The enhanced greenhouse effect and climate change are certainly not new concepts, however many of us are oblivious to the inherent link between our daily decisions and how they potentially influence global processes.
No matter what you use or consume, you are impacting the environment in some manner. A ‘carbon footprint’ is perhaps the most well-known climate change metric; it reflects the total greenhouse gas emissions of a person, event, business or product. Sounds simple, but is actually incredible hard to calculate accurately, because every step of a process, activity or product must be considered.
Almost all of your day-to-day activities will influence your carbon footprint. Did you use a manual or an electric toothbrush this morning? Did your eggs on toast come from your backyard chooks or from battery hens? Was your morning latte made with skim, soy, or almond milk – and did you drink it from a keep-cup or not? Did you walk, take the bus or drive to work? By 9am you have made a huge number of every-day decisions that will ultimately impact the environment.
Accurately determining your carbon footprint is far easier said than done. Despite not knowing the specifics, you can still make some small behavioural changes that will reduce that seemingly arbitrary number and in turn reduce your negative environmental impact.
Below are five practical ways to minimise your carbon footprint:
- Reduce your meat intake: When it comes to meat consumption, beef production is the biggest carbon contributor, followed by lamb, pork, poultry and seafood. Perhaps your household could begin with meat-free Monday’s and progress from there!
- Refuse single-use plastics: Say NO to plastic water bottles, take-away food containers, coffee cups, disposable cutlery and straws.
- Buy local: A large component of a product carbon footprint (PCF) is accounted for by transport. If you are buying organic, free-range goat’s milk cheese but it is imported all the way from France, you are not doing the environment any favours!
- Create compost: Reduce what you send to landfill by composting your own organic scraps. The City of Melville offers a $50 rebate per household on all types of compost bins!
- Holiday in WA: Travel via aeroplanes is one of the biggest environmental sins. Why not consider climbing in a campervan and taking the family up the coast for your next summer holiday?
Do you have any other suggestions? Remember, when we all work together even small changes can make a big difference.
Environmental Education Officer | City of Melville