According to the United Nations, we are the last generation that can stop climate change, even reverse catastrophic global warming. We have about 10 years to do so. Well I can tell you, some brilliant minds are working to help!
On Saturday, I got to go to “Dus, wat gaan we doen?” Festival in Rotterdam, literally translated, So what are we going to do? This festival was a small-scale event to showcase sustainable alternatives, for a better environment. I got so inspired by the companies present there and some initiatives, it was a breath of hope! Maybe, we are not doomed yet.
I met with Moyee Coffee, a fair-trade / fair-chain coffee brand, that wants to radically change the supply chain in the coffee industry by making sure the entire process from growing to picking to roasting and packaging is done in the countries where the coffee is grown, enabling coffee farmers to earn about 400% more than with other gigantic coffee brands. Bold and inspiring!
I participated in my very new discovered passion: clothing swap, with the brilliant girls of Awearness Kollektif. I brought 3 pieces of clothing I am not wearing and that does not sell on United Wardrobe and exchanged it for a beautiful and new knitwear sweater and a cute floral short-jumper for my upcoming Californian trip. Fighting fast fashion with flowers, don’t you love that idea?
More initiatives were there to present their alternative to fast and quick consumption such as cooperative farming, crowd-action platform Coll’Action, Zero waste way-of-life, Greenpeace, sustainable banking solution as well as energy providers focused on green energy. There was even a little market where you could find bamboo toothbrushes, or reusable food wraps and beeswax wraps (which I bought because I am a huge consumer of aluminum foil… Yep, no one is perfect!)
All of these just inspired me. I have been researching how to decrease my carbon footprint for a while now and it comes to very few but very effective options. Simple, but they can be hard to take:
- Eat less or no meat.
You can see in the graph below (in Dutch but easy to understand) that veggies have the least carbon footprint and lamb and red meat the highest (in red). Chicken is in the middle. I stopped eating red meat for a while now. I only indulged on Christmas, because it was on the table anyway and also, when my mom makes it, it is a lot better! But weirdly enough: I can’t digest it anymore. I got such stomach ache, I got on Citrate de Betaïne for the whole 8 days I was there!
Side-note: if you do not know what Citrate de Betaïne is, let me just tell you it is the absolute remedy for stomach ache linked to food AND hangovers! Lemon juice and Vitamine C works too!
- Travel less
When Ryanair does promotion at 9 euros per seat to go visit Cracovia and when you actually travel for work, your carbon footprint goes to the roof. In August, on the occasion of Earth Overshoot Day (the date when we (all of humanity) have used more from nature than our planet can renew in the entire year. In 2018, it fell on August 1). I got to calculate the numbers of planet humanity would need if everyone lived like me. Let me tell you: I got shocked and sad! See below my results!
All of this is because of flying! I bike to work, eat meat less than once a week, I don’t own a car. BUT, I fly almost once a month to visit my family in Lyon and for work… Thank God, a lot of amazing initiatives have understood that it is hard to decrease to zero the number of flights you take in a year: that’s why you can now COMPENSATE for your carbon emissions when you fly! I suggest you go to hivos.nl (in Dutch only) or fairclimatefund.nl or treeforall.nl (in Dutch only) or Greenseat.nl (also in English and French!). These websites enable you to calculate the amount you need to compensate for according to your way of life. The money you give correspond to a certain amount of CO2 you consumed and liberated in the air and they finance projects such as planting trees, financing better cooking stoves in Africa, creating windmills in India or reforesting coffee farms in Peru.
It does not mean you should fly more and get your conscience clean by sending a bit of money to these organisations, but when you have no choice and want to compensate, you have great options.
And you, what do you do?