The challenges in addressing a climate emergency are huge, and they may seem to be only for governments and businesses – but we are all involved, and we can all act collectively. Even the smallest steps, when taken together, can make a huge difference.
by Stuart Dainton, head of content
I’d like to share my own story of change on the path to reducing my carbon footprint to help play my part in addressing both the climate emergency and the biodiversity crisis. These two crises are connected. In my lifetime and through my career, I have been incredibly fortunate to have seen the very best and worst of the world. As a former Royal Air Force logistics officer, I travelled the globe, but my work regrettably had an enormous carbon footprint. After seeing this impact, I decided to study the environment and to act to give something back and change careers.
I made the decision to leave the military and begin a new career in the environmental and sustainability sector. Now within Energy Saving Trust, working to deliver our powerful mission, I feel privileged to be helping to be part of the solution. However, for me, just working in the sector isn’t enough, and so I have taken on the challenge of reducing my personal carbon footprint and impact as much as possible.
My choices towards a lower carbon footprint
Affordability is often a considerable barrier to making choices and changes. However, even the smallest steps can make a difference. Here, I’ve laid out some of the elements of change on my carbon journey – although I still have a long way to go! For example, my biggest problem remains removing plastic from our lives, but I have set out a plan for the next decade ahead. This is my carbon footprint journey so far.
The chart below shows my personal carbon balance over the last decade.
The graph tracks the overall trajectory of my carbon footprint. There have been short upward spikes at times, for example, when undertaking home refurbishments. For over a decade, I have completely ‘offset’ my carbon footprint with tree planting. I did not start recording the tree impact until 2015, when I got down to 5.2 tonnes of carbon a year, but could not do much more at the time without mitigation. I decided to include the data from that date to show that a positive impact can still be achieved. Currently, without additional mitigation, further reductions below five tonnes of carbon is very challenging. However, a ‘build back better’ agenda will hopefully bring technology to the fore, helping to lower carbon in many more areas .
These are just some of the actions I have taken, and over the next decade I need to go much further. Through collaboration and working together I believe we can build back better, address the climate emergency, and create a greener, healthier planet. Our choices matter.
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