What can I change in my life?

Credit: Alem Jusic

What you do makes a difference.

How you travel matters. What you eat matters. How much energy you use and how you power your home matters. This is good news! You have the power to make a meaningful impact. Studies show that in some contexts, one can up to halve one’s carbon footprint, on average, with lifestyle changes only.

Will you commit?

As a multi-faith initiative, we are neither scientists nor engineers. So we listen to the experts, who explain this simple truth: people living in high-consuming, wealthier communities and countries are the ones who need to change their lives the most. While everyone can make a difference and all are welcome to participate, we focus particularly on working together with persons with high carbon footprints.

We aim to catalyze rapid and large reductions of personal greenhouse gas emissions as part of the collective pursued efforts to stay below mean global warming of 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels. leaders stated in our global, multi-faith declaration, we, people of faith, spirit, and conscience are challenged to look at the figures and embody our deepest beliefs and values in a concrete and impact-oriented way.

Our approach is based on an authoritative study published by S. Wynes and K. Nicholas, which uses average data from so-called “developed” countries to identify 3 priority areas for change; we also rely on the most recent “1.5-Degree Lifestyles” report coordinated by L. Akenji. Of course, different regional, national, and local contexts may call for the use of additional sources of information, which can be adapted to make impactful lifestyle changes.

Rev. Henrik Grape image

Rev. Henrik Grape

Rev. Henrik Grape, a Climate Change Officer with the World Council of Churches, discusses the difficulty of removing structural barriers to change.

The 3 Priority Areas for Climate-Friendly Lifestyles

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TRANSPORT

What: Using soft, low-carbon methods of transport like cycling or walking. Moving towards a car-free life and reducing if not stopping flying.

Why: Living car-free for a year saves on average 2.4 tons of greenhouse gas emissions, while each transatlantic flight avoided saves 1.6 tons.

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DIET

What: Transitioning from a meat- and dairy-based diets to plant-based diets, as well as reducing if not eliminating food loss and waste.

Why: Eating a plant-based diet saves 0.8 tons of CO2 emissions per year on average, which is 4 times more effective per year than recycling.

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HOME ENERGY USE

What: At home, reducing energy demand, insulating better, and switching to green electricity and/or producing one’s own renewable energy.

Why: Consuming less and moving towards renewable energy sources can save up on average 1.6 ton of CO CO2 emissions per year per person.

Personal Choices to reduce your contribution to climate change

Average values for developed countries based on current emissions.

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Will you make a commitment to change your personal lifestyle?

Get inspired with more ideas in these 3 areas!

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Transportation Commitment

How we travel from one place to another always has an impact on the Earth, no matter how near or far. We invite you to join us in moving around our world more thoughtfully and sustainably.

Happy travels!

Every time you walk, cycle, rollerblade, skateboard, etc. instead of driving for 3 km (2 miles), you save one inflated balloon’s worth of carbon pollution

Instead of driving your car, try riding the bus or train 3 days per week. If you choose the bus, you can save 1 day’s worth of carbon pollution each week. If you choose the train, you can save 2 day’s worth of carbon pollution each week!

About 25% of airplane pollution happens during take-off and landing. If you have to fly, please choose the non-stop flight option whenever possible.

If you choose to commute by bus, rather than driving your own car, you can save an entire season’s worth of carbon pollution over the course of one year. And if you choose to commute by train, you’ll save nearly double that!

If you purchased a new electric car and drove it until it broke down, then bought another electric car and drove that second vehicle until it broke down, you would produce fewer greenhouse gas emissions than buying and driving a single gasoline-powered car. And the batteries from both electric cars could also be reused or recycled!

Every time you choose to avoid a single transatlantic flight, you save more carbon than you would by switching to renewable energy in your home for an entire year!

Every time you choose to avoid a single transatlantic flight, you save more carbon than you would by switching to renewable energy in your home for an entire year … so just imagine how much you could help the Earth by choosing to avoid air travel entirely!

Using one less car in your family (or, ideally, living an entirely car-free lifestyle) is one of the most helpful things you can do for the Earth!

I will share my experiences with keeping commitments, the challenges, rewards, beautiful surprises and spiritual insights with my fellow community members and invite them into conversation and making a commitment to sustainable living, too.

Do you want to make a sustainable transportation commitment that is not listed above? We would be happy to evaluate its impact on climate change and consider adding it as a permanent option here. Please email us today!

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Food Commitment

Meat, cheese, and milk production all create lots of carbon pollution. What we do with “everything we don’t eat” can also hurt the environment … or it can help! We invite you to eat a plant-based diet and compost your non-meat food scraps.

Bon appetit!

Internationally, food waste produces more greenhouse gas emissions than any single country except for China or the United States. In fact, food waste produces more greenhouse gas emissions than Brazil, Germany, Indonesia, Mexico, and Canada combined!

If you and your family decided to skip meat two days per week for an entire year, you would save as much carbon pollution as taking your car off the road for ten weeks!

Most dairy comes from animals known as ruminants — including cows, sheep, and goats — which produce lots of methane gas during their digestion processes. Compared with carbon dioxide, this methane gas is 25 times more effective at trapping heat in our atmosphere!

Composting your leftover fruits, vegetables, grains, and non-animal proteins is the best way to use your “food scraps”. Rather than trapping these items in a landfill where they will decompose and build up dangerous greenhouse gases, try composting them to create a rich fertilizer you can use in your garden!

Meat production requires 11 times more fossil fuels per calorie than grain production. And this doesn’t even take into account the negative impacts of animal waste, refrigeration, storage, transportation, and even greater environmental concerns!

In the United States, the greenhouse gas emissions from beef production alone are roughly equivalent to the annual emissions of 24 million cars or 33 coal-fired power plants. Lamb — which is categorized alongside beef as “red meat” — is almost as bad for the Earth!

Raising animals for meat accounts for about 10-15% of all the greenhouse gas emissions caused by humans around the world. The percentages are even higher in certain countries that produce and consume a lot of meat, including New Zealand, Australia, Argentina, and the United States.

Eating a plant-based diet saves more carbon pollution than replacing a traditional gas-powered car with a hybrid car. That’s a whole lot of energy and waste!

Eating a 100% plant-based diet — meaning no milk, cheese, eggs, or other animal food products — saves twice as much carbon pollution as eating a vegetarian diet that makes exception for those foods.

I will share my experiences with keeping commitments, the challenges, rewards, beautiful surprises and spiritual insights with my fellow community members and invite them into conversation and making a commitment to sustainable living, too.

Do you want to make a sustainable food commitment that is not listed above? We would be happy to evaluate its impact on climate change and consider adding it as a permanent option here. Please email us today!

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Energy Commitment

How do we heat and cool our homes? When do we use electrical appliances? Where does our electricity come from? We invite you consider these questions and lower your home’s impact on climate change.

Power up!

Using LEDs instead of conventional light bulbs is a helpful step to reducing carbon pollution. The technology is improving each year, making LEDs more efficient and longer-lasting!

Air-drying your clothes can save about as much carbon pollution as recycling your glass, plastic, and paper goods. If you care about recycling, consider no longer using a dryer machine.

Did you know that heating and cooling account for more than half of the energy use in a typical U.S. home? And the numbers are not much better in other developed countries. By keeping your home temperature just a few degrees warmer during summer, you can significantly reduce your carbon footprint.

Did you know that heating and cooling account for more than half of the energy use in a typical U.S. home? And the numbers are not much better in other developed countries. By keeping your home temperature just a few degrees cooler during winter, you can significantly reduce your carbon footprint.

All air-conditioners cause carbon pollution, which represents a serious threat to our planet at scale. Unfortunately, air-conditions can also release hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) — chemical compounds that trap thousands of times as much heat in the atmosphere as carbon dioxide — if they are broken or when they are thrown away. Try minimizing your air-conditioning use in order to conserve electricity, produce less pollution, and require less repair and replacement for your machine.

By using renewable energy to power your home, you can save as much carbon pollution replacing your gas-powered car with an electric car and also replacing all your home’s light bulbs with LEDs!

Using solar energy to power your home is one of the most helpful things you can do for the planet. Depending on how much of your previous energy use came from coal, natural gas, or other unsustainable sources, you could reduce your home’s greenhouse gas emissions by a factor of at least 5 ... and possibly as high as 200!

Inspired? Make a commitment to change your personal lifestyle!