Following this experiment, what benefits do you see for yourself, of living within the 2030 1.5oC targets?
If we analyze only my personal consumption, I already live within the 1.5C targets. This is because I work from home, walk or ride the bike to almost everywhere, etc… however, if we make the calculations in the family context, the story is slightly different. My husband has been traveling a lot for work. While his absence means less resource consumption at home, it also means more emissions as he has to go by car due to the remoteness of the sites he visits, eat outside, and so on.
Although I joined the experiment intending to measure only my individual consumption, I can’t decouple my lifestyle from the one of my family. My child is still relatively small, but she’s also got a footprint of her own, and I’m directly responsible for it. Nowadays, her footprint is less than when she was a baby and needed nappies, for example (I used washable and disposable ones); still, I make her transportation, food, clothing choices. So while I think her footprint is also consistent with the 1.5C target, I am aware that it depends on us to teach her how to keep her lifestyle on this level.
Indirectly, my husband joined the experiment too. While he didn’t measure his consumption, he contributed to the household’s decision-making and overall consumption at home. He is into repairing things and the other day, he confessed he doesn’t miss the microwave.
What are the low-carbon activities you find great and would like to make part of your life?
I’m pretty happy using my creativity to make delicious meals with rescued food.
What activities seem incompatible (even with probable efficiencies) with the 1.5oC targets?
Transportation – although the public transport network in my small city is excellent, it is very difficult (and expensive) to go to nearby cities due to many factors. Moreover, riding the bike in my town is still an extreme sport; there are no bike lanes, it is very hilly, and in some parts, it is not even possible to have 1.5-meter distance between the bike and the cars driving by.
Do you think we can achieve 2030 1.5oC targets while leading quality, dignifying, healthy lives and why?
Yes, it is possible as long as we are aware that we need to support each other’s efforts and that either directly or indirectly, we are also responsible for the lifestyles of those living with us
What are the challenges and opportunities you foresee to leading quality, dignifying, healthy lives with half (2040 1.5oC targets) and even a third (2050 1.5oC targets) of the 2030 1.5oC carbon budget?
We have to bear in mind that there will always be tradeoffs, and we need to balance those.
The main challenge: convenience. Or at least our perception of it and the factors that lead to decision-making: time, accessibility, perceived usefulness, price… and for some CO2 and water footprints, production and distribution conditions, etc.
What is more environmentally friendly: driving my car to pick up the rescued food to another town because the program is not available in mine; or, ordering my vegetables from a nearby farm and having it delivered to my home?
Opportunities? There are plenty – sharing our efforts with others makes them surprisingly easier to stick to. Moreover, it helps to find creative and original solutions that one may not have thought of before.
If I’m to describe this experiment to someone who wants to do something to live within the 1.5C target, it is important to bear in mind that our lifestyles change as we evolve; and, as long as there is a will, we can live well without contributing to a wasteful, hotter world.
For example, between my twenties and early thirties, I can easily say that the only times of my life were when I could speak about my consumption and lifestyle in singular terms. That was when my consumption and ownership had the lowest impact in terms of household appliances, energy use, clothes, single transport use, and even food because I made it my mission to be on the road as much as possible. Of course, living off a backpack means a lot of frugality. I moved around by public transport, bike, and trains and spectacularly blew off my CO2 budget with all my intercontinental travel.
Before these years, I was part of a larger unit comprised of my parents and siblings – did we lead a 1.5C lifestyle? Although, in retrospect, I could say yes, most of my current habits were formed back then (repair first, save, share, recycle, be mindful of the impact your choices have on others); back then, nobody was really measuring. I’ve been measuring my impact for quite some time, and the one clear thing is that we should try to see our lifestyles as a system that affects and is influenced by others around us. Therefore, we need to act according to the impact we want to cause and not only how convenient it is for us individually.