These days climate change and global warming seem to be in the news on an almost daily basis. When we go about our daily activities, all of us leave our own carbon footprint on our planet, mainly from greenhouse gas emissions, including carbon dioxide (Co2), methane and nitrous oxide.
Gas emissions trap heat in the atmosphere, which in turn causes global warming, a disturbing aspect of climate change. According to the Deep Carbonization Pathways Project, we need to limit our per capita average annual carbon footprint to 1.87 tons by 2050 in order to hold the global temperature rise to 2˚C or below.
To put that into perspective, a report issued by Our World in Data in October 2019 revealed that Australia has an average per capita footprint of a whopping 17 tonnes (that’s higher that the USA and Canada, and more than three times the global average of 4.8 tonnes).
The vast majority of greenhouse gas emissions are caused by industry, but all of us have a role to play when it comes to contributing towards reducing our carbon footprint. Here’s how:
1. Reduce your meat consumption
While this may be difficult to tackle because us Aussies do love our beef and lamb, reducing your consumption of red meat will help to reduce your carbon footprint tremendously. The production of red meat is very resource-intensive, using a lot of food, water and land, and cows emit plenty of methane gas every day, which is one of the most harmful greenhouse gasses. For these reasons alone, a vegetarian or a pescatarian diet is better for the environment. According to the journal Environmental Research Letters, the impact of red meat on the environment is 100 times more than the impact of plant-based foods. Beef, for example, gives off more than 6 pounds (2.7 kilograms) of carbon dioxide per single serving, while it’s only half a pound (227 grams) per single serving of plant-based food. So, maybe it’s time to cut back on the meat and start checking out some vegan alternatives.
2. Drive less
An average car can produce about 6 tons of CO2 each year. This varies according to how you drive your car, its fuel efficiency, and the type of car, but however you drive, your vehicle is a major source of CO2 emissions. You’ll reduce your carbon footprint if you switch to public transport, rideshare or carpool. Even better, jump on your bike or take a walk if the distance isn’t too far - you’ll not only help your environment, you’re keep yourself fit and healthy too.
3. Reduce your energy usage at home
Your home is perhaps the place where you have the most control of your carbon footprint. Heating and cooling our homes accounts for 40% of energy use, and if you regulate the temperature in your home, you’ll help to reduce emissions. When it’s cold outside, try layering up or snuggling under a blanket, and if you really need heat, only switch on the heater in the rooms you need, and just for a short time. During summer, draw blinds or curtains to block direct sunlight, open the windows, and dress lightly.
4. Stop wasting food
Did you know that growing, processing, transporting, and storing food products all use a lot of energy that contributes to emissions? And did you also know that when you waste food, its organic matters rot and release methane, a more deadly gas than Carbon Dioxide? So, if you want to reduce your carbon footprint, stop wasting food. Plan your meals and cook only what you need, and if you can’t eat it all, keep your leftovers in the fridge for another day. You won’t just reduce food waste and help to save the planet; you’ll also save some cash!
5. Know your carbon footprint
Calculating your carbon footprint enables you to understand what aspect of your lifestyle produces the most carbon emissions. From there, you can start planning how to take the necessary steps that will reduce your carbon footprint. Carbon calculators are easily available for free online - check out CNCF's or Carbon Neutral's.
If you want to reduce your carbon footprint, the best time to start doing it is now. While following our 5 easy steps may be simple, they probably also mean a change to your lifestyle, and that can put a strain on your budget. But don’t worry, we’re here to help. Just take a look at our flexible cash loans from $1,000 to find out how quick and easy it is to get your hands on some extra funds. Once a loan is approved, we can usually deposit the cash into your bank account within a few hours - so you can change your lifestyle now, while there’s still time to save the planet!