What meaningful measures and solutions are available for counteracting climate change?
It is never too late. Everyone can make a contribution to climate protection! We must take responsibility for our own ecological footprints, i.e. for our CO₂ emissions. The most common everyday causes of harmful emissions are travel with cars or aeroplanes, heating and electricity usage and our consumption behaviour.
Below you will find a few simple tips on how to reduce your own ecological footprint and CO₂ emissions and thus make a contribution towards climate protection:
- Use public transport such as trains or buses. For instance, in Switzerland it is 25 times better to travel by train than by car. In France, it is 12.4 times better; in Germany, 3 times better; in Belgium 5.2 times better. The differences here are based on the original energy production methods used in these countries. Based on the resulting energy mix, train journeys produce more or fewer emissions, which are damaging to the environment.
- Always avoid flying if possible. The greenhouse gas balance of flights has the highest level of emissions when compared to other forms of transport.
- Full cars have lower energy consumption per person and thus cause fewer CO₂ emissions than a car with just one passenger.
- Offset the carbon emissions of unavoidable flights and car journeys with a high quality climate protection project.
Tips for saving energy in the household
- Use energy-saving bulbs and LEDs. Due to much improved energy efficiency and longer lifespans, financial savings of around €135 and CO₂ savings of 250 kg per year and bulb can be achieved.
- Switch the lights off when you leave a room. This saves electricity, money and helps to protect the environment.
- The provision and heating of water requires a lot of energy. For this reason, taking short showers is more environmentally friendly than filling the bathtub. Setting the water heating system to 60°C also reduces energy consumption.
- Switch off any devices completely that are in standby mode .
- Refrigerators and other devices in the category A+ or A++ are much more energy efficient than devices without an energy efficiency label.
- Not every electrical device available in the specialists stores is really needed. Electronic air humidifiers, for example, can easily be replaced with a damp cloth on the radiator.
- Windows that are left open when the heating is on significantly increase energy consumption. Airing rooms for 5 to 10 minutes gets the air circulating with fresh air, without cooling the walls, which means the energy requirements remain low after airing the rooms.
- If you reduce the room temperature by 1 °C, energy consumption can be reduced by at least 4 percent. Furthermore your heating costs will hence also be lower.
- Lower washing temperatures reduce energy consumption. With modern detergents, your clothes will be clean even at low water temperatures.
- Dry your clothes in the sun, a free and emission-free alternative.
- Cook with the lid on and save energy.
- Check the energy consumption of your electrical appliances regularly to find hidden weak points early on. Older sealing rings on refrigerators that are damaged and no longer working correctly can, for example, increase energy consumption significantly.
- Calculate and compensate for the CO₂ emissions that you cause in your household despite energy-saving measures through electricity consumption and heating.
Reconsider consumer behaviour
- Become aware of your own consumer behaviour and actively decide what you really need. Modern marketing strategies quickly lead to ill-considered purchasing decisions.
- Use rental services, especially for rarely used products, or shared use systems such as car sharing.
- Remember that every product, not just electronic equipment, causes greenhouse gas emissions in manufacturing and production as well as sales. The average German buys about 60 new items of clothing a year, a simple white cotton T-shirt (220 g) with a lifespan of about 55 washes causes around 11 kg of CO₂ emissions, i.e. about 50 times its own weight.
- Question your diet and the system behind it. The large selection of different fruits and vegetables in winter highlights the imports of exotic foods to Germany. It is not only the production that is responsible for their greenhouse gas balance, but also the long transport distances. You should therefore buy regional produce that is in season. As a rule, this not only provides ecological advantages, but generally also improves the quality of the products. The CO₂ e-emissions of animal products exceed those of vegetable products significantly. One kilogramme of fruit or vegetables produces around 1 kg of CO₂-e, the greenhouse gas balance of beef on the other hand is around 20 kg CO₂-e per kilogramme. Pork with ca. 8 kg and poultry with 4.2 kg of CO₂-e are a lot more climate friendly, but still exceed the emissions of vegetable products. By reducing the amount of animal products in your diet you can save a lot of money and use it for higher quality animal products, which not only makes a big contribution towards climate protection, but also supports companies that use sustainable production methods.
There are various solutions to reduce your own greenhouse gas emissions and thus do something against global warming. Pay attention to your lifestyle and try to reduce your resource consumption and your impact on the environment and climate.