I raised up the concern that everyone should follow the guideline to keep the surroundings better.”

Zahara Shami said, “Since we are having a rough winter in Toronto, where everything is dull and dry and we hardly see any greenery around us, I decided to get some greenery at home. Recently I brought two plants and planning to get more.”

“I bought an eco-friendly car which is 50 percent gas and 50 percent electric. You can switch the mode according to your preference and requirement. I love my car. It makes less sound, is very comfortable, easy to drive and also saves me some bucks” says Irina with excitement.

Nidhi Desai mentions, “In my work place most of my colleague drink coffee and when their mugs get empty they dump the mug in the bins near to them. They don’t even bother to look for the blue bins around them. When I noticed this I decided to raise the concern and in my next team meeting I asked everyone to place one small blue bin near to them and avoid to mix the trash.”

Rosa Yoon, mother of two kids says, “I always try to avoid using plastic bags for my grocery or for anything. I always carry my grocery bags with me. That way I also set an example for my kids to never use these plastic bags for shopping. Whenever my kids come with me for grocery I ask them to carry bags so next time they remember to do the same. Not only this, I always try to set a good example for them to make right decisions and lead a healthy life.”

 

State of the Paris Climate Agreement

By Hannah Gartner 

Just under one year after the historic Paris Change Agreement was declared, it entered into force. This means that the treaty laid out in the agreement is now binding and that the countries who have both signed and ratified the Agreement can be held accountable. For this to happen 55 countries making up for 55% of global greenhouse gas emissions were required to ratify their signatures. The United States (17.89% of global emissions) and China (20.09%), the world’s two greatest polluters, both ratified the agreement on September, 3rd 2016. However, it was not until October, 5th, when eleven countries making up 6.71% of global emissions ratified, that the agreement became binding.

Paris Agreement Map

All countries that signed the Paris Agreement in 2015 are shown in blue. Source- BBC

The primary goal of the Paris Agreement is to bring global greenhouse gas emissions down to keep global temperatures from rising above 2 degrees Celsius since the pre-industrial era. However, the treaty also outlines the more ambitious goal keeping temperature rise below 1.5 degrees. Accomplishing this objective required all 194 countries that signed the treaty to set their own emission reduction standards depending on the infrastructure already in place and how much they contribute to overall emissions. Once the treaty was ratified these standards became binding, and any county that may want to opt out would have to go through a lengthy process and runs the risk of sanctions from the other members of the treaty.  Actually reaching these goals will be a lengthy, difficult process, something that is accounted for within the treaty. However, this doesn’t mean there is time before action must be taken.

 

Among the 129 countries that have ratified the agreement to date, many know this and have already begun to take clear and serious action towards moving our world towards a carbon neutral future. Over the last three years the level of global yearly emissions has inexplicably plateaued. Moreover, in the US, China, and Europe, there have been across the board reductions in the use of carbon. This is just the beginning of what needs to happen though. For one, reducing carbon is not enough. To get enough of the gas out of the atmosphere to stop catastrophic warming, scientists now warn that we must put increased energy into sequestration. Furthermore, reductions in carbon are just one aspect of the many changes that need to be made for humanity to achieve a heathy planet. One year into the Paris agreement, work has been done, but in many ways what is done just shows how much more there is to do.