How to increase your quality of life while doing your bit to reduce climate change
What’s the problem?
David Attenborough, Extinction Rebellion and Greta Thunberg have all brought to public attention the United Nations’ warning that we have until just 2030 to cut global CO2 emissions. If we don’t do it, we risk the ability of future generations to be able to survive on our beautiful planet.
CO2 warms the Earth like a blanket; after 2030 there will be so much that we’ll be unable to prevent run-away global warming. A series of climate feedback loops will push Earth towards becoming like the Sahara Desert. David Attenborough has called this ‘the collapse of human civilisation’.
Why is it happening?
Nations don’t produce much CO2 in their own right and nor do governments. Almost all CO2 emissions are produced by the products and services bought by us as individuals.
It differs across the world of course: in China and India, annual CO2 emissions per person are around 5 and 2 tonnes respectively, compared to 15 in the UK and 30 in the US, when taking into account foreign production for our use. We need to reduce this by 80% by 2030.
What can we do?
Legislation plays a part but the real power is in us cutting our own personal carbon footprint. Just like voting, the cumulative effect is powerful.
How can we do it?
To work out your carbon footprint, use an online calculator (find one here). Then read on to see how you can reduce it by 8% per year (it’s easier than might you think).
If your annual carbon footprint is the UK average of 15 tonnes, an 8% reduction equates to 1.2 tonnes. You’d then aim to save an additional 1.2 tonnes the year after, and so on.
Happily, this is not about taking away benefits and pleasures from life; most of the lifestyle changes required to reduce our personal carbon footprint also improve health and wellbeing, as well as saving money in the long run.
The happiness factor
We all know that modern life can be frantic; time and money seem to be ever-decreasing resources. What would happen if we slowed down, did things a little differently, connected with others in more meaningful ways, enjoyed better quality food and well-made products? These are just a few of the benefits that come with lifestyle choices that reduce our carbon footprint. Now that’s really smart.
Ready to take action?
These are the most effective things that you can do to increase your quality of life while reducing your carbon footprint.