The Greenhouse Effect
The Greenhouse Effect is a natural occurrence where a small range of gases in the atmosphere trap heat from the sun, keeping the temperature of the Earth in balance.
However human actions such as clear felling and the burning of fossil fuels are greatly increasing the amount of greenhouse gases (GHG) in the atmosphere, trapping more heat instead of letting it reflect out, and upsetting planetary equilibrium.
This warming of the Earth is called Global Heating and is a cause of changes to our climate and weather patterns (Climate Change).
Why should I take action?
- As a coastal municipality Mosman is vulnerable to the effects of climate change, including rising sea levels and changes in rainfall patterns which indicate intense storm events and flooding.
- Heightened temperatures combined with changing weather patterns may see more severe droughts, heat waves, and bushfires, which can impact upon our health, wellbeing and property.
- Mosman has remnant bushland, seagrass and threatened species which add to the character and value of Mosman, and would be vulnerable to the effects of climate change.
- Climate change will have an impact on food security, and the viability of coastal cities all around the world.
How can my actions affect the environment?
Our every day actions contribute to the GHG emitted into the atmosphere, from the car we drive, the food we eat and the goods we buy, to the lights and appliances we use at home.
By reducing your GHG emissions you can reduce your individual impact upon the environment. All it takes is an idea of where you use the most energy in your home and some simple steps to reduce your energy use and GHG emissions.
Practical suggestions for everyone
Reducing Australia‘s greenhouse gas emissions is everyone‘s responsibility. Simple changes to everyday activities, office buildings and homes can greatly reduce the amount of greenhouse gas emissions.
- Remember to switch off lights whenever you leave a room
- Switch off outdoor lights when not in use or install motion sensors &/or timers
- Install a separate light switch for each light fitting so that you only turn on the lights you need
- Install energy efficient lights. CFL’s reduce GHG emissions by 75% and last up to 8 times longer
Heating and Cooling
- Insulate the ceiling, walls and floors to keep your home warm in winter and cool in summer
- Choose a reverse cycle cooling/heating system that is more energy efficient, and set a timer to run the system only when needed. For more info: www.energyrating.gov.au
- Keep curtains or blinds closed in summer and open in winter at windows exposed to the sun
- Landscape your garden to provide shade in summer and access to sunlight in winter
- Wash clothes in cold water – this generates less than 1/3 of a kg of GHG compared to up to 4kgs when washing in hot water
- Dry clothes on the clothes line or rack instead of using a dryer and save up to 3kg of GHG
- Only run the dishwasher and washing machine on a full load
- Recycle your second fridge, or only switch it on when needed
- Cook or reheat food in the microwave to reduce GHG emissions
- When appliances need to be replaced, purchase energy and water efficient models
- Switch off appliances such as the TV, DVD, CD player and computer when not in use. Using the standby mode can account for 10% of a households energy use, so switch appliances off at the power point to save more
- Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle (refuse plastic bags at the shops, reduce the amount of packaging and only buy what you need, reuse containers, clothing and other materials, recycle what you can’t refuse, reduce and reuse – Council recycles products numbered 1-7)
- Start a compost or worm farm using green waste and food scraps (end product will provide free, natural fertiliser for the garden)
- Choose organic products, or grow your own organic food
- Exercise and save money whilst helping the environment. Leave the car at home – ride your bike, walk or catch public transport Plan Your Trip
- Car pool with family, friends and/or colleagues rather than driving alone
- Reduce air travel, or offset your emissions through an accredited program
- When purchasing a new car choose a hybrid vehicle or a vehicle that is more fuel efficient. For more info: Green Vehicle Guide
- Switch to GreenPower, and purchase renewable energy from an accredited supplier.
- Install a solar hot water system
- Install solar panels on the roof to gain electricity from a renewable source
- GreenPower – Frequently Asked Questions (78.7KB)