How has COVID 19 Changed your Carbon Footprint?

 

Photo by veeterzy on Unsplash

During the month of the Edinburgh Science Festival which, due to COVID 19 had to go digital, and we celebrate International Mother Earth Day, we at Greenteck Global reflect on the impact of the lock down on our Carbon Footprint.

As the impact of Global warming becomes ever more relevant and at the front of our Psyche, especially as we all navigate lock down, it will be interesting to see how our habits and routines change. Our ever-increasing collective thirst for ‘excess’ which has in the past been insatiable and clearly negatively impacting our landscape,  planet, polluting the air we breathe, affecting biodiversity and pushing our climate ever deeper into crisis, has suddenly ground to a halt as we hunker down and ‘stay home’.

The average person in the UK produces around 10 tons of CO2 per year in the UK. If you add in the carbon footprint of products and services from overseas this total rises closer to 15 tons per person per year.  These carbon footprints are among the highest in the world, driven by our high standard of living and the fact that we consume much more than the global average.  

The UK as a whole has signed up to being net carbon neutral by 2050, Scotland has signed up to being net carbon neutral by 2045 and the wider world needs to follow suit. If it was clear before lock down that there was/is a want to avoid heating the planet by any more than the 1.5 degree global target, each and every one of us needs to reduce their carbon footprint, and quickly. The Lock down has forced us to manage and cope without the excessive use of transport, grounded planes, reduction of any kind of travel and perhaps therefore created a mindset to look closer to home for the daily needs, if nothing else because outside of the needs, the wants CAN’T happen.

If lock down can help us modify our excesses, think closer to home, travel only if necessary, change our mindset to understand the difference between need and want, could we actually achieve what 2 months ago would have been deemed to be a ‘big ask’?

According to the United Nations, we need to reduce by 30% by 2025; that 10 tons per person has to reduce to 6.6 tons.  In the current climate, this feels much more achievable…. doesn’t it? so where do you start….or should I say continue?

Photo by Dan Meyers on Unsplash

10 Actions to CONTINUE to Combat Climate Change  

Combating climate change begins at home, and we are all very familiar with home right now. We can all play an important part in this and learn from the necessity of Lock down. Here are some tips that Edinburgh Science Director and CEO, Dr Simon Gage, shares on how you can continue to help combat the climate emergency. 

  1. Fly less: Cut back on long-haul flights and don’t take short flights if you can get there in a day by public transport. One return trip from Edinburgh to Sydney can produce five tonnes of carbon dioxide per economy passenger, while a return trip to New York racks up 1.5 tons. These are huge numbers compared to your annual footprint of 10–15 tonnes. 

2. Consume less: Buy fewer things (buy second hand or choose things that will really last) and repair more. The climate crisis is a crisis of over-consumption, so try to consume less – buy fewer things, make things last, repair more, darn your socks, buy second hand and when you do need to buy something make it last.  

3. Green your commute and travel: Try to avoid driving to work – switch to public transport, cycling or walking. Better still, get rid of your car! Join a car club or switch to an electric vehicle as you can afford it.

4. Write to your MP and elected members to encourage them to do more: Encourage elected members to act on our behalf to green the economy and to legislate. Give them the confidence that we are ready for change, that we want and support change and they may act more boldly.  

5. Encourage your employer, school or college to set carbon reduction goals: Ask the place you work or study what plans they have to reduce their carbon footprint in line with the national targets. Working from home seems to be a good place to start, even for some of the time. Write to the boss and if they don’t have a plan encourage them to make one or perhaps you could even help them devise one

6. Eat less meat: The production of meat produces much more carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases than growing vegetables. If you eat more vegetable-based meals and reduce meat, you are reducing your carbon footprint. 

7. Reduce your energy use at home and switch to a green energy supplier: Switch to low energy bulbs, wash clothes on low temperature settings, install smart radiator controllers, only heat rooms that are needed – when they are needed – and get a modern condensing boiler. Switch your energy supplier to one that produces its own renewable energy; by doing so you will help expand the supply of renewable energy.

8. Spend and invest to influence how businesses behave towards the environment: One of your super powers is where you chose to spend your money. Spend it with companies that are behaving well for the environment and avoid ones that are not. If you have the time, give feedback to companies that could do better – where you spend your money matters to them.  

9. Support young and old who are protesting about this emergency: It is appropriate to describe climate change as a real emergency, so protest and if you can’t or don’t want to, support those that do.  

10. Talk about it – be proud of the changes you are making: By talking to friends, family and colleagues about the changes you are making to reduce your carbon footprint you make it easier for others to change too. Every single person needs to change how they lead their lives, so let’s not be afraid to talk about it.  

Given the current continued lock down, we have managed most, if not all of these and in turn given the planet a chance to take a long period of deep breaths. If we are to learn something from this global pandemic, it could be the ability to manage our carbon footprint and make better choices about our daily routine which could act as a catalyst to adjust our behaviour to put our planet first…..here’s hoping!

If you want to understand your personal carbon footprint before and after, follow the link below…..the difference really resonates!

https://footprint.wwf.org.uk/#/

to learn more about the Edinburgh Science festival and it fabulous work, click here: https://www.sciencefestival.co.uk/