Mitigation: A fancy way to say “Reduce the use of fossil fuels”!

By: The MEOPAR-Lincoln Community Sustainability Research Project team

How much do you like driving your car or turning up the heat in your home on a frigid winter day? How often are you awake long after the sun has gone down, relying on the flick of a light switch in order to go about your evening routine? While many of these things are considered a common part of life, have you ever wondered where the energy comes from to do everything that we often take for granted? 

Many of the modern conveniences we rely on every day require the use of natural gas or gasoline—both of which emit a lot of greenhouse gases. The more these gases get pumped into the air, the greater the impact to our climate and our overall health and well-being. As convenient as it is to jump in our cars and zip from Point A to Point B, the ozone emitted by those cars creates smog that causes major health issues, like asthma and cancer, prompts our government to issue air quality advisories and cautions us from spending too much time outdoors.

So, what can we do? 

We can start by committing to making a few, little lifestyle changes today. If we want future generations to enjoy life the way that we have, spending time outdoors engaging in Canadian summer pastimes like hiking and boating, we can’t afford to wait.

A good place to start is by having open, honest and intergenerational discussions about our consumption patterns and over-use of resources. Think about whether your next potential purchase is a want or a need, for example. Do you really need a new car or a new cell phone, or do you just want to keep up with the latest update and features and your current device still does the trick? Do you needa new house of several thousand square feet for only two people, or, would a more modest dwelling suffice? If your initial response is that yes, you need it, then ask yourself why? While it’s nice to have the newest technology or an extra bedroom or two in our home, these material possessions and status symbols won’t be worth much when our forests and waterways are gone and there’s no clean air to breathe.

It doesn’t have to happen all at once and no one is expecting you to relinquish all your possessions and decide to stop driving your car overnight. However, we all need to be conscious of our current habits and commit to doing our small part to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions now before it’s too late. It won’t be easy, and we’ll all need to put in the work because it’s not only up to governments to do something—we are all responsible for making changes. Even if we can only commit to small, incremental changes at first, this may pave the way for governments and large corporations to make changes, as well.

It’s time to rethink the future we want and the steps we can take to mitigate the impacts of climate change. We have to do this only for us, but also for our children, our grandchildren, and all other future generations on this planet we share.