Climate change represents one of the biggest threats of the planet at several levels; social, environmental and economic. That climate change is occurring is clear from observations of increases in global average air and ocean temperatures, widespread melting of snow and ice, and rising global mean sea levels. Most of the warming that has occurred over the last 50 years is very likely to have been caused by human activities.
To make schools aware of what can be done to combat climate change, examples of best practices will be shared. This will help schools understand that they can contribute by reducing their CO2 emissions, and must adapt to a new reality: climate change.
Whether it is in the home or in the school, when we talk about climate change we are mostly talking about heating or cooling, lighting and electrical appliances that use fossil fuel. When we burn these fossil fuels, we release carbon, (in the form of CO2 ) drawn from the atmosphere by plants millions of years ago. Fossil fuels such as coal, natural gas and oil are composed almost entirely of hydrogen and carbon. When we burn fossil fuels, we produce energy and release the carbon they contain. Black coal is almost entirely carbon; a ton of coal when burned produces 3.7 tones of CO2. Oil is less carbon rich than coal, containing two hydrogen atoms for every atom of carbon, and so produces less CO2 and more heat when burned. Natural gas (methane) is the least carbon-rich of the fossil fuels, containing just one atom of carbon for every hydrogen atom. Thus, schools must look into the patterns of their energy usage and find ways to reduce their carbon emission.
Similarly, the use of water, too, can release CO2 into the atmosphere. For example, most schools will get their water from a public water supply. Students must know that water needs to be treated near dams and pumped to a higher level, with energy being consumed at each step. As with the energy theme, increased awareness and simple changes in habit can help lessen the amount of water we use, which can directly reduce our carbon footprint and climate change.