Race-goers relaxing at the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, Longchamp, Paris. Photo by David Holmes.
Idyllic weather and relaxing afternoons like the one pictured won't be around for long, if we don't address the critical issues of climate change. Recently my friend Julie in Denmark asked if it might take a major European country such as the Netherlands to be under water before people pay attention.
The effects of climate change are widespread, touching virtually every corner of the earth. From glaciers melting in Greenland to waters flooding islands in the Pacific to temperatures rising around the world, climate change is underway. And as more and more people are driven from their homes by rising waters or worse, poverty and conflict will worsen, as the world's refugee population increases. The burden to care for these people will be for us to assume.
World leaders are meeting December 8-18 at a United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark. Lowering carbon emissions levels, carbon trading and reducing air and water pollution are among the topics to be explored.
In conjunction with the summit, an outdoor photographic exhibit currently underway in Copenhagen shows 100 places to remember before they disappear.
While environmental problems may seem overwhelming, there are small and simple steps we can take every day for a cleaner, healthier more sustainable environment. In conjunction with the photographic exhibit, Co+Life has provided 100 examples of how we - individually and collectively - can solve or counter the effects of climate change.
Besides recycling our paper, plastic, aluminum and glass, we can take public transportation; plan smarter travel; eat healthier foods. American green-living guru Danny Seo writes a blog providing simple, everyday tips, from changing lightbulbs to more energy-efficient models, to revamping or repurposing old furniture.
In the United Kingdom, John Lewis has published a "modern reworking" of a 1943 government booklet about making the most of minimal resources: Make Do and Mend. Follow Make Do and Mend on Twitter for useful daily household tips
Even our old computers, mobile phones and other electronic products can be recycled. The Environmental Protection Agency provides information about regional and national programs available.
My pet peeve is excess packaging. I'm contacting the manufacturers of products I purchase regularly to ask them to reduce unnecessary and cumbersome packaging. Recently I bought a portable phone charger in London. It took a good 15 minutes, using all my strength to pry open the heavy plastic surround.
What's your favourite energy-saving or recycling measure? Are there specific habits you follow to help preserve the environment?
Join me and more than 5000 bloggers participating in Blog Action Day, focusing on climate change.