“It’s time to kick the carbon habit” — that is the message of a UN report marking World Environment Day. It urges people to take responsibility in fighting climate change. Taking the bus rather than using the car is one example cited. But the report gives a host of suggestions that collectively would help rich nations halve greenhouse emissions. If every airline passenger restricted their baggage weight to less than 20kg it would save two million tonnes of CO2 a year.
The UN normally targets countries and organisations for its climate change recommendations but this time it says ordinary people can play a big part. It need not require painful sacrifices, it is claimed.
Replacing an electric alarm clock with a wind-up one would save 48 grammes of carbon per day, as would cutting out the use of electric tooth brushes. At least 45 minutes of jogging in the park, as opposed to on a treadmill, amounts to one kilo of carbon less in the atmosphere, it is estimated.
There are more exacting ways of making a contribution. In Australia, Sean Wright has been converting waste vegetable oil to run his car. It has considerably lightened his carbon footprint and is also a free source of fuel. “It’s cheaper so I can get the vegetable oil from the restaurants, they don’t want it so they give it to me for free. There is quite a lot of effort involved with the filtering and the conversion of the vehicle but there’s a number of reasons and the environmental side is definitely one of them,” he said.