Welcome to the Coping Guide, part 3 (read part 2 here). A few weeks ago, we shared with you on Instagram our guide to deal with climate change and global warming. The series started with helping you to reduce your greenhouse gas emissions. Then we gave you tips on how to offset your resulting carbon footprint. And finally, we helped you to prepare for the inevitable effects of climate change by giving you tips on how to become more resilient and independent. Today, we continue to put all these information in a few blog posts: the full edition of the Climate Coper manual.
TLDR- There are some things you can do to make your home and your life more resilient. The aim is to be less dependant on food, electricity and water supply, in order to be self-reliant when (or if) it is needed one day. We have seen with the covid-19 crisis that our societies are not that well equipped to face global crisis. So better be safe than sorry, right?
How to protect yourself from global warming?
We can change our habits to move towards sustainable development and offset our emissions to become carbon neutral, but climate change is already happening. And there is nothing that can be done about today's changes, we can only mitigate tomorrow's changes.
Well, this is partly wrong. You can actually anticipate current and future changes today to protect yourself and your community.
Become energy independent
The first thing you can do is to become energy independent, by installing solar panels on the roof of your home, or your residence (working with your neighbours).
Because we don't know what our country's energy future will look like, and because renewable energy is a better alternative if your country uses mainly carbon-based energy sources (oil, coal, gas). Equip yourself with your own source of electricity so that you are not dependent on prices, restrictions, blackouts, carbon footprint of the energy consumed on the grid.
You can also use thermal solar panels to heat your domestic water, which is more efficient than producing electricity, and then using this electricity to heat your water.
You can also try other renewable energies such as mini wind turbine, or water turbine if you happen to live close to a river. But the regulations on these equipments and their efficiency may make them slightly less interesting to begin with.
Also, because renewable energies are also often intermittent (except hydroelectric), a storage system such as batteries will surely be useful in your home. Or, if you happen to have an electric vehicle already, you can probably use it as an temporary energy storage to regulate your production and your consumption.
In any case, goodbye energy bills and dependence on the grid! You are ready for the worst case scenario.
Ditch your thermic car for an electric vehicle
For individuals, there are several reasons to switch to the electric vehicle without delay: an unprecedented increase in the number of charging stations; longer and longer vehicle autonomy (for some cars, more than 400 km already); faster and faster battery charging; more and more models to choose from.
From a sustainable development point of view, the electric car has a lower carbon footprint than internal combustion vehicles, even over a full life cycle. The low ecological impact of the electric vehicle is due in particular to:
the absence of greenhouse gas emissions during its use;
the energy used for charging (we recommend using solar panels at home to obtain green and local electricity).
These ecological performances will continue to improve, thanks to the technological breakthroughs on batteries:
adaptation of the autonomy to the needs of the vehicle;
eco-design and recycling;
improvement of the manufacturing processes.
However, electric cars are not 100% carbon neutral, and their production has a heavy environmental footprint in the countries that provide batteries. Buying and using an electric car should be done after trying to reduce our daily commuting and trying to find alternative public transport.
Grow your own fruits & vegetables
As with energy, we don't know how global warming will impact our food system exactly. There is a strong risk that the price of certain commodities will explode (during the covif-19 confinement, the price of fruits and vegetables has increased two or three times in some regions), and a significant risk of food shortage and instability exists (loss of harvest due to droughts, disruption of the supply chain...). It therefore seems increasingly beneficial to grow a few fruits and vegetables to be less dependent and more resilient in case of disaster.
Here are a few good reasons to start your own garden:
Gardening is good for morale
Gardening lets you see the fruit of your work
Gardening burns calories without thinking about it
Gardening makes you recover the true taste of food
Gardening provide organic goods
Gardening is good for the planet
Gardening cultivates your creativity
Gardening is a good way to share with your community
Gather rain water
Depending on where you live, drinking water can be both precious and expensive. To lighten your bill and become more independent, why not recover the rainwater that runs off your roof of balcony?
This will allow you to water your fruits and vegetables with a clear conscience during heat waves and restrictions on the use of city water. Simply install a water recovery tank connected to your gutter to start storing water for the garden.
If you want to go further on rainwater use, here are some tips.
A 4-person household that collects rainwater can thus count on saving more than 40% of its city water consumption, or about €300 per year, without having to restrict its daily use (150 to 200 litres on average). The items concerned by these savings are the toilets (20%), laundry (12%), dishes (10%), car washing (6%) and watering the garden (6%).
Rainwater that falls on the roof is channeled to the downspouts that are connected to the tank. A small grid placed on the downspout performs a first filtering by retaining roof debris (leaves...). Upstream of the tank, the water passes through a filter-decanter which separates the impurities in suspension. These are then evacuated to the rainwater drainage network via an overflow with siphon.
But be careful, there are constraints to the use of water for the house. Ask your local government beforehand!
Plant mini-urban forests
It is a little-known technique that is beginning to make its mark in Europe. To combat global warming and restore biodiversity, ultra-fast growing mini-forests are being planted all over the Old Continent. Thanks to a sprouting technique developed by Akira Miyawaki, forests no larger than a tennis court have far superior characteristics compared to traditional plantations. This Japanese botanist has planted more than a thousand such forests in his country, but also in Malaysia and other countries around the world.
Not all regions of the world may be as subject to natural hazards as Japan, but the risk of wind, floods and earthquakes remains a concern for every human society. Planting local forests is a simple, effective and accessible way to protect against them.
Forests provide a number of services to human societies that are still very difficult to define in a comprehensive way, because they are so numerous and complex. However, the best known are sufficiently critical that they cannot be ignored: these ecosystems absorb noise and pollution, filter water, reduce the risk of both floods and drought, relay rainfall by helping to form clouds, and provide unparalleled refuges for biodiversity. More and more rigorous studies are also pointing to the effectiveness of forest therapies on the human organism, by reducing the level of cortisol (responsible for stress), strengthening the immune system and stimulating personal creativity.
You can support local actions to plant these fast growing forests and better prepare your neighbourhood for the effects of climate change!
Jump back to Part 2