That's how much time the world's leading climate scientists say we have to limit the effects of climate change before we face serious consequences.
A landmark report by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released in October 2018 revealed that there are only a dozen years left for global warming to be kept to a maximum of 1.5C (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit). Reaching temperatures beyond that -- even half a degree -- "will significantly worsen the risks of drought, floods, extreme heat and poverty for hundreds of millions of people."
Of course, we are already feeling these symptoms as the five hottest years on record globally all took place within the current decade. (According to scientists at NOAA, 2016 was hottest, 2015 second hottest, and 2017 third hottest. 2018 is currently on track to be fourth hottest.)
Urgent changes are needed in order to keep global temperatures down. If you're wondering what you can do to help, why not first think about what you should stop doing as well? Here are some of the worst things you may be doing right now that are contributing to climate change:
Wasting your food.
One quarter of greenhouse gas emissions is due to agriculture, but one third of all food grown on this planet doesn't get eaten -- it is lost or wasted. This is the equivalent of 3.3 billion metric ton of carbon dioxide -- more than India's total annual emissions.
As mom says: finish your food. And, you can start by buying a less food than you think you need, and then eating it instead of throwing it in the trash.
Eating a lot of meat and dairy.
The United Nations' Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) discovered in 2013 that 14.5 percent of all human-induced greenhouse gas emissions comes from livestock.
This is more than all forms of transport -- cars, ships, planes, and more -- throughout the world combined. Beef production causes 41 percent of those emissions, and milk production is another 19 percent.
Consider getting protein from the plethora of plant-based options, or if you can't say no to meat, consider purchasing your meat from local organic farms or maybe even try meatless versions -- they are being perfected and tasting more like the real thing every day.
Shopping too much.
When we buy a lot of products, we are increasing our environmental footprint, and depleting local resources. Most countries actually use more natural resources to keep up with consumption levels than the planet can regenerate within a year. Buy less, or buy longer-lasting products. And don't forget to recycle.
Climate change is a real threat -- not only you and your family and business, but the entire globe. Your individual actions, like changing consumption or travel behavior, can make a difference.
To make a real difference, join movements that can change government policy. Don't choose apathy.