We all know reducing your carbon footprint is important and you’ve probably heard & read a lot about the topic; but how often is it really discussed? And how much are each of us actually doing?
If you’re at the kind of parties & get-togethers we’re at, the answer is rarely, if at all. And it’s not really hard to understand why. We’re just not comfortable discussing the things we're not doing or struggling to achieve.
So back to the basics, what is a carbon footprint?
According to the dictionary “the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere as a result of the activities of a particular individual, organisation or community.” So Carbon Dioxide, what is that? “a heavy colorless gas that is formed by burning fuels, by the breakdown or burning of animal and plant matter, and by the act of breathing and that is absorbed from the air by plants in photosynthesis” And “Exposure to CO2 can produce a variety of health effects. These may include headaches, dizziness, restlessness, a tingling or pins or needles feeling, difficulty breathing, sweating, tiredness, increased heart rate, elevated blood pressure, coma, asphyxia, and convulsions”
But why is it so important? I mean, other than simply creating a healthier environment for you, you also slow down the stress this does to our environment. But where do we even stand?
An average person here in the UK, uses 14.1 tonnes per year, a number like this does not say much. So let us just compare ourselves to our fellow brothers and sisters here on the Green plant, and this average is like twice as small (ieks) and comes down to 4.6 tonnes per person.
As we are now comparing pears and apples with each other, interesting is to look at the largest contributors to our usage, and that top 2 is; food & consumption.
So how to reduce YOUR carbon footprint? Let first see where we personally stand. Be prepared to get uncomfortable as you confess and measure your own personal carbon footprint.
Here are two of our faves; first, is a very intuitive WWF calculator & second, a thorough & very complete calculator
Going through this exercise ourselves, it became clear that our own low hanging fruit was new clothes & new furniture. Being mindful when traveling by car, seek to take a train. Buy locally produced food (check labels!) And be kind to timeless piece in your wardrobe, to enjoy them even longer! As both founders, Lyndsay and Annemarie, are just finishing renovation projects and have babies on the way (which are literally due a couple of days apart….crazy!). We have taken on the challenge of buying secondhand where possible and feasible, and only shopping consciously (plastic-free where possible, natural ingredients and sustainable brands). Minimise production of new goods, especially fast fashion, that after a couple of months create more waste.
Also your diet can have a big impact, not eating meat every night, does so much! And enough delicious meals
If you want to be trendy, and we cannot blame you, some items just only belong to one season (and you can just put them away for the next 20 years and the trend comes back again…) Maybe someone can start a clothing librarby like in Amsterdam, LENA?
Or just, and that is what we do, lend clothes to each other, drop a message in one of your girl chats and see what you can find :)
If you might house a little hoarder in you, and you want to channel it by getting more and more clothes, see if you can at least find fair produced clothes. Promise that they will make you feel very good about your purchase! And that inner glow reflects in the mirror, happy bl**dy days!!
So yes, your carbon footprint is tres important and we all have a responsibility to reduce ours where we can. But it doesn’t have to be life changing, why not start making small changes that have a big impact. And if it helps, we’ve often found these small changes can have a positive effect on your wallet - except of course if you’re thinking to insulate your walls or install double-glazing - now that will cost you more - it’s not to say these things are not important but lets focus on what’s achievable and what feasible for each of us.
Unless we find a way to turn our carbon emissions into unicorn farts (that glitter) we all have a responsibility to do our bit and make the small changes that have a difference on the world around us.
Ps. more tips on reducing your carbon footprint can be found with FutureLearn or the cool Wired they both got you covered!