As our global heads of state gather together in Sharm El-Sheikh in Egypt for 2022’s COP27 conference, issues of global warming and climate change are brought into sharp focus.
And although we all know that it’s really important to save the environment from lasting damage, messages like “WE MUST ACT NOW” and “TIME IS RUNNING OUT!” can be pretty scary, right? The truth is, if we all work together, even the smallest actions can make a humungous difference. It really doesn’t need to be that terrifying!
So let’s take a look at COP27 – what are the key messages, and how can we make little fear-free changes to make sure we’re all doing our bit to look after our beautiful world?
What is COP27 anyway?
COP stands for the Conference of Parties (a posh way of saying all the countries that have signed a special climate agreement called the “Kyoto Protocol”) and has been meeting annually for the last 30 years. Their mission: to come to an agreement on how all the countries in the conference can stop global temperatures from reaching catastrophic levels.
At each COP conference, world leaders, ministers and negotiators all come together to address climate change and its impacts. This year, it’s called COP27 and is being held in Egypt. One of this year’s goals is to address some of the financial problems around climate change, such as how developing countries build their economies in eco-friendly ways. But more importantly, this year is the first time that children have had their say at the conference itself.
What can we learn from COP27?
There are lots of messages coming out of the COP27 conference, and many of them are things that our governments should be thinking about. Things like how we need to adapt to climate change, and how we help other countries to adapt and even pay for the problems caused by extreme weather.
But there’s one key message from COP27 that we can do something about. And these don’t have to be huge changes. Just being more aware of our moment-to-moment choices throughout the day can add up to achieving a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions:
Reduce emissions of greenhouse gasses
One of the COP targets is to reduce global warming to 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial temperatures. Currently, we’re not on track to achieving that, but guess what: IT’s NOT TOO LATE!
Greenhouse gases are produced when fossil fuels like coal, gas, and petrol/diesel made from oil, are burned. They build up in the atmosphere like a blanket, trapping heat and warming the world.
This is why pollution has a direct impact on the extreme weather we’ve noticed in the UK. In fact, in other countries, even more extreme events like flooding, drought and forest fires have become a regular occurrence.
What we can do?
While we wait for our governments to make it easier for us all to use renewable energy, there are things we can do at home to reduce our carbon emissions:
- For short journeys, walk, cycle or scoot, rather than hopping in the car.
- Switch off lights and unplug devices when we don’t need them.
- Don’t waste water- take shorter showers, and don’t leave taps running.
- Close doors and windows to preserve heat.
- Recycle and reuse items rather than throw them in the bin.
- Eat less meat and dairy (rearing animals for food uses up a lot of fossil fuels!).
- Shop local (items that have been shipped halfway across the world and have used a lot of fuel on their journey!).
- Switch to low-energy light bulbs.
- Use less paper – try to avoid printing things out on paper, and don’t forget to use both sides of your paper!
- Last of all, keep learning…
Introducing… the Amazing Earth Box
Our planet is amazing and there’s so much we can do to learn how to look after it. Children are keen to save the planet and this box is a great way to explore the science behind the complex global challenge of climate change. The Amazing Earth Box includes:
🟩 The Greenhouse Effect Jumbo/Tots/Nano: What is it and how does it work?
💨 Amazing Anemometer Jumbo & Nano: Explore the power of wind, and even measure it!
🎡 Windy Wheels Tots/Tots Nano: How can we use wind as a source of sustainable energy?
🌊 Acidic Oceans Jumbo/Tots: Looks at how CO2 is impacting our oceans.
📦 Biodegradable packaging Jumbo/Tots: Test the degradability of some common materials.
⚛️ PLUS a collectable CO2 Molymod! *Jumbo only*