It’s impossible to ignore the growing sense of urgency surrounding climate change. Indeed, with campaigns led by high profile figures such as Greta Thunberg and David Attenborough, public engagement in environmental affairs has never been higher.
Encouragingly, many are keen to adopt more sustainable behaviors in an effort to reduce their carbon footprint. Indeed, the scale of the problem requires many of us to make meaningful, day-to-day changes. Integrating green behaviours into our daily routines is vital.
That said, some people can be unsure how they can take their sustainable living practices to the next level. There are many ways to reduce your carbon footprint individually, of course, and it needn’t be a dull chore. Here are some enjoyable ways to reduce your impact on the climate…
Get on your bike!
Cycling is a great hobby that keeps you healthy and reduces your carbon footprint. Especially when done in groups, it can open up the great outdoors in a way that makes you feel great – as a bonus, it is one of the cheaper hobbies to take up! With the number of cycle lanes always increasing, and with many urban centres now being pedestrianised – not to mention the introduction of congestion charges – there’s never been a better time to start pedaling.
Buying something for a loved one? Whatever you’re planning on giving them, make sure it’s something they definitely want! Of course, this isn’t always straightforward, but apps like WhatWeWant can help, as they allows the gift-receiver to enter their desired gift, before getting their friends and family to pitch in to buy it. This is especially worthwhile for presents that are a bit more expensive; by pooling funds, you can afford to buy a present that the recipient will truly value. And remember, gifts don’t need to be objects — the rise of the experiential gift market means there’s tons of options to pick from. Research shows that many people prefer experiences over material gifts, so consider a diving lesson or a spa trip the next time there’s an upcoming birthday.
On a similar note, if you are in the unfortunate position of receiving a gift that you don’t want, don’t feel too guilty for regifting it. After all, one fifth (20%) of people who receive unwanted gifts throw them straight in bin – that’s a shocking amount of waste. Regifting is an excellent and pertinent example of re-use, which not only reduces demand for the production of more presents, but also alleviates the burden on landfills.
Give plants a try
It’s impossible to ignore the wave of veganism sweeping across the UK – especially now that January has been dubbed Veganuary. There’re swathes of data that shows that ditching meat (or at least cutting down on your intake) has a hugely positive effect on the environment; and with so many firms now introducing tasty vegetarian and vegan options, it couldn’t be easier to experiment with a plant-based diet. It takes 5,000 gallons of water to make one pound of beef — something to perhaps bear in mind before ordering a double cheeseburger! If it seems like too much of a tall order, going flexitarian and just trying to reduce your meat intake will also help hugely.
Do an energy audit
Don’t let the term ‘audit’ put you off – cutting back on energy use at home is actually pretty easy! First, take a look at your appliances. Are you boiling the kettle with too much water? Leaving your phone plugged in even when it’s fully charged? Failing to turn the lights off when you leave a room? Simply remembering to make these kinds of changes will help reduce your carbon footprint. Even small changes like installing a low-flow shower head or lowering your thermostat by a few degrees can make a massive difference!
ByYiannis Faf, co-founder of the crowd-gifting app, WhatWeWant. The app, which Yiannis created alongside his family, allows users to create a gift for an upcoming event for themselves, or for someone else. Users can contribute to gifts as well as notify their friends and family to contribute to their own gifts. Once enough has been raised, users simply use the money to buy their dream gift, cutting out a lot of stress, wasted money and unwanted gifts.
WhatWeWant is now available to download on iPhone and Android.