Written by Terri Witherden
Wake up, get out of bed, save the world. This may sound more like a superhero’s morning routine but with some smart swaps it can be yours too.
We all know the impending climate crisis is looming over us. According to the IPCC 2018 special report, we now have just eight years left to stand a chance of reversing climate damage caused by human activity. This can feel daunting and leave us wondering how we can help (if at all).
The good news is, we can help. The better news is we don’t even need to wait for a superhero to appear, we can start with our everyday lives. Reducing your daily CO2 doesn’t have to take a superhuman effort, but it does take consistency. Here are some key ways you can make better choices for the planet in your day-to-day life and do your part to tackle Climate Change.
1. Less meat, more plants
The worldwide meat industry is one of the largest contributors of greenhouse gas emissions across the globe. There are over a billion cows across the world, all part of the meat and dairy industry and all contributing methane to the atmosphere as they digest their food.
Not only that, the meat industry is a leading cause of deforestation as farmers clear less profitable crops to provide land for their cattle to graze on or exclusively grow monocrops to feed the world’s cattle supply.
Making a simple swap to meat free meals is no longer a daunting task with loads of exciting alternatives and ingredients readily available. If you still choose to eat meat, you can reduce your carbon footprint by buying meat from local farmer markets or butcher shops.
2. Speaking of more plants…
It’s quite the trend at the moment to fill your house with plants to the point of looking like the set of the next Jurassic Park movie. Not only does it look cool, more plants in your home can improve the air quality, especially if you opt for harder to kill (not a challenge!) house plants such as Peace Lilies, Spider Plants and Snake Plants.
Whilst it may not be as effective as stopping deforestation, adding to your house plant collection is a great way to reduce air pollution in your home and bring nature into your environment. The fact they absorb a little CO2 AND make your space instagramable at the same time is also a bonus.
If you don’t have much of an outside space but still want to support plant power, you can donate and offset your carbon footprint with organisations who plant and protect the world’s forests. Check out HomeTree or Tree Sisters to get started (or let us know if you have found other companies in it for the trees!).
3. Go Fully Loaded
Once you’ve ensured your house is fully loaded with plants, it’s time to make sure your appliances are fully loaded too.
When running your dishwasher or washing machine, make sure it is a full load each time. Running empty or half empty appliances is a waste of both water and electricity, and ultimately, your money. If your dishwasher or washing machine have environmental ‘eco’ efficiency settings, make sure to use them. You can also research alternative detergents (read more on our blog post tips here) which are less polluting to the water systems that waste water ultimately ends up in.
Finally, if you’re lucky enough to own a dryer, try to save it for special occasions. Air dry your clothes where you can and when you do have to use the dryer make sure to remove the lint build up in the filters. This helps the machine do its job as efficiently as possible, saving energy and ultimately reducing your CO2 footprint. Just make sure you don't throw the lint in your compost bin as many clothes are made from plastic fibres which will contaminate your compost!
4. Get a Green Energy Supply
Saving energy to reduce your CO2 is great, but switching to a green energy supplier can be an even better way to cut your carbon emissions every time you put the kettle on.
There are now companies who offer 100% renewable energy supplies and they are no longer any more expensive or specialist than their fossil fuelled counterparts. Bulb and Octopus are the two leading green energy suppliers in the UK, with the former claiming to lower their member’s CO2 emissions by 3.4 tonnes annually.
5. Bank Better
Finally, you can put your money to good use for both you and the environment by switching to a green bank. Many banks and pension funds actually re-invest your funds into causes you may not be ethically onboard with, such as fossil fuel, oil and factory farming.
Green banking however, re-invests funds into sustainability research, conservation causes and renewable energy. Make sure you do your research before investing with a new bank to make sure they have the right products and features for you. If you’re looking for a list of green banking options to investigate, this list by The Good Shopping Guide is an excellent starting point.
Another small change you can make every day is to track your CO2 emissions so you know how you can lower them. That’s why we’re building The Climate App so you, your friends, and everyone else can track their impact every day and make smarter choices when it comes to reducing CO2 emissions and reversing climate change. Let’s all be the superheroes the planet, and everything on it, needs.