My son Christopher Kyobe and daughter Tangaza have really got me thinking about the legacy I will leave them. This is not about wealth or my track record, but an even greater legacy, for all of us to think about. What kind of world will we leave behind for our children? This got me thinking and acting differently, so I thought I might write something to help give context to climate change and how we might be better stewards and ancestors, to those who will be here, long after we are gone.
Climate change explained simply, is the term used to describe irreversible shifts in temperatures and weather patterns across the globe, causing rises in sea levels, rapid melting of the polar ice caps, storms, snow in spring, unbearable heat and changes in blooming times for plants and flowers. Climate change is caused by human activities – such as burning fossil fuels to power cars and factories – resulting in gases being released into the atmosphere.
Electric cars can help to tackle climate change by decreasing emissions from vehicles by up to 43%; despite running on electricity, the lifetime release of emissions is considerably lower than use of diesel or petrol, and the use of sustainable energy sources could eliminate emissions altogether. Transitioning to use of electric cars has the potential to rapidly slow global warming – with a deeply positive impact on our climate, eco-systems and air quality. Personally air quality is a very important for me, my lifetime partner Kirabo and our son Christopher, as we all have Asthma.
If all the above doesn’t convince you, then I’ll have you know that switching to an electric vehicle, has the potential to reduce household expenditures by more than half, as fuel efficiency is drastically increased compared to traditional gas-powered vehicles. Over the lifespan of an electric car, maintenance costs are lowered by thousands of pounds every year, as there are fewer moving parts and no internal combustion. Yet another great reason to make the switch! I have and I am not regretting it.
If you’re not ready for an electric car, there are many other ways in which we can create a cleaner and greener world too. Saving electricity, by remembering to turn off light switches, better insulating our homes so that we use less heating, and using energy-saving lightbulbs and appliances – or even by switching to greener energy sources – goes a long way toward helping the environment, by wasting less fossil fuels to create electricity.
Furthermore, eating food produce that is locally grown will support not only the local economy, but reduces the amount of emissions used to import and transport goods from other countries. Local farmers markets – or even attempting to grow your own fruits and vegetables – will go a long way in saving energy – and your food will probably taste fresher and better too!
Reducing waste also has a profound effect on the sustainability of our planet. 30% of the food we produce globally is wasted (which is around 1.8 billion tonnes every year), and a third of all emissions come from our agricultural practices. If we learn to reduce food waste by buying only what we need, choosing food options with less packaging (or more sustainable packaging), and recycling wherever we can, we can help to lower greenhouse gases by as much as 8%.
We can work toward reducing levels of waste from clothes and electronics too. More sustainable clothing options are increasingly more available, as are recycling options for both clothing and electronic goods – and there’s always switching to purchasing second-hand options for both, to support use of the products already made, as opposed to putting more pressure on our manufacturing systems (and, in turn, our environment) to make new ones.
So, as you can see, there are many simple changes that we can all make to our lives to reduce the impact of human activity on our planet and slow the rate of climate change.What will your contribution be to the next generation? I’ll be sharing my experience and most importantly my learning, over the next few months. Proud to have joined the climate change revolution.