In the realm of sustainability, humanity made great strides in 2019. Specifically, Europe was a notable standout in the burgeoning green revolution, as three distinct European nations — Denmark, Germany, and the U.K.— broke renewable energy records. It’s clear that sustainability is finally getting the attention it deserves as a major force against the effects of climate change.
But are global sustainability efforts actually making a difference? The answer is complex. A recent poll determined that nearly 8 in 10 Americans believe that human activity is helping to fuel climate change. Further, about half of those polled said that “action is urgently needed within the next decade if humanity is to avert its worst effects,” writes The Washington Post
Yet belief in a cause, including the modern “green” movement, isn’t always indicative of a group of people actually making necessary changes. And make no mistake, America’s culture of consumerism and convenience continues to undermine sustainability efforts nationwide. For our part, survivalists tend to be keenly aware of how climate change has increased the frequency of natural disasters such as floods, hurricanes, and wildfires.
Some in the community have taken to making changes in their personal life in order to help positively impact the environment. However, individual efforts to go green may not be enough to stave off the negative effects of climate change and subsequent natural disasters. During a natural disaster, there is strength in numbers. And in order to successfully address and curb climate change, humanity should follow a parallel path of togetherness and camaraderie.
Linking Natural Disasters to Climate Change
Make no mistake, natural disasters can indeed be caused by climate change, yet the scientific community has only recently uncovered a direct link between the two. While researchers in 2003 believed that climate change could affect weather, there was no way to determine if a specific weather event was caused by climate change. Fast forward to 2020, however, and extreme event attribution is a popular subfield of climate science.
Those climate scientists now investigate how climate change may have influenced natural disasters, such as California’s monumental drought that kicked off in 2012. Scientists recently declared that the wildfires burning across Australia since September 2019 are being further fueled in part by the effects of climate change. Warmer temperatures and a general lack of precipitation equate to more dried vegetation and the reduced availability of water.
From a survival standpoint, the direct consequences of a natural disaster may actually be less dangerous in the long run than indirect consequences. For example, when natural disasters strike, high winds or another force may take down the electrical grid, possibly for a prolonged period of time. Thus, it pays to be proactive and keep an alternative power source on hand. If you’re one of the estimated 18% of American customers using renewable energy, you may have a leg up on the rest of us. In many cases, a solar- or wind-powered system that’s tied to the local power grid can be converted to allow for off-grid use in the event of a natural disaster.
What’s the Lowdown on Green Energy?
For its part, renewable or “green” energy may be a major player when it comes to combating climate change. But a few preppers installing solar panels on their rooftops effectively does nothing to stop climate change. It is only when renewable energy completely replaces harmful alternatives such as coal power that we will begin to reap the environmental benefits.
Unfortunately, the majority of lawmakers see profit as more important than sustainability, and carbon-neutral renewables aren’t always viewed as a good investment. But that mindset may be changing, according to researchers at Northeastern University, thanks in part to the renewables revolution that is spreading across Europe and, to a lesser extent, the U.S. While venture capitalists haven’t necessarily seen much return on investment (ROI) from green energy, U.S. renewable energy consumption has been steadily climbing since 2013.
Of course, in the wake of a natural disaster that disrupts the power grid, the ROI of alternative energy is likely to become priceless. As you prepare for the worst, power sources are likely at the forefront of your mind. Green energy may ultimately become a lifesaver following a severe weather event.
Seeing Green in Your Everyday Life
But going green to help quell the effects of climate change involves much more than choosing renewables as your preferred power source. Whether we like it or not, cultivating a more sustainable lifestyle has become an integral survival tool in 2020, and even the most seasoned preppers should take note. It’s crucial that we look at sustainability in a positive light, rather than writing it off as just a passing liberal trend.
Along with harnessing energy from renewable sources, there are numerous ways in which you can effectively go green at home, and they’re easy to implement into your daily life. To reduce your carbon footprint, you can switch out traditional light bulbs with LED versions, plant more trees on your property, and keep the chimney flue closed when your fireplace isn’t being used. Sounds simple enough, right? By simply remaining conscious of your habits and energy-related decisions, you can help offset carbon emissions while also increasing survival skills.
The science is clear: Natural disasters are partially caused by climate change. As such, preparing for a natural disaster has become more complicated. Factors such as emergency food storage and gathering first aid supplies are, of course, paramount to survival, but humanity may also be able to help stop natural disasters in their tracks, or at least reduce the effects. While significant gains in helping to solve climate change can only happen on a large scale, our individual choices also factor into the equation, and may ultimately mean the difference between life and death.