The first easy way to reduce your impact on the planet is to understand your own footprint. This will give you more insight into where impactful reductions can be made in your daily life to help reduce your impact on the planet.
This is really easy to do, and there are a variety of online tools available to calculate your footprint for you by asking a variety of questions. Here are some examples:
• WWF Footprint calculator
• Carbon Independent Footprint calculator
• Carbon Footprint
Opting for a greener energy tariff, or company that promises 100% renewable energy can cut c02 by reducing the fossil fuels needed to heat and power your property. It also supports the decarbonisation of the electricity grid. However, making the switch can often be confusing especially when it comes to green tariffs.
Uswitch Green Accreditation makes these green energy tariffs easier to understand by comparing criteria such as where the energy comes from and whether the provider is investing in long term renewable energy projects.
More information can be found here.
Begin thinking about how you can make more sustainable travel arrangements for work or leisure. Can you incorporate more active travel such as walking or cycling?
Does your local authority provide incentives or cheaper alternatives to driving?
Think more about your journeys, for example if its less than 1 mile could you walk? Or less than 5 miles could you cycle?
If driving to a workplace or group activity, could you lift share/ carpool? Carpooling is a great way to cut carbon and reduce congestion in UK towns and cities.
Effective personal waste reduction can have a huge impact on your carbon footprint. Remember the three R’s? Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. These practices are the pillars for waste reduction, by thinking about whether an item can be reduced, reused or recycled you can save items from landfill, but you could go a step further.
By adding two more R’s!
Refuse and Rot.
Refuse to buy or receive single use items by choosing things like reusable straws or carrying a reusable coffee cup or water bottle.
Creating your own compost or taking advantage of food recycling schemes reduces food waste in landfill but also gives back to the soil. Contributing to healthy soil captures carbon and helps create better ecosystem functions for plants and animals.
Plastic waste pollution is having serve consequences on our environment. It is estimated that only 9% of all plastic waste ever produced has been recycled, a further 12% incinerated. This leaves 79% accumulating in landfill and the natural environment.
Some quick switches can be made to reduce your plastic consumption:
Making small changes within the home to improve energy efficiency can save energy and money. Some straightforward ways of reducing emissions in the home include:
Every time we search on Google, send an email or upload a picture to the gram we cause co2 emissions. This is because energy is needed for the data we are producing, the internet relies on physical servers in data centres connected with miles of undersea cables which require lots of energy to run.
How can you reduce your digital footprint?
The meat and dairy industry produces a lot of co2, 12-17% of total greenhouse gas emissions. The livestock industry produces more greenhouse gas emissions than all cars, planes, trains and ships combined! It also depletes resources such as water and land. The Worldwatch institute estimates that 70% of the world’s freshwater goes on agriculture, 1/3 of this being animal feed crops. This is even more concerning given that only 2.5% of the worlds water is freshwater, and less than 1% is drinkable.
Just cutting out meat for one day per week for 1 year can save 789 bathtubs of water, and 2.98 tennis courts of forest! How cool is that?
To find out more about the impacts of cutting down on meat consumption check out Meat Fee Mondays to use the impact calculated and find some useful recipes.
According to the World Bank the fashion industry is responsible for 10% of annual global emissions. The industry are high polluters and the cotton used is a water intensive crop. As well as the impacts from manufacturing according to the waste charity WRAP more than 300,000 tonnes of clothing ends up in UK landfill each year. These textiles release methane as they degrade.
How can we shift to sustainable fashion?
Speak to friends and family about the changes you’ve made, especially when they have been easier or cheaper than expected. Personal stories can often be a really effective way of inspiring individual change, so share on Instagram, Facebook, with work friends or family and you never know how much positive change you may inspire!
This isn’t all on you! You may feel inspired to write to your local MP to voice any environmental concerns that you have for the local area, or suggest initiatives.
Together we can make a change, influence others and create a better planet.
The climate is changing, are you?
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