Maybe you’ve heard about a country’s plan for a “net zero” future. Perhaps you’ve spoken to a friend who’s using carbon offsets to reduce their carbon footprint. Our climate-related changes are getting more urgent—and more significant actions are becoming more popular.
Zero Emissions Day is one step to encourage deep emissions reductions. Let’s take a look at what this Zero Emissions Day 2022 will commemorate, and how you can get involved on September 21, 2022.
What Does Zero Emissions Mean?
But first, what exactly are “net zero emissions?”
This essentially means that for all of the greenhouse gasses that are produced by an individual, business, or country, an equivalent amount is removed from the atmosphere. This is considered to be THE most important thing we can do to reduce global warming.
Put another way, we could think of net zero emissions as turning the tap on in a bathtub while pulling out the drain plug. With equal rates of water coming into and leaving the bathtub, it maintains a net zero balance.
What Does Carbon Neutral Mean?
The term “carbon neutral” is often used interchangeably and while it means something very similar, the removal of emissions looks a little different.
It’s important to recognize that greenhouse gasses come in many forms. While we most often think of carbon dioxide (CO2) as the main culprit for global warming, it’s joined by sulfur dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and other hydrofluorocarbons—which in some cases can be more potent than CO2.
That’s why carbon neutral isn’t necessarily the same as net zero. It only refers to removing an equivalent amount of carbon dioxide, often through carbon sinks.
This typically comes about through carbon offset projects, like those that build carbon sinks in our oceans and forests. While these are absolutely necessary for a net zero future, looking at the whole picture—and all of the types of greenhouse gasses—is what we need to do to keep Earth habitable.
Who Started Zero Emissions Day?
Zero Emissions Day not only calls attention to the other greenhouse gasses that are warming our planet, but it also urges all of us to get involved!
The world’s first Zero Emissions Day was celebrated in 2008 in Nova Scotia, Canada. After that point, it was organized by the Climate Leadership Coalition (CLC), Europe’s largest non-profit climate business network.
Zero Emissions Day 2022: How to Celebrate
Is zero emissions possible?
It is, but it requires all of us to play a role. In order to achieve the reduction in global greenhouse gas emissions that’s required to ensure a habitable planet for future generations, each person, industry, sector, and country must work together.
This is where Zero Emissions Day comes into play! Here are some ideas for you to consider this September 21 (and beyond):
- Use minimal lights in your home and unplug non-essential electronics.
- Avoid idling your car. If you’re parked for more than 10 seconds, turn the car off. Better yet, leave the car behind and ride a bike!
- Ditch single-use (fossil fuel-based) plastic once and for all.
- Eat locally grown food and choose more plant-based options.
- Wash clothes in cold and use a line to hang dry.
- Make it a no-spend day and purchase nothing new.
- Avoid watching TV and read a book or play a board game instead.
- Explore your carbon footprint with a calculator like this one.
- Consider purchasing a carbon offset for an activity, month, or year of average living.
What Will You Do on September 21st?
Will we reach net zero by 2050? We need to. It’s absolutely essential that we limit global warming to 1.5°C. And the world needs your help to make this happen! At Green Eco Dream, we try to celebrate Zero Emissions Day everyday as a Carbon Free partner, which means we’re carbon neutral and consistently work towards reducing our footprint. We hope you will, too!
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