Net zero means the balance between how much greenhouse gas we add to the environment and what is taken away. It’s when, for example, no more than 10 gallons of water are pumped into a lake or river per minute but at least 15 gallons flow out each minute.
In this case, the process could be called net zero because the energy used to put it out is they’re balanced with one another that will produce the same amount of positive results.
So, how can we achieve net zero? The answer lies within renewable sources: solar panels on roofs that produce electricity from sunlight, wind turbines that generate power using kinetic energy from moving air currents (and so do not need fuel), geothermal plants where steam heated by hot rocks get used to turn giant generators, and more.
This video shares a simple breakdown of CAFOD’s children’s action animation, that tells you everything you need to know about how fossil fuels damage our environment. The warmest 20 years on record have all been in the last 22 years, according to World Meteorological Organisation. The four most recent of those were also the hottest: 2015-2018! This is because global average temperatures are currently 1℃ higher than they once were prior to industrialisation.
If we keep going the way we have been, it has been warned that our situation will only get worse, with temperatures across the globe rising by as much as 3-5℃ by 2100.
What is Net Zero?
The term net zero is often thrown around, but what does it really mean? To break things down in simple terms, if you produce no more than the amount of greenhouse gas that gets removed from your atmosphere then we’d be at a net zero.
This is where the amount of greenhouse gases produced equals the amount taken away. This balance means that it will take much less time to reach a stable climate and can help with environmental issues in general, like air pollution.
Net zero means we’re not just cutting down on harmful greenhouse gases, but also taking a step to restore the balance in our environment.
What is Gross Zero? Is it the same thing?
We all know that carbon emissions have an impact on our planet, but why aren’t we aiming for zero or gross-zero rather than net-zero? Well, Gross Zero would mean stopping all emissions and this is not realistic across every sector of life. Even if we reduce them the best way possible there will still be some emissions left over.
Net zero is all about sustainability, and that means taking into account the emissions of an activity rather than removing the activity altogether. Greenhouse gases may be removed from the atmosphere through nature, via trees taking carbon dioxide from the air or new technology that reduces human impact on atmospheric emissions. Alternatively, changes to industrial processes could decrease our greenhouse gas footprint while still maintaining a healthy economy and plenty of jobs for those who wish them.
The internet provides a number of resources, including the young climate warriors who work with parents and schools to educate on the topic. It shares a number of small facts and useful tips that can change our habits each day towards a greater future.
The most important thing you can do as a parent is to add your voice to the various campaigns pushing governments and corporations act quickly on expert scientific advice. It’s time for big steps right now, but we need everyone in our community involved! Write to your local MP with your kids, or show them how to sign a petition. Some specific campaign groups that you might be interested in include Mothers Rise Up and Parents For Future UK; these are the fastest growing communities for parents who want to get involved in rewinding the effects of a Climate crisis.
Climate For Parents also released this list of tips on things to cut out of your everyday life at home that will help lower emissions, some of which are already covered above. Projects like this often encourage parents and schools to share videos with their students and kids in order to take a large variety of examples into account, in order to reach children with a variety of learning types.