Reducing your personal carbon footprint has never been more important…

Climate change has finally thawed the Arctic enough for a £230million gas tanker to travel at record speed through the northern sea route, without the need for an icebreaker escort, for the first time. The Christophe de Margerie ship carried a cargo of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from Hammerfest in Norway to Boryeong in South Korea in 22 days, about 30% quicker than the conventional southern shipping route through the Suez Canal.

Although such a ‘break-through’ will improve international trade, this is another clear indicator of the damage that is being done to the planet. However, it is not too late to reverse much of the damage that has been done and so I have compiled a couple of tips about what you can personally do to help mitigate the effects of climate change.

One of the most obvious and impactful ways to do so is through reducing your carbon footprint through driving. When possible, simply cycle or walk to wherever you need to go. Doing so will avoid carbon emissions completely, whilst also improving your own health through daily activity. At Action 21 we sell refurbished bikes at great prices which can help you get around your local area quickly, whilst also contributing to a local cause. Carpooling and taking public transport also greatly reduce your carbon footprint by spreading the emissions from the total journey over many passengers.

When ditching your car is not an option, driving style is another factor under your control which can help to reduce your impact on the climate. Speeding and unnecessary acceleration reduce mileage by up to 33%, not only wasting petrol and your own money, but also increasing the risk of having an accident. Properly inflated tyres can also reduce mileage by up to 3%.

The food choices that we make can also have a significant impact on climate change; eating locally produced and organic food can help to reduce your overall carbon footprint. It is estimated that transporting food accounts for 11% of the total emissions produced from food, as transporting food often requires petroleum based fuels. Many fertilizers are also fossil fuel based and so opting for organic produce will help to reduce your own impact on the environment.

Reducing the amount of beef and dairy in your diet will also help. It takes a lot of resources to raise cattle, with the effects being worse if the beef is from countries such as Brazil where rainforest has been cleared specifically for agricultural use and grazing. Deforestation is a top contributor to carbon emissions and therefore climate change.

By Arjun Sahota (Action 21 Volunteer)