Most people in the U.K. want to live a more sustainable life. However, it’s often seen as expensive or difficult, and sometimes people just simply do not know how. Thankfully, there may be help on the way.
London Councils, the body that represents all London boroughs, is looking at developing a version of the Finish online tool Sitra, which asks people questions about their lifestyle and provides them with a customised journey to reduce their carbon footprint.
The tool, which launched in Finland in 2018, has gone viral in the Nordic nation of 5.5 million people, with 1.2m tests taken. Its developed say that those who answer the tool’s 20-odd questions and commit to change on average reduce their household carbon footprint by 30% in 12 months.
This massive drops occurs through a multitude of simple steps, such as buying second-hand clothes, cycling more, and eating locally produced food.
Philip Glanville, the mayor of Hackney and chair of London Councils’ transport and environment committee, said the tool could help show citizens that “even small tweaks to their daily lives” could contribute to tackling the climate crisis.
“The vast majority of our residents are motivated to help prevent climate change – our recent polling suggests 87% feel this way,” he said. “But Londoners can only make the choices they are given, and how important government and businesses are in enabling real sustainable choices that fit into their lives.”
“There’s a misconception that it doesn’t really matter what you do as an individual, how you eat, how you live, how you move or what type of products and services that you buy,” said Markus Terho, from Sitra. “Studies show that individual action has a significant potential to lower CO2 impact on a global level.”
According to the Global Carbon Atlas, the average annual carbon footprint of a Londoner is around 8,300kg. This means that if two people in every one if its 3.6m households reduced their carbon footprint by 20%, there would be a 12 megatonnes reduction in overall emissions.
Sitra says that another 17 countries are looking to adopt their approach and that if it occurs, it has the potential to take as much as a gigatonne of carbon our of the atmosphere by 2030.
“The beauty of this is that everyone can find their own way to live a good life that is sustainable,” said Terho. “You can find your own unique combination of actions that create meaningful reduction.”
Here at Play it Green we believe strongly that living a more sustainable life should be cheap, convenient, and hassle-free, and that every small change one individual makes puts us all on a better path for the future.
Of course, engaging the public is only a small part of the solution to climate change but by doing so, we can push governments, cities, and companies to do more too.