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  • Writer's pictureEllen Worrell

#write52 week 43: Getting your Giki on

Updated: Sep 14, 2021

It's all a bit shit out there at the minute isn't it?!

  • The hopes and dreams of practically the entire Afghan people being crushed in the blink of an eye.

  • A deadly earthquake in Haiti killing over 2,000 people.

  • Devastating flooding across large swathes of Europe.

  • Rampant wildfires raging out of control in other parts of Europe and the USA.

  • An on-going global pandemic.

  • The IPCC's damning report on climate change.

Image by Pete Linforth from Pixabay

I could go on and on, sending you into a deeply depressing hole (and that's without mentioning the crap English summer we're all enjoying...), but that's not what I'm about. Instead, I'm going to focus on the last one – probably unsurprisingly if you know me at all. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published its latest report earlier this month and the media jumped on all the negative aspects: increasingly extreme heatwaves, droughts and flooding, to name but a few. These are of course all alarming...

But – and this is a big but – the report offers more than that. It offers Hope with a capital H.

The clever boffins behind the report say that a catastrophe can be avoided if the world acts fast. And I'm not just talking about a catastrophe that would mean the demise of rainforests, polar bears, giraffes or even cute fluffy monkeys. I'm talking about a catastrophe that would mean the demise of humankind full stop.

And by acting fast, what the scientists mean is we've got to act now. Mankind has known about the devastating consequences of climate change for decades, and we've even got the technology to do something about it, but only if we pull our finger out and DO SOMETHING. We are the last generation with the power to bring about change. As Eco with Em so brilliantly put it: "This is not game over, it's game on."

But I can practically hear you all rolling your eyes at me and shouting "But what on earth am I supposed to do?! I just don't know where to start or how to make a difference as little old me."

Don't worry though – I'm not about to hit you all with a big green bashy stick and declare you've got to become an all-guns-blazing vegan who refuses to get on a plane ever again. Nope, not me. Otherwise I'd just be a giant hypocrite. You see I'm a sucker for a goat's cheese pizza and when the prospect of heading to an airport isn't quite as terrifying as it is currently in these weird pandemic-tinged times, Team Worrell will probably look to jump on a plane and seek out some adventures in the sunshine.

Instead I'm going to encourage you to work out your personal carbon footprint then see where you can make changes to your home and work life to lower your personal impact on the planet. Fun(ish) fact – currently, the average carbon footprint in high-income countries is around 10 tonnes. We need to cut this to 2.5 tonnes by 2030 if we want to stand an outside chance of sticking to the maximum agreed temperature rise of 1.5 °C.

I know those figures sound terrifying – and yes, they are. We each need to work out a way of cutting our personal carbon footprint by 7.5 tonnes in a little over 9 years. Yikes. But...

Here's your challenge: get your Giki on.

  1. Head to the Giki Zero website to set up a profile.

  2. Don't get overwhelmed and bury your head in the sand for a few months before looking at it. Seriously don't do it. We haven't got time to waste.

  3. Do it on a computer, laptop or tablet first if you can. The website is mobile-compatible, but I found it easier to set up initially on my PC.

  4. Take your time. The more information you can put in about yourself and your household, the more accurate your carbon footprint calculation will be. Giki allows you to include lots of shades of detail – it's not just black and white, so the nuances really matter.

  5. Invite any other adults living in your house to join your household team. That way, stuff like heating and water use will be divided equally between you. If you've got little people at home, you can add them to your household and manage their impact as well.

Once you know where you stand right now, the clever gurus at Giki will then suggest different steps you can try. Depending on what you pick, it might have a bigger or smaller impact on your Giki score, but it'll all make a difference. I promise. You might even find you get (mildly) addicted to it. Don't say I didn't warn you...!

If you need some more Gikinspiration, why not listen to the wonderful Jen Gale's Sustainable(ish) podcast episode starring Jo Hand from Giki Zero. Jo and Jen look at carbon footprints, why they matter, how to use Giki to work yours out, and what you can do to lower it.

And what about me? Well, I'm rather proud to say that my Giki score is 2053 and my carbon footprint is currently -536kg, so well below the target of 2.5 tonnes. And as I'm mentioned before, I've not suddenly turned into some tree-hugging, off-grid-living hippie who will only eat plant-based things the day before they go mega mouldy. But I have made some big changes and I've pledged to try some more. Over the next few weeks, I'm going to go into these in a bit more detail, including becoming a more conscious consumer, swapping my car for an all-electric one, switching bank accounts, and attempting to eat less cheese to name just a few.

But what's the most impactful thing I do on a daily basis? Plant trees. Hang on, didn't I witter on about that in my last post?! If you missed it, here's a reminder of how you can plant trees the easy way: #write52 week 42: Plant more trees – the easy way

So who's joining me to get their Giki on? Do let me know what your current carbon footprint is and what steps you're taking to cut it down. To steal a famous supermarket's catchphrase, every little helps!

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