Sustainable Diva: How to live a lower-carbon life




It’s time to switch to a low-carbon lifestyle. In her New Year column, Caroline S. Asante, Velvet’s contributing sustainability editor, shares simple tips to reduce our ecological footprint at home

The time is now - why we should all live a lower-carbon life in 2022 (53467399)
The time is now - why we should all live a lower-carbon life in 2022 (53467399)

Happy New Year! A new year always brings with it that fresh-start feeling. And as we dive headfirst into 2022, with a relentless third-round pandemic looming, and the local and global environmental effects of climate change in evidence all around us, I wonder how different this year will be from the speedy 2021 that feels not that far behind.

Having spent a few days last November at COP26 in Glasgow, experiencing highs, lows, and a total lack of sleep, the urgency to shift the planet’s corporate business infrastructure and societal consumer focus into a low-carbon one was on everyone’s agenda; a term of use, where ‘sustainability’ use to be, on everyone’s lips. From Government policymakers and climate inventors to environmental organisations and activists, low-carbon everything is the new black.

One thing is crystal clear: climate change is here to stay and the need to adopt a new mindset and low-carbon lifestyle will be the main sustainability focus in the year ahead. A fossil fuel-powered lifestyle must decrease until it ceases altogether, from how energy is produced and used in homes, as we spend more time there, to how we transport ourselves and goods around.

So, as you set intentions for the year ahead, how can you transition to a greater low-carbon lifestyle this January? Here are five areas where you can make change immediately.

1 Electrical emitters. Turn off TVs, computers, and other standby appliances at the plug overnight.

2 Meal planning. Save time, money, and indecision. Get in the habit of weekly meal planning to improve choice and organisation. If you are a meat-eating household, introduce vegetarian or vegan meal options into your weekly shop. Reduced individual meat consumption will help aid lower collective global carbon emissions.

3 Energy and home heating. With more people than ever working from home, be it full time or part of the week, the increase in energy consumption to both heating and lighting is resulting in high carbon emissions and spiking fuel bills. Ask your energy supplier for a Smart Meter. Consider a free home energy evaluation. Set a timer in your bathroom to reduce shower times and choose energy saving light bulbs and appliances when replacing an old one.

Model shown VW ID 3 - Image courtesy of Volkswagen UK (53901646)
Model shown VW ID 3 - Image courtesy of Volkswagen UK (53901646)

4 Travel and transport. One of the biggest ways to lead a low-carbon lifestyle in 2022 is to reduce your fossil fuel transportation dependency. In the UK, transportation is now the most polluting carbon emitting sector in the country. Driving up, down and back again, the average petrol car in the UK produces 174g of CO2 per kilometre, around 122 million metric tons of carbon dioxide per year. We must do better.

Cycle, walk or take public transportation to work, school or local shopping, and for longer journeys switch to an electric vehicle. Once a confusing maze of indecision, thankfully there are fresh and flexible routes to EV usage outside of ownership for individuals such as Electric Zoo’s monthly subscription model which includes the car, insurance and maintenance. Founder and CEO Lash Saranna says: “Our cars on subscription are a bit like Netflix: you pay for what you use, no large upfront fees and no fixed monthly contracts like the leasing model.” Available nationwide, EVs are delivered to your door. See electriczoo.co.uk for more information.

5 Mindset is everything. Making the decision to include the planet in all your consumption decisions is key. Without a desire to do so, all the advice is meaningless. Start your 2022 on a low-carbon journey.

Caroline S. Asante MSc FRSA is a former BBC broadcaster turned environmental scientist, publisher, and circular fashion designer. She is the founding editor of Sustainable Diva Mag and currently writing her first low-carbon lifestyle guidebook to be published in Spring 2022. See more at sustainabledivamag.com


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