The UK’s recent heatwave conditions have formed something of a reminder to the public of the dangers we face regarding climate change, as rising temperatures are attributed to the effects of carbon emissions. With the outlook bleak on a global scale, governments are jumping to action in an effort to reverse the damage done – but the burden isn’t theirs alone.
There are ways in which we as individuals can also make a positive impact on the environment, by making changes to our lives and habits in sustainable ways. Here are some of the simplest ways to bring sustainable practices into your day-to-day, and to mitigate your contributions to the climate emergency.
Cut Down on Food Waste
Food waste is a silent, yet considerably large contributor to greenhouse gas emissions globally. According to the UN, waste food ranks amongst the US and China for global emissions, the cumulative carbon cost of production, transportation and decay of waste foodstuffs accounting for nearly 10% of greenhouse gases.
Food waste is an unavoidable outcome in the vast majority of households, but there are ways to bring down your individual food waste burden. Pre-planning meals and shopping conservatively enables you to use everything in your fridge before it moulders, while cutting down on the number of takeaways you eat helps to encourage more cooking overall.
Address Your Lighting
Next up, you should reckon with your home’s energy usage. In the winter, heating would make up the vast majority of your expenditure – but in the summer, lighting takes over. Older incandescent filament bulbs are highly inefficient methods of lighting, as well over 90% of the energy used is dissipated as heat, not light.
In general, switching to LED bulbs can bring down your home’s energy usage significantly. You can also reduce your home’s energy cost when it comes to illuminating your garden by investing in solar lighting; rather than snaking power out from your home’s outlets, energy is harvested from the sun and no carbon is emitted.
Retail consumption also accounts for a significant degree of emissions when it comes to individual carbon footprints; modern consumer society is built around convenience, leading to the consumption and waste of countless products – and the build-up of plastic waste in the process.
Buy used reduces the burden on the environment, as less resources are used to produce new items and less pollution caused in their manufacture. This applies to electronics and items of furniture alike, and can help you forge a sustainable path with ease.
Make Do and Mend
In the same vein, the modern temptation when an item breaks or malfunctions is to replace it. But fixes and repairs are often simple, and only avoided due to inconvenience. The law has also recently changed when it comes to ‘right to repair’, giving individuals more rights over being able to fix their own consumer equipment.
Where possible, you should repair, or have repaired, items that have failed. This will disincentivise you from consuming further, and limit your impact on the environment as a result.
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