It is no secret that the planet is in trouble. The evidence is clear, from melting glaciers and rising sea levels to more extreme weather events and devastating wildfires. One of the biggest challenges that will have to be overcome is reducing the reliance on fossil fuels and finding cleaner, more sustainable sources of energy. Technology has the potential to play a pivotal role in supporting green initiatives and combating climate change.
Latvia is making great strides in combating climate change. The country joined the Tech Green Pledge and also adopted the National Climate Change Adaptation Plan for 2030.
The Tech Green Pledge has brought together some of Latvia's leading businesses and organisations, including Google, Microsoft, and Schneider Electric. Together, they are working to create a more sustainable future for Latvian businesses and families. Moreover, the National Climate Change Adaptation Plan aims to reduce Latvia's vulnerability to the effects of climate change and to ensure a sustainable future for the country. The plan sets out a number of ambitious goals, including ensuring that by 2030, 50% of the country’s energy is produced from renewable energy sources.
Furthermore, to improve the country's energy security and help it resist climate change, the government will invest in renewable energy, promote energy efficiency, and encourage individuals, families and businesses to adopt a number of green practices. In support, the European Regional and Development Fund (ERDF) and the Cohesion Fund will invest €839 million in renewable energy sources like wind and solar.
On the technology front, there are already a number of major solutions that can support the Climate Change Plan’s goals, including electric vehicles and solar panels. These solutions are becoming more and more common, and as battery technology continues to improve, they are set to become more efficient and affordable.
Still, people need to be more conscious of their consumption habits and reduce waste. So, while government is grappling with these global goals, there are plenty of small changes society can make every day to go green, save money and help save the planet. Using technology to support green initiatives and finding ways to recycle and reuse materials instead of just throwing them away is one such way.
There are a number of eco-friendly apps to help families and businesses make conscious choices on a daily basis, to live more sustainably and to reduce their carbon footprint:
- MyFootprint: Created by the nonprofit organisation Sustainable Energy for All (SEB), MyFootprint offers an easy way to go green and decrease your carbon footprint. Based on the “ecological footprint” created by the app, it provides tips for reducing one's ecological footprint. For example, it recommends taking public transportation instead of driving, eating less meat, and recycling. By following these tips, people can help reduce their impact on the environment.
- BlaBlaCar: This ridesharing app connects drivers with empty seats to passengers looking for a ride. By filling unused space in cars, the app reduces traffic and congestion on the roads, making it an eco-friendly way to travel. In addition, BlaBlaCar's ridesharing service helps to reduce carbon emissions by cutting down on the number of vehicles on the road.
- Ecosia: The Ecosia app is a search engine that donates its advertising revenue to tree-planting projects. Users who search the web using the Ecosia app generate revenue for the company through advertising. Ecosia then uses this revenue to plant trees around the world. Its goal is to plant 1 billion trees by 2030.
In addition to technology, society can also support green initiatives by finding ways to reuse materials. By making it easy for people to recycle and reuse materials, the amount of waste that ends up in landfills can be reduced. For example, many office buildings now have "recycling stations" where people can drop off old electronics and printer cartridges. These items can then be refurbished and sold or donated to charity. Earlier this year, Latvia also launched its new container deposit return system as a way to help reduce waste and recycle materials. These “reverse vending machines” will be used to automate the process of collecting and returning containers, making it easy for consumers to recycle their waste.
Energy efficiency in homes can further be bolstered if houses are properly insulated and households make a conscious choice to use energy-efficient appliances. Schneider Electric’s Wiser app helps households go green and save money and energy in the home. With Wiser, households can monitor their energy use, set goals, and receive personalised tips on how to save. Wiser can also be connected to smart devices like thermostats and light bulbs to control a household’s energy use from one central location.
Climate change is one of the most pressing issues of our time, and it’s something that government, individuals, families and businesses must combat together. One of the ways this can be done is through technology and innovation. Innovation does not always have to involve big changes – sometimes even small tweaks, like downloading an app, can make a big difference when it comes to helping the environment. It is up to each person to take the necessary steps to protect the planet.
No Time To Waste: Save Money, And The Planet With These Easy Recycling Tips
In a world where it often feels like we're running out of time, money, and resources, it's more important than ever to find ways to be sustainable. One easy way to go green is through recycling. Not only does recycling help to preserve our planet's limited resources, but it can also save you money.
You know the old saying, "One man's trash is another man's treasure?" Well, when it comes to recycling, that adage has never been more true! By simply taking a few extra minutes to recycle your PET bottles, cans, and other household items, you can help save the planet AND put a little extra money in your pocket. Here are a few easy tips to get you started:
The best way to tackle this new habit is to start small. Slowly start integrating recycling into your everyday life, and eventually, it will become second nature. A good place to start is by recycling items that you use on a daily basis, such as water bottles or cans.
Once you’ve got the hang of that, you can start branching out to other items like paper and plastic. The most important thing is to take it one step at a time. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither is a sustainable lifestyle.
Try to purchase items that are made from recycled materials
This includes everything from paper towels to furniture. Not only will you be doing your part to help the environment, but you'll also be supporting companies that are making an effort to be sustainable. There are a few ways to make sure you purchase products made from recycled material:
- Look for the recycling symbol on them, which means they are made from at least some recycled materials.
- Look for products that specifically say they are made from recycled materials.
- Research companies to see if they use recycled materials in their products.
Recycle your old electronics
Most electronics contain a variety of toxic materials, such as lead, cadmium, and mercury. When these materials are disposed of in landfills, they can leach into the ground and contaminate water supplies. Luckily, Europe has the world’s highest e-waste recycling rate, currently sitting at 42,5%.
Many towns and cities have e-waste recycling programs in place, so there's no excuse not to take advantage of them! Plus, you may even be able to get some cash back for your old phones, laptops, and tablets.
Compost your food waste
Food waste is a reality of daily life. Whether it’s leftover scraps from cooking or uneaten bits of fruit and vegetables, most of us end up throwing out some food every day. While it may not seem like a big deal, food waste is actually a major environmental issue. When organic waste ends up in landfills, it decomposes and produces methane, a potent greenhouse gas.
So what can we do about food waste? One simple solution is to recycle and compost our food scraps. Composting is a process where organic matter is broken down by bacteria and other organisms. This process not only reduces methane emissions but also produces a nutrient-rich soil amendment that can be used in gardens and landscaping.
The key to successful recycling is knowledge. By taking the time to learn about what can be recycled and how to recycle it properly, you can make a big impact on the environment. For example, did you know that pizza boxes can't be recycled because they're covered in grease? Or that plastic lids should be removed from jars before recycling them? These are the kind of details that can make a big difference in whether or not your recycling efforts are successful.
The best way to learn how to recycle properly is to do some research. Talk to your local recycling centre about what materials they accept, and look for tips online from reliable sources. Once you have the right information, you can start making a positive impact on the environment by successfully recycling your waste.
There are a number of different mobile apps that can help you with recycling. Some of these apps provide information on where you can recycle specific items, while others allow you to track your recycling progress and earn rewards for recycling. Here are a few of the best recycling apps available:
- iRecycle: The iRecycle app from Earth 911 can help you learn more about recycling. It provides recycling locations and hours, as well as information on what types of materials can be recycled. It also offers tips on reducing waste and conserving resources. By using iRecycle, you can make a positive impact on the environment.
- Gimme5: Gimme 5 encourages people to recycle their used products instead of throwing them away. By recycling just five items – like toothbrushes, yoghurt cups, and jeans – you can make a big difference for the environment.
- Grow Recycling: Although not strictly a recycling app, Grow Recycling is a fun and interactive way for kids to learn about sustainability and the environment, and it has been adopted by many schools in the region.
At first glance, it might not seem like there’s much connection between the things we use every day and the global environment. But the truth is that the way we live our lives has a big impact on the planet. From the food we eat to the clothes we wear, our everyday choices can help to protect or harm the environment.
If we all work together to recycle and reuse as much as possible, we can make a real difference in preserving our environment for future generations. For more easy ways to go green and save the earth, have a look at our infographic.