A new year and time to make some resolutions for what is to come. Many people focus on making themselves better. I decided to try to make the planet a little bit better place by making a #SustainableResolution for 2018.
I feel like we as a human race are at a turning point at this very moment. The decisions we make have huge impacts. On the one hand, technology is advancing faster than ever. Scientists are studying a rocket engine that could break the laws of physics. Neural networks and machine learning are developing rapidly. Cars are becoming driverless and gene manipulation an everyday thing to do. We are heading towards a world only sci-fi writers could have imagined.
On the other hand, we can mess this up real bad. World war, nuclear war or climate change are all man-made threats for us. There is very little a common Joe like myself can do about the first two, but it is up to all of us to make sure that the last one does not spoil the only planet we have. I want to see where the technology and societal development can take us, but for that, we have to save our planet.
Climate change (global warming) is a man-made issue and the solution for it is up to us. We need to be aware how our actions create greenhouse gasses and work hard to decrease our effect on the planet. We Finns especially tend to create a lot of CO2, on average 8700 kg per person a year. This is divided quite evenly between living, mobility, food and beverages, and products and services. Based on this information I give three New Year’s Resolutions for 2018 to reduce my environmental impact and to be #SustainableResolution.
- I will only buy renewable energy. Heating and electricity is the largest source of CO2 emissions for a person like me. Using only renewable energy to heat up my home and power my appliances can save up to 3000 kg of CO2 a year.
- I will eat beef only once a week. Beef and milk products are by far the greatest cause of CO2 emissions in our food. Cutting back on beef consumption can save hundreds of kilograms of CO2 emissions a year.
- I will not do a long-haul leisure trip. Taking my family from Helsinki to for example to Athens instead of Bangkok in Thailand can save up to 800 kilograms of CO2 emissions per person according to Carbon Footprint Calculator. And spending our holidays just in Finland saves even more!
By just making these three small changes it is possible to almost half my CO2 emissions, but there is actually not that much that I need to sacrifice to achieve this. There are also many other things you can do to be more sustainable and reduce your carbon footprint. This is my starting point, maybe I will take a closer look for example at personal transportation footprint next year. This is not greenwashing, these three promises do not make my conscious clear, but they are a first step towards the right direction.
Maybe you could also do something to reduce your carbon footprint? We need to be more aware of how we are impacting this planet. The change has to come from us, from consumers. It is up to us to require more sustainable products and services and make decisions that reduce our environmental impact. Let me know in the comments, by sharing this post, or with #SustainableResolution hashtag how you will be more sustainable in 2018!
I study how changes in technology and consumer behaviour affect tourism marketing. Professor of Tourism Business at University of Eastern Finland and IFITT President.