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What Can We Do? How chemistry can help stop climate change

K-Mistry’s been showing Kareena the chemistry of climate change and how chemists can help make a difference. Now Kareena finds out how she can make a difference too.

We can start by reducing the amount of energy you’re using right now.  Whenever you’re not using the TV, computer or video game console – switch them off.  Don’t just leave them on standby. 

If we all unplugged our mobile phone and tablet chargers after using them, we could close a big power station.  Imagine how much carbon that would prevent going into the atmosphere! Switching lights off when no one is in a room is another easy way to reduce the amount of energy used.

Another way to reduce the amount of energy we use is to walk or cycle short distances instead of driving or taking a bus.  This will reduce the amount of fuel we use – and less fossil fuels means fewer emissions.  It will also help the air be cleaner – not just from gases but particles that tyres and brakes give out.  You’ll also get fitter!

We should use local shops too – rather than driving to large out of town supermarkets and shopping centres.  And it might be quicker!

Another super easy-peasy thing to do is to reuse – from using a reusable bag when shopping…to a refillable water bottle when out and about and at school.

You can use plastic tubs to store things in your fridge instead of single use bags.  You can even get reusable drinking straws!

There are so many simple ways to stop adding waste to landfill, and reducing the need to make new things.

There’s recycling, we might not realise the impact that our home recycling has. If everyone in the UK recycled just one toothpaste box, it would save enough energy to run a fridge in over 2,000 homes for a year! 

You can recycle plenty of other things, like your old mobile phones and tablets.  They contain rare elements that can be re-used to create other gadgets.  And as many of these elements are in danger of running out, it will help preserve supply.

From clothing to toys to furniture. We sometimes think it’s easier to just buy new but a little bit of time spent repairing will make a LOT of difference.  We would need fewer factories to produce goods, we would use less energy and create less pollution in the air – and less waste in landfill or that has to be burned.

And there’s something else you can do – become a chemistry climate change superhero yourself.  Think about the jobs you could do when you’re grown up and where they might take you – from environmental chemists who study how chemicals move through the environment to atmospheric chemists who research, well, our atmosphere.

Created with the support of a Royal Society of Chemistry Outreach Fund grant

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