Easy, impactful actions you can take today to lower your carbon footprint

Every day, the news carries stories about climate change and how we are headed for a catastrophe if we don’t take action now. Last month, the UN published a new report on climate changehighlighting the need for immediate changes if we want to maintain global warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius, which I think we all do as the alternative is dire… 

It is clear that we need more pro-environmental regulations in a whole host of areas including fashion, yet most politicians seem more concerned about their own careers than the welfare of the planet and future generations. 

Long time ago, I reached the conclusion that the fight against climate change has to be driven by us – normal citizens - as well as businesses.

Thankfully, while regulation would definitely make things a lot easier, there’s a lot we can do as individuals to lower our carbon footprints significantly with little effort required. 

In this blog post, I will share some easy, impactful actions you can take today to make a real difference. Read on and find out how to reduce your carbon footprint.

1. ENERGY – switch to a green energy provider

Long term, reduced usage on fossil fuels for electricity and heating will have the biggest positive impact on climate change due to high carbon emissions. If you can do only one thing, this is it!

Long term, reduced usage on fossil fuels for electricity and heating will have the biggest positive impact on climate change due to high carbon emissions. If you can do only one thing, this is it!

Check if your energy provider is supplying energy from renewable sources and, if not, switch supplier.  You can use a comparison website, such as Moneysupermarket (but remember that they take a commission if you use them to switch) to compare prices and find the best deal. It may well be that you can save money in the process too! Learn more about switching energy supplier here.

Using electricity and heating sparingly will also help, of course.

2. DIET – eat less meat and dairy

Short term, a reduction in methane gas emissions can help slow down global warming considerably. One of the biggest contributors to methane gasses is livestock, which is why, on an individual level, eating less meat will have a big positive impact.

Try gradually introducing more vegetarian or fish meals during the week. Aim to substitute one or two of weekly meals with a  vegetarian or fish option if you’re not ready to go all in yet (I’ll be honest; I am not ready to give up meat entirely, but I am eating significantly less meat these days) and go from there.

3. TRAVEL – cut back on air travel

Although air travel usually brings fond memories of lovely holidays, there’s no denying that it is also incredibly polluting. If there was/is one good thing about the Covid-19 pandemic, it is the decrease in air travel and increase in virtual meetings as a result of the restrictions. (I wonder if we’ll see similar restrictions in the future if we fail to halt climate change!)

If you were a pre-pandemic frequent business traveller, try sticking with the virtual meetings whenever possible. It’s no longer cool to rack up airmiles – on the contrary. 

The same goes for holidays; try limiting the number of flights you take by using other modes of transport and/or staying closer to home...and if you do fly, consider offsetting your emissions either through the airline or an organisation such as Climate Care.

4. BANKING & PENSIONS – change your bank or pension fund

The investment portfolio of many banks and pension funds includes fossil fuel companies or businesses who are otherwise unsustainable, so this is a biggie.

Check what your bank and/or pension fund (if you have a private pension) is investing in – and if they haven’t made any headway in terms of changing their portfolio to support a rapid transition to renewable energy, consider switching to another provider. That way you won’t inadvertently end up sponsoring the fossil fuel industry.  You can check how your bank, energy provider and pension fund is doing in terms of sustainable investments here.

5. FOOD – eat organic and locally grown food

Choose organically grown vegetables to help minimise soil and water pollution, as well as increase biodiversity. It’s likely better for your health too. 

And whenever possible eat locally produced food to cut down on transportation. I’m always amazed at how far some of the things we can buy in the supermarket have travelled. If you are worried about your finances, start small with the organic products that are more accessible such as carrots.

6. FASHION – choose clothing that’s made from eco-friendlier materials

And finally, choose wisely when you buy new clothing. Look for Tencel, organic cotton or recycled/upcycled fibres. More than half of all fashion is made using virgin polyester, which is essentially virgin plastic made from fossil fuels. Another big chunk is made from conventional cotton, one of the world’s dirtiest crops grown using vast amounts of pesticides.

There are lots of cool brands on the market offering clothing made from organic and recycled fibres. And you won’t have to compromise on style or quality - VILDNIS is proof of that :-) 

I hope I have inspired you to make some quick changes today that will have a lasting, positive impact on future generations – and that you in turn will inspire your family, neighbours, colleagues and friends to do the same. 

We have a genuine opportunity to halt climate change if we take action now. Let’s not waste it. 

Ulla

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