Written by Barbara Echlin
If we are told that we can bring climate change to a halt by changing the lightbulbs in our house, it sounds out of all proportion to the massive and complex problem of global warming.
But our small action is part of the solution.
When we turn on the ignition in our car we don’t intend to harm the Earth – let alone cause the Sixth Mass Extinction Event in the history of life on this planet. But harm to Earth is precisely what is happening.
Our individual carbon emissions may be statistically and morally insignificant, but when you multiply them millions and billions of times they are a collective act of ecological destruction. Coral bleaching isn’t just happening over yonder, on the Central Barrier Reef; it’s happening whenever you switch on the air conditioning. In short, everything is interconnected.
Our one small action to cut emissions has serious consequences when it is multiplied many times over.
Going back to light bulbs. The “old” 40 watt light bulbs used 40 watts of electricity when they were switched on. “New” LED bulbs use 4 watts to give the same light. That’s 90% less electricity being used. Try counting the lightbulbs in your house. Multiply that by the roughly 30 million households in the UK, and maybe 2 billion households worldwide. If all switched to LED light bulbs that would make a really significant impact on the electricity used, and greenhouse gases emitted.
New Year is the time for resolutions. What small action can each one of us take to save the planet together?
For some ideas and suggestions to help heal our “common home” take a look at Green Christian’s “Nine ways to live gently on the Earth” leaflet:-
In Laudato Si, Pope Francis asks us to “encourage ways of acting which directly and significantly affect the world around us, such as…
- reducing water consumption,
- separating refuse,
- cooking only what can reasonably be consumed,
- showing care for other living beings,
- using public transport or car-pooling,
- planting trees,
- turning off unnecessary lights …
We must not think that these efforts are not going to change the world. They benefit society, often unbeknown to us, for they call forth a goodness which, albeit unseen, inevitably tends to spread.”