Scientists have documented that the earth’s environment is becoming warmer, with changing weather patterns, melting glaciers, flooding, shifts in agriculture, loss of habitat, and more. Humans may be responsible for these changes with well over a century of increasing carbon emissions that alter how the planet functions.

Since humans caused it, can they reverse the trend? Time will tell and many believe that it isn’t possible. The earth’s changes are happening more quickly than many predicted. If it can be done, several approaches have the best chances to make a difference. They can make a dramatically positive difference for all who live on the planet and some of them are so easy to do that you’ll wonder why we haven’t started on them sooner.

General Approaches Make An Impact

Scale up already proven solutions: Sometimes you don’t have to reinvent the wheel, you just have to use it better. That’s also true for fighting climate change. There are a lot of ideas out there that are already proven to work but we may not be using them to their fullest potential. What would happen if we used them more often and more efficiently? Experts say that it would have a substantial impact.

This principle applies to just about everything you’ve already heard of. It includes better low-emissions vehicles and stronger methane capture processes at an industrial level. It also includes better building efficiency, changing agriculture, changing the fuel we use in transportation of people and goods, and increasing use of solar and wind power.

Change How We Cool Buildings And Cool Our Food: Though they don’t always get the attention they deserve as global warming culprits, refrigerators and air conditioners are substantial contributors to earth’s climate change. The systems, especially air conditioners, use a lot of electricity (to prove it, just look at your electric bill during the summer). These systems contribute to greenhouse gasses if they run off of coal-generated power, but even those that are run off of clean energy do their share of damage. That’s because they emit large amounts of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) that heat the planet. Some countries have already started to provide incentives to phase out the use of these appliances and switch to something that doesn’t cause as much damage.

Encourage Family Planning: Growing the population sounds like a great idea…at first. However, more people lead to more demand for electricity, greater use of cars and a need to travel, less need for more housing development that erodes habitat, and larger amounts of food production and agriculture. All of these play a role in climate change. If there’s less activity, there will almost certainly be lower amounts of emissions. Doing this doesn’t have to be dramatic or difficult. Providing basic and accurate education on family planning and reducing pressure on people to reproduce can be an easy way to start.

Use Forestry Techniques That Support The Environment:  Nothing converts carbon with the efficiency of nature’s own green, carbon conversion machines. Forestry destruction contributes to warming temperatures because there are simply fewer plants available to process extra CO2. On the flip side, responsible forestry practices that foster strong habitat growth can help turn around the trend. Practices include reseeding empty forest areas and ensuring that the right trees are available in a landscape to promote optimal growth. They also involve creating forests that are comprised of trees that will remain resilient in the face of stressful situations like fires, floods, and predatory pests.

Next-Level, Creative Projects To Fight Climate Change

Turning Emissions Into A Plastic-like Material: That’s right, there’s a company that turns carbon emissions into an entirely different, plastic-like material.  Newlight Technologies has developed a way to suck in the emissions in the atmosphere, blend them with air, and convert the entire mixture into a material called AirCarbon. This is a material that is already produced within living organisms and naturally stores carbon. It is also biodegradable and can be turned into other shapes.

Creating A Commercially Viable Nuclear-fusion-energy Power Plant: Nuclear power has long been known as a way to produce energy that is completely free of carbon emissions but the plants made people nervous. A Canadian company, General Fusion, is looking to make nuclear-fusion-energy more widely available. This new energy source is described as basically safe with little waste and little risk of meltdowns.

New Energy Sources For Transportation: Human movement between cities, regions, and countries is a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. While vehicles can generally be run using electricity to reduce emissions, lack of efficient batteries and battery charging stations hinder the growth of efficient vehicles. Researchers at the University of Surrey may have a breakthrough. They’ve made a battery alternative–a supercapacitor–that is between 1,000 and 10,000 times more powerful than existing battery technology.

Producing Lab-Grown Meat: Feeding the world’s population has been estimated to produce up to 25% of the carbon-based emissions. Some of these can be cut back by changing the way humans consume their meat. A company called Beyond Meat, which is supported by Bill Gates, is looking at ways to grow meat substitutes that look and feel similar to the chicken, steak, pork, and other proteins humans regularly consume.

Reusing CO2: Carbon dioxide is a major factor in greenhouse emissions that cause climate change. In the EU, a company called Wageningen Food & Biobased Research is working on ways to convert CO2 into valuable chemical building blocks. Two different approaches to these conversions result in the raw materials for solvents, fragrances, surfactants, and food preservatives.