With a growing concern for the planet and sustainability, we at Ozford started wondering: what is one of the main causes for pollution and what are some of the ways we can, at our own level, prevent it from becoming out of hand?
As you most probably hear it often, the world is currently in a sensitive situation where our habits and luxuries are causing the Earth’s temperature to increase at an unusual rate. There are many reasons why this can happen, some sceptics believe this phenomenon to be part of Earth’s natural cycles, but a majority of scientists have data to demonstrate that human activities are a major factor in this phenomenon.
Types of fuels
The emission of gases as a result of fuel combustion causes the increase of the Earth’s temperature through the greenhouse effect. Some of the main types of fuels currently used on Earth include Coal, Oil, Gas and Cement.
- Coal: While it experienced a boom during the industrial revolution, coal was initially used to power vehicles and power plants. It is currently becoming increasingly less popular and instead other more efficient fuels are used.
- Oil: While records start in 1855 for oil, it has since only increased in popularity since it is widely used in the plastic industry and now, in its refined state, powers almost all vehicles.
- Gas: Following oil, gas started getting used in 1882. From then, it took on the role of the main fuel used in domestic heating & cooling as well as cooking.
- Cement: it is one of the most important materials when it comes to building and developing cities. Indeed, along with steel, it makes up for the biggest part of the materials used in construction. It started being popular in 1879 and has ever since slowly but surely increased in popularity.
The greenhouse effect
The main human-caused process that participates to the worldwide temperature increase is our emission of greenhouse gas. Those gases are particles that remain in the Earth’s atmosphere and remain there for a period of time, trapping the sun’s heat. By trapping heat, these gases increase the atmosphere’s temperature and in turn the Earth’s. The potency of each gas is measured in Global Warming Potential (GWP), which is a measure of a gas total energy absorption over a 100 years based on its quantity, lifetime and how effective it is at trapping heat.
Below is a chart demonstrating the global greenhouse gas emission by sector. We can see that the sector emitting the most greenhouse gases is the Energy sector, with the road transport sector being the biggest responsible for greenhouse gas emissions, at 11.9% of the total worldwide emissions.
Steps we can take to reduce our consumption
At our own level, there are ways to act in a more sustainable way to reduce our personal greenhouse gas emission. It can be done via the following:
Our habits, no matter how insignificant they might seem, turn out to have a rather big impact when put back to back. It is by adopting simple habits, such as diligently recycling or turning off unused appliances/lights at home that we are able to have a positive impact on the greenhouse emission issue.
There are many ways to find out what the best habits to adopt are, websites such as ecobnb, usatoday, biofrendlyplanet or even biologicaldiversity are all examples of how easy it is to find information when looking for information to shift our lifestyles towards more sustainable ones.
- House and appliances with the newest standards
A way to easily reduce energy bills and greenhouse gas emission all while enjoying the same comfort of life is to ensure that house appliances are correctly setup on eco-friendly programs, that they are completely turned off when not in use and that their energy ratings are high. Indeed, appliances still consume a minor amount of electricity when not in use. Added up, the consumption of all the appliances in sleep mode can represent a visible amount of the electricity bill. Using their eco-friendly operation modes helps keeping energy usage in check while we keep enjoying our lifestyle. Finally, as the energy rating of an appliance shows its degree of efficiency, it makes sense to favour the use of appliances with a high rating (=high energy efficiency).
- Sustainable transports
As the transport sector is the most responsible for greenhouse gas emission, the first target is to use our polluting vehicles less. We want to see you using any of the more sustainable methods of transport, such as bicycles of public transports when coming to Ozford! There are a wide variety of transportation available, ranging from walking to electric and hybrid vehicles. Some of the very common and most popular methods of transports are public transports such as buses, trains or even trams. Alternatively, using a bicycle or rent an electric scooter really makes your travel effortless and fun, without causing an excessive amount of greenhouse gas emission. You also get the added benefit of not having to worry about parking on Lonsdale Street, or any of the commuting traffic during the peak hours.