TOP TEN WAYS THAT YOU CAN ACT ON CLIMATE
Want to make the biggest climate difference that you can? Try to cut 1 ton or more of CO2 emissions from your lifestyle every year.
Consider one or more of these actions below (Ivanova et al., 2020). The figure shows the median carbon reduced from a given action per person per year. Not clear on what these actions mean? Check out the explanations below. And you can start on one action and not be perfect about it. For example, going meat-free just 3 days a week makes a big difference. If you want to learn more how to accelerate action, take our short course on Making Climate Solutions Happen, based on Project Drawdown's Climate Solutions101.
Working together, we can solve our climate crisis!
Source: Ivanova, D., Downing, C. and Eeles, A.K. 2020. Top ten tips for reducing your carbon footprint attracts international attention. Centre for Research into Energy Demand Solutions. Oxford, UK. CREDS case study. Available at CREDS. Also see: Ivanova et al. (2020) Quantifying the potential for climate change mitigation of consumption options. Envir. Res. Letters 15:093001
1. Live car-free. Live in an urban area close to major amenities? Try living car-free! But if that’s not feasible in your area, (and we get it - many areas, particularly rural areas, don't allow you such an option), you can reduce your driving with alternative transportation (walking, biking (or electric bike), rollerblading), carpooling, or telecommuting. A good rule of thumb: commit to leaving your car in the driveway for trips < 3 miles.
2. Battery electric vehicle. Reduce your reliance on gas and help accelerate a new energy transition by purchasing a new or used electric vehicle as soon as you can. Not only are they great for the planet, they’re also great for your wallet when considering how much a car costs over time. Models like the Chevy Bolt or Nissan Leaf have a range of up to 226 mileson a single charge. You can also offset the upfront cost with tax credits.
3. One less flight. Reduce your travel by just one less long-haul return flight (> 6 hours, such as a transatlantic flight) each year. You can do this easily by opting to spend holidays closer to home or by reducing your business travel.
4. Renewable electricity. Solar panels, hydropower, and wind electricity are all great ways to wean off fossil fuels. Find out how you can use renewable energy in your home here.
5. Public transport. Depending on where you live, it can be both cheaper and more efficient to opt for public transport, such as trains, buses, and subways instead of a car. Public transport also provides other benefits such as healthier communities and cleaner skies. Start small — pledge to swap out your vehicle for public transportation one day / week.
6. Refurbishment and renovation. There are many ways you can make your home more energy-efficient, saving you money and reducing your family’s carbon footprint. Some options include improving your insulation, using renewable energy, or improving your windows.
7. Vegan diet. Reducing the amount of meat in your diet (particularly red meat) can make a huge impact. You can start small by slowly introducing vegetarian or plant-based meals into your diet. Need a little help? Apps like #8Meals can help you to become an imperfect vegan!
8. Heat pump. Heat pumps are a way to heat and cool your home by using electricity to transfer heat from one place to another. In the summer, heat pumps move heat from inside to outside (cooling it), and do the opposite in the winter. Because heat pumps don’t actually generate heat (they just transfer it), they’re much more energy efficient than furnaces and air conditioners. Believe it or not, heat pumps can be as much as 300-400% efficient, making 3-4 times as much energy as they consume. They can be retrofitted to existing HVAC systems, can be purchased for individual rooms, and can be air-source or geothermal-source (i.e., from the ground). Need help choosing? Check out this guide.
9. Improved cooking equipment. Switching from cooking over open fires (or even natural gas stoves) to improved cookstoves can improve your family’s health, while having a huge positive impact on the climate.
10. Renewable-based heating. Renewable-based heating options include heat pumps; solar water heating; and geothermal heating. There are a variety of incentives you can take advantage of to help reduce costs. You can also check out additional resources here.
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