We have ten years left to save the planet from Climate Emergency.
What are you going to do today to make a difference?
The Climate Emergency is real, and what YOU do makes a difference. In his book Hope in Hell: A Decade to Confront the Climate Emergency, British Environmentalist and writer Jonathon Porritt, says we only have 10 years to save the planet from a climate emergency.
Count Us In is a global movement with a mission to inspire 1 billion citizens to
significantly reduce their carbon pollution and challenge leaders to deliver bold, global change. They have a set of 16 steps that are the most effective ways to reduce your carbon pollution and persuade others to do the same. At Reap Benefit, we are strong believes in the power of #SolveSmallDentBig so here are five steps from Count Us In, that Reap Benefit teamsters and Solve Ninjas have taken themselves!
Pick one, two or all of them ask your friends, family to join in too! So here here are 5 things you can start doing today or this week to make a change for good.
Good for the planet AND good for you! Lace up and contribute to your daily steps target by walking or cycling as much as possible.
How often have you hopped onto your two wheeler or into your car to run a quick errand? Short journeys by car may feel insignificant but they have a big impact.
In some countries, more than 40% of car journeys are less than 4km long — and during those first five minutes cars emit twice as much pollution.
Short car journeys are responsible for more carbon pollution than you might think. Other options like buses are better, but still have an impact. Replacing them with walking or cycling will cut your carbon pollution, reduce air pollution in your neighborhood and probably make you healthier and happier, too.
Reap Benefit COO Archana Hari used to use a scooter to commute because it had higher mileage compared to cars and motorbikes. “I also tried using public transport to reduce my carbon footprint but from a timing lens it wasn’t working out for me. To bring the footprint to zero, I switched to cycling which only adds a few minutes to reach destinations. Now, I am on my way to get my children used to cycling on the roads to hopefully build the habit in them too!”
Walking and cycling have other benefits too. Less money spent on petrol or transport. Less cars on the road means less air pollution and cleaner air for you and your family to breathe.
Tip: If it’s not possible to complete a journey on foot, can you build a walk into your journey? Perhaps by walking to a train or bus that’s further away?
Powering hothouses and flying food around the world uses a lot of energy. Eating food produced during its natural season can reduce your household’s carbon pollution and result in tastier, healthier and cheaper meals.
Growing fruit and vegetables out of season and transporting food from one side of the world makes a significant contribution to carbon pollution. By eating seasonally you can reduce your carbon pollution by as much as one tonne each year.
There are other benefits too. Locally sourced seasonal food often has more flavour than food that has been picked early, stored and transported across great distances. Being left on the plant for longer means fruit and vegetables can absorb more nutrients, making them even healthier.
Apples, pears and kiwis were weekly fruit purchases in communication consultant Menaka Raman’s home, till she realised just how far they were travelling around the world to reach her fridge. “They probably had more frequent flier miles than I did!” Menaka now only buys what’s in season from her vegetable vendor and says she’s discovered local vegetables she’d never tried before! “Instagram handles of chefs and home cooks are a great source of ideas and inspiration, or just have a conversation with your local veggie vendor! They know so much.”
Speak up at work (Or school!)
Institutions will play a crucial part in ensuring that we all reduce our carbon pollution. When we come together with colleagues our impact is multiplied — and we create the power to persuade others. Reap Benefit, Solve Ninjas are all about creating change in their schools and communities!
The Banana Leaf Group of Solve Ninjas from DPS North, Bengaluru observed that tin foil single use plastic plates were being used in the canteen. This was adding to the non-recyclable waste generated by the school.
With the support of the canteen staff and the administrative staff, they contacted a vendor and switched to banana leaf plates, thereby eliminating the non-recyclable waste generated by the single use plates. Apart from the environmental benefit, they are also saving Rs. 25,000 annually for the school.
So, talk to your peers today about how you can collectively implement change!
Fast fashion is like fast food — it feels great when you consume it, but it’s going to make you sick later. Or in the case of fast fashion, the planet sick.
If you only buy clothes when you really need to, and spend your money on better quality or second hand items, you can reduce your carbon pollution, make your money go further and support the causes you believe in.
From farming materials to dying, cutting, sewing and transporting clothing, the fashion industry is responsible for vast amounts of carbon pollution, water pollution and water consumption — about 5.4% of total carbon pollution in 2015.
It’s not just carbon. The fashion industry is water-intensive too. For example it can take up to 2,720 litres of water to produce one cotton t-shirt. That is about the amount of water that an average person drinks over 3 years.
Tip: Swap or pass on clothes you don’t wear anymore to friends! Reap Benefit Mentor Tejas Mahajan shares ‘Last year as a part of secret Santa, my colleague Vimal gifted me one of his old shirts which he didn’t use anymore.’
If we are to avoid the worst of climate change, we need our governments to do their part. You can help by letting your local government representative know how you feel and pushing them to be part of the solution.
As individuals and communities we can take steps to significantly reduce our own carbon pollution. But this won’t be enough unless our politicians work with us to create the projects, laws and incentives that will deliver bold and rapid changes we all need.
Although it can feel intimidating to speak to your politicians, many people find it a positive experience that helps them understand local issues, connect with others and feel part of broader efforts in their community.
Ninja Mentor Veeresh brought together young Solve Ninjas in his village of Ganjigatti in Hubli and helped them approach their locally elected representative to bring to light the lack of proper waste segregation and collection practices.
So, take a step on count-us-in.org today and track the total carbon savings of your actions how it’s adding to something bigger. Share what step you are taking on social media and why you are taking it! Don’t forget to use #countusin and tag Reap Benefit on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook and @countusinsocial on Twitter and Instagram, or @Count Us In on Facebook.