This guest blog comes from Josh Hill, a zero-waste brand owner with Soseas and scientist.
Are you suffering from eco-anxiety? Thinking about global warming and increased pollution but overwhelmed and feeling powerless to do anything about it?
In this post, we’ll be giving you 12 ways you can implement today to reduce your carbon footprint.
While tackling the climate crisis requires systemic change, taking action, however small, on an individual basis can help us remain hopeful and can inspire action from those around us. We remain mindful that not all have the resources to make the changes outlined below. Simply sparking a conversation with loved ones can have an impact, so do what you are able to do 🙂
Food and the industries surrounding it are hugely wasteful. With 820 million people across the world not having enough food to live an active and healthy life, we have an ethical obligation to eat sustainably for the planet and its inhabitants.
#1 Eat more greens
One of the most polluting industries is animal agriculture. This is for multiple reasons, including:
- The land being used for animal agriculture often results from the clearing of carbon trapping biomes, such as forests;
- The animals themselves emit greenhouse gases whilst alive;
- The subsequent transportation of animals and meat.
The solution is simple and effective – eat less meat! Try meat-free Monday to start and take it from there.
#2 Eat local and seasonal
Having all foods available year-round has its drawbacks. In order to keep supermarket shelves stocked with sun-loving fruits and veggies year-round, they have to be imported from far-flung corners of the earth.
To avoid the air miles associated with this practice, eat locally and seasonally. The best way to introduce yourself to this way of eating is to visit your local farmers market or sign up for a local veg box scheme.
#3 Reduce your food waste
It is estimated as much as ⅓ of all food ends up being thrown away, but it doesn’t have to be this way! By reducing your food waste not only will you reduce your impact but you’ll save money too.
Here are some tips for reducing food waste:
- Freeze any leftovers you have
- Only shop for what you need and write a list to avoid deviating from that
- Store food correctly (not always refrigeration) to make sure it lasts as long as possible
- Try pickling and preserving
- Get creative with what’s left in your fridge
The textile and clothing industry is another hugely polluting industry, particularly when it comes to fast fashion. Not only this, but fast fashion is associated with unethical working conditions.
#4 Ditch fast fashion
Fast fashion is a hugely polluting industry. Producing mass amounts of clothes is hugely resource-intensive and the decomposition of the large proportion of un-bought and un-used clothes going to landfill results in a huge amount of greenhouse gases as they decompose.
A great alternative is to aim for a capsule wardrobe. This simple, minimalist approach to clothes makes sure you’re always in style whilst maintaining a low number of classic items – buy fewer clothes but make them last!
#5 Shop preloved
An easy addition to ditching fast fashion to supercharge your efforts is to shop vintage and preloved clothing. Not only will you help save clothing from going to landfill but it’s often a cheaper alternative to buying brand-new.
It can be hard to tell just how polluting and resource-intensive your house is but here are some small things you can do!
#6 Unplug electronics
Your electronics can still draw on power when on standby or switched off. Instead, unplug items or switch them off at the socket to make sure they’re not draining excess electricity.
#7 Switch to LED bulbs
LED bulbs are certainly more expensive than traditional filament bulbs. Fortunately they use 75% less electricity and can last up to 25 times longer making them an essential eco switch at home!
#8 Turn down the temperature
Turning down your thermostat and your washing machine temperature can seriously reduce the amount of electricity you use.
Remember, most electricity supplied to households results from burning fossil fuels, so reducing your electricity consumption will indirectly reduce your carbon footprint!
Whilst we’re on that subject…
#9 Switch to a green energy provider
As many countries vow to reduce their emissions in line with the Paris Agreement a rise in renewable energy sources has been seen. With this, many alternative energy providers are now providing energy solely from renewable sources.
If you’re interested in learning more about how you can both switch to cheaper, fairer and more environmentally-friendly energy and support your community in doing so, check out the Citizens UK Fair Energy Campaign, as well as how student group King’s 4 Change is supporting the campaign at King’s.
Transport represents one of the biggest contributors to greenhouse gases resulting from human activities, specifically car and plane travel. Let’s look at the alternatives.
#10 Drive less
Driving less is a great way to cut your emissions. Try cycling or public transport as an alternative to your morning commute. Not only will this reduce CO2 emissions but also other harmful pollutants.
#11 Try staycations
Air travel is another hugely polluting industry. Avoiding unnecessary flights by going by train when possible or opting for a local staycation is a great way to cut down on emissions.
#12 Get involved!
Sign petitions, go to protests, engage on social media, and share with your peers and community. Use your voice and use your vote!
Do you have any other tips for reducing your carbon footprint at home? Comment down below and let us know your favourites!