Living a more climate positive lifestyle is beneficial for both yourself and the planet (which is the same thing really). Time is running out on how much longer we can continue to emit greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide without suffering major disruptions to our way of life.
On average each person on Earth emits 4.8 tonnes of CO2 per year. The average American emits 16.21 tonnes of CO2 per year, whilst the average Chadian emits only 0.07 tonnes. To keep global temperatures under the 2 degrees threshold, we need to lower the global average to 3 tonnes per person.
Those of us who are lucky enough to enjoy higher standards of living need to do our bit. So, without further ado, here are five ways you can change things up and become a climate superhero.
Change how you travel
A recent study found that changing methods of personal transportation to be the number one way to reduce personal greenhouse gas emissions and live a more climate positive lifestyle. Going car-free by switching to active modes of transport such as cycling and walking will save an average of 2.04 tonnes of CO2 equivalent per person annually.
There are other options as well. Driving an electric vehicle also significantly reduces emissions, as does taking public transport. For you frequent fliers, taking one less long-haul flight will per year saves a significant 1.68 tonnes.
Eat less meat
Food production and associate activities are thought to account for around 26% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Meat production, especially red meat such as beef, makes up a disproportionate amount of this. At its most extreme, 100g of pea protein will take 90 times less CO2 to produce than the equivalent of beef.
Most nut farms are actually carbon negative, so you can go nuts with them! Joking aside, eating less meat is a simple and effective away to go green (like peas). Switching to a completely vegan diet can help save 0.8 tonnes of CO2 emissions per year, making it one of the most effective ways to reduce your carbon footprint. Tasty!
A lot of nut farms are carbon negative (but certain varieties do use a lot of water)
Consume less and buy sustainable
Global consumption has spiralled way out of control. It’s now estimated that our demand for natural resources exceeds the yearly limit by August. Everything we consume leaves a carbon footprint.
The fashion industry, for example, produces 10% of all humanity's carbon emissions, more so than flying and shipping combined. This is due to the rise of ‘fast fashion’ and the consumer trend it encourages. People now purchase 60% more clothes than they did in 2000, but it’s estimated that they only wear 50% of them.This means carbon emissions are literally hanging wasted in the closet.
As such, reducing mindless consumption is necessary for living a more climate positive lifestyle.
When purchasing new products, look out for sustainable alternatives. Bamboo, for example, is a highly versatile and sustainable material. It can be used in textiles instead of cotton, and to make bamboo toilet paper and bamboo cutlery.
Switch your energy supplier to renewables
We’re starting to see the green energy revolution take off and it puts a big smile on our faces. In 2019 new renewable energy capacity hit record levels with almost 75% of new electricity generation capacity coming from solar, wind and other green technologies.
So now is a great time to switch your energy supply to renewable sources. Doing so will remove roughly 1.6 tonnes of CO2 per year from your greenhouse gas account.
Offset what you emit
It’s a fact that no matter how hard you try you will always leave a footprint. To go totally carbon neutral, or even carbon negative, then carbon offset programmes can be purchased.
Carbon offset programmes remove emissions from the atmosphere through environmental projects like reforestation or through other methods such as green energy investment. But remember it’s always better to prevent than to cure, so first reduce your emissions as much as possible before considering carbon offset programmes.