With the COP21 UN Climate Change Conference in Paris set to determine the world’s future in the coming days, Mukti Mitchell – celebrated eco trailblazer and author of The Guide to Low Carbon Lifestyles – shares ten simple ways we can all reduce our personal carbon footprint and play our part in reducing climate change.
After 20 years of experimenting with sustainable living, Mukti Mitchell passionately advocates that adopting a low carbon lifestyle improves your quality of life. He says: “As you help reduce climate change you also dramatically improve your quality of life, so low carbon lifestyles solve both these problems together. And you get immediate feedback, you’ll feel better within a month. Your gift to your planet is your gift to yourself.”
Mukti is the Director of CosyHome Company, winner of the CIOB (Chartered Institute of Building) Southwest Sustainability Award (2011), awarded for its energy-saving insulations for period houses and substantial contribution towards making Britain’s buildings more sustainable. He famously built and sailed an award-winning eco micro yacht around Britain in 2007 endorsed by The Prince of Wales, the Prime Minister and several environmental organisations, and his 45 talks along the way extolling the benefits and simple application of low carbon lifestyles reached an audience of 10 million.
Mukti’s sustainability research highlights that a typical UK annual carbon footprint of 10 tons of CO2 per person comprises of five key lifestyle areas, emitting around two tonnes each: home heating, transportation, food production/distribution, holidays, and buying products. So for a low carbon lifestyle, he endorses insulating your home, sharing transport, eating organic local food, taking holidays by ground transport, and purchasing long-lasting products.
Mukti Mitchell says: “The most satisfying approach is to measure your carbon footprint and then aim to reduce it by 4% per year, which is easily achievable. Look at the different lifestyle areas that make up your carbon footprint and start with the ones you find easiest to address. Don’t feel guilty about your carbon footprint – we’ve all been encouraged that successful lives mean getting wealthy and consuming more! The bigger your carbon footprint is to start with, the more easily you can reduce it. And there’s room for treats with a low carbon lifestyle – occasional exotic foods from abroad or a drive to the cinema make little difference, it’s your regular daily activities that mount up across the year.”
You can measure your carbon footprint using the carbon calculator designed by Mukti. Recognised as the most user-friendly and accurate online, it’s available on the Resurgence magazine website: www.resurgence.org/carboncalculator .
Mukti Mitchell hopes the COP21 Paris conference could become one of the most important events in human history by instigating carbon reduction internationally. He says: “The most important thing is that an agreement is reached that enables the whole world to make a start together in implementing CO2 reductions. In reality we are inevitably going to raise the targets every few years, so ambitious goals needn’t be set at this stage. Rome wasn’t built in a day. The most important thing is to make a start, and we all hope that our leaders will do that in Paris.
“In addition, the more we can all do collectively to reduce our personal carbon footprints the better. This decade is the real opportunity to tackle climate change, in 20–30 years time the future will be set in stone. What’s called for is a change of mindset, and if we all pull together and do our best, we have a real opportunity.”