Discovery Science: Earth – Ecologically Friendly Consumption

Earth Science: Environmental Protection – Ecologically Friendly Consumption

The climate is warming, in part due to the accumulation of greenhouse gases. Because even small changes in our daily routines can help reduce CO2 emissions, everyone can get involved and make a difference.

Fossil fuel use is a main cause of climate change and the greenhouse effect. Thus, we must significantly reduce CO2, emissions from activities such as heating, power generation, and transportation.

Reducing our ecological “footprints”

One option is for each household to switch to renewable energy sources wherever possible, such as solar, hydropower, wind, or geothermal systems. Another important step is to reduce our individual energy “footprints.” For example, driving a car places a particularly high burden on the environment, due to the carbon dioxide emissions into the air.

However, there are several ways to lessen the impact and still continue using a car. For instance, careful driving can help reduce harmful emissions. Car buyers can also now choose from many new energy-saving and alternative-energy models. Better still, drivers could sometimes leave their cars at home and use public transportation, ride their bicycles, or walk to their destinations. Carpooling also reduces the number of vehices on the road.

Climate-friendly consumption

Within homes and buildings, numerous opportunities are available to save energy, for instance, by using energy-saving lightbulbs, avoiding the standby setting for electronic devices, adjusting thermostats a few degrees, and adding more effective insulation. In addition to the energy use clearly reflected on utility bills, “hidden” consumption arises from the production, transportation, and disposal of goods, which has an invisible but significant effect on the climate.

By researching purchases-for example, giving preference to local and locally-grown products—we can distinguish relatively “climate- friendly” products from relatively “climate-unfriendly” ones, thus reducing carbon dioxide emissions.

Climate-neutral consumption

“Climate-neutral” activities are those activities for which measures have been taken to offset the carbon dioxide they generate through climate-friendly initiatives in another place. There are now “climate- neutral” household appliances, flowers, television sets, entertainment events, and even universities. Even those who need or want to travel long distances by plane can help protect the climate by voluntarily off-setting the emissions arising from their trip by purchasing carbon offsetting certificates.

The funds are then invested, for example, in solar, hydropower, biomass, or energy conservation projects, to compensate for the corresponding amount of greenhouse gases produced by the flight.



The rising use of renewable raw materials as biofuels—viewed until now as an effective weapon against climate change— has led to unexpected side effects.

Food is be- coming scarcer and more expensive—by around 57%. say figures from the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) for the 12-month period up to March 2008.