Big Picture for Small Footprints
“Understanding your carbon footprint is the first step to reducing it.”
There’s a lot of practical and inspiring stuff on how to look at and what to do about our carbon footprint:
Big Picture for Small Footprints
Understanding your carbon footprint is the first step to reducing it.
Photo credit: image courtesy of @ wilkinssafety.co.uk
Hand in hand with the launch of the Carbon Savers course this week, we are running a ten-month email series covering the journey to achieving a small and happy carbon footprint. For some readers this will be new material and for others we hope a useful refresher. This, the first of the series, starts with the why, what and how of carbon footprints.
Why measure my footprint?
A personal carbon footprint is the overall CO2 emissions of one’s lifestyle. It includes your travel, products and goods, food, leisure and holidays, home energy use, and a share of the CO2 emissions from our national infrastructure of health, education and defence.
The national footprint is the sum total of our individual footprints, so each of us can play an equal part in reducing it. The best first step is to take five minutes to measure our initial carbon footprint and set our baseline, then we can get the satisfaction of watching it shrink as a result of our efforts. Fun and fulfilment are key to success on the path to net zero – so keep your quality of life in mind. Many actions that save CO2 also make you happier, healthier and wealthier.
We could try to reduce our footprint as fast as possible, but the danger of this approach is that we might start feeling guilty about all our daily activities. That’s why we recommend just aiming to reduce your footprint by 8% per year. If you beat the target, you feel even better. This way, once you’ve decided on one or two big actions or a few small ones, you can enjoy coffee from Columbia, papayas from Papua and cava from Catalunya without any guilt.
The fastest and easiest ways to save CO2 are different for everyone, so leave any areas that seem difficult for future years, as our lives change over time. Here are some example easy wins:
- Taking one less flight is probably the fastest way to save CO2. Train trips can be more enjoyable and local holidays less stressful – Saving potential: 1 tonne of CO2 per year
- Switching to an outstanding renewable electricity company such as Good Energy, Ecotricity, or Octopus Energy is an easy win – Saving potential: 1 tonne of CO2 per year
- Buying local grass-fed meat and organic food. Although it can cost more up front, it supports UK farmers and can improve your long-term health – Saving potential: 1 tonne of CO2 per year
What’s in it for me?
The best way to save carbon is to try things out and see if they deliver on quality of life. For example, buy one really high-quality, long-lasting household appliance and see whether the longer shelf life and better performance feels worth it after a year. Sample local organic vegetables for a week and test how much you enjoy eating them. Take a convenient train trip instead of driving, and see how it makes your day feel. And of course, try out the Quality of Life calculator on our website! A quarter of a century of experience has shown us low-carbon living is more satisfying and healthy.
Carbon saving on a plate
Experience the Carbon Savers Course and its delightfully light, 15 minute sessions – it’s open for groups and organisations here with individual access available soon – watch this space.
Next month: Home Energy – How to save on heating and help the planet
Happy Carbon Saving,
Mukti and the Carbon Savvy team
Gold Standard Carbon Removals
Carbon Savvy has teamed up with JustCarbon to source reliable carbon removals – supporting projects that are actively reducing CO2 levels in the atmosphere. Read more about why these are an important part of the effort to mitigate climate change in this article: Carbon Removals & the global carbon budget. Purchase carbon removals below, to mitigate your emissions.
Carbon Savers Bite-sized CourseEverything you need to know to cut your footprint and raise your wellbeing in ten light, easy-listening sessions of 15 minutes each. Perfect to start a monthly meeting or for lunchtime-learning sessions. Starts October 1st – to see our preview video and book tickets, click below.
Carbon Ambassadors UncutThe definitive course for carbon communicators. Gain a complete understanding of the fastest, easiest ways to save CO2 with this flexi-learning course. Guest speakers include Mike Berners-Lee, Lord Richard Layard, Jane Davidson and Satish Kumar. Eight modules of 2 hours each.
“Mukti Mitchell is a fantastic presenter and his enthusiasm for a low carbon lifestyle is infectious!” –
Carbon Ambassadors Course 2022 – participant