Lose a Few Pounds of Carbon
Earth Day 2021 looked a little different this year as we are now over a year into the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the world collectively staying at home for a majority of the year, greenhouse gas emissions dropped by only 7% in 2020, mostly due to lower use of oil for road and aviation transportation.
As climate change becomes more and more daunting as the years go by, it’s easy to feel helpless as an individual when 100 companies are responsible for 71% of global emissions. One of the most important parts of mitigating climate change is breaking the notion that big changes from corporations are the only levels of progress we can have. You can easily make changes in your daily life that may not feel huge in terms of impact, but are still working towards individual goals you can set your yourself.
Here at AIQUEOUS we focus on our #growthmindset, and we’ve looked for new daily practices you can try until Earth Day 2022.
Parting with Plastics
The first option is limiting your plastic usage by converting to reusable water bottles, straws, or sandwich bags. To measure your progress, we found this Plastic Footprint Calculator (we’re #datadriven, remember?) where you can trace your plastic use day after day. Being more mindful about using reusable products translates into week after week progress where you can see the amount of plastic you’re using go down. Since plastic has a hefty carbon footprint, reducing the demand for plastic on an individual level will make a big difference on greenhouse gas emissions in addition to environmental and public health benefits.
Lower your Carbon Density
Another tip for mitigating climate change on the individual level is to ditch carbon dense activities. Telecommuting during the COVID-19 pandemic has been shown to have played a part in helping fight climate change. If your office is still allowing virtual work as more people are becoming vaccinated, consider continuing to work remotely for two or three days a week.
As this summer is approaching, you can also make big impacts in your lawn-care practices at home by switching to electric powered lawn mowers and leaf blowers. Electric lawn care equipment provides significant carbon reductions (here in Austin, where renewable energy mix can be as high as 50%, the carbon reduction benefits can be enormous), and they are 2/3 quieter than diesel-powered equipment.
Temptation Bundling – Victories for Vegetables
Temptation bundling is a way to #havefun while creating climate-change related behavior changes. This strategy combines something you like to do with something that you should do to help habits stick and to mitigate climate change. An example of this could be practicing “Meatless Monday’s” and eating more plant-based meals while rewarding yourself with something you want to do.
As we’re nearing the start of outdoor grilling season, it’s important to think about the environmental impacts your hamburger has. The animal agriculture industry is the second-leading cause of human-produced greenhouse gas emissions and a leading cause of deforestation, pollution, and biodiversity loss. One study showed that the average American’s beef consumption produces almost 2,000 pounds of CO2 emissions annually. Replacing beef with plants would reduce that amount by 96%. The production of one 1/3-pound burger requires 660 gallons of water and emits as much greenhouse gas as a 200-mile drive.
Next time you swap that hamburger for a beyond burger, or turn your BLT into a TLT (see recipe here, they’re awesome), reward yourself by watching an episode of your favorite show that you only watch after a vegetarian meal. Or, if it is hot out at that vegetarian BBQ, reward yourself by running through the sprinkler.
Commit to a Small Change This Year
For more tips on how to be more environmentally friendly in your daily life, check out these seven ways to reduce your carbon footprint. Another great resource if you want a general baseline for where you’re starting in your individual climate change mitigation journey, check out this footprint calculator to see how many earths we would need if everyone lived a similar life to yours.