In December 2015, the world united when 196 nations (now 195 because the United States withdrew from the agreement) agreed to limit global warming to below 2°C. These are the Paris agreements. This may seem like a difficult task, but everyone, as an individual, can make a contribution. Here are 5 choices that everyone can adopt in favour of the environment:
3 R’s – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
The amount of waste generated each day is incredibly high. We live in a disposable society: everything is over-packaged, the use of disposable plastic items is encouraged and we cannot sort our waste. One of the easiest ways to help limit global warming is to stop mass consumption. You have to start reusing: buy second-hand clothes and furniture, produce your own compost if you can and sort your waste. Source separation will lead to a higher recycling rate.
- Living without a car and in a city
By choosing to live without a car, you are not only helping the environment but also yourself. Changing from a combustion engine car to an electric model is not enough, because electricity production also pollutes! Use public transport and/or cycle. A good start is to choose to live in a city. It is more ecological to live in a city than in the countryside, because you do not need to take the car to get to the different destinations you want. That is why we need cities designed for pedestrians and not for cars.
Change your diet
Choosing to eat less meat is one of the best things you can do for the environment. Changing the power supply saves eight times more CO2 emissions than changing all the bulbs in your home to low-energy bulbs. This is a small change that everyone can make and it can have a big positive impact on slowing global warming. Reducing your meat consumption to once or twice a week can make a big difference.
Buy local products
Rather than buying your products from large industrialized farms, choose a more environmentally friendly option. Large farms often use pesticides and herbicides that pollute the surrounding water and land. Even some organic farms use methods that are not ecological or economically viable to maintain their label. Ideally, we should opt for agro-ecological products. This means that agro-ecological farmers are struggling to create stable food production systems that resist environmental disasters such as global warming.
Avoid transatlantic flights as much as possible
A transatlantic flight is equivalent (in terms of energy) to leaving the electric hobs on for a whole year. In order to meet the Paris agreements, we must limit our carbon footprint to 2.1 tCO2 per year and per person. A transatlantic flight emits 2.4 tCO2 per person, so one flight depletes your carbon “budget” for a whole year! This does not mean that we must stop travelling, but rather that we need to rethink our way of life and adapt it to the new environmental constraints posed by global warming.
If you want to know your carbon footprint and how life would be in a world where the temperature increase is below 2°C, visit My ecologic backpack. Soulcial Trust’s Green Influence program works to inform about the environment and how an individual or company can make a difference in preserving the planet.