Small things that make a big difference to your carbon footprint… they might surprise you!


I’m sure you’ve heard of COP26, the United Nations Climate Change Conference hitting the headlines last month. It’s a place where United Nations leaders can discuss their plans to build a better future surrounding climate change. It is so important, though for us all to make a difference individually, as it’s our future that will be impacted.

Here are some great ideas that will help you make a big difference to your carbon footprint, and in turn, help save the planet!

Money

Money is a big contributor to our morals as a society, and so it influences how we live. You can use your income to make a difference to your carbon footprint and how the environment is treated. Have a look at your energy provider or bank and investigate what they do as companies. Many banks provide money to fossil fuel companies – £2 trillion has been provided by banks since the end of 2015. So, it’s important you know where your money is going.

Clothing

Clothing has a big impact on the environment, so how you fill your wardrobe can make a great difference. Try to buy from sustainable fashion lines, such as H&M’s Conscious product range – this is such a simple change to make but it really does reduce your impact on the world. Charity shops are so affordable but also a great way of putting a stop to unethical spending on clothes. You can also find great vintage items so it can be a really fun way to browse!

Travel

As students, we’re travelling all the time to get from place to place, such as our part-time jobs, university campuses and work placements – so this is something we really could help out with! The university encourage you not to have a car on campus, and this is because there are train and bus services that are accessible around Cheltenham and Gloucester for you to use. There’s also some easy and enjoyable walking and cycling routes. Promoting smart travel is one of the ways the University of Gloucestershire is working towards being carbon net zero by 2030.

Find out more: smart travel at university

Tourism accounts for a large part of air pollution. Air travel holds 75% of tourism’s greenhouse gas emissions, and bus and train travel accounts for 13%, with accommodation being 20%. Therefore, it’s vital that you think about how you holiday. Going local can help the environment, as well as saving you money along the way. Plus, the views across our country are stunning and should definitely be experienced during your lifetime.

Diet

One of the biggest ways to reduce your carbon footprint is through your dietary choices.

  • Try to include more plant-based meals in your diet and switch to dairy alternatives. Habitats are being destroyed for land so that cattle can be reared for food. Cattle ranching releases 340 million tonnes of carbon each year, mostly from the Amazon. On top of the demand for land to raise the cattle on, there is the inevitable need to feed the animals. A lot of this comes from soy farming. Soybean is a widely used animal feed, so we consume it via meat and dairy products. The soy industry is a major contributor to deforestation and, in turn, your carbon footprint, due to the demand for its production. We need to ensure that the rise of soy farming does not further harm natural habitats and we can encourage this by switching up our dietary choices to include more plant-based meals and dairy alternatives.
  • Go green! Have a go at growing your own veggies at home – it’s fun to do and so much better for you. It encourages wildlife to blossom locally and provides food that’s fresh and clear of any preservatives that might affect your health.

Waste

Commonly spoken about, reducing, reusing and recycling are great for reducing your impact on the planet. Keep updated with how your local recycling is done to make sure you’re on top of it all. Be sure to clean out empty plastic containers, bottles and fold down cardboard waste before you recycle them – recycling is so important and so easy to do! Responsibly disregarding of your waste avoids ecosystems being wrecked, like the ocean, for example.

Knowledge

The more that you’re aware of how your own, personal actions are damaging the planet, the sooner we can collectively put a stop to it. You can be part of the solution on climate change by taking on some of these ideas to reduce your own carbon footprint. You can also raise awareness simply by spreading the word. Spark up a conversation with those around you, young or old, we can all make a difference, and the world needs everyone’s help before it’s too late.

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