With growing awareness of our individual impact on climate change, the question on everyone’s mind is ‘what can we do to help?’ While donating, raising awareness on environmental issues, and volunteering are all important activities, the changes we make in our lifestyle and everyday habits add up to making a huge positive impact.
In this article, we’re going to share three habits to inculcate in your daily life that will cut down your carbon footprint. Also, these are great for your own mental and physical well-being.
Unplug from your devices
This may come as a surprise but all that binge watching we’ve been doing has been quietly adding to our carbon footprints. To cope with the demand of our dependence on the internet, companies have set up huge servers and data centres with a high-level of energy consumption. In 2019, Netflix reported an 84% increase in its energy consumption. What exactly does this translate to? Just streaming a one-hour program on Netflix increases your carbon footprint by 0.42kg.
In an article, Vogue revealed that our digital habits are nearly as bad as the aviation industry when it comes to contributing to climate change. This is why, as part of the recent Paris Agreement, the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) industry has committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 45% before 2030. However, you can help this along and reduce your own digital carbon footprint by just unplugging.
It’s no secret that cutting down on screen time has a huge benefit for our own mental health. Not only does eliminating screen time improve your focus but it also helps reduce eye strain and boost your quality of sleep. Constantly slouching over a screen also contributes to poor posture and is likely to eventually result in backaches.
Make things last
The environmental impact of a mobile phone lies largely in its manufacturing. Materials like palladium, silver, gold and tin are used in different parts of the phone (in the circuit board, for example) and the mining of these materials takes up a lot of energy, not to mention the impact of mining on the environment. Now, if you’re wondering if the tiny amount of metals used in mobile phones really matters, just think back to the number of phones you’ve owned so far and then multiply it by all the mobile phone users across the globe. It adds up, doesn’t it?
Until having the option of sustainable and ethically created phones becomes more commonplace, the best thing you can do is use your phone well and make it last for as long as possible. If you absolutely have to buy a new phone, don’t forget to recycle the old one and buying a refurbished phone is more sustainable than buying a new one. You will start to see the positive effect this has on your bank balance soon enough.
Choose to slow down
Slow living is about creating a lifestyle that allows you to savour each day. It encourages you to be more in tune with nature and prompts you to be more conscious of your impact on the world around you. It’s about taking stock of how your lifestyle affects your own mental and physical well-being. This holistic approach to life helps you to simplify and make more decisions that are planet-friendly for example, choosing slow fashion brands, slow food restaurants, slow travel and so on.