Alongside the behemoths of governments and industry, individual people in developed countries can also take action which will reduce humanity’s impact on the planet and help stall the climate crisis, particularly with targeted behavioral changes, according to scientific research.
A new campaign has highlighted the six lifestyle alterations people can make which will make the biggest difference to the environment – from going vegan to buying fewer new clothes.
“Government and industry do have most responsibility, but citizen and community action is meaningful, impactful, and urgently needed,” according to campaign group The Jump, who say their ambition is to help people make “practical changes, support and inspire each other, celebrate success and drive a shift in society’s mindsets and cultures”.
The campaign is based on research by academics at Leeds University, engineering firm Arup and the C40 Cities climate group.
The research identified that 73 per cent of all changes needed by 2030 to keep the world on course to meet the Paris agreement targets need to be made by governments and industry.
But private citizens have considerable influence over the remaining 27 per cent, the campaign group said.
The six key changes people can make are:
1. End clutter: Keep electronic products and home appliances for at least seven years
2. Holiday local: One flight every three years
3. Eat green: A plant-based diet, healthy portions, no waste
4. Dress retro: Three new items of clothing per year
5. Travel fresh: If you can, no personal vehicles
6. Change the system: At least one life shift to nudge the system, like moving to a green energy company or a green pension supplier
Turning attention to individuals’ actions rather than those companies or organizations largely responsible for fueling the climate crisis and shaping people’s behavior has been criticized in recent years.
The framing of the blame for the climate crisis being down to individual consumers has previously been linked to techniques used by the tobacco industry and petrochemicals companies, allowing them to shirk accountability for the impacts of their products.
But spokesperson for The Jump told The Independent: “This is not about ‘shaming’ people, or ‘calling them out’. It’s about supporting people to live fully and joyfully while in balance with nature.
“More and more people want to take positive and constructive action – which is hugely helpful in mitigating the mental stress of climate anxiety – but are confused about what to do, and feel powerless. These steps, and the tools and community provided by The Jump , have been of profound help to many such citizens and communities.”
They added: “This is not just new information, or a normal behavior change campaign, but a fun movement that has emerged in response to this evidence.
“At a time when we really need some hope, and that connecting people and communities to lead the way to ‘less stuff and more joy’, could be really inspiring and offer a lot of people just what they’re looking for.”