Four sustainable living tips you can do today

As I’ve said before, sustainable living is a life-long commitment, and it can be challenging. Climate change and biodiversity loss aren’t things we can consume our way out of, and it won’t happen overnight.

As we’re becoming more and more educated about it, we’re finding lots of smart ways to reduce our impact on the planet. So, I thought I’d share four lesser-known ideas for changes you could make to your everyday life. These ideas can help you to live more sustainably now, while you continue to make the necessary long-term changes.

Switch energy provider or change to a renewables plan

Many energy providers are now offering renewable energy plans. With these plans, you don’t receive your energy from a specific pot of renewable energy. Instead, the provider is committing to generating at least this amount through renewable sources. Let’s say 50% of energy demand comes from customers on renewable energy plans. In that case, the provider will supply at least 50% of the overall energy demand from renewable sources. The cost is usually slightly higher, but it’s an easy way to reduce your carbon footprint immediately.

Change search engine

The vast majority of people use Google for their searches. But have you ever considered the alternatives? A friend recently introduced me to Ecosia. It’s a regular search engine, but the profits fund the planting of trees.

Ecosia says that on average, it takes 45 searches to allow them to plant one tree. At the time of writing, they’ve funded almost 61.5 million trees! The good thing about it is it helps combat carbon emissions and biodiversity loss.

Invest responsibly

If you invest, there’s a good chance you don’t know where your hard-earned cash is being used. The sad fact is that most funds will invest in companies that exacerbate climate change and biodiversity loss, or invest in ‘sin stocks’. Sin stocks are investments in industries such as gambling, alcohol and firearms. The reason they invest in them is that you typically get higher returns. But, these types of companies only profit so much because they exploit our planet and the vulnerable.

Thankfully, there is some good news. Some banks and investment companies offer ethical investment funds. Search ‘ethical investments’, and you’ll come across a handful of options. These fund managers screen against investments that don’t adhere to ethical standards.

Some banks, like Triodos, go even further. They make all their products ethical. They even offer opportunities to invest in specific sustainable and ethical projects.

Now you have the option to invest in your future while keeping a clean conscience.

Offset your carbon emissions

Getting to the point where we have eliminated our carbon footprint is a long-term process. Sticking-plaster solutions and pseudo-sustainable consumerism, aren’t the answer. But, that doesn’t mean there aren’t some excellent short and medium-term solutions we can use in the meantime.

Carbon offsetting is an affordable way for us to neutralise our carbon emissions. Goldstandard.org is one example of a provider of carbon offsetting. You can pay per tonne and the money funds life-changing projects for people around the world.

I used the WWF Footprint Calculator to determine my carbon footprint. It was 9 tonnes. The UK average is 13.56 tonnes, and the world average is 5.28 tonnes. According to the WWF, we need a world average of 1.05 tonnes by 2050 to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.

So, to completely offset my emissions, it would cost me about £90 per year, or £7.50 per month. In the meantime, I’ll keep chipping away to reduce my footprint as much as I can.

Spread the word

Until recently, I was only aware of tip 1: switching to a renewable energy plan. I had heard of carbon offsetting, but I didn’t realise how accessible it was.

Did you know about these ideas? If not, please share this list with your friends and family. Have you got any more tips to share? Let me know in the comments section.

David HollandComment