What you can do about climate change

It's the biggest environment challenge our world has ever faced, but that doesn't mean global warming is insoluble. Here are a few ways you can make a difference.

  • Calculate your carbon. Through a variety of online tools, you can determine how much carbon is produced by your daily activities – the perfect starting point for reducing your carbon footprint.
  • Offset your emissions. The steps below can help reduce the amount of carbon your activities consume. You can offset the remainder through a number of firms that invest in alternative energy, tree planting and other ways to reduce carbon output. In this way, you're helping others to remove enough carbon to offset the amount you can't avoid emitting.
  • Make your home more energy efficient. Compact fluorescent light bulbs produce the same amount of light with just 30 percent of the energy of traditional incandescents, and they last far longer. You can also save both money and energy by weatherstripping around doors and windows and beefing up insulation. Updating'energy hogappliances, such as refrigerators and freezers, is another good idea. Also, try using surge protectors that allow you to shut down remote-controlled gadgets that silently drain power while apparently turned off. If you have the choice, opt for renewable sources of electricity: a solar-powered hot water heater is one good way to start.
  • Shop smartly. If you buy food that's organic and/or locally grown, you can limit the amount of fossil fuel needed to grow and move them around. Also, many containers (cans, bottles, and the like) and printed materials (newspapers, magazines, catalogues) can berecycled. And if everyone brought a reusable bag when shopping, we could cut back dramatically on the estimated 500 billion plastic bags that are used and tossed each year.
  • Find the best ways to get around. Transportation is the fastest-growing major source of greenhouse gases. If you're a frequent driver, make your next car as fuel-efficient as you can afford, and strive for higher efficiency right away. Keeping your tyres at their proper inflation, starting and stopping gently, and driving at moderate speeds all help. Consider taking fewer trips but making them longer. Trains or boats often use a great deal less carbon per mile than airplanes or automobiles. And air travel puts the greenhouse gases at higher altitudes, where they are several times more powerful. (A typical return flight from Europe to California emits the same amount of carbon per person as the typical UK car does in an entire year.) Rough Guides regards travel, overall, as a global benefit, while recognizing that we all have the responsibility to reduce our carbon footprints. Together with Lonely Planet and other concerned partners in the travel industry, Rough Guides encourages you to'fly less and stay longer”, and we support a carbon offset scheme run by Climate Care. Please take the time to view our website and see how you can make your next trip climate neutral.
  • Spread the word. If you feel strongly about climate change, put your concern into action by working for lower-carbon practices at your school or workplace and in your community. Another way to make an impact is by putting any investments you may have in companies that take global warming seriously. And, of course, you can contact your legislature or join any of the numerous activist groups trying to turn the tide of climate change.