Hundreds of events have been held in commemoration of Environment Day. The speeches appealed to the need to curb climate change, the newspapers published headlines with scandalous figures related to pollution levels … But the environment is not reserved for a day, nor has political color, nor is it conserved with awareness campaigns.
Global changes are achieved with actions at the local level. That is why the United Nations has invested the problem of population growth in defiance: 7,000 million people on the planet are 7,000 million dreams . It is the slogan chosen this year as an invitation to reflection and action. To reverse the impact of society on the environment, it is urgent that we all acquire small daily commitments linked to the form of consumption:
Close the tap
While 748 million people still lack drinking water, in Europe we consume an average of 200 liters per person per day. Of that amount, three quarters are used in the bathroom and half of it is wasted in the most useless manner. A house can save up to 75,000 liters of water a year just by closing the taps when you are not using them, because an open tap pours into the drain from 5 to 10 liters per minute.
Eat less meat
The food we choose to put on our table also has an environmental impact. Livestock generates more than 14% of greenhouse emissions caused by man, according to the FAO. The truth is that the resources to get meat are considerably higher compared to vegetables. To produce a kilo of calf, for example, 27 carbon dioxide are emitted, 15,400 liters of water are needed and 100 kilos of its protein require 6,000 square meters of land. The same weight in lentils requires less than one kilo of CO2, 5,854 liters of water and 2,500 square meters of land. The distribution of the meat is also profoundly unequal in the world.
Buy local products
Choosing to consume products manufactured in the vicinity helps reduce travel, as well as the energy cost. For example, with the amount of energy consumed when transporting a ton of apples from Chile to Spain, a refrigerator could be kept burning for up to two and a half years. On the other hand, an industrial ship that practices intensive cultivation uses a lot of machinery and chemical inputs such as pesticides and fertilizers, and the result is an energy consumption much higher than that of a family farm of organic farming.
Avoid taking the car
The economic sector that emits the most greenhouse gases in our society is transport, especially that carried out by road. In particular, the family car is responsible for 22.4% of our CO2 emissions , and that is that a liter of gasoline emits when a 2.4 liter CO2 combustion engine is combusted into the atmosphere. It is not surprising, then, that 26,000 people die each year due to inadequate air quality. The bike is the best alternative, with more reason when your workplace is within walking distance. If it does not exceed 5 km, for example, the round trip is 10 km per day, which for 20 days of work add up to 200 km per month. The same journey in a private car involves the emission of 172 kilos of CO2 per month.
75% of the time the car is used, it is done by only one person. In total, each European spends an average of 15 full days a year inside his car . In this sense, carsharing could reduce the amount of polluting gases emitted into the atmosphere from traffic by up to 54%. In Europe, each carsharingvehicle comes to replace between 4 and 10 private cars.
Each Spanish produces around 530 kilograms of waste per year , which translates into 24 million tonnes per year in Spain. Knowing that paper takes a year to degrade; an aluminum can, 10 years; one plastic bag, more than 100; a pile, up to 1,000 and a glass bottle, 4,000, do you still not separate the waste you generate? To achieve the European Union’s goal of recycling 70% of waste by 2030, you need it.
Plant a tree…
… or as many as you can. According to the FAO, every year more than 13 million hectares of forests disappear worldwide. In parallel, urban land has tripled since 2000. The lungs of the planet, necessary for its absorption of carbon dioxide and oxygen emission, suffer a continuous reduction. The damage is difficult to quantify, but do not resign yourself to take out the gloves of gardener. Think that each mature tree consumes, on average, 6 kilos of carbon dioxide and that a single oak generates per day the oxygen consumed by ten people.