Climate change: what can be done?

The debate on climate change is increasingly topical and involves each of us. Climate change depends on our choices and has a huge impact on our health and on the Planet

Is the climate really changing? And what causes climate change?

Climate change is real and increasingly evident and well-documented. Many parameters are taken into account to monitor climate change, from the frequency of weather phenomena to the incidence of extreme events such as tornadoes, heat waves, floods and droughts.

The most evident change to the climate, however, is the continuous, decade-long rise in the average temperature on earth (global warming), which due to human activity is occurring at a much faster rate than the normal climatic variations caused by natural forces.

There is a major difference between climate change and climatic variations. The history of our Planet has always been characterized by climatic variations, which depend on natural causes. Climate change, on the other hand, encompasses all those phenomena that arise from human activity. In particular, the main cause of global warming is the increase in greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere as a result of the use of oil or methane gas to produce energy, heat and fuel for the purposes of locomotion. These are the best-known factors, but they are not the only ones. Greenhouse gases are also produced when we grow food, when we burn or destroy forests to make room for crops, when we raise animals, when we transform, pack and transport food from one part of the globe to another, and when we accumulate waste in landfill. Food system is responsible up to 37% of global greenhouse gas emissions. 

The impacts of climate change

Climate change have major impacts on our life, influencing:

people’s health, with consequences in the short as well as in the long term (for example, deaths from extreme weather events, respiratory and cardiovascular diseases due to air pollution, spread of diseases such as malaria or dengue fever);

the productivity of agricultural crops and people's ability to obtain sufficient and good quality food, which in turn, in the poorest areas of the world, cause famine, hunger and, consequently, conflicts and migrations;

water availability for people, plants and animals;

the characteristics of the environment in which we live, with consequences such as the melting of glaciers and the associated rise in sea levels, and the progressive desertification of vast areas of the world;

the survival of organisms in certain contexts, compromising biodiversity and at the same time promoting the spread of new invasive species.

What can we do to act against climate change?

Climate change is now recognized as the most urgent environmental crisis. The 2015 Paris Agreement, which was then part of the UN's 2030 Agenda, set an important and ambitious goal: to limit the average temperature increase on earth to 1.5°C.

This goal can only be achieved through the joint global commitment of companies and institutions, but private citizens can also play a key role, starting from their daily actions. Decreasing our impact on the environment is a matter of good habits. There are many choices that all of us can all make every day to combat climate change.

Here are four key rules to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions:

eat healthy and sustainable, opting for a varied and balanced diet mainly based on plant-based, seasonal and low environmental impact foods, being careful to avoid waste;

save energy, by reducing consumption for lighting, air conditioning and heating, and avoiding energy waste in home and work environments, for example not leaving household appliances on standby and disconnecting them from the mains whenever possible;

use sustainable means of transport such as environment-friendly cars, public transport, bicycles and car sharing, favoring train over air travel whenever possible;

reduce waste, by reducing packaging as much as possible, reusing it and recycling the materials used in the most appropriate way.