What each of us can do to reduce our carbon footprint

As an individual, what is the single, most important thing I can do in the face of climate change?

Associate Professor Nick Golledge wrote a piece for the Conversation about what each of us can do to reduce our carbon footprint.

The most important individual climate action will depend on each person’s particular circumstances, but each of us can make some changes to reduce our own carbon footprint and to support others to do the same.

Generally, there are four lifestyle choices that can make a major difference: eat less or no meat, forego air travel, go electric or ditch your car, and have fewer children.

In New Zealand, half of our greenhouse gas emissions come from agriculture. This is more than all transport, power generation and manufacturing industries combined. Clearly the single biggest change an individual can make is therefore to reduce meat and dairy consumption. A shift from animal to plant-sourced protein would give us a 37% better chance of keeping temperature rise under 2℃ and an almost 50% better chance of staying below 1.5℃ - the targets of the Paris agreement.

Best of all, this can be done right now, at whatever level you can manage, and there are many people taking this step.

One of the frustrations is the realisation that climate change is not something that can be left to politicians to deal with on our behalf. The urgency is simply too great. The responsibility has been implicitly devolved to the individual, without any prior consent.

Read more of the article here.