Lesson Three: Sustainable living alone cannot solve climate issues!

If you have read my first blog post on climate change (click here if you haven’t), you would already know the manifold impact of climate inaction on our environment. To summarise, we learnt about a whole set of climate change indicators, which are nothing but set of parameters that help us conclude that well, our climate is changing! Rising sea levels, melting ice sheets and glaciers, and loss of coral reefs due to increased acidification of oceans are only some prominent indicators of climate change. And it goes without saying that amid all the hustle and bustle of everyday life, we wouldn’t want to bat an eye on what’s happening in the Arctic Circle! Would you?

And it’s not our fault. It’s just our faulty education system, and of course our congenital attitude of procrastinating every damn thing.

Before I started with my research, I have always been under the impression that embracing a vegan lifestyle, going for eco-friendly alternatives, and opting to walk overtaking the car alone will suffice and help us heal our environment. Well, sustainable practices are definitely helpful on an individual level, especially when we multiply individual impact with thousands. They bring about a lot of change, and we must support sustainability in all forms as they also improve our life in magical ways. But there’s a fine line between sustainability and climate action, and it’s important to know the difference as sustainability alone won’t save us

So, what are the key drivers of climate action?

Undoubtedly, mitigation and adaptation. Let us get to know the difference.

Mitigation

Mitigation is the idea of reducing the severity of climate change. Even today, fossil fuels are being burnt by power plants to generate electricity. The greenhouse gases emitted by fossil fuels are more harmful than we can measure. When we talk about mitigation, the idea is to introduce changes in the system that will lead to a reduction in the severity of climate change. In other words, mitigation seeks to reduce the negative impacts of climate change by reducing the emission of heat-trapping gases in the atmosphere.

Majorly, there are two ways of how mitigation can function.

·       First, reducing the emission of greenhouse gases by switching to environmentally friendly alternatives or renewable energy sources. 

·       Second, enabling carbon capture either by trapping the excess carbon dioxide in the emission source or by planting more trees.

       Mitigation is more region-specific, and it seeks to alleviate greenhouse gas levels in the required time-frame, ensuring food and economic security so that people can adapt to climate change.

Adaptation

On the other hand, just as the name would have it, adaptation is simply making adjustments as we go, or formulating a set of responses that would help us in times of a natural calamity or prepare us better to face a calamity in the recent future.

We cannot deny that there has been a manifold increase in the number of natural disasters occurring around the planet.

Like mitigation, adaptation measures can be undertaken in two different ways:

·       First, there are several measures that we can take in response to a climatic stimulus or a natural disaster.

·       Second, make adjustments in the natural or human system in anticipation of a future climatic event.

       Numerous community adaptation measures are being undertaken around the world to address climatic issues that are local to a region. For instance, coastal embankments or dyke systems are built to prevent coastal land from getting inundated or eroded due to repeated waves.

What can we conclude?

Sustainable living alone cannot solve climate issues!

The entire idea behind writing this blog post is to instill in simple thought in your mind: 
While climate action is the entire batter, and sustainability is the cherry on the top!

We need to know that sustainability is not the solution to the climate crisis at hand, and it cannot be used interchangeably with climate action.

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