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How to reduce your carbon footprint

Words by Smiley Team

Personal choices about how you organise your everyday life can greatly influence your individual climate impact. And adopting eco-friendly habits are good for your own health, wellbeing and preparation for living in a more eco-friendly world, studies have found.

Isabella O’Dowd, head of climate change at WWF, explains to Smiley News: “The most effective ways to reduce your carbon footprint will depend on your lifestyle and where you live.”

“A great first step is to calculate your carbon footprint and find out where you can have the most impact,” she adds. 

Check your climate impact using a carbon footprint calculator such as the online calculator provided by the emissions tracking company, Carbon Footprint. Their website allows individuals to check their CO2 emissions from their house, travel and lifestyle. 

When exploring your climate impact, you might find that you can be most effective if you choose greener modes of transport or switch to a more sustainable, plant-based diet. 

Others might find that energy use is the area they are least vigilant in. To resolve this, they can properly insulate their home, or switch to a renewable energy provider, Isabella advises.

Rethink the way you shop till emissions drop

The largest source of household emissions is consumption, according to a study published in Global Environmental Change. This covers products, services and food that you pay for. So it’s likely that your biggest impact will come from changing your shopping habits.

To lower your impact from consumption, try buying less. For essentials and occasional treats, try to find shops that sell refills, zero waste and plastic-free products. It’s also worth checking the air miles of whatever you’re buying. For example, if a British supermarket is selling melons in winter, they’re most likely to have clocked up a lot of carbon, being flown in from a hotter country.

However, these are just a few ideas for changes you can make to reduce your footprint. Isabella of the WWF remarks: “We can all play a part in reducing our carbon footprints but  – as well as taking action as individuals - we need governments and businesses to step up and deliver on their climate promises before it’s too late.”

To resolve this, she says the WWF attempts to drive the global transformation society urgently needs to tackle the climate crisis as well as to protect and restore nature. 

“We are calling for urgent action from businesses and governments to put the global food system, which is currently fuelling the climate and nature crises, on a sustainable footing, and to drive down greenhouse gas emissions so we meet all-important Paris Agreement Targets,” Isabella explains.

“Future generations won’t forgive or forget those who fail to act while there’s still time,” she adds.

Inspired to act?

DONATE: To support vital efforts to combat climate change, donate to the WWF.

VOLUNTEER: Get stuck in and drive climate action yourself by becoming a member of the WWF.


This article aligns with the following UN SDGs

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