These Four Lifestyle Changes Will Do More To Combat Climate Change Than Anything Else

While the US government faffs around pretending climate change is neither real nor important, the rest of the world is getting on with fighting against it. Although the actions of administrations, states, cities, and business are making a main difference, the behaviors of individuals are important too.

Weve argued in the past that the most valuable thing you can do for climate advocacy is tovote for politicians that are pro-science and pro-environment. There are plenty of other things you can do too, but as highlighted in the periodical Environmental Research Letters, best available courses of action are often rarely reported about.

This may not be surprising, however, as they tend to be things people are involved with in their everyday lives: living without a auto, avoiding air travel, avoiding eating meat, and most controversially have fewer children.

The logic behind these selections is simple. Everyone in industrialized nations can abide by these actions, and they would clearly reduce the amount of greenhouse gases in the ambiance. Farming animals is very energy-intensive; plants, less so. Air travel and autoes use a lot of carbon-rich petrol, so walking or cycling or using public transport would cut this out dramatically.

Finally, having less children means the next generation would require( and demand) fewer resources. The planet is already struggling to meet our needs and desires because this is, and children in wealthy nations use a disproportionate quantity of resources compared to children elsewhere.

Lund University researchers looked through a wide range of studies focusing on climate change mitigation, and find these four actions do more than anything else. Living car-free saves 2.4 tonnes of CO 2 , for example, and a plant-based diet saves 0.8 tonnes.

The best lifestyle solutions to climate change. Wynes& Nicholas, 2017/ Environmental Research Letters

Having just one less child saves a remarkable 59 tonnes of CO 2 . This is 295 times more effective than regularly recycling, or 590 times more effective than use energy-efficient lightbulbs. If you can do these too, then by all means go ahead but having smaller families attains the biggest change by far.

We recognize these are deeply personal choices, ” study co-author Kimberly Nicholas, a senior lecturer in sustainability at Lund University, said in astatement. But we can’t ignore the climate impact our lifestyle actually has.”

It’s especially important for young person establishing lifelong patterns to be aware which options have the biggest impact.

The most comprehensive analysis of climate change solutions to date was arguably published just recently in a book named Drawdown . The possible solutions were ranked in terms of their ability to sequester atmospheric carbon dioxide, and in terms of how much money the strategies would save by 2050.

The top 10 solutions, like this study, also feature a plant-rich diet (# 4 out of 100) and family planning (# 7 ). However, air travel comes in at #43, and mass transit comes in at #37. Electric vehicles make an appearance at #26.

The slight discrepancies are partly due to this books focus on both individual action and that of a larger collective, like a nation or national government.

In any case, its hard to argue that having less children or, alternatively, devoting girls more access to contraceptives is not an effective action individuals can take to combat climate change. This is perhaps most important in countries with high birth rates, which today tend to be developing nations.

By expending more in the education( and empowerment) of women, and making sure access to contraception is guaranteed for all demographics, the world could save a whopping 120 billion tonnes of CO 2 by 2050 more than any other technique to push back against climate change, by far.

Family planning will save the world, quite literally. Syda Productions/ Shutterstock

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