By Catherine Nabaloga
Climate change includes both global warming driven by human-induced emissions of greenhouse gases and the resulting large-scale shifts in weather patterns (Wikipedia). According to Jackson, S. T. (2021, April 27), climate change is the periodic modification of Earth’s climate brought about as a result of changes in the atmosphere as well as interactions between the atmosphere and various other geologic, chemical, biological, and geographic factors within the Earth system.
The Major causes of climate change include:
- Resource extraction/mining
- Agricultural practices such as large scale farming
- Consumer behaviors
- Burning fossil fuels such as oil, coal and gas etc
The effects of climate change include;
- Change in the weather patterns
- Rising temperatures
- Land degradation
- Increase in extreme weather events such as floods, wildfires etc.
- Loss of wild life and their natural habitat
- A rise in the sea levels etc.
We have already experienced the adverse effects of climate change here in Uganda such as the Floods in Kasese, the drought in Northern Uganda, mud slides in Bududa which has led to loss of lives, displacements, poverty, increased risk of new disease out breaks, hunger among other and so much more.
The question right now is how can you as an individual protect the environment from any further damage.
- Plant a tree
Trees not only give us the oxygen we breathe but improve on the quality of the air we breathe, give shelter to wild life, guard against soil erosion, helpful in water retention in the soil among other benefits. It does not matter how small a piece of land you occupy, plant a tree because it is the responsible thing to do.
Trees also provide food to us humans in form of as fruits, and vegetables, provide shade and act as wind breakers in storms.
As the saying now goes, plant a tree now and it will save you and your future generations tomorrow!
This simply means letting your food wastes rot naturally in the soil instead of throwing it in the garbage bins to be transferred to the landfills.
Most households especially in urban areas find themselves throwing away left over foods or food that just expired without consumption. Hotels and restaurants are some of the main contributors to food wastage in these cases.
You can however start turning these little food scraps or leftovers into compost mixing it with your soil to give your plants organic nutrients.
3. Choose reusable over single-use
Many of us use plastic water bottles, polythene bags for shopping, use disposable straws, eat from disposable plates all of which are single-use plastics.
Unfortunately in Uganda, we have seen that most of this plastic ends up in water streams, on the road sides, in the gardens which has had quite devastating effects to the environment as a whole.
So instead of buying a Plastic mineral water bottle each time you go out, choose to carry your own water in a reusable bottle or container to protect your environment.
You can also choose to have reusable shopping bags so that you minimize the amount of plastic bags you carry home each time you head out to get some groceries from the market or shopping center.
4. Recycle properly
This is mostly in the Western world where they have separate bins for the different kinds of wastes. This makes it easier for the garbage collectors to sort the different waste and recycle accordingly.
We do not yet have that kind of organization here in Uganda. We put all waste together regardless of whether it is recyclable or not. It is therefore important for each one of us to educate ourselves on the kind of waste that can easily be recycled to avoid scenarios of it being taken to landfills.
Most plastic, glass, wood and paper can be recycled but things like batteries, electronics, appliances etc may need to be separated altogether from the other waste. You can always inquire with the collectors or #Kampala City Council Authority who will help identify the right sites for such type of waste around areas of Kampala. Different Town councils in different regions also have offices in charge of keeping their cities clean.
5. Go paperless
Paper as we all know comes from trees yet trees are play a vital role in our ecosystem. All organisations and businesses literally use paper while operating their day to day services. From the smallest receipt in a small business to the biggest report in a big corporation, we find ourselves wrapped in an unending cycle.
There is therefore a need to adopt modern technology so that we can do away with this kind of waste which happens every day and not forgetting the toner or ink used to print on these papers. It is all harmful to the environment and our health as a whole.
Save the trees by adapting to technology!
6. Learn to up cycle
Up cycling simply means turning your old unwanted items into something new altogether. This is a creative way of turning useless things into something useful again.
For example you can turn your old old wine or glass bottles into flower vases at home, perfume bottles can be turned into candle tins and so much more. You can actually give some of these things to your children to practice their DIY projects and thus enhancing their creative sides. It is a win-win situation!
7. Save on the electricity
This not only saves on your monthly bill but also saves the environment. A few things that you can start practicing to save on the electricity include but not limited to;
- Turning off all lights whenever you leave a room
- Turning off all sockets which are not in use
- Using more energy saving bulbs such as LEDs
- Buying energy saving appliances certified by the National Bureau of Standards
We can conserve on the amount of water we use and or waste on a daily basis by trying some of the following;
- Turning off taps whenever we are done washing our hands
- Minimize on the amount of water you use while cleaning your utensils and doing your laundry (you can use the same water to clean something else like cleaning mopping the house).
- Collect rain water for future use like in the gardens or at home
- Fix leaky faucets and taps
- In case of a broken water pipe, immediately call a plumber to fix it or #National Water & Sewerage corporation to fix them.
Be responsible, be accountable!