Sustainable Living Makes you Happier
With the onset of the Paris climate summit, Low Carbon Lifestyle expert Mukti Mitchell shares simple tips for reducing your carbon footprint and improving your quality of life
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 (downloadable at www.lowcarbonlifestyle.org.uk)– 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 Mitchell’s Ten Top Tips for Low Carbon Lifestyles
1. Insulate your home by fitting loft insulation, draft proofing, secondary or double glazing, wall and floor installation, in order of cost and effectiveness. (See www.cosyhomecompany.co.uk for more details)
2. Use shared transport – buses, trains and full cars all emit a quarter of the emissions of a solo car journey.
3. Eat organic, local food – ideally from small scale organic farms and gardens because agricultural methods can produce even more emissions than transport.
4. Holiday by ground transport – due to radiative forcing, high altitude emissions are around three times more damaging. Travelling abroad by ship and train is also much more fun!
5. Purchase quality, long-lasting products. Cheap and quality products have a similar carbon footprint in manufacture. Therefore if one product lasts five times longer than another it accounts for one fifth of the emissions over its life span. High quality products dramatically improve your quality of life and happiness.
6. Live together! Get a lodger, rent a room or share a house. Sharing the carbon footprint= of your annual fuel bills radically cuts your carbon footprint and saves you lots of money. And money is time!
7. Optimise your travel. Give yourself time to think carefully about your journeys and whether they can be fitted together so that you spend more time during one trip but travel less often. This reduces tedious travel and creates more time to do the things you really enjoy.
8. Cook from scratch – listening to music or talking to a friend while cooking makes it fun, while cooking this way involves far less refrigeration, processing and packaging. It also tastes 10 times nicer!
9. Take holidays in your home country – it’s nice to get away in the winter, but in the summer, home may be the best place in the world! Getting to know your own country can be, surprisingly, even more interesting.
10. Double up! The perfect pair of shoes is good for home and work. The perfect bicycle goes on and off road. The perfect coat is good for rain and shine. Versatile products can take more time to find, but once we have them, they serve multiple purposes and save physical and mental space as well as embodied energy.
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 is Director of the award-winning CosyHome Company, which retrofits energy saving insulations for period properties.
The author of The Guide to Low Carbon Lifestyles (downloadable from www.lowcarbonlifestyle.org.uk) and five highly commended online carbon calculators, he has been leading a low carbon lifestyle for 15 years. He famously sailed around Britain in a zero-emission microyacht, and is an acclaimed writer and speaker on low carbon living.