Can humans stop climate change??

Climate change has already begun.
We can’t stop it completely, but we can slow it down.
For this, a lot has to change in everyday life.

1. Produce fewer things and make things last longer

The production and transport of goods consume a lot of energy. That’s why it also produces large amounts of greenhouse gases. Many people in rich countries buy new things very often. Companies earn a lot of money as a result. But it also produces a lot of CO₂ and a lot of waste.

If products last longer, they are less harmful to the climate. Politics can set rules for this. And each and every individual can also consider: Do I really need something new? Can I still repair something?


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2. Eating less meat

Factory farming produces a lot of greenhouse gases. There are several ways to consume less meat. People can choose to eat less meat.

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Politicians can make rules that meat will be more expensive. So people buy less meat. There are also many new products that can replace meat or sausage.

3. Drive less, use the bike or public transport more often

Less greenhouse gases are produced when fewer people drive cars with gasoline engines or diesel engines.
Politicians and citizens can think together:
How can people move through the city in the future without driving a lot??
It is possible to convert cities for this purpose. Most cities today are practical primarily for motorists and drivers. If there are more buses and trains and much wider sidewalks and bike lanes, that could change. For pedestrians, cyclists, the elderly and children, the city could not only become more environmentally friendly. It could also become much nicer.
These changes are not just about giving up something.
With good ideas and new inventions life can become better.

Especially for people in rural areas, they also need ideas for cars that are not so harmful to the climate. Smaller cars with gasoline engines or diesel engines consume less gasoline or diesel. Electric cars can be better for the environment if, for example, the electricity is produced in an environmentally friendly way. Hydrogen-powered cars can also be a solution.

Bicycle roads

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4. International agreements can limit climate change.

A international agreement is an agreement between states. In the Paris Climate Agreement, countries agreed in 2015 that they would produce fewer greenhouse gases. It turns out that many governments see that something has to change. But often they don’t want to change too much, so as not to limit their economy.

alt="Climate Change Conference 2015 in Paris." width="620" height="413" /> Heads of state and government at the 2015 Paris Climate Conference (&copy picture-alliance, abaca )

In Germany, for example, the car industry is very important. It brings a lot of money to the country and gives many people jobs. This is why some politicians are reluctant to enforce more climate protection in the automotive industry. They fear that otherwise jobs will be lost in Germany. But others say: the car industry can only remain successful if it is more attuned to climate protection.

5. The most important principle for the future is sustainability.

Sustainability means:
The people of today ensure that the people of the future still have good living conditions.

That means:
People in the future should not have fewer raw materials and food than we do today. Two examples:

Deforestation (&copy bpb)

If people cut down a forest completely, then they won’t have any wood later on.
In sustainable forest use, only as many trees are cut down as are replanted.

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If a cell phone can be repaired, there is no need to throw it away. Then you don’t need a new cell phone. The raw materials for a new cell phone can be used for the people of the future.

The plants and animals that exist today should still live on our earth in the future. If something is built, plants and animals should be given new opportunities to live elsewhere. But not only plants and animals should be preserved. People should also live healthy, safe, free and together with others.

6. Everybody can do something for more climate protection.

They can go on vacation by train instead of flying. If you have a car, you can try to use it less. You can also choose which products to buy and which not to buy. Of course, this also depends on how much money you have at the moment. Sometimes environmentally friendly or sustainable products are more expensive. People with a lot of money often have it easier.

For example, we or our landlords can change which heating system heats the house. The new heating system may be more environmentally friendly. Heating can become more expensive. Then people with little money need support.

Everyone can become politically active:

This includes for example,

Climate change activist (&copy bpb)

to take part in actions and demonstrations

Politicians (&copy bpb)

or having a say in politics in clubs and parties.

Fridays for Future Shirt (&copy bpb)

You can also express your opinion privately.

City Hall (&copy bpb)

Individuals, groups, cities and companies around the world are joining forces to protect the climate.
You want to do something yourself. In Germany, for example, more than 500 cities and counties are members of the Climate Alliance. These cities and counties have promised to emit significantly fewer greenhouse gases.

This is also important when it comes to climate protection:

Climate protectionists say: Rich industrialized countries like Germany must act more strongly than poorer countries against climate change.

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