5 Ways to reduce our carbon footprint in our everyday life
March 6, 2018
In December 2015, the world came together when 196 nations (now 195, as the USA wants to withdraw) agreed to limit the global rise in temperature to below 2 °C. They called this the Paris Agreement. While it’s a daunting task, especially as an individual, what can each of us do to affect the whole system?
Here are five individual choices that people can adopt which are environmentally friendly:
1)3 R’s – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
The amount of waste that is generated on a daily basis is incredibly huge. We live in a disposable society: everything is over-packaged, we encourage the single-use plastic items and we fail to separate our garbage. One of the easiest ways in which we can contribute towards fighting climate change is to stop buying stuff. Begin to reutilize, buy second-hand furniture/clothes, start to make your own compost (if you have space), and separate your household waste. Separation of waste at the source will lead to better recycling rates.
2) Live car-free and in a city
By choosing to live car-free you are not just helping the environment, you are also helping yourself. Changing your petrol-fueled car to an electric one is not enough; electric cars also emit emissions! Use public transport and/or get around with a bike. A good start is to choose to live in a city. It is more sustainable to live in the city than in the countryside; if you live in the city you don’t have to take your car every time you decide to go out, you can use you bicycle, or you can walk to your destination. This is why we need livable cities, cities that are meant for people rather than for cars.
3) Change your diet
Choosing to eat less meat is one of the best things you can do for the environment! Changing your diet saves eight times more CO2 emissions than changing to efficient light bulbs in your home. This is a relatively easy change we can do in our lives and it can actually have a positive impact towards mitigating climate change. Reducing your meat consumption to once or twice a week is all it takes to make a difference.
Instead of buying from big industrialized farms, choose more environmentally friendly options. Large farms often use pesticides and herbicides that pollute the water and land that surrounds the farms. Even organic farms sometimes use farming methods that are not environmentally friendly or economically viable! Ideally, you should opt for agro-ecological products, which means that agroecological farmers strive to create stable food production systems that are resilient to environmental catastrophes, such as climate change and plagues.
5) Avoid one roundtrip transatlantic trip
A transatlantic flight is equivalent (in terms of energy) to leaving an electric stove on for a whole year. In order for us to reach the Paris Agreement terms, we must reach 2.1 tCO2 equivalents per year per person. One transatlantic flight emits 2.4 tCO2 equivalents per year, so just one flight exhausts your carbon budget for the entire year! This doesn’t mean we should stop traveling, but it does mean we need to rethink our lifestyle and adapt to the new environmental constraints posed by climate change. More information on this link
If you want to know your actual ecological footprint, and what it would like to live in a world where the rise in temperature is below 2 °C, visit this site! My ecologic backpack.
Soulcial Trust’s Green Influence programme works to raise awareness about the environment and how individuals and businesses can make a difference in preserving our planet. To learn more, visit www.soulcialtrust.org/green-influence.