5 ways to #BeatAirPollution

Air Pollution

(Unsplash, 2019)

This article is brought to you thanks to the collaboration of The European Sting with the World Economic Forum.

Author: Emma Charlton, Senior Writer, Formative Content


It’s #WorldEnvironmentDay and the theme for this year is #BeatAirPollution – urging people to “be part of the solution, not part of the pollution”. But while many of us agree air quality needs to improve, we struggle for practical ways to do it.

But taking action, no matter how small, is crucial. The World Health Organization calls air quality a public health emergency and research shows pollutants harm a range of body organs.

While cities including London, Paris, Madrid and Oslo have taken steps to ban or discourage car use, the broader discourse on pollution tends to focus more on what policymakers can do and less on what can be done at the individual level.

 Global deaths from air pollution

Global deaths from air pollution
Image: Our World In Data

On #WorldEnvironmentDay, here are five areas in which we can combat pollution as individuals on a daily basis.

1. Automobiles

Leaving the car at home and taking public transport, cycling or walking are key ways we can all make a difference to air pollution, according to UN Environment. Other options to reduce vehicle pollution include car sharing, using hybrid or electric vehicles and turning off the car engine when not moving.

2. Food

Cutting down on meat and dairy products can reduce methane emissions released into the air. At the same time, reducing food waste and planting vegetables in your garden can also help improve air quality.

3. Waste

Improving how your household manages waste by working to produce less of it or repurpose it is vital for lowering polluting emissions. This can help to improve air quality by lessening the need for landfill sites and water incinerators, while fostering a more sustainable economic model for the future.

The World Economic Forum has collaborated with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation for a number of years to accelerate the circular economy, by embracing the need to recover, recycle, repurpose, refurbish, repair, refuse, rethink, reduce, reuse and remanufacture waste.

Circular economy

What is a circular economy?

The global population is expected to reach close to 9 billion people by 2030 – inclusive of 3 billion new middle-class consumers.This places unprecedented pressure on natural resources to meet future consumer demand.

A circular economy is an industrial system that is restorative or regenerative by intention and design. It replaces the end-of-life concept with restoration, shifts towards the use of renewable energy, eliminates the use of toxic chemicals and aims for the elimination of waste through the superior design of materials, products, systems and business models.

Nothing that is made in a circular economy becomes waste, moving away from our current linear ‘take-make-dispose’ economy. The circular economy’s potential for innovation, job creation and economic development is huge: estimates indicate a trillion-dollar opportunity.

The World Economic Forum has collaborated with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation for a number of years to accelerate the Circular Economy transition through Project MainStream – a CEO-led initiative that helps to scale business driven circular economy innovations.

Join our project, part of the World Economic Forum’s Shaping the Future of Environment and Natural Resource Security System Initiative, by contacting us to become a member or partner.

4. Energy

Simple measures like turning off the lights, shutting down electronics when they’re not in use and choosing more energy-efficient equipment can help to lessen the need to burn fossil fuels. And harnessing renewable energy through rooftop solar panels also helps to reduce emissions and limit air pollution.

5. Advocacy

Individual advocacy can make a difference. Ask teachers to incorporate sustainability and air quality themes into their classroom lessons, and urge your lawmakers to more act more urgently against pollution.

These ideas aren’t revolutionary, but they illustrate how small changes to our daily habits can help to globally work toward a greater goal.

And if these aren’t enough for you – how about planting a tree?

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Greater transparency, fairer prices for medicines ‘a global human rights issue’, says UN health agency

A Europe that Protects: Commission calls for more efforts to ensure adoption of security proposals

7 ways for businesses to capture the youth dividend

The AI doctor won’t see you now

UN condemns deadly simultaneous terrorist attacks on military camps in Mali

EU Commission: Germany can make Eurozone grow again just by helping itself

The different ways of care: Is there a general rule to follow?

1 in 7 people would choose not to fly because of climate change

Thousands flee fresh violence in South Sudan, many ‘suffering from trauma’

Lack of basic water facilities risks millions of lives globally: UN health agency

As people return to work, here’s how we can make commuting more inclusive and sustainable

Food safety critical to development and ending poverty: FAO deputy chief

Data is the oil of the digital world. What if tech giants had to buy it from us?

Essential services on verge of shutdown in Gaza as emergency fuel set to run out

Oleg Sentsov awarded the 2018 Sakharov Prize

Europe should make voice ‘more heard’ in today’s ‘dangerous world,’ says UN chief

Refugees now make up 1% of the world’s population

Sustainable fishing staying afloat in developed world, sinking in poorer regions

270 million people are migrants, who send home a staggering $689 billion

Statelessness for terrorists’ families, never an acceptable option, urges UN rights chief

Why vaccines are not just for children

Top UN official urges Russia and Ukraine to step away from further confrontation at sea

The end of the 404? Why we need to repair the internet’s crumbling infrastructure

Is this the way to finally beat corruption?

MEPs Anti-fraud votes for more votes?

Constitution of the 9th legislature of the European Parliament

Euro-Mediterranean Assembly fixes its permanent seat in Rome

Camino de Santiago – a global community on our doorstep

Brexit: European Commission recommends the European Council (Article 50) to endorse the agreement reached on the revised Protocol on Ireland / Northern Ireland and revised Political Declaration

Students & Allies Unite Globally To Launch #Students_Against_COVID

The world has made spectacular progress in every measure of well-being. So why does almost no one know about it?

OECD warns global economy remains weak as subdued trade drags down growth

Financing economic recovery, written by United Nations Under-Secretary-General

As inequality grows, the UN fights for a fairer world

UN health emergency committee to re-convene on global threat posed by China coronavirus

A ‘charismatic leader’ dedicated to making the world a better place for all: officials bid farewell to former UN chief Kofi Annan

Welcome to the COVID-19 era of world sport

Varna (Bulgaria) awarded European Youth Capital 2017

JADE Spring Conference 2018 is on its way: Young entrepreneurs gather in Brussels to shape Europe

Gas pipeline in the European Union. (Copyright: EU, 2012 / Source: EC - Audiovisual Service / Photo: Ferenc Isza)

EU Investment Bank approves € 1.5bn loan for Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP)

New UN forestry project bids to help countries meet climate change commitments

FROM THE FIELD: Free tutorials in Mali, ‘a life-saver’ for Fatouma

Is South Korea set to lose from its FTA with the EU?

It’s Trump’s anti-globalization and inward-looking rhetoric that perturbs GOP and US

UN chief welcomes G20 commitment to fight climate change

Czech PM should resolve his conflict of interest as a matter of urgency say MEPs

Bram in Colombia

Warmer months ahead for many parts of the planet: UN weather agency

UN rights chief urges ‘immediate dialogue’ to end Chile unrest

3 natural mysteries that could be explained by quantum physics

UN agency chiefs issue ‘call to action’ on behalf of refugee children

A third of world’s out-of-school youth live in conflict, disaster-affected countries: UNICEF report

MEPs call for decisive action to fight inequalities in the EU

EU finally agrees on target for 40% greenhouse emission cuts ahead of Paris climate talks

Sexual education in a school at the Brazilian Amazon

Writing a greener story in Asia and the Pacific amidst COVID-19 outbreak

Do we judge robots on their colour? This study says we do

Parliament pushes for cleaner cars on EU roads by 2030

In Bali, UN chief Guterres outlines importance of international financial cooperation for sustainable development

For resilient, sustainable city mobility after COVID-19, these trends must continue

More Stings?

Advertising

Comments

  1. mwhitney115 says:

    Great post!

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s