The world has until 2030 to stop the irreversible damage that climate change can cause. We need to keep the increase in average global temperatures below -1.5 degrees Celsius to stop the irreversible impact of climate change. But to do that, the world has to come together. We need to do our fair share of keeping the world a safe place for the next generations. It all starts at home—with the way we consume things. Research showed that households are responsible for 72% of global greenhouse gas emissions.
And yet, the role of households in reducing carbon footprint is not included in the policies drafted and passed by the signatories to the Paris Agreement. If 72% of global greenhouse gas emissions come from households, shouldn’t there be a focus on what policy changes must be done in the household to reach the goal of below 1.5 degrees Celsius? The choices one makes at home impact the environment outside, so why are there no strict policies for households?
The overconsumption of household products led to an increase in carbon footprint. Instead of buying things that adversely impact the environment, why not purposely purchase eco-friendly household items? A coir doormat is one example. It’s eco-friendly and fashionable. For a manufacturer to produce the kind of area carpets you use as a front door welcome mat, it has to use tons of water and energy. A mat made of coir is sustainable and does not impact the environment in that same way.
Mobility, Food, and Heating
Mobility makes up 34% of the baseline carbon footprint of a household, while food follows at 30%. Using energy to power the household also comprises 21% to 40% of a household’s carbon footprint. So, yes, caring for the environment starts at home.
Parents need to start enforcing a rule on what they eat. The fewer red meat you eat at home, for example, the bigger impact on preserving the environment. The same thing can be said in installing solar panels instead of depending on the grid. You might also want to rethink your choices of cars. It might be time to invest in an electric car, don’t you think?
Households are less interested in reducing their international travels. They equate travelling to status. One of the respondents in a survey said that even hiring managers choose well-travelled applicants than those who did not have experience seeing other cultures.
Household Demographics and Lifestyles
The composition of your household also affects the amount of carbon dioxide you produce. The more people live in the house, the higher the carbon footprint will be in there. But in developing nations, this is a reality. Two to three families live in one house, which means they use more power, eat more food, and consume more natural resources.
Your income also impacts your carbon footprint. Young city dwellers renting an apartment often complain about how hard it is to find an energy-efficient unit. Landlords don’t want to invest, so the tenants are forced to live in an apartment with zero energy-efficient features. Sometimes, they could not even switch the air-conditioning unit to an energy-efficient one.
On the other hand, families who pay a mortgage can’t pay the upfront fees of installing a solar panel. Since they’re spending about $1,500 on their monthly home mortgage, they do not have the extra money for the solar panel. So instead, they waste their money on paying their monthly electricity bill.
Households are unwilling to compromise on their choices. According to a survey, the best they can do is reduce their carbon footprint by consuming less meat and processed food. They are willing to buy locally grown food, but only because it is also beneficial to animal welfare. They’re also ready to recycle, but only up to the point that it won’t be a nuisance. It’s harder to convince them to switch to an eco-friendly car or bike or walk to work.
The greater the carbon dioxide reduction potential for a certain action, the more households are unwilling to implement them. Simply put, they are not ready to make the necessary sacrifices to stop climate change. For them, their lifestyles are more important than the obscure future of global warming.
The impact of climate change is not something the world can shrug off. Nine years from now, whatever you do and didn’t do at home will contribute to the collective failure of keeping the irreversible effects of global warming at bay. If you care about what happens to you and the future generations, you have to start enforcing rules at home that will reduce your carbon footprint.