The social media algorithms have clearly got me pegged, because last week this article from Positive.News came up in my newsfeed: “Six lifestyle changes that could help avert the climate crisis“. I’m a sucker for a list, and always on the look out for some positive news to balance the stream of reasons to be terrified (war, famine, climate breakdown, general human awfulness…). This article didn’t disappoint.

I will leave you to read it for yourself (only a few minutes of your time, nice pictures), but the main point (for those who are too lazy) is that there are a few fairly simple (though still challenging) changes that individuals or households can make to their lifestyle and habits which really can make an impact.

If everyone in the developed world rung in these changes, emissions would fall by a quarter

‘according to researchers’

The research in the article is from ARUP, The Jump and C40, who make an encouraging case for how citizens can have a meaningful impact – the potential of people power! The situation might be massive, and much of the change needed is in the control of governments and big business, but around a quarter of the carbon reduction needed by 2030 can be achieved by individual choices. Wow.

Here they are – in a funky graphic that I have screen-shotted from the ARUP/Jump report:

So to list them:

  • eat green (plant based, local, seasonal)
  • cut out flying
  • get rid of personal vehicle if you can (cycle, walk or public transport)
  • reduce the amount of clothing you buy new (3 new items per year)
  • keep electronic goods and household appliances working for longer (7 years or more)
  • and the last item (cheekily) is to do something to influence the other 75% (influencing government and businesses to make changes too)

I don’t mean to boast, but: tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, and tick. Reading this certainly did feel like a positive news story!

And please don’t imagine that we are some kind of super family, or that all this happened at once. If we can do it so can you.

The challenge in this (alongside the good news) is that being able to make a difference gives us a real responsibility to act. The most responsibility sits with those who are most wealthy (in general the more you spend the higher your carbon impact – there aren’t many ways of spending your money that break this rule of thumb). And the changes have to be part of a long term shift – not a one-off flash, but changing our habits of living for the long term. Individual changes won’t achieve all of this, but they can make for a good start (25% if everyone does it), and create momentum for meaningful political and business changes too.

swift and robust action by individuals is not just helpful, but is needed, because without it we are unlikely to stay within carbon budgets.


If you fancy being part of the change you could check out The Jump website – for more ideas, to sign up, to start living with “less stuff, more joy”.

Published by oikoslife

I am married, father of 2 young children (2014 and 2017), pioneering priest in the Church of England, surfer, climate activist and much more. Born in Yorkshire, and currently living on the Yorkshire Coast. Doing my best to live in good connection with God, self, neighbour and creation - working it out as I go.

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