Each of us will more easily live up to some pledges than others. If you live in a rural area, you may not have much flexibility about using a car, but you may be able to switch off a freezer or eat less red meat. If you have to fly overseas for work, you may only be able to cut out discretionary overseas travel or you could switch to GreenPower in the home.
COMMITMENT TOOL SUGGESTIONS & POTENTIAL CARBON SAVINGS
The commitment tool can be found at https://livingthechange.net/commitment-tool.
The following calculations let you know the amount of CO2 equivalent potentially avoided by the various pledges in the Australian context, which is not the same as elsewhere. They are based on averages in Australia, eg, average meat consumption per capita here. Note that these are very much approximations. In offering most of these figures, we are very grateful for the help of sustainability expert, Paul Swift.
Action - transport Saving in kg CO2 equivalent
Walk rather than drive 3 km .56 each time
3 days a week, public transport to work, not drive 10.9 per week or 520 p.a. (say, if work is 25km away from home)
Avoid stop-overs on long haul flights estimated 25% of emissions are avoided (source: GreenFaith)
Always use public transport to get to work 920 p.a.
Make your next car a hybrid 1,730 p.a.
Avoid long-haul flights 4,600 per Melbourne-Los Angeles return
6,000 per Melbourne-London return
Avoid air travel except for family emergencies eg, 460 for 2 x Melb-Syd return
Have one less car in the family 1,800 p.a.
Action – energy
Replace all lights with LED’s 470 p.a. (LED’s use 75% less elec.)
Stop using a dryer for a year 280 p.a.
Increase thermostat on air con by 1C in Summer 40 p.a.
Decrease thermostat 1C in Winter 150 p.a.
Halve your use of air con 930 p.a.(assuming typical usage)
Household switch to GreenPower 5,900 p.a.
Install a 2kW solar array 2,600 p.a.
Action – food
Reduce household’s food waste by 50% 330 p.a. (emissions from production only, not methane from landfill when food is discarded)
Eat 5 vegetarian meals each week 900 p.a./household
Eat cheese or dairy only once a week 150 p.a. /person
Compost all non-meat food scraps 170 p.a./person
Make at least half my meals meat-free 470 p.a./person
Eat chicken instead of beef or lamb 640 p.a. /person
Eat meat only once each week 690 p.a. /person
Adopt a plant-based diet, except for dairy 940 p.a. /person
Adopt an entirely plant-based diet 1,300 p.a./person
MORE EXAMPLES OF LIFESTYLE CHANGES & CARBON SAVINGS
You're invited to reflect on what might work for you and experiment before committing yourself to one or more lifestyle changes. Our volunteer sustainability expert has made some calculations around some sample pledges. Take a look at this Smorgasboard of options and you may find some pledges to whet your appetite, or think of options which a realistic for you.
The CO2 equivalent you could avoid through pursuing these pledges:
MEAT & DAIRY CONSUMPTION
1. Assuming the Australian average for meat consumption, around 95 kg of meat – 44 kg chicken, 22 kg beef, etc - a year, if a typical Australian intended to halve this, the emissions saved = 473 kg CO2e (CO2equivalent) per year
Which is the equivalent of planting 3.3 trees
2. Assuming a level of meat consumption at the Australian average, if a typical Australian replaces all beef and lamb with chicken, the emissions saved = 638 kg CO2 per year
Which is the equivalent of planting 4.5 trees
3. I will cut my red meat consumption down by 2 x 130 g portions a week ie, approx. 1.1 kg of red meat per month.
Emissions saved = 223 kg CO2e per year
or 1.6 trees
4. I will cut back on cheese consumption by 250 g per week.
Emissions saved = 96 kg CO2e per year
or 0.7 of one tree
5. Each year, I will cut out 4 separate flights between Melbourne and Sydney (whatever the direction) and find alternatives eg, video conference, train travel
Emissions saved = 459 kg CO2e per year (or 115 kg CO2e each trip)
Which is the equivalent of planting 3.2 trees
6. Each year, I will cut out a return flight from Melbourne to Los Angeles (or equivalent) on an average plane.
Emissions saved = 4,602 kg CO2e per year
or 32.2 trees
7. Each year I will cut out a return flight from Melbourne to London (or equivalent) on an average plane?
Emissions saved = 6,090 kg CO2e per year
or 42.6 trees
8. From now on, one day a week I will go to work (assume 20 km each way) using public transport or car-pooling, instead of taking my (assume average) car.
Emissions saved = 379 kg CO2e per year
or 2.6 trees
9. I will replace my SUV with a small car.
Emissions saved = 892 kg CO2e per year
or 6.2 trees
10. I will put on a 3kW solar system on my rooftop.
Emissions saved = 3,645 kg CO2e per year
Which is the equivalent of planting 25.5 trees
11. I will switch to GreenPower.
Emissions saved = 4,828 kg CO2e per year
Or 33.8 trees
12. I will stop using one (assume average) freezer.
Emissions saved = 332 CO2e per year
Or 2.3 trees
13. (Assuming gas and electricity usage of a typical Australian household for air conditioning and heating....) From now on, we will halve the amount of time we will cool and heat the home, and instead “rug up” more in winter and use fans in summer.
Emissions saved = 957 CO2e per year
or 6.7 trees
by Paul Swift and Thea Ormerod
details can be supplied, on request to [email protected]