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Written By: - Date published: 8:25 am, September 4th, 2009 - 14 comments
Categories: activism, climate change - Tags:

The scientists say we need to reduce our greenhouse emissions by 40% by 2020 and 80% by 2050 if we want to even have a 50:50 chance of not starting runaway climate change (where temperature rises trigger the release of frozen methane and other effects that will rapidly heat the world to disastrous levels). So, we best get started eh?

The Guardian and Franny Armstrong, director of The Age of Stupid, have launched the 10:10 campaign. The challenge is to reduce the emissions you a responsible for by 10% by next year. It’s not really such a challenge at all. The first 10% is easy.

First, go to a site like this one or this one to estimate your carbon emissions.

The Guardian provides some simple options for reducing your emissions. It’s a bit UK-orientated though. Here’s some tips more relevant for us:

– reduce your meat and dairy intake. Most of us are getting plenty of protein and iron. Reducing the amount of meat and dairy you consume also helps with weight control and decreases cancer and other diseases.

– reduce your power usage. Sure, 70% of the power generated in New Zealand is from renewable sources but that’s all baseload. Every watt you can cut means less coal needs to be burnt. Buy energy efficient lights. If you’re getting a new TV get a LCD rather than plasma – same price, half the energy use – and go smaller, a 40 inch screen uses 20% less energy than a 46 inch screen. Buy high energy efficiency whiteware, don’t buy bigger than you need, and keep them maintained. You’re not just saving emissions, you’re saving money.

– drive less and drive right. Just the savings you make on parking costs make public transport the smarter option for commuting. Don’t carry around heavy things in your car that you aren’t using, keep your tyres correctly inflated and your engine maintained. Again, you’re saving money and the climate.

Adopt a few simple practices like these and you’ll easily cut your emissions by 10% in a year, and we’ll be getting on to the path of saving ourselves from ourselves.

Our leaders should set the standard. The British parties say they will do their bit, our parties should sign up too. Politicians could slash their emissions just by ordering their meetings and appearances so they’re not flying from one end of the country to the other all the time.

14 comments on “10:10 ”

  1. r0b 1

    It’s great to see this campaign, and great also to see simple practical advice on what individuals can do.

    not flying from one end of the country to the other all the time.

    I know that in many cases there’s no alternative to being there, but it would be good to see a real shift in mindset on this issue to “virtual” meetings – skype and video conferencing. A couple of large organisations that I’m aware of are moving in that direction. More should follow!

  2. Byron 2

    I don’t think its that easy for all of us, I took the WWF questionnaire and my lifestyle still requires 1.78 planets- and I’m a vegetarian with no car who lives 200m from his workplace (not to mention the recycling and energy efficient light bulbs)

    This is why I’ve always been in favour of production side environmentalism we, as a society I mean, rather than just as individuals, need to change the way we produce things. Stop ‘planned obsolescence’ embrace open standards for compatibility, and have an end-of-life plan for goods to be recycled and returned to the production process.

    A few more trees and a few less cows would also help

    • Spider_Pig 2.1

      What a great existence. No meat, no car and wanting to reduce your intake of delicious diary products. There are many things I could say, but I think Anthony Bourdain says it best:

      “Vegetarians, and their Hezbollah-like splinter faction, the vegans, are a persistent irritant to any chef worth a damn. To me, life without veal stock, pork fat, sausage, organ meat, demiglace, or even stinky cheese is a life not worth living. Vegetarians are the enemy of everything good and decent in the human spirit, and an affront to all I stand for, the pure enjoyment of food.”

    • rocky 2.2

      a few less cows

      Try refilling out the calculator this time selecting your diet as vegan. I wouldn’t be surprised if that on its own cuts out 10% (given it is over 50% of NZ’s total emissions).

    • lprent 2.3

      Agreed. The WWF calculator is pretty rooted

      I wound up with 2.56 planets. I eat meat and fish in moderation, commute by bus to work, don’t travel unless I have to (I like fast data links), don’t shop for bugger all (this year was the year that I brought new jeans and an iphone), don’t use much power apart from my computers, or much heating normally*

      I’d hate to think what would have been required to be able to live in one planet by the WWF’s estimation. I suspect it would have required either being dead or having a lobotomy.

      Sites like this are stupid, because
      1. everything is location dependent (not much hydro-power in the UK)
      2. they didn’t break down the detail of their calcs which makes it worse than useless.
      3. it is just flaky

      The other site was better
      *normally – been in a old villa this year. I’m looking forward to moving into a modern townhouse that has insulation! 🙂

  3. r0b 3

    I took the WWF questionnaire and my lifestyle still requires 1.78 planets- and I’m a vegetarian with no car who lives 200m from his workplace (not to mention the recycling and energy efficient light bulbs)

    Seriously? Where does the hit come from – plane travel?

    • Maynard J 3.1

      Not living in the developing world generally means two planets as a minimum.

    • Byron 3.2

      Didn’t have any plane travel in the last 12 months (actually I had 1 return flight within NZ but there was no appropriate part of the questionnaire to put that as it was all EU-focused so my footprint is probably a little higher)

      The biggest thing was “stuff” which made up 39% of my footprint, (or 0.69 planets) hence my comment about production side environmentalism, I don’t buy a huge amount of stuff, but if I’m made to absorb the carbon cost of the production and distribution of that stuff my footprint is quite high.

      The second biggest thing was “home” probably because I live in rented accommodation so can’t easily do energy efficiency renovations, and during the winter I heat it with LPG gas due to budget reasons. If I could renovate my apartment, and get involved with a community garden for some of my food (as I plan to do when I have the time) I’d make a big reduction, but its still the production of stuff that’s causing “my lifestyle” to be unsustainable.

      • r0b 3.2.1

        Interesting, thanks for the reply.

        On the WWF I’m 2.04 planets – Ouch! My killer is “Home”, I guess because we like to keep it warm. Food for thought…

  4. Zaphod Beeblebrox 4

    Grow your own food. Saves money, saves transport emissions, food is a lot healthier (unless you pour pesticides on it) NZ is the best country in the world to do this in.

  5. Izzy 5

    I’m a vegetarian (semi-vegan), only travel by bus or on foot, recycle all except food waste, use energy-saving lightbulbs etc… don’t usually travel by plane… but I am living as if we had 1.92 planets…. damn.

  6. singularian 6

    What a load of crap the WWF one is.

    I –

    Work from home, would drive a max of 10km a week ( no public transport here ).

    Grow a large proportion of my vegetables.

    Recycle everything possible. Family of 5 = 1 smallish bag of rubbish every two weeks.

    Compost full on.

    Have the most energy efficient heating available in a fully insulated house.

    Have not traveled overseas this year.

    I do eat meat and fish and I do have a car.

    According to the site I’m using up 2.66 planets.

    Something smells in the State of Denmark.

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