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  • Samuel Naef

What can you do to reduce your carbon footprint?


The Climate App emerged from a simple need – how can you and I change our behaviour to have a positive impact on the environment? We're all surrounded by doom headlines and it's easy to become hopeless about how much influence one person can have. We want to help people to make the right kind of alterations to the way they live, things that can make a real difference.


So half of our mission is about bringing you information about the changes that will make the biggest impact on our world. The other part is about everyone sharing the details of how they've made changes via our app – and inspiring each other. We all know people who shamelessly show off on social media; how about bragging about something worthwhile? Let's put all that digital competitive spirit to good use for once.


What can you do?


If we're going to convince you to wake up tomorrow and make a change for good, where to start?


This is where we started – with a fantastic piece of research from a pair of Canadian and Swedish academics, completed in 2017. They analysed a variety of sources and looked at which actions made the biggest reduction on greenhouse gas emissions. Here are the four actions they discovered make the biggest difference:

· Having one fewer child

· Living car-free

· Avoiding air travel

· Eating a plant-based diet

What was really interesting is how far these actions stood as being way more impactful than some others that receive a lot of attention in the media. Recycling, for example, is four times less effective than eating a plant-based diet. No one is suggesting you stop recycling, of course, but it's good to see which actions yield the biggest benefit to the environment.

Diet earns its place because of the intensity of the meat and dairy farming industry. If cattle were a nation, they would be the world's third largest emitter of greenhouse gases, after the US and China. They might look innocent, but cows (or atleast our desire for the food products they create) are trouble.

The idea of having fewer children is to minimise all the emissions they would create over a life-time. It's a controversial recommendation but the statistics support it.


So over to you.


Which of the four feels possible to make a start on?


The full paper can be read at https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1748-9326/aa7541


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©2019 by Samuel Naef