People like ourselves who live in high-income countries in Europe, North America and the Asia-Pacific region have a responsibility to do everything we can to reduce our climate footprint. These countries have a minority of the world’s population yet have contributed the most climate-changing greenhouse gas emissions.
An analysis by Project Drawdown reveals that individual and household actions have the potential to produce roughly 25% percent of the total emissions reductions needed to avoid dangerous climate change (ie. greater than 1.5°C rise).
The following are the main lifestyle changes you can make in order to reduce your emissions:
- Go Vegan
- Eliminate Food Waste
Food represents 12.4% of global emissions, with about equal weight given to food waste and diet. By adopting a plant-based diet we can achieve far greater emissions reductions than by changing our mode of transport, for example.
- Use public transport
- Bicycle or electric bike
- Carpooling and lift sharing
- Reduce car ownership
- use train instead
- Use video calls
- Holiday at home
Transport by private citizens represents 2.8% of global emissions.
Energy in the Home:
- Insulate walls and attic
- Switch to renewable energy or a green energy provider
- Install solar panels
- Change your heating system to a heat pump, which works by extracting heat from one location and transferring it to another
- Turn down the thermostat
- Install a Smart thermostat
- Use energy efficient light bulbs
- Plug appliances out when not in use
- Turn off lights when leaving a room.
- Wash on lower temperatures or in cold water
- Avoid using a clothes dryer – air dry instead
- Get a home energy assessment rating
Domestic energy usage represents 8.6% of global emissions.
- Reduce single use plastic, compost, recycle, and use recycled products and packaging.
Domestic waste represents 1.3% of global emissions.
- Reduce the number of things you buy – this means there is less energy required to produce and transport it.
- Buy fewer clothes – the clothing and textiles sector represents 3-10% of global emissions.
- Buy secondhand.
- Vote, take part in demonstrations, write to your local representatives, sign petitions.
- Invest in renewables if you have money to save or invest.
- Have fewer or no children.
For more information, check out this visual by The Jump. And remember that while the other 75% of global emissions are outside the direct control of individuals, we can also have indirect influence over government and industry, encouraging them to make the changes needed. For instance through consumer demand or political activity to influence policy.