Knowing about Climate Change and the damage it is doing to future society is one thing. But knowing what best to do about it is another.


In the section Governmental Action and Corporate Action we explained the possibilities but also the limitations of what governments and companies can do to combat Climate Change.  


The actions YOU can undertake yourself can arguably be the most influential of all. This page explains what you can do best to combat Climate Change and how effective it is.
 

You

 
How much Impact do I have?

You might think that you, by yourself, have little impact on combating Climate Change. However, is this true?

There are 2 main ways in which you contribute to Climate Change or to the fight against Climate Change:

Direct Impact

If you are currently sitting behind your own computer reading this article, you are likely part of the 10% richest people on this planet that have a very large Carbon Footprint:

  • If you have any money saved, a hobby that requires some equipment or supplies, a variety of clothes in your closet, two cars (in any condition), and live in your own home, you are in the top 5% of the world’s wealthy.

  • If you earn more than $50,000 annually, you are in the top 1% of the world’s income earners.

 

A 2012 study, conducted by the research organisations CE Delft, Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research and LEI Wageningen confirm that even modest behavioral changes in the European Union alone can contribute to a reduction of 600 million tons of CO₂e/years (i.e. 320 000 wind turbines).

Indirect Impact

 

 

Aside from the things that you consume directly, you can also influence the fight against Climate Change by making other actors do more.

  • Corporations: You can try to stimulate the company you work for to emit less GHG.
     

  • Science & Technology: If you work in Science & Technology, you can search for more environmental friendly techniques that can be implemented. 
     

  • Governments: Has the last person you voted for made a real difference on Climate Change? By voting for people that make Climate Change a priority, you can have an important impact on the commitments of your country in reducing GHG emission.

The richest 10% of this world are responsible for almost half of total lifestyle consumption emissions

We have an important impact on Climate Change and the day to day choices we make as a society can make a real difference

Source - Oxfam Report 'Extreme Carbon Inequality'

Source - 2015 Published Paper
Journal of Industrial Ecology

Sources:

Source - European Commission

Source - Oxfam Report 'Extreme Carbon Inequality'

Source - 2015 Published PaperJournal of Industrial Ecology

 

 
Priorities

Of all the things you do, which one has the most impact? Is it recycling? Is it using your car less often? Is it eating less meat?

If you live in a Westernised country, the average top priorities are clear:

 

Sources:

Source - Environmental Research Letters Published Study

 

 

Source - Environmental Research Letters Published Study

1.Have 1 fewer child
(> 20 ton CO₂e/year)

2. Live a life without a car
(> 2 ton CO₂e/year)

 

3. Avoid Flying
(1 ton CO₂e/year)

 

4. Buy Green Energy
( > 1 ton CO₂e/year)

5. Eat plant based diet
( > 0.5 ton CO₂e/year)

 
Tools

It might still be difficult to see on a day-to-day basis what your impact really is on combatting Climate Change.

 

Moreover, if you change your behavior, chances are nobody will cheer for you or thank you for the effort done.

 

That is why we have selected some of the best scientifically sound tools that can help you in making a difference.

Oroeco

An excellent app that calculates very well and clearly your Carbon Footprint

It motivates you and gives you tips on how to lower your Footprint

It allows you to share and compare with friends

It allows you to offset what you cannot save

CoolClimate Network

A tool that calculates very well and clearly your Carbon Footprint

It allows you to offset what you cannot save

Ecopassenger

An excellent tool that calculates the Carbon Footprint of a trip

It compares different modes of transport in a clear way

The Carbon Footprint of Everything

The Carbon Footprint of Everything is a book by Mike Berners-Lee

His articles in the Guardian from 2010 explain the Carbon Footprint of individual things you might wonder about

For-Good

A Belgian app that calculates very well and clearly your Carbon Footprint

It gives you tips on how to lower your Footprint

Carbotax

A tool that calculates and estimates very clearly and easily your Carbon Footprint

It allows you to offset what you cannot save in donations to forest preservation