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Sun trying to shine through the smog caused by particulate pollution and smoke in the atmosphere giving the air a very poor quality due to toxic photochemicals.  Credit: Stephen D Gibson, photohome.co.uk

Sun trying to shine through the smog caused by particulate pollution and smoke in the atmosphere giving the air a very poor quality due to toxic photo-chemicals.
Credit: Stephen D Gibson, photohome.co.uk

It was not an April Fool’s joke. On April 1st, the United Nations released their latest report on climate change. The 49-page summary was unanimously approved by more than 100 governments.

The UN’s team of Nobel Prize winning scientists is predicting dire outcomes that will be felt by everyone. Citing research from upwards of 12,000 peer reviewed scientific studies, heavy flooding, droughts, and global food shortages are all possible effects that could be felt on a global level, as a result of global warming. We have already begun to feel these effects: while they may not have been caused by global warming, recent extreme storms, such as Superstorm Sandy in 2012, were augmented by the rising seas attributed to climate change.

The 32-volume report is the most comprehensive ever done on the effects of global climate change, and the outcome is being predicted as worse than the outcome predicted in 2007, when the last report on climate change from the same office was released.

So what can we do to mitigate our risk?

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. Many countries are already aware of these initiatives, and some even implement detailed programs for implementing them. But this is not enough. Getting people on board regarding the importance of reducing our carbon footprint is a hurdle that has not been passed successfully yet.

These steps to climate change awareness might be a better approach:

1. Being Present.

That is, awareness of your surroundings and how you affect them every day. Do you still use harmful cleaners around the house? Did you know a simple vinegar solution and newspaper actually cleans windows better that most chemical window cleaners? Researching different options regarding your day-to-day activities can reduce your personal footprint significantly. Most things we do that are harmful, we are not even aware of. Being aware of the small tasks we do, and recognizing their potential repercussions is a huge first step towards change.

What does your company use on a daily basis? How does it as a whole affect its surroundings? Asking these questions and bringing awareness to the results should be the first step in the process of climate reduction.

This brings us to the second step:

 2.  Finding a better way.

This can be as simple as choosing to ride a bike to the store for milk instead of driving, or as complex as selecting better products and systems to use in a construction project.

Researching and learning alternative options to the way we do things is how our societies evolve. Bringing an understanding of our impacts into this research helps us make better choices.

In order to mitigate the outcomes of this report, we all need to carry this action-based mindset.

“We can change our own life and ultimately change the world.”Kristi Bowman

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