The sheer magnitude of the issue can leave people feeling helpless and unsure how to contribute meaningfully. A new report found that ordinary people have direct influence over at least a quarter of the emissions savings needed by 2030, and outlines exactly how we can all make a difference.
Governments and companies hold sway over the vast majority of what Earth needs to meet its emission reduction targets, but it's good to know how we can all get involved and make a very positive difference. New research, carried out by Leeds University, has identified six lifestyle changes that we can all make to help tackle the climate crisis.
Eat Green: The biggest single impact an individual can have is shifting to a mostly plant-based diet, combined with eliminating household food waste. It would deliver 12 percent of the total savings needed by North American and European countries. Numerous studies have also shown that a primarily plant based diet is good for our health and our life expectancy, so it's definitely a win win.
Here's something that might surprise you and the new study seems to have missed: UCLA found that if pets were a nation of their own, America’s 163 million dogs and cats would collectively be the world’s fifth-largest meat consumer. The production of feed for US pets alone causes 64 million tons of greenhouse gases annually - as much as 30 million cars and an incredible five percent of all emissions. Whilst nobody is saying we should cut back on pets, it seems that an incredibly 'quick win' is to switch their diets. See Carbon Paw Print
Re-Dress: Limiting yourself to buying three or fewer new items of clothing a year would deliver 6 percent of the total savings needed. That means rummaging around in vintage shops more, and getting garments repaired. For inspiration, see Pre-Loved Fashion Explosion
Keep your Tech: Extending the lifetime of electronics so they are used for at least seven years would deliver 3 percent of the total savings needed.
Fly Less: Embracing low-carbon transport when going on holiday can reduce emissions by around 2-4 percent. The recommendation is for everyone to take a maximum of one short-haul flight every three years, and one long-haul every eight years.
Ditch the Car: Reducing vehicle ownership (or, if possible, moving away from vehicle ownership altogether), would deliver 2 percent of the total savings needed by 2030.
The Rest: To influence the remaining 73 percent of emissions that are out of our direct control, we could take action that encourages and supports industry and government to make the high impact societal changes that are urgently needed. For instance swapping to a green energy supplier, changing to a green pension, retrofitting our homes, or taking political action.
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