XOTV WEEKLY: Live from Thailand: 5 Ways to Reduce Our Impact on the Climate
Climate change has affected everything from temperature rises, rise in ocean levels, shorter or longer seasons globally, and it is detrimental to the pattern of life. When the temperature rises, it causes catastrophic changes globally. The rise in the rivers in your town means that there is more overflow in other parts of the world as well. While it might just be a slight rise that you can see, what you don’t think about is that in other parts of the world beaches and islands are being submerged.
I am an ex-pat in Thailand and have been living here for a year. My Thai friends have told me that it has gotten a bit hotter every year. The rainy season has harsher winds and has become significantly shorter. This is detrimental in many ways. Because there is less rainfall, that means there is less production of crops, more flooding, and harsher storms. Because of this, there can be problematic flooding and a rise in sea levels. On the coasts, the shores are slowly being engulfed.
On the Thai islands, the change in sea levels is more significant. However, the real pressing issue is the change in the rainy season. The shorter and harsher rainy season is problematic for agriculture and the temperature. Since the season is shorter, the weather in Thailand is becoming hotter and hotter, which makes humid and tropical Thailand even hotter.
Maybe you are thinking “Right, I understand, but that doesn’t affect me.” But it does! Climate change is a slow change in temperatures, ocean levels, a slight change in weather conditions, it doesn’t happen all at once. It becomes a more pressing issue when there are natural disasters.
The thing is we are in that time right now. Just look at what has happened in 2020: there have been forest fires in Australia, India, and the United States of America. The volcanic eruptions in the Philippines, extreme flooding in Indonesia, India, and Vietnam, numerous earthquakes in Turkey, Russia, China, and Jamaica. Lastly, in Antarctica, the climate is changing so much that the glaciers are melting. The snow has disappeared leaving water overflow and actual plants are growing, when it is meant to be a cold desert tundra with almost no plant life. These natural disasters in just this year are a clear sign that the earth is calling out to us that it is time for a change. I am here to tell you what we can do about climate change. Let’s discuss the different ways we can create change and replenish our earth.
What can we do to create change?
1. Minimize food waste.
This one is an easy habit that you can introduce into your daily life. Simply eat the food that you buy, don’t waste it! Simple. When cooking we often throw away leftovers when it gets too old or we have expired food in our fridges.
However, the goal here is to minimize these things from happening, so buy less food or prepare smaller portions, then you don’t waste already prepared food. Also, food scraps such as vegetable stems and seeds should be re-used. All of those cut-off ends of vegetables can be used to make a vegetable broth. After you have made your broth and stored it and/or frozen it, you can compost all of these materials. With your prepared vegetable broth, you can add it to stir fry dishes for a bit of added flavor, make soups, or use it to marinate meats.
In the mornings, I am sure a lot of you drink coffee, but there can be a lot of waste that goes into that cup o' joe that we don’t think about. If you use a Keurig coffee machine, then opt for a reusable k-cup to minimize your plastic k-cup waste. If you have a normal coffee pot, use reusable coffee filters, or go full minimalist and try drip coffee. When you are done with your cuppa brew, then use the coffee grounds for other usages, such as DIY body scrubs, compost, or as a fertilizer for your garden. For my tea drinkers, it’s best to use loose tea leaves rather than tea bags. Your tea leaves can be used to infuse soaps, DIY face masks, and lastly, it all can be composted.
2. Minimize your CO2 emissions.
Simply put, minimizing your CO2 emission is to reduce your greenhouse gases. This can be done on a large scale such as with factories and industries, car pollution, and flight emissions, however, on a smaller scale, it is simply planting a tree and having a garden. In your community, you can suggest a community garden or organize an event to plant more trees. You can even start your own garden. This is good for the earth and is healthy for you! I have different herbs I grow inside, and plants are lovely decor as well.
3. Be mindful of your electricity usage.
We use a lot of electricity and this is not good for the environment. Also, it’s just expensive. So, I suggest that you turn off your lights and appliances when not in use, switch your light fixtures to eco-friendly light bulbs, or even unplug your appliances when they are not in use. This small act is good for the environment while also helping you to save money on your bill.
4. Consume less.
Consume less and there is less waste. I am not saying to become a minimalist, although I tend to follow a more minimalist lifestyle. I am saying to just buy less and use what you have. On an individual basis, this can mean different things for everyone, but for me, it is to buy locally in Thailand. I do not buy as many items for my apartment as I would like, because I want to remain minimal so that everything can fit in my backpack and carry on suitcase. When my clothes have a hole or something breaks, I go to a local shop to fix it. If it cannot be fixed, I re-purpose the item or donate it. As for food, I buy all fruits and produce locally as that is the norm here in Thailand. I know that for others going to the grocery store is normal, but maybe you can grow your own or attend farmers' markets.
5. Start conversations.
Just talk about it and spread the word about climate change and have conversations with people. Be an advocate of change and it will create a ripple of climate activism. Talk about it with your peers, use your social media platforms, and talk with your community. The government and society need to be aware of this and by talking about it you can help. This means VOTE. Vote in your elections and support those that support the climate. We can make a lot of change just by spreading our knowledge and urgency with climate change, so don’t be quiet about it. Speak up and use your voice to raise awareness and be an advocate for our mother earth.
I hope that my five tips and ideas to help climate change were useful to you and you will consider introducing them into your lifestyle. Remember even small change can make a big difference.
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About the Author:
Wander the World with Liz, an American expat living in Thailand. She is a travel blogger, an ESL teacher, and someone who loves to explore nature and different cultures. Visit her XOTV channel here.