The recent International Petroleum Week that led to the meeting and protesters in London. Trump and his mocking and denial of global warming. Climate change has never been more prevalent. As much as multinational companies play a significantly bigger part, our individual efforts counts too. Here are some good practices to cultivate, in hopes that they will eventually be taken up by the rest of the world to help reduce their carbon footprint.
1. Reduce Your Dairy and Beef Intake
The global impacts of food production is an issue that’s way too big to tackle on our individual level but what we do know is that changing our diet to a plant-based one would help tremendously. A huge part (83%) of the world’s agricultural land goes to animal farming, yet it only delivers 18% of our calories. Anyone with basic understanding of math can see that what you reap isn’t worth it then. A plant-based diet would reduce the land used as well as the greenhouse gases produced.
However, I also understand that this is exactly what vegans are pushing for, and it can seem a tad much to some to completely switch up their diet. What I propose then, is reducing your dairy and beef intake.We’re looking at cattle specifically because they take up 65% for livestock emissions. The greenhouse gas that cows produce, methane, is significantly more potent in trapping heat in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide. Just moderating your diet is enough to reduce your carbon footprint significantly. It’s not too much to ask, right?
image: Sammantha Fisher
2. Choose Public Transport
We’ve been told this multiple times. While I understand the inconvenience of some places, I think there are solutions to this. For example, being a good friend and colleague and carpooling to work. Work something out amongst each other.
I think it’s also noteworthy to make yourself travel on foot, or cycle if you have a bike, to places. It’s incredibly relaxing if you set more time for yourself to do that. You get a leisure stroll that allows you to gather your thoughts, and feel less guilty about the tiny exercise you got in, especially if you’re exhausted to hit the gym at the end of the day.
3. Eat Organic and Locally-Produced Food
Food imported from places far away obviously incur more taxes and possibly not as fresh but more importantly, you’re contributing to food transport emissions. Locally-produced food can also benefit the environment because they have eco-friendly practices that in turn, maintains and preserves the environment/landscape for wildlife too. All in all, healthier too since it’s a shorter time from farm to table that reduces the likelihood of nutrients lost, in addition to the organic produce ensuring that it hasn’t been sprayed by toxic pesticides that may be environmentally-damaging.
4. Choosing the Right Electrical Appliances
Go for energy-efficient appliances. In Australia, we have this energy rating label, where the more stars present meant how energy efficient the appliance is. This includes your refrigerators, washers, air-conditioners and so on. I never knew this too until recently but LED bulbs are also more long-lasting because they’re more energy-efficient. It’s a win-win situation because you save on your electricity bill too.
5. Minimise Purchase of Individually-Wrapped Products
This sounds almost common sense but many people don’t actually have it at the back of their minds when they’re grocery shopping. I get that the individually-packed chips are better for limiting how much you snack or that they’re easier on the go, but your waste only increases. Containers are easy to keep in your bag as well. If you only care for an efficient life, where do you draw the line for the selfish things you do then?
6. Educate Yourself On Recycling
I know this sounds ridiculous but recycling isn’t just about tossing your plastic bottles into the recycling chute. A lot of people actually do it wrongly. For example, your pizza boxes and takeaway boxes aren’t recyclable. It’s the grease. Your milk cartons aren’t recyclable too because of the thin film of plastic coating, or sometimes aluminium. Know the list of things that you can recycle. Wash the bottles, compress them and put the lid back on before you toss them into the recycling chute. And don’t recycle the plastic bag that you used to store all your items for recycling.