Most people I meet are fully aware of how dangerous carbon emissions are and what they are doing to our planet. However, if you dig a little deeper, people have the general opinion that someone will fix things for them. Most of us assume that positive drive from multinational companies, a particularly forward thinking political party or a group of radical crusaders headed by the likes of Wholegrain co-founder Tom Greenwood will eventually make the changes the planet needs. This view needs to change and everyone, conscious or otherwise, needs to muck in. The problem is, not everyone knows just how easy it is to “muck in”.
In the 80s and early 90s when I was growing up, the idea of sustainability and being green was fairly alien to my parents and peers. Only in the last 10 years or so, have I personally made a real effort to recycle, eat less meat and generally be kinder to the planet. Surrounding myself with like minded people and learning from them how they are changing their lives to make a difference has really helped me to be more conscious and proactive.
A little bit of proactive effort is a tiny price to pay for a planet that gives us back so much. I’ve outlined five quick ways you can cut your carbon emissions today. Not only will you spend no money making these small changes, with some you’ll actually end up saving a few pennies. It’s a no brainer.
1. Reduce or eliminate your meat and/or dairy consumption
A huge amount of greenhouse gas emissions result from the production and transport of food. Buy local and eat a more diversified diet. Cutting out meat altogether just doesn’t work for everyone. Reducing your meat intake however, can make a big impact on your carbon footprint. Meat free Monday is a great way to start saving the planet and puts you in the right direction to a healthier diet. I tend to treat myself to one meal with meat a month and will do my best to go vegan when eating out with Wholegrain Digital as a team. This is not just to do my bit for the planet, I am also a huge animal lover and big animal rights supporter.
2. Household appliances and lighting
One of the easiest ways to save money and the environment is to turn off your lights and appliances (from the plug sockets) when you are not using them. Change your bulbs to more energy efficient ones and when buying new appliances, look out for the energy efficient labels. All the bulbs in my flat are energy efficient and our appliances were purchased in full knowledge that they are as energy efficient as they can possibly be.
3. Recycle, recycle, recycle
Recycle everything you can. Plastic bottles, newspapers, glass. The more we recycle, the less trees are cut down and the less we need to drill for oil. Trees capture carbon in the air. They also provide us all with clean air and oxygen. Try your hand at a waste free week and see if your lifestyle can handle it. I have tried and failed but have persuaded my household to be much more conscious about recycling. We use food scraps for compost and recycle all glass, paper, plastic and tin.
4. Use public transport (if you don’t own a Tesla )
Everyone knows vehicle emissions play a huge hand in greenhouse gas emissions. If you own diesel or petrol car, keep your driving slow and try to cut down on it altogether. Use public transport when you can and try walking more. Again, will save you money and improve your health. Fantastic public transport is part of what sets London apart from other cities. If you live in London then you should take advantage and hop on the bus or train more.
5. Save money buying less stuff
Hell, why not become a minimalist?! A single T-shirt may have caused emissions equal to two or three days’ typical power consumption. Buying fewer and better things has an important role to play in cutting carbon emissions.
What have I learnt?
Being proactive as well as being conscious about my carbon footprint and the health of the planet has saved me money and improved my health. Working for a company like Wholegrain Digital has really opened my eyes to just how easy it is to have a significant impact, just by making small changes in my life.
The Wholegrain team use Do Nation to engage us with positive behaviour changes and it has made a real difference. By ditching plastic bags, giving up dairy, using reusable cups and turning the heating down in my flat, I have saved 1,716kg of CO2, 3,250 litres of water and 800 kg of waste.
Much to my girlfriends annoyance when I tut at her for picking up a plastic bottle of water from WH Smiths or for turning on her hair straighteners in the morning (she’s a lucky girl), slowly but surely we are becoming much more conscious of the everyday decisions that we used to take for granted.
The carbon change countdown clock has already passed zero so we all need to start reducing our carbon footprint now. If I can do it, so can you! So, what small changes will you make today?