There are more greenhouse gases in our atmosphere this year than ever before [1].

Yet if we continue at this pace, Earth could warm between two and six degrees Celsius over the next century – resulting in catastrophic consequences for humans and planet [2].

Consuming less by taking personal action is a major, but under-valued solution to preventing climate change. People have a growing appetite for things whose production, transportation, use and wastage create greenhouse gas emissions, driving a climate breakdown [3].

To keep global warming to 1.5 degrees – the global temperature threshold before many major world cities like Miami go under water [4], coral reefs and ice sheets disappear, crops start failing and other big issues [2]- all Europeans would need to reduce their personal carbon footprint by approximately 8 tonnes of CO2 per year [5]. 

To reduce it by that much, we'd probably need to eat a local, seasonal, plant-based diet, forgo flying and live car-free, use renewable energy to power our homes, recycle all waste, wash clothes with cold water and hang dry them, and not buy any new clothes or gadgets [6].

HOW TO FIX IT: Save great cities like Miami from disappearing by the end of the century.

If we all take action to use less stuff, we can have a major impact. Acquiring few, but useful and long-lasting possessions, eating meat-free, and ensuring little to nothing gets wasted and ends up in landfill are all impactful ways to shrink our footprint.

[1] WMO, 2016

[2] IPCC, 2013

[3] Barrett and Scott, 2012

[4] Wdowinski et al., 2016 

[5] Chancel and Piketty, 2015

[6] Carrington, 2017

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