November 1st, 2021

Even if climate change may appear to you as a rather new phenomenon, well, it’s not. Scientists were
already talking about climate change in the 19th century, when they started to notice that after the
Industrial Revolution in the 18th century, human activities could have an impact on the Earth in the
long term.

Svante Arrhenius, for instance, published a scientific paper in April 1896 with the aim of
understanding how CO2 produced by fossil fuels influenced the greenhouse effect and contributed to
long-term variations in climate.

The New York Times was already warning about the impact of human activities on temperatures 65
years ago, in an article of 1956. Despite being aware of these variations, and being right, little did
they know that climate change, as we know call it, would have provoked far greater consequences in
the future.

But what is climate change?

Climate change meaning stems from climate and change separately. Climate is the average weather
we experience over a certain period of time. Hence, when talking about climate change, we are
referring to the changing global temperatures we are witnessing due to human activities.

We have been talking about it for more than a century, nonetheless climate change is becoming of
greater concern every day. In the 1980’s everyone was talking about ozone layer depletion. Indeed,
in 1984 scientists were shocked to find out that the ozone layer, essential for capturing UV rays, was
being destroyed by the so-called ozone-depleting substances (ODS). ODS, such as chlorine and
bromine, are produced both by natural activities (e.g., volcanoes) and human activities (e.g.,
chemicals used in refrigeration and foam insulation). This discovery led to the Montreal Protocol in
1989 that according to a new research from Lancaster University avoided a rise in temperature of

If at the time we perceived climate change as not our concern, that idea is today far removed from
reality. We are indeed experiencing more frequent climate-related events all over the world. Rising
sea levels due to melting glaciers, warming oceans, droughts, and wildfires are dramatically
affecting our planet and communities.

Let’s use wildfires as an example. In 2019, the Amazon rainforest saw an increase in deforestation in
the region due to economic development. Deforestation practices include chopping trees and then
setting the remaining vegetation on fire on purpose. Unfortunately, with the dry season, a single spark
can make a blaze go out of control. Consequently, “the lungs of the world”, one of the main sources
of oxygen for our planet, today is releasing more CO2 than oxygen into the atmosphere.

What is CO2?

According to EPA, CO2 is the primary greenhouse gas emitted through human activities. Although
CO2 is present naturally in the atmosphere, human activities increase the amount of it. As a result,
CO2 levels end up being higher than oxygen levels and greenhouse gases such as CO2 trap the warmth
of the sun, warming the atmosphere and leading to rising temperatures.

How is CO2 related to us?

CO2 is produced by transportation, electricity, and the industry. And wildfires too, besides being
dangerous for our population, increase the quantity of CO2 in the air. We addressed the Amazon
rainforest situation, but wildfires are increasing year after year worldwide, and we have witnessed the
scope of this phenomenon first-hand. Rising temperatures are becoming a serious issue and recent
events make it clear. At the beginning of August, the National Interagency Fire Center reported 91
wildfires only in the United States
, while other countries too, such as Italy and Greece, are struggling
to cease the raging fires provoked by temperatures reaching 45°C. Miles of territories are burning and
people are losing their habitats because of it, while others risk their lives to cease the fires and rescue
those nearby.

The amount of CO2 recorded from 1800 to 2020.
CO2 emissions from 1800

The graph shows the amount of CO2 recorded from 1800, forty years after the beginning of the
Industrial Revolution, to 2020. Mauna Loa, an isolated volcano in the middle of the Pacific Ocean,
was chosen as a long-term monitoring site due to the remote location and lacking vegetation.
Therefore, as the graph illustrates, carbon dioxide (CO2) levels were rising steadily until 1950-
, when a turning point occurred. Indeed, the 1950s saw a significant increase in the burning of
fossil fuels, such as oil, natural gas, and coal to generate energy. These human activities hastened
CO2 levels in the atmosphere, resulting in carbon dioxide being higher than ever experienced in the
past 400,000 years. This makes clear why cooperation is needed.

The Paris Agreement, the Kyoto Protocol, UNFCCC meetings, and international fora all deal with
climate change on an international level. We, as individuals, can do our part in different ways to
contribute to the fight against climate change.

How to reduce CO2 in the atmosphere

Home insulation

Home insulation is a building practice that creates a barrier between inside and outside spaces. This practice guarantees a comfortable living condition during winter and summer, reducing
the amount of energy needed to cool or warm indoor spaces. Consequently, also energy bills are
reduced. This means that both you and the environment are benefiting from it.

However, with new generation passive houses designed to reduce energy consumption, pollutants
aren’t eliminated through ventilation and need additional devices for this purpose.

Monitor your indoor air quality and use smart HVAC systems

Indoor air quality remains essential for our health and productivity, and HVAC systems are designed
to dilute indoor pollutants with fresh air. These systems, combined with Demand Control Ventilation
(DCV) proprietary algorithms, monitor temperature, humidity, levels of occupancy, and CO2 levels
in the air and they fine-tune the workload to operate more efficiently. As a result, they determine
when there’s no need to cool down or warm up our indoor spaces and use air ventilation only when
needed. In this way, energy is saved but comfort remains high. It’s all thanks to these smart devices,
such as Airgloss Prosense, that levels of CO2 can be detected, and data transmitted to HVAC
systems. This technology provides outstanding performance in ventilation and air quality control,
while reducing the impact on climate change all at once.

Reducing energy consumption is essential, nonetheless when talking about climate change indoor air
quality cannot be traded for energy saving
. With wildfires becoming more of an issue, smoke
production is increasing, and this can affect our health more than we think. If you’re wondering why,
there’s one simple reason: smoke contains aerosol particles that jeopardize our respiratory system.

Indeed, wildfire smoke contains different gaseous pollutants, such as carbon monoxide, hazardous air
pollutants (HAPs), and Particle Matter (PM). PM is the component we should keep an eye on
because, among others, it’s probably the most dangerous. More specifically, Ultrafine Particle Matter
is hard to measure but can lead to serious conditions, entering our body easily and slithering inside
our lungs and blood.

PM levels also affect the environment due to the capability of these particles to reach long distances,
resulting in being found in water and ground. Consequently, they affect the ecosystems, damage
forests and farm crops, and make lakes and rain acidic.

That’s why monitoring PM levels in the environment with smart devices could help in the fight against
climate change: it could forewarn us when reaching alarming levels of particle matter in the air.
Energy consumption and good indoor air quality could go hand in hand if buildings were built with
good HVAC systems equipped with high efficiency HEPA filters. In this way we would be able
to act in advance, protecting our indoor environment and our health, and saving energy at the same

Choose the path of renewable energy

Switching to renewable energy, such as wind, solar and hydroelectric energy, is one way to reduce
your carbon footprint and save money at the same time. However, also choosing conscientiously
from which companies to buy is a way of reducing the impact. Indeed, some companies have green
policies and green certifications for their products, assuring sustainability criteria were followed
during production and distribution.

Switch off your devices when not in use

It may sound trivial but switching your devices off when you’re not using them is a great way to
reduce energy consumption. Even if 20 minutes may be nothing to you in terms of energy wasted, in
a year 20 minutes turn into 7300 minutes, which translate into 121 hours a year of energy wasted
just because you thought that taking that coffee wasn’t going to take that long.

Choose your transportation carefully

The amount CO2 emissions produced when using different means of transportation, such as cars, trains, airplanes, and coaches, and how they have an impact on climate change.
CO2 Emissions produced by means of transportation

The graph shows the carbon footprint of each means of transportation produced in 2019. Even if
traveling by air produces the greatest quantity of carbon emissions, you can always reduce your
carbon footprint by choosing carefully how you travel. Firstly, you could choose to fly directly.
Avoiding flights isn’t easy nowadays and sometimes impossible, so you could book a direct flight
instead of choosing to make different stops. In this way, you are already reducing your carbon
footprint. Secondly, if you choose to travel by car, you could share it with other people using
different apps developed for this specific purpose (BlaBla Car is one of them). And if you’re traveling
to a nearby city, you can always use trains or public transportation.

Buy products locally or without using fast services for delivery

We may think we are helping the environment by reducing plastic, energy consumption, and being
careful about what we eat and how we travel, still, there are some actions we consider harmless
that can ruin our efforts
. Have you ever bought a product on Amazon or Zalando? If you have,
probably at least once you bought something and returned it or you bought it with fast delivery and it
was delivered to you in one day, or even the same day.

Even if you choose to buy online to avoid using your car, when you decide to have your eco-friendly light bulb delivered at home in one day, you’re asking your local carrier to create a route just for you. This means the carrier is not splitting the costs of the route in different deliveries. Therefore, by choosing to order a product online to avoid using your car, you made someone else use it for you. Try to buy locally or choose to have your product delivered with standard delivery. In this way, you can really reduce your carbon footprint, and this time, for real.

Why should we care about climate change?

CO2 levels have risen since the pre-industrial era and right now, thanks to research, we have no doubt
that our activities on the Earth have a huge impact on the environment and our health too. All the
events we are experiencing are just a warning our planet is sending us to make us understand we’re
destroying the only available planet we have right now
, and we are doing it to ourselves. Assuming
“it’s not on us but governments only” means avoiding a problem we can only solve if we stick together
as people. That’s why raising awareness about climate change is essential. The reason is clear: if
we don’t act now, there’s not going to be the possibility to reverse this trend at all.

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