“Going green” can be quite a daunting task, so I want to take this opportunity to break it down for you in a nice simple step-by-step guide.
Step 1: Calculate your carbon footprint
- Know your starting point, identify areas to improve, and keep track of your progress. Luckily for you, we’ve got a handy Eco Medics carbon calculator you can access by clicking here
Step 2: Directly reduce your carbon footprint
- Every little helps, even if it’s as simple as grabbing one less paper towel at the work sink or kitchen towel (did you know 1 paper towel has a similar carbon footprint to 3 supermarket plastic bags?), or making sure you put all that cannula packaging in the non-clinical bin instead of the dreaded orange waste. Check out Peace with the Wild for soap bars, shampoo bars, bamboo toothbrushes and more…
- Daily transport: walk/cycle, public transport, electric vehicles, normal vehicles - in that order. Did you know that on Bolt and FreeNow, you can specifically request an electric vehicle? Give it a go next time you take a taxi.
- International transport - flying has a huge carbon impact, so think about your alternatives e.g. stay local, do trips back to back so you take fewer flights, and buy local, so your goods aren’t taking flights on your behalf too. If there’s no better alternative, carbon offset your flight at the very least.
- Food - 4 beef burgers have the same carbon footprint as using a new plastic shopping bag every day for 91 years. Read that again. We’re not asking you to go vegan overnight. We’re asking you to start making an effort. If you eat meat every day, consider doing Meat Free Mondays, and limiting yourself to red meat once a week. Perhaps only eat meat at home, or only when you’re not at home. If you already only eat meat a couple of times a year, try opting for plant based alternatives on a more regular basis (e.g. plant butter, tofu instead of eggs, dark chocolate etc…). Alternatively, go all out and try Veganuary and share your progress with us on social media with #GreenJanuary
Step 3: Put your money where your mouth is
- You’re doing so well. You’ve calculated your footprint, eating more plant based, drinking less petrol. However, you’re still investing your entire life savings and most of your monthly outgoings in fossil fuels?! No sense in that. It’s time to switch to an ethical bank (Starling or Triodos) and to switch to a renewable energy provider (Green Energy or Ecotricity are the best by far).
- Consider investing in climate friendly technologies - whether that’s providing more efficient stoves for remote communities in developing countries, creating new protected rainforest areas, or installing solar power in places that still rely on coal. Doing this reduces the global carbon output and improves the livelihoods of people today, while protecting our planet of tomorrow. Gold Standard is an organisation that verifies projects you invest in to ensure they are legitimate, trustworthy and meet the UN sustainable development goals in terms of benefitting the local community as well as the planet as a whole. You may have also heard of this as being called “carbon offsetting”, we prefer “financing the transition to a clean future”. It just so happens that you might choose to invest the same amount as your unavoidable carbon emissions (probably around £10 per month), but you can always invest more if you’re feeling committed. If you’re up for it, use our carbon calculator to invest in Gold Standard approved projects through our partners, Climate Hero.
Step 4: Be an advocate for change
Once you’ve start on step 1 - 3, you can officially be proud of your eco conscious status. The last step, is to be an advocate for change. Do a sustainable QIP at work, persuade your friends to get the veggie option at dinner, encourage your significant other to take the train and walk instead of drive. Share all your progress with your friends and family on social media. Challenge them as to what changes they’re making. The choice is limitless, and trust me, it can be quite fun trying to come up with the best possible dinner menu to persuade your meat eating friends that being veggie doesn’t have to come with a side of sad taste buds.
So that’s it! Our step by step guide to Green January. Don’t forget to share your thoughts and progress with us on social media with @eco_medics and #GreenJanuary