Many people make a New Year’s Resolution to be more eco-friendly, but then don’t follow it up. However, no matter what Kermit the frog says, it IS easy being green!
Lots of people believe that you have to make big changes to save the planet. And of course, while those changes are incredibly beneficial, you don’t have to move into a yurt and become a goat herder just yet!
In fact, there are many small changes that can make a BIG diﬀerence to your carbon footprint. And every little helps!
If you can’t summon the motivation to make a big change, it’s better that you do some of these little things, than nothing at all.
What Is Climate Change?
Climate change is when the atmospheric temperature of the planet rises incrementally over time. Human activities (in particular, burning fossil fuels) erodes the ozone layer, which is the layer of oxygen and other gases which protects our atmosphere from UV rays.
This, in conjunction with the ‘smothering’ eﬀect created by Carbon Dioxide (CO2) and methane gases, causes the temperature of the planet to rise. If climate change is not halted in its tracks soon, it will result in the extinction of many, and potentially all, species of life on Earth.
- The planet’s levels of greenhouse gases currently are at the highest they have been in 2 million years – and they are still on the rise.
- The overall temperature on Earth has risen by 1°C since the 1800s.
- 2010-2020 was the warmest decade on record.
- The impacts of climate change, such as droughts, fires, lack of clean water, flooding will cause many people to be displaced from their homes, causing an increase in climate refugees. By 2100, there could be as many as 200 million climate change refugees.
- If we do not make enough changes soon, the temperature is expected to rise by as much as 4°C by the end of the Century. This could mean that by 2100, temperatures in the Middle East may be unfit for human life.
So What Can I Do About It?
While, of course, a lot of global warming is driven by industry, we are also the consumers supporting those industries. We cannot evade discussion of climate change by pretending that it is simply ‘not our problem’.
Some countries are more responsible than others; the top ten countries contributing to climate change are responsible for as much as 68% of CO2 emissions, while the 100 that emit the least CO2 are responsible for just 3%.
We all play our part in our nation’s CO2 emissions, and by simply cutting down on a few key habits, you can make a diﬀerence too.
Here is our simple, easy to follow guide about how to reduce your CO2 emissions – with as little eﬀort as possible.
- Shop Responsibly
No, this doesn’t mean you have to wait for the farmers market each Thursday and drive out to the back end of nowhere just to get your weekly fruit and veg.
The options for ethical and sustainable shopping have improved endlessly in the past decade. Now, it is easy to find fruit and vegetable deliveries from local farms and ethical clothing shops both online and on the high street; even larger supermarkets are ditching international imports in exchange for local, homegrown produce.
While, of course, there are always pricier brands on the organic market, there are many ways you can actually save money by going eco-friendly. Buying only what you need and reducing food waste is a great way to ensure that not only are you reducing your air miles, but that you are saving money too.
Changing your supermarket may also help you to save money by going greener; for example, Lidl has an initiative for backing British farmers where possible, and most of their loose fruit and vegetables are organic.
In fact, Lidl is one of the top two greenest supermarkets, with the other (and more pricey option) being Waitrose.
There is also an endless variety of eco-friendly and sustainable shops online. You can now choose from recycled clothing, zero-waste shops, organic shops, and vegan brands. Why not have a look and see which solution feels best for you and your lifestyle?
Another important change you can make to your shopping habits is where you buy your clothes.
Oxfam released some shocking statistics about the impact of fast fashion on the planet: just one white shirt bought from a fast-fashion chain can release the same amount of emissions as driving 35 miles in a car. And two tonnes of clothing are bought in the UK at any time, releasing 50 tonnes of CO2 – equivalent to 162,000 miles by car.
The obvious solution is to buy local and second hand. And your local charity shop will also help to put your money to a good cause. But if you don’t have the time to trawl the charity shops, you can also buy (or sell) second-hand clothing locally online, on websites such as eBay, Facebook Marketplace, or Etsy.
- Car Share
Save money and the planet by taking a car share where possible! It halves your CO2 emissions, and it’s a great opportunity to share a coﬀee and a natter before work.
This is also a great option if there are no suitable trains or buses in your area, or if the thought of taking public transport causes you diﬃculty or anxiety. By taking a lift with a friend, you can have on-hand assistance and emotional support, all while being more eco-friendly and sociable!
- Be LAZY!
By putting oﬀ your dishes and simply loading the dishwasher instead of washing them in the sink, you can save water and energy. Believe it or not, your dishwasher is actually more water eﬃcient than washing by hand!
Similarly, if every household simply washed their clothes just once less per week, the UK could save 840,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions per year. And incredibly, even just one load of washing at 30°C releases 600g of CO2.
Reducing the amount you mow the lawn can also help to save the planet, by allowing bees to pollinate more easily. This helps to ensure natural biodiversity and spread plants which help to release oxygen and absorb CO2 from the environment.
- Remember The Bathroom!
Bathroom products account for only 50% of items recycled, and binned bathroom waste accounts for 30-40% of landfill waste.
By placing a recycling bin in your bathroom, you can ensure that you lessen your carbon footprint, simply by placing your empty containers in the correct bin.
Using reusable products also helps to reduce not just waste, but also energy spent on the recycling process, and materials from the next product you would otherwise have bought.
Consider switching your razor for an electric shaver, use washable face cloths instead of makeup wipes, and replacing sanitary items with alternatives like menstrual cups or washable sanitary towels.
- Get Creative!
Going green isn’t just easy – it can be a lot of fun too!
By learning to make your own cosmetics, household products, and foods, you can have fun, de-stress, nurture your creative spirit, save money, AND reduce your carbon footprint!
Why not get creative and learn a new skill today? You might just find something you enjoy!
Check out Skillshare to find a wide variety of free crafting classes that you can do from home!