Studies show what People in wealthier, high-consumption countries can help stave off climate breakdown by making six relatively simple lifestyle changes, creating a “less stuff, more joy” society.
Experts say that if enacted, these “changes” would account for a quarter of the emission reductions needed to keep global warming to 1.5C and increase pressure on government and the private sector to make massive systemic change. necessary scope.
The research has inspired the jump campaign, urging people to sign up to make the changes. Tom Bailey, one of its co-founders, said that if committing to doing all six shifts is too daunting, just starting with a few of them can make a difference.
1. Stop throwing away electronics
Keep electronics (smartphones, personal computers, smart watches, and televisions) for at least seven years. “Gadget addiction and buying ‘stuff’ in general is a major contributor to carbon emissions,” according to the report.
The process of extracting rare earth metals and producing ever more products often generates more emissions than the use of the elements themselves, the study shows. For example, only 13 percent of the lifetime emissions from an iPhone 11 are due to its use; the other 86 percent is associated with its production, transportation, and end-of-life processing.
“We typically replace these products with an updated model at least every two years,” says Bailey. “The goal is to keep electronics for five to seven years, their full optimal lifespan.”
He says people should try to repair equipment, borrow, rent or buy second-hand, adding: “If you really need something, then keep new items to a minimum.”
2. Get rid of private cars (if possible)
Many people have become accustomed to having their own car and for some their vehicle is essential either for work or because they are disabled or live in a remote area.
But car ownership creates huge emissions, research shows. Globally, transportation is responsible for about a quarter of total greenhouse gas emissions, and more than two-thirds of this comes from road vehicle engines.
Campaigners are calling on those who can stop using private vehicles, ideally ditch the ones they own, and switch to public transport, walking, cycling or carpooling. “If you were planning on buying a car, see if you can wait and find alternatives that get you where you need to go,” Bailey said. “If you’re feeling brave, get rid of the cars you have or see if you can join a car-sharing scheme to share the profit and emissions.”
The study says that although much emphasis is placed on the role of electric vehicles in combating climate change, more effort should be made to reduce the number of cars on the roads in general, since a major source of emissions found in vehicle manufacturing. —including electric vehicles.
3. Dress retro
The apparel and textiles industry generates more greenhouse gas emissions than international aviation and shipping combined, and the rise of fast and disposable fashion is accelerating that trend. “Lower prices often mean lower-quality clothes that don’t last as long,” Bailey said. “But these low prices are also the result of unseen human and environmental costs, such as polluted rivers, poor working conditions, low wages and the exploitation of factory workers.”
Campaigners are therefore urging people to buy second-hand items, repair or adjust existing items, and restrict purchases to three items a year, ideally items that are durable and long-lasting.
Bailey said: “These clothes may be more expensive, but the cost per wear is worth considering. If it’s going to last three times as long but only costs twice as much, that’s a financial savings over the life of the item and also better for the environment.”
4. Eat more green
More than 25 percent of total global emissions come from the food system and current research shows that there are three dietary changes that would drastically reduce the impact of the food we eat:
- Switch to a mostly plant-based diet.
- Eat everything you buy.
- Eat healthy amounts.
Bailey said: “Changing our behaviors around food is the most impactful of all changes. And it’s not just about climate change; If you look at biodiversity loss, land use change, fertilizers in the ocean creating dead zones, and mass extinction and loss of insects due to pesticides, all of these problems are food driven.
5. Fly infrequently
Aviation contributes about 2 percent of total global emissions and this figure is increasing more than any other form of transportation. Flying is also highly uneven: in the UK, 70% of all flights are taken by just 15% of the population.
The research found that the global average number of flights per person in 2017 was one short-haul round trip every one to two years. Experts say that halving this number (committing to one short-haul round trip every three years or one long-haul round trip every eight years) would have a big impact.
Bailey said: “We can still see the world: fly abroad 15 to 20 times in a lifetime, or travel more slowly overland to different places. But we have to be realistic about the impact of weekend city breaks abroad. Why not visit all the amazing places that are closer to home?
The report suggests choosing holiday destinations closer to home that are accessible by train, ferry or bus. He also advocates making use of technology such as video calls to stay in touch with family and friends.
6. Fight the power
The actions outlined above can lead to large reductions in global emissions (25 per cent of those needed to keep warming to 1.5°C), but the research also makes clear that most of the reductions will come from systemic change. by governments and the private sector. To help transform the system, activists are asking people to make at least one change in their own lives. Ideas include:
- Switch to a green energy provider.
- For those who can afford it, install energy efficiency measures in the home such as insulation and heat pumps.
- Shift assets into green investments.
- Use ethical and green banks.
- Efficient use of energy in the home.
- Pressing for change through activism or peaceful protest or by writing to your representative.
Says Bailey: “This change is different from the others because the research does not imply that individuals are responsible for changing global systems. However, we know that personal changes in our own lives can, collectively, have a massive impact.”