We all know that carbon emissions are bad news for the environment. But what are the effects of our carbon foot print and what can we as individuals do?
Every single person in the world has a carbon footprint, even if they don’t recognise the impact. This is a measure of how much carbon dioxide is emitted into the atmosphere as a result of our actions. Those actions can be as simple as running the tumble dryer or driving to work.
Unfortunately, all of these carbon emissions added up contribute more than all of the other greenhouse gases put together. And what are they contributing to? You guessed it. Climate change.
Despite the fact that global warming and climate change has been on the agenda for years, our carbon emissions are only getting worse. According to the UN, carbon emissions have increased by 50% over the past 30 years. These emissions lead to extreme weather, natural disasters and even respiratory disease.
Over the last few decades global carbon emissions have increased by around 60%. However, carbon inequality is driving us to the climate brink, with the world richest 10% of people being responsible for over half of the carbon emitted into the atmosphere between 1990 and 2015.
In that time, that 10% blew one third of the global carbon budget (the amount that can be added to the atmosphere without causing temperatures to rise above 1.5°C), in comparison to just 4% that was emitted by the poorest half of the population. Therefore, despite the poorest 3.5 billion people contributing the least to these carbon emissions, it is they who remain most heavily impacted by the effects of the climate crisis such as floods, storms and droughts. During 2020 a 1°C increase in global temperatures fuelled not only deadly cyclones in India and Bangladesh but also huge locust swarms which destroyed crops across Africa, leaving millions on the brink of hunger. It is this warming which also led to extreme heatwaves and wildfires around the globe. Stark facts such as these highlight the responsibility which we should uphold as part of a generally more privileged population and urge us to begin making changes.
Despite these grim statistics, all is not lost. There are steps we can take as individuals – and it starts with knowledge. Once you know the size of your carbon footprint, you can make changes to reduce it. It’s easy to feel powerless. After all, you’re just one person. But if every person does their bit, things will start to change.
The impact of travel
With so many planes grounded over the past year, we have seen a tiny reduction in carbon emissions. This is because travelling by plane is a huge producer of them. It doesn’t help that so many budget airlines make it easy to hop on a short flight, sometimes even within the same country.
For many of us, stopping flying altogether is not practical, even when we have computed our flight’s environmental impact using a flight carbon footprint calculator. This is especially true if our families live abroad or if we simply want to take our little ones to experience some summer sun.
Luckily, if you’re worried of the impact of your carbon footprint as a result of flying, it is possible to offset your carbon emissions so that you can fly guilt-free. For more information on this, and on all elements of travelling with babies and toddlers, check out this post on our blog. We’ve got you covered.
We are what we eat
Have you ever considered the impact of what you eat on your carbon footprint? It’s not just our transport options that make a difference to our carbon footprint. Those avocados that you buy in the supermarket come all the way from Peru. The plane they travelled on does the environment no favours. Likewise, tucking into a meat feast every night isn’t particularly good for the world.
You can use a food carbon footprint calculator to work out the impact of your diet. Once you are armed with that information, it’s a lot easier to do things differently. For a general picture, to look at you and your family’s life as a whole, there are plenty of other carbon footprint calculators available.
Once you know your carbon footprint, what’s next?
Before you allow yourself to descend into guilt, rest assured that there are simple steps that you can take to reduce your carbon footprint. Often, these will end up saving you money too.
- Eat less meat: You don’t have to go full vegan. But reducing your meat intake is a good way to reduce your carbon footprint. If you’re someone who can’t stand the thought of a meal without meat, the latest meat substitutes are crazily convincing.
- Opt for sustainable food brands. Here are some of our faves!
- Turn down the heating: It seems strange to think about central heating in July, but just turning down your heating by 1∞ in winter can make a huge difference. It will also reduce your bills!
- Have a power shower: Spend a little less time in the shower to save both water and the electricity which it takes to heat it up. At the very least, switch off the shower while you lather up.
- Switch to eco-friendly cleaning products. We couldn’t recommend the ones from Smol highly enough! If you’re interested in finding out more just check out our blog, there’s even a discount code for our readers!
If in doubt, offset it
There are times when carbon emissions are unavoidable, such as that flight to visit Grandma or your daily commute to work. This is where carbon offsetting comes in. For a fee, you can pay to offset the carbon you’ve used, in turn limiting the negative effects of your carbon footprint.
We are such fans of carbon offsetting here at Y’earn that we offset the carbon of our whole team using Ecologi. We are already proud of our green credentials, as a rental marketplace who aims for #MoreLoveLessWaste but we also plant a tree for every new customer. This is how we go the extra mile. There are already 1031 trees in our forest – and we couldn’t be happier to do our bit. Our community members can choose to add more trees or offset their carbon footprint from just £4 per month. Join our newsletter and we’ll share info on the projects that we’re contributing to around the world – along with offers, giveaways and advice on how to raise a family in a more sustainable way. In the meantime be sure to take a look at how you can educate yourself to better understand climate change, there couldn’t be a better time for us to all take action!
When you sign up to be a member of the Y’earn community, you are having a positive impact on your carbon footprint. After all, babies need so much stuff. By choosing to rent rather than buy, you are doing your bit to live more sustainability – and for your kids’ future too.
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If this is your first visit, hello, let us introduce ourselves. We’re Y’earn and we exist to create more love, less landfill. Pretty lofty, right? Well, not really, it’s actually pretty simple. Our aim is to make renting as common as owning so we live more sustainably while helping the community around us.
Y’earn is a parent-to-parent marketplace to rent Baby & Kids items from people in your community or make some cash if you have items you don’t need right now. We’re a sustainable business that plants 🌲, adopts 🐝 and donates to children’s charities. We’re helping each other and the planet, one rental at a time.
You can read more about how Y’earn works here.
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