HOW TO CUT YOUR CARBON FOOTPRINT TODAY
According to the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) the key to avoiding catastrophic 'climate breakdown' is limiting global temperature rises to 1.5C rather than the previously widely talked about 2C, but the consensus is that we need to act fast, we need to act NOW and we need to take action at every level.
Whenever I see articles on climate change in the press my inclination is to look away.
It's too scary, too overwhelming to be forced to confront the colossal f*ck up we are making of the planet, and to think about the kind of future our kids and grandkids might be facing. Add to that the helplessness I feel when I watch the world's leaders and governments essentially fiddling while Rome burns, spending vast amounts on Brexit negotiations and the like whilst ignoring the most pressing problem of our time.
As individuals it can be easy to feel helpless and hopeless and to then simply carry on as we were before because there seems to be very little point in creating change at an individual or family level - after all, surely we need governments to make changes of the kind of size needed to even start to make a difference.
Well, yes. And no.
We have a choice.
Either to stand by helplessly and watch the planet burn up and become increasingly inhospitable, wringing our hands and waiting for government and big business to take action.
Or we step into our individual power to create change.
To cut OUR carbon footprint, knowing that these small individual actions collectively add up to reduce the global carbon footprint.
To put pressure on those in positions of power and influence to let them know that is important. Vitally important. That we care desperately about this, and that we will be using our vote and our voice to elect into power those that are taking this huge challenge seriously, and putting the needs of people and planet above any financial incentives or profits.
And it doesn't have to mean hair shirts and deprivation.
We can ALL make a difference.
Here's 6 ways:
1. Switch your energy supplier
I say this again and again, but it really is probably THE most powerful thing you can do to cut not only your own carbon footprint, but to reduce global emissions too.
It works twofold:
- The energy that your house is using is added into the grid via renewable resources - wind and solar being the most common here in the UK
- It creates a demand for more renewable energy, which helps new technologies to come on board quicker, and means that the price can keep coming down
If you're in the UK try Ecotricity or Good Energy, and check out this podcast here with one of the energy bods at Good Energy to hear more about why renewable energy is such a no-brainer.
2. Eat less meat
I really don't want to go into the whole vegan debate here so I won't - but the key message is to eat less meat, especially beef.
The mantra of 'buy less, buy better' really does apply here. So not only buy less meat, but when you do buy it, support your local farmer and go for meat that has been reared as 'unintensively' as possible.
Meat free Monday is a great campaign aiming to get everyone to have at least one meat free day a week, and the website is packed with recipes and ideas to help you to achieve this.
And this post here has more ideas for how to eat more sustainably.
3. Buy less, buy better
I mentioned this in the section above with regards to buying meat, but it applies to everything - food, clothes, electronics, toys, 'stuff'....
Most of our homes are overflowing with 'stuff', to the extent that there are now professional declutterers who make a living helping us to escape from under the piles of it.
Before you buy, stop and think for a minute about:
- Whether you really need something, or if you just want it
- If you just want it, how much do you want it? Wait for a week and see if you still really want it, or if you've forgotten about it.
- How long will it last? In the case of clothes, buying good quality 'classics' that will always be in fashion is an easy way to avoid being sucked into the cycle of fast fashion.
- Is this something you want to keep in your life for at least the next 5 or 10 years? Will you love it and look after it?
- What will you do with it when you no longer want it? Will anyone else want it?
4. Walk or cycle for short journeys
I'm not asking you to give up your car.
But thinking more carefully about how you use your car can have a big impact on your carbon footprint.
For journeys under 2 miles, could you walk or cycle instead? Or get the bus?
When you next replace your car, take a look at electric ones - they are coming down in price all the time.
5. Speak up - make your voice heard
Make your voice heard.
Whether that's casting your vote with the money you spend, or actually physically speaking up and letting both businesses and governments know the kind of future that you want.
Vote with your money. Vote with your tweets. Vote with your letters of frustration.
Let people know that this matters to you. That this is important. That you care.
Because this does matter. This is important. We all care.
And we need to act NOW before it's too late and we're left having to try and answer our kids when they ask "why didn't you do more?"