Top tips on how to cut your carbon footprint

3 February 2020

Vigil for the climate

CAFOD delegates participating in events at the UN climate summit in Katowice, Poland, hold a vigil to pray for world leaders to raise ambition for emissions targets that will limit global temperatures from rising above 1.5 degrees. Photo by Rosie Heaton.

Our carbon footprint is the amount of emissions released into the atmosphere as a result of our activities as individuals, organisations or communities. 

As part of the Our Common Home campaign, we are calling on the Prime Minister to put people and planet at the heart of every decision he makes ahead of global climate talks in Glasgow in November 2020.

Take our carbon footprint quiz

What you can do at home

1. Cut down or cut out meat from your diet

"We must not be indifferent or resigned to the loss of biodiversity and the destruction of ecosystems, often caused by our irresponsible and selfish behaviour. Because of us, thousands of species will no longer give glory to God by their very existence. We have no such right."

Pope Francis

We need to eat and produce less meat to help combat climate change. Food production (breeding, rearing, farming, processing, transporting and cooking meat) represents 14.5% of all human-induced emissions (UN Food and Agricultural Organisation). We know the time for change is now, so why not explore cutting meat out of your diet?

2. Have a staycation

There are big environmental costs to flying. Forgo the flights and visit some of the beautiful places the UK has to offer, or alternatively, choose trains over planes - much of Europe can be reached by train! 

3. Make your homes more energy efficient

By reducing the amount of energy you use at home, you’re lowering your carbon footprint. Team up with renewable energy providers to support a future free of carbon.

What you can do at work

You’ve already cut back on your carbon use at home but now you want to influence others at work. Here’s how:

1. Track your paper usage

Most modern printers allow organisations to track individual use. This could then be converted to team use, which can be reported on and shared throughout the organisation. Organisation-wide awareness can really reduce paper usage - you could even make it into a competition to see who can use the least or cut down the most.

2. Green-up your commute 

Do you and your colleagues generally arrive and leave at the same time, but all go off in different cars? If it’s possible where you live, sharing a commute can lead to a significant reduction in car usage. You could switch to public transport or choose to cycle to work - it's good for your health and the Earth’s.

3. Encourage everyone to turn their equipment off

Keeping appliances on for longer than needed is a huge waste of energy. We can all turn off our computers and unused lights. Even better, suggest motion detector lights to make this happen automatically. You’ll no doubt see a drop in energy bills just by turning the lights off outside of business hours (so everyone wins).

livesimply inspired poster

The livesimply award is an opportunity for Catholic communities to respond to Pope Francis’ invitation in Laudato Si' to “work with generosity and tenderness in protecting this world which God has entrusted to us”.

What you can do at church

In England and Wales, 20 out of 22 Catholic dioceses are now getting their energy on a 100% renewable tariff. This shows that Catholic parishes are committed to reviving our common home. Here’s what you can do: 

1. Spread the news of climate action in your parish

The voices of your parish acting together will be stronger than yours alone. Unite your parish in prayer, action and hope with young climate leaders from around the world by taking part in our Generations Unite campaign. Our organiser's guide has everything you need to get organised - download it now.

2. Hold  a Global Healing session

After your Creation Celebration, you may want to explore the issue of climate change deeper. Global Healing is a film-based event for parishes, groups and individuals. It will inform, challenge and equip people to engage with Pope Francis’ vital call to care for our common home

3. Tell your MP you care about climate change

While individual lifestyle changes are good to do, we need strong and ambitious political will to tackle this climate crisis. Politicians will only act if we tell them to. After your Creation Celebration, why not continue to write to your MP to tell them how much you care about protecting our common home - not just for ourselves, but for future generations to come.

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