Psychologists say it takes three weeks to form a ‘habit’, so we’ve found 10 easy steps you can take to reduce your carbon footprint and help in the fight against climate change.
MEAT FREE MONDAY: It takes 2,500 gallons of water to produce a single pound of beef as well as the destruction of 55 sq feet of forest for every hamburger. By reducing meat consumption, even by one day a week, this figure can be greatly reduced. The movement, created by the McCartney’s, believes that ‘One day a week can make a world of difference’ and celebrity chefs, such as Jamie Oliver, are supporting the campaign, making it easier to cook great food that doesn’t require meat.
BE WATER SMART: Water makes up 72% of the Earth’s surface so reducing your consumption is paramount to helping climate change. Leaving the tap on whilst brushing your teeth, for example, uses the equivalent of four gallons of water per minute; or 200 gallons a week for a family of four. In the UK several water boards are providing water-saving devices, such as showerheads and timers.
SWITCH TO REUSABLE: A staggering 2.5 billion coffee cups are thrown away each year in the UK and only 1 in 400 are recycled. By having and reusing your own, you’re not just helping the environment, often many coffee shops offer discounts too!
REDUCE FOOD WASTE: Did you know that an alarming 40% of our food supply goes straight in the bin? But more concerning of all is the amount of resource needed from farm to folk and beyond. Huge amounts of water and energy are needed to create the food in the first place and then to dispose of it. Buying only what you need can massively reduce your carbon footprint as well as your wallet.
CONTINUE WALKING: Air pollution in capital cities is at an all-time high and is the cause of considerable health issues, with 23% of annual carbon emissions coming from transport. During the coronavirus pandemic the UK has become more accustomed to walking, which has meant that air pollution has seen a huge decrease, it’s important that we continue to only use our cars for necessary trips once lockdown is lifted.
LOWER THE TEMPERATURE: Washing clothes at 30°C uses around 40% less electricity over the course of a year so you save money, energy and the planet by doing the same. If every household in the US reduced their water temperature for washing, it could save the equivalent of 100,000 barrels of oil per day.
UNPLUG YOUR DEVICES: You might be surprised to learn that all electronics consume energy when they’re plugged in, even if they’re powered down. In the U.S. alone, ‘vampire power’ is responsible for draining up to $19 billion in energy every year, so pledge to leave your electronics unplugged at all times.
GO PAPERLESS: Wasting paper can have a harmful impact on the environment in so many ways. It might also shock you to know that it takes an average of five litres of water to produce one A4 piece of paper. Switch to paperless banking and utilities to save even more time and paper.
BRING YOUR OWN BAG: Plastic products have a huge environmental impact – with the greenhouse gas emissions potentially exceeding 56 gigatons by 2050 if we do not reduce our plastic use. One-use plastic bags never completely break down, they are difficult to recycle and can seriously harm wildlife and marine life.
BUY LOCALLY: Coronavirus has seen a reduction in globalisation – businesses operating on an international scale – and has placed a strong need to buy locally. Whilst sometimes more expensive, buying locally often results in better quality products. Buying foods seasonally is equally important, as buying products out of season can mean higher carbon footprints due to the shipment of products from other countries or using artificial means to grow produce.