It seems like these days you cannot check the news without getting at least one piece of information related to our environment, climate change, green politics, or any other sustainability topic. And don’t get me wrong, it is about time that the subject of sustainability is discussed and dealt with on a more mainstream level. One consequence of the huge amount of information available, the mostly negative and catastrophic doom scenario depicted, and the sheer complexity of the issue, is however that many individuals feel like that there is nothing they personally can contribute. That the solution must come from governments and large corporations. But is that actually true?
Today’s post I want to dedicate to all of you feeling lost in the sustainability challenge and needing some perspective on how even small steps can have a large impact. The inspiration comes from the fact that this month, on April 22nd, we celebrate Earth Day with this year’s theme of “Invest in our Planet”. If you are not familiar with this holiday, you might wonder what it is all about. Every year on April 22nd for more than 50 years now, people around the globe come together on Earth Day to promote awareness for sustainable living and environmental practices. Topics vary from anything like air pollution, animal extinction, clean water, oil spills, extreme weather, or many more. If you are interested in more information about the Earth Day, head on over to their official website. Here you can also find this year’s activities and actions you can take part in.
This year’s theme of “Invest in our planet” was chosen as a call to action for business, governments, and individuals alike to be courageous and start preserving the only planet we have, to start investing in it. The question is, how will you invest in our planet? I am not going to write you a list of sustainability swaps and tips of things you can do to contribute. The internet is already full of those and probably you have read at least some of them. You don’t need me to tell you that eating more vegetables instead of animal produce and walking to the office instead of using your car is better for the planet. If you do need some inspiration, check out this post of The Good Trade. With 99 ideas for swaps, the list is rather extensive and should give you everything you need.
What I do want to stress in this post is that even though you feel like you are just one person and wonder how you personally could make an impact, you definitely can. Many researchers worldwide have studied the CO2 impact of various sustainable practices compared to their “ more traditional” alternatives. And let me tell you, the difference in some cases is pretty significant… here are some examples:
- Meat eaters produce on average 7.2 kg of carbon-dioxide equivalent (CO2e) every day whereas vegetarians produce 3.81 kg of CO2e and vegans even less with just 2.9 kg CO2e.
- Every litre of gasoline saved by walking, avoids 2.6kg of CO2e.
- If everyone around the world would use metal straws instead of plastic straws, we would save every day the waste of 500 million single-use straws.
- One single-use plastic coffee cup requires 0.58 litres of water to produce and emits 60.9 g of CO2e. Depending on the reusable cup of your choice, the CO2e is higher with around 1.500 g of CO2e, meaning that the CO2e PER USAGE is turning out to be better for the reusable cup after around 20-25 usages.
- Using cloth diapers compared to disposable diapers can reduce your CO2e by up to 40% from 550 kg CO2e to 330 kg when exclusively line-drying and washing full loads.
- Using a nez living notebook instead of a traditional notebook reduces your CO2e by the factor 2.6 from 10.5 kg CO2e to 4.04 kg CO2e.
Well, that all sounds great, but what does 1 kg CO2e actually mean? Here some examples of 1kg CO2e:
- Charging your phone every day for 1 year (depending on where you live in the world);
- Attending a festival for 0.5 hours;
- Streaming Netflix for 2 hours;
- 10 hours of scrolling through your Instagram feed.
As you can see, it does indeed make a difference whether or not you decide to make some lifestyle changes contributing towards our worldwide sustainability goals. Of course that still means that we need our governments to come up with supporting legislation and large corporations to incorporate the triple bottom line, thinking not only about profits but also about their people and our planet. But never think that your contribution is unrecognisable. It matters, so act on it.
If you want to know how we at nez living take our responsibility in sustainable business practices, continue reading here or have a look at our carbon footprint analysis by following the link below: