10 ways to reduce your carbon footprint by Georgie Delaney Updated Sunday 22nd September 2019
We are at the beginning of a mass extinction due to carbon emissions sky rocketing alongside unprecedented sea pollution and deforestation devouring the natural carbon capturers of this world - trees and plants. Our children's futures are in jeopardy and we need to act fast as individuals and collectively. Our children are striking from school but what can we do to be the change we want to see?
We are all part of the problem, but we can all be part of the solution. None of us are perfect, but we have to start somewhere. I have put together a list of a few areas that I have discovered can help reduce your carbon emissions.
Personally, I am a true believer that collectively we can make huge difference to our health and the health of the planet by making really easy changes. The average British person’s carbon footprint measures up at around 15 metric tonnes per year of CO2 e. Whilst we hope for governmental policy change to resolve climate change issues, what can we do now to reduce to our own carbon footprint?
1. Leave fossil fuels in the ground and switch now to renewables - Switch your provider to a renewable energy company like https://www.ecotricity.co.uk. If you want to be self sufficient and future proofed, install solar at home and if you run an electric car it will be totally free to run powered by the sun.
2. Turn your garden into a source of food and a place of CO2 capture - if you grow your own apples, they are leaving no footprint at all and they are free after the initial investment plus the tree sucks out CO2 at the same time! Locally sourced apples are the next best thing and have a carbon footprint of 10 grams each. Supermarket apples have on average an 80 gram per apple and they often come with plastic packaging too which clogs up our bins! Once you get your local produce try and be efficient with any cooking or choose produce you can eat raw. Trees are the best natural climate solution out there, so if nothing else plant some trees in your garden to suck out the CO2. Watch this brilliant video on trees
3. Walk or cycle to work – On a planet friendly diet, your carbon footprint for cycling will be under 90 grams of CO2 e per mile as opposed to up to 2240 grams of CO2 e per mile in a car. You can build up your daily activity this way too and reduce your carbon footprint at the same time.
4. Go packaging free– according to the Independent, our carbon emissions could be halved by going zero waste. Read how Shia Su reduced her waste to one Kilner by reading her book https://www.amazon.com/Zero-Waste-Simple-Drastically-Reduce/dp/1510730818
Or watch this TED talk on how Lauren did it:
5. Eliminate the ruminants - If you can’t go vegan, eliminate products from ruminant animals and opt for a more plant based diet– eating equates for on average 20% of our carbon footprint. Cows and sheep are ruminants meaning they chew cud and release lots of methane which is worst for the environment than CO2. By eliminating these meats for locally sourced plants or other meats you will reduce your footprint.
6. Take the train on your travels –flying is one of the worst contributors to a large carbon footprint lifestyle. Where you can, replace travelling by plane to train. For example on a trip from London to Glasgow by train would equate to 120 kilograms of CO2e. Flying to Glasgow would equate to 500 kilograms of CO2e. A round trip from London to Hong Kong would leave a 4.6 metric tonne footprint – the equivalent of 340,000 plastic shopping bags!
7. Drink tap water – a pint of tap water accounts for only 0.14 grams of CO2e*. A pint of bottled water would have a 1000 times bigger carbon footprint at 160 grams of CO2e!!! This is a no brainer to switch to tap!
8. Wash your clothes at 30 degrees - Washing at 30 degrees and hanging out your clothes to dry creates a footprint of 0.6kilograms CO2e compared to a 3.3 kilogram footprint for washes done at 60 degrees Celsius and placed in a dryer afterwards.
9. Put your dishwasher on eco mode – by turning your dishwasher to eco mode or 55 degrees Celsius, only leaves a carbon footprint of 770 grams CO2 e.
10. Make movement your medicine – I listened to the NHS’ sustainability lead at COP22, Global Climate Change Conference explain that 65 % of its carbon footprint comes from procurement of prescription drugs like Diabetes drugs. As Movement is now deemed the wonder preventative and curative drug, incorporating green exercise into your daily routine will help prevent Non Communicable Diseases like Diabetes, Cancer and Heart Disease which relate to lifestyle choices. Why not walk down to your local TGO gym to recycle your human energy for your phone of local lighting – see TGO activate app for details of where your local gym is.
And of course STRIKE!!!
I know I could do more, but I choose to live as consciously as I possibly can. I am vegetarian and don't eat dairy. I try and buy packaging free and prefer my green grocers to the big stores. I use ecotricity energy, I have an electric car, TGO, my company has planted thousands of trees and we recycle human energy on our gyms. My next steps are to go zero waste and reduce my air travel. Step by step, we can do this.
CO2 e = Carbon Dioxide Equivalent because some gases aren’t CO2 for example methane which is actually worse for the environment so the measure is in CO2 e.
Credit to Mike Berners-Lee’s book How Bad are Bananas for the facts and figures on CO2 e.
The Great Outdoor Gym company's outdoor cardio fitness equipment harnesses human energy. TGO has an energy storage system for this energy so it can power local lighting or even tie back to the grid. TGO plants trees and also does litter picks as part of community workouts to keep the parks clean.