As the Paris Summit on Climate Change continues to debate the pressing issues of the day, Mukti Mitchell offers 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
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 .
About the author
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.