Reduce your carbon footprint – Part II
by Nicoletta Moss
Last week we introduced to you the #5x5Challenge. What was this all about? In a series of articles, we will discuss how you, as an individual are able to reduce your carbon footprint with just small measures. As a first step, we need to approach everything anew by refusing, reducing, reusing, recycling and rethinking.
We gave you the task to rethink of how you could change one habit, then change it and share the idea you had.
This week we will explain why we are focusing on the areas of Travel, Food, Consumption, Household and Social. The order has a good reason. Travel is the major contributor to carbon emissions, followed by food and consumption. Home improvements are the one area which needs to be planned more thoroughly and demands some investment. What’s social, you might ask? Read on.
About 30% of global CO2 emissions are caused by transportation. Naturally, we would say: drive an electric or hybrid vehicle. But there are other options too. We are not suggesting that you need to sell your car and do everything by foot. We say: be more flexible, explore new options (you will be surprised how much you will discover!). And start easy: replace one trip per week, which you would have done normally per car and use an alternative means of transport.
EVBox summed up in an article this area so well that I’m happy to repeat what they said: About 33% of global CO2 emissions result from the production of food — and livestock production is the biggest culprit. The production of red meat takes up 28x more land, 11x more water than other meats, and — hold on tight — 48x more water than veggies. If everyone cuts their red meat consumption down to about 270 grams a week, we’d be able to reduce food-related emissions by 29%! The steaks are high with this one. You don’t have to become a vegetarian to contribute – but consume sensibly. Shop local. Buy only what you actually will be able to eat before it will go off (which is not always the due date on the package! If it says: “Best before”, chances are very high that you still can enjoy it after that day.)
We all need to consume. Our economy is built on consumption. There are necessary goods and nice to have items. Before you buy – just take a moment to consider if you really need this new phone now or if your current model would do a bit longer. And if you buy a new one (which is very understandable too), think if someone else would be still happy using it – and if not – how can it be recycled correctly? My grandfather always said, “I’m too poor to buy cheap”. What he meant to say was, buy once and that of good quality and it will last you longer. You like this? Me too.
In the last months, we all have spent a lot of time at home. We enjoyed it, but we also found areas between our four walls which needed to get improved. Go through your apartment and take stock of all the items which consume energy and see how efficient they are. To improve your carbon footprint in this area, you don’t have to do a full home renovation, there are also a few very simple measures you can take right now. Start small, grow big. Take core steps today, like switching off the lights, and improve over time. Plan, calculate your budget and get going.
You have come very far already. Don’t let yourself stop here. Do the right thing and talk about it. Share your experience, teach and get involved in the community. This is a big job and it will be far easier if we are working together on this. Together we can do it.