Summary: The best way to reduce your personal carbon emissions

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Personal choice do affect the global impacts of climate change, and it’s time for the modern generations to look at how their personal lifestyles can make a difference. We reviewed a recent article on Vox to understand and share how small, seemingly meaningless individual choices can make a big difference in the grander scheme of things.

How Personal Choices Contribute to Climate Change

carbon emissions personal decisions

The study which gave input to the above infographic comes from researchers in Sweden and British Columbia, and analyzes 148 separate individual actions available to citizens of the developed world to calculate their carbon impact.

The top individual actions which lead to carbon emissions include:

  • Light bulbs, the way you wash/dry your clothes, and recycling
  • Replace your personal vehicle with a hybrid
  • Eating a plant-based diet
  • Live a car-free lifestyle

Climate Change Impacts by Population

When looking at individual lifestyle changes, it also becomes important to consider the different lifestyles among various demographics. This infographic, which looks at a global view, reveals that the wealthiest 10 percent of the population produces almost 50 percent of lifestyle consumption emissions.

lifestyle choices carbon emissions

Another interesting infographic produces striking information on geographical location, showing that the top 10 percent of the wealthiest people in China emit less carbon per person than people on the bottom half of the US wealth distribution. It also shows that the top 10 percent wealthiest in the US emit more than five times as much CO2 per person as those on the lower half of the income scale.

In short, wealthy people in the US produce 10 times more per capita emissions than the wealthy in China. 

carbon emissions per capita

Individual Choices that Make the Greatest Impact

When it comes to making a big impact from your personal day-to-day choices, there are three big ones: fly less, eat less meat, and drive less.

With so many rapidly growing and evolving options in the latter decision maker of driving less, we feel that your daily transportation is not only the easiest change to make, but also the top decision that will make the biggest impact in the long run.

Options for Driving Less

Did you know that switching from driving your personal vehicle to using carshare services can reduce your annual household carbon emissions by 34-41%? With these recent statistics produced by the Transportation Sustainability Research Center, the various options for driving less and living a car-free lifestyle are becoming much more intriguing for individuals across the globe. Options for carsharing include:

  • Free-floating carsharing: Wherever you are in the world, you most likely already have several free-floating carshare programs in your area, or are bound to have some introduced very soon. Free-floating carshare programs, like car2go, allow you to pick up a vehicle at its location and drop it off anywhere else (ie. wherever you are headed) as long as you remain in the home area. Recent statistics show car2go reduces the average household carbon emissions by 4-18% per year.
  • Station-based carsharing: Station-based carsharing programs are just that: station-based. These programs, such as Zipcar, are ideal for running errands where you can pick up and drop off the vehicle at the same location. Often found on University campuses, a recent study by Zipcar shows that 80% of university Zipcar members don’t own a car and 40% are less likely to buy a car.
  • Peer-to-peer carsharing: Like the Airbnb for vehicle owners, peer-to-peer carsharing programs like Getaround allows personal vehicle owners to rent out their vehicles on a per/day or per/hour basis when their car would otherwise be going unused. Not only do these programs allow car owners to create additional revenue, they also promote the car-free lifestyle within the community, allowing neighbours to gain access to a vehicle only when they really need one.

What individual actions will you take to reduce your carbon emissions to have an impact on global climate change? Tell us your story and ask us your questions here.

Read the full article here.


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