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  • Writer's pictureEllen Worrell

#Write52 week 45: Carbon Literacy training part 2

Today is the last day of half-term in our little corner of Northamptonshire, so it's been a bit of a juggling act trying to combine full-time Izzy entertainment, work and life in general this last week, but that didn't stop me attending the second instalment of my Carbon Literacy training. And I know I said previously that it's important not to bombard people with stats (head here if you missed it), but I'm going to do it anyway. Some of these figures are too mind-boggling to simply ignore. Strap yourselves in folks, it's going to be an uncomfortable ride...

Katharine Hayhoe, a Canadian climate scientist, explains that "the world is on fire". Imagine how rough you feel when you're running a temperature – your muscles ache, your head is pulsating, and your body temperature is all over the place. That's exactly what it's like for our planet right now.

Clever scientists have worked out that:

  • a 1 °C rise in average global temperatures would increase rainfall by 3-10% and the risk of wildfires would increase by 200-400%

  • a 4 °C rise in average global temperatures would cut the average global GDP by 20%, but that poorer nations would see their GDP fall by 25%

However, they've also worked out that by limiting this rise to 1.5 °C rather than 2 °C, 50% fewer people would be exposed to water stress globally. These figures are mind-boggling, and every 0.1 °C really matters.

And did you know...?

  • The world's richest 10% produce 50% of global greenhouse gas emissions

  • You are in the world's richest 10% if you earn more than £27,000/year

  • You are in the world's richest 1% if you earn more than £100,000/year

I can't help agreeing with Greta Thunberg when she says: "the bigger your carbon footprint, the bigger your moral duty." But equally:

But before we can make a difference, we need to know what our carbon footprint is and what we can do to lower it. I've talked about Giki Zero before (head here for a refresh) but the latest instalment of my Carbon Literacy training prompted me to go back to my Giki dashboard and update my score. By removing all the trees I planted last year (head here for easy tree-planting ideas), my carbon footprint shot up again. Boo. But I was also able to make a few other changes that helped lower it again. Having said that, knowledge is power and I now know what areas I need to work on to lower it further still.

Food clearly has the biggest impact on my carbon footprint (currently standing at 1.7 tonnes overall), and it's a really tricky one. If I chose to go all-out vegan, my score would undoubtably go down. But I don't think that's something I can commit to right now. We eat veg-based meals 4-5 times a week, and any meat we do eat comes from the local butcher so I'm confident it has been reared ethically and sustainably. I buy organic fruit and vegetables wherever possible and am a little bit militant when it comes to food waste. Granted, it means some of our meals are really rather random, but I'd rather that than throw food away.

What about you? Have you worked out your carbon footprint on Giki yet?

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