As the world warms, extreme weather events are becoming more frequent and intense, sea levels are rising, prolonged droughts are putting pressure on food crops, and many animal and plant species are being driven to extinction.
While significant changes need to happen on a larger scale from organisations and businesses, it is good to know we can make small changes in our life to reduce our global footprint. Here are a few ways you can help:
‘Green’ your commute
The benefits of riding into work rather than driving or using public transport are numerous, the most obvious being the cost-saving and health benefits. Cycling is among a selection of forms of exercise recommended by the NHS as being healthy ways to cut your risk of developing major illnesses such as heart disease and cancer.
Bike riding also uses minimal fossil fuels and is a pollution-free mode of transport. Cycling 10 km each way to work would save 1500 kg of greenhouse gas emissions each year. So why not give cycling to work a go! If you can’t cycle in, why not try getting public transport or joining a car share?
Use energy wisely
You can make small energy efficient changes in your home that will add up. You can also save money too! Try:
- Changing to energy-efficient light bulbs.
- Unpluging computers, TVs and other electronics when you are not using them.
- Wash clothes in cold or warm (not hot) water.
- Hang dry your washing instead of using a dryer.
- Choose energy efficient appliances.
- Ensure lights are not switched on in rooms that are empty.
Eat less meat
The single most effective action you can take to combat climate change is to stop eating meat. Just limiting your meat consumption can make a huge difference. Greenhouse gas emissions from agribusiness are an even bigger problem than fossil fuels.
Red meat is particularly to blame, consuming 11 times more water and producing five times more emissions than its poultry counterparts. You don’t have to become a vegetarian, but eating meat less frequently will significantly help the environment. To get 500g of beef, it takes over 22730 litres of water – as the number one consumer of freshwater in the world, animal agriculture is drastically increasing the problem of water scarcity.
Plant some flowers!
Whether you live in a house or a flat, planting some greens is a quick and easy way to reduce your carbon footprint. Plants absorb carbon dioxide, so plant some bee friendly flowers, herbs or a vegetable garden!