Climate change mitigation is one of the most pressing issues of our time. The world has already warmed by nearly 1 degree Celsius since pre-industrial times, and climate models suggest that it could warm by an additional 5 degrees in the coming decades if we do nothing to cut emissions.
That would be disastrous for life on Earth: ice sheets will melt, sea levels will rise dramatically, and more frequent extreme weather events like hurricanes and floods will devastate communities around the globe.
Fortunately there are many ways we can reduce emissions at a small scale—in homes, businesses, transportation systems–which can make a big difference in slowing global warming’s impacts on people and nature. In this article I explore some of these solutions;
Small scale solutions are the best way to mitigate climate change. They have many benefits, not the least of which is that they are clean and renewable. We must make sure we use what has worked in the past to create a sustainable future.
Natural Climate Solutions: What are they?
There are many forms of natural climate solutions. Many of them exist because of the increasing population and can be implemented at a local level, which is why we will discuss examples that work on a small scale first. There are also national and international opportunities like carbon trading and other market-based incentives, but we will discuss those after we cover the smaller scale solutions.
Some climate change mitigation ideas that work on a small-scale include:
Decarb Paving : This is when you take carbon dioxide from the air and turn it into pavement or cement. The process results in less energy being used because asphalt requires 50 – 70% more energy to manufacture than concrete.
Sustainable Agriculture : If everyone in the U.S. followed USDA guidelines, we would save approximately 350 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions annually by 2030. This is because soil sequestration not only captures carbon dioxide but also reduces water runoff and erosion while improving soil quality and increasing its ability to act as a natural filter for pesticides and pollutants.
Bicycle Transportation : This is an easy way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions because it creates no pollution at the source of production, there are less transportation-related accidents when people choose bicycle transportation, and it can even improve health.
Hempcrete : This is a bio-composite made from the inner woody core (or “Shiv”) of the hemp plant mixed with a lime-based binder. This material is stronger than concrete and lighter than traditional materials like wood, stone, or clay.
Community Level Wind Energy : If you live in an area where wind speeds are at least 12 miles per hour (20 kilometers), then community-level wind energy is an option.
All of these examples are great in that they exist on a small scale and can be implemented at local levels with minimal cost to the government or investors. Many small-scale solutions (such as sustainable agriculture) also act as carbon sinks, which means they take carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere. This is good because it lessens the greenhouse effect.
Let’s Talk about National Solutions Now That We Have Some Smaller-Scale Ideas Out of the Way
Carbon trading : Carbon trading is a process by which fossil fuel energy producers are given credits they can sell on an open market if they emit less carbon dioxide than was allocated to them. It is important that this method is instituted because it provides a financial incentive to companies and nations to cut greenhouse gas emissions.
The Green Climate Fund : The Green Climate Fund has been established by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change to promote the paradigm shift towards low-emission and climate resilient development in developing countries. This could be very helpful when implementing small-scale solutions because it means that international businesses and governments will have another way to help instead of just providing aid.
Climate Engineering: This is a large-scale method used to reflect more radiation from the sun back into space, thereby lowering the amount of warmth in the atmosphere. There are many types of climate engineering projects with variations on using technology to increase or decrease the amount of solar radiation reaching the Earth.
But Will These Solutions Really Work?
Yes! Here are some examples:
The Decarb Paving project came to fruition in Rotterdam and is working well. The cost of production is estimated at $18,000 per ton and the sidewalk should last for about 100 years. This method will also create about 100 jobs.
The Bhutanese government has followed the guidelines of the USDA to promote sustainable agriculture and is working well for them. They have stopped importing pesticides and now use organic farming that promotes biodiversity. This method also helps keep soil erosion in check, which helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions as well as water contamination from chemicals pollutants.
The African country of Rwanda is using the 70-20-10 model in its classrooms. Students spend 70% of their time on theory, 20% in hands-on classes, and the remaining 10% outside in nature. This program has already improved test scores by almost 15%.
Many cities are making use of thermal imaging to make buildings more energy efficient. It is very simple to do and it has already saved millions of dollars in energy costs.
The city of Chattanooga, Tennessee is using hydroelectric power to generate the vast majority of its electricity needs. This windfall has created many jobs and increased revenue because they can sell excess energy back to the grid.
These are just a few of the many solutions that are used across the globe. It is important that these be implemented on the local level to create a better world for all people and generations to come.
Small-scale solutions are important to the future of our planet. As we continue learning how they work, it’s time to scale up these natural climate mitigation methods and create a sustainable future for all people. If you’re looking for an experienced partner in marketing or digital strategy that can help you implement your small-scale solution into a long term growth plan, contact us today! Our team is here to help you with any aspect of marketing from SEO or social media management, content creation, conversion optimization and everything else under the sun. We’ll be happy to answer any questions about what has made other small-scale solutions successful so that we can put together a comprehensive plan tailored specifically for your business needs.