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Study reveals six ‘lifestyle shifts’ that really could help protect the planet

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A new report has identified six lifestyle commitments that ordinary people can make to help avert climate breakdown.

Based on a study carried out by academics at Leeds University and analysts at the global engineering firm Arup and the C40 group, the Power of the People report shows that making the six commitments could account for a quarter of the emissions reductions required to keep the global heating down to 1.5C.

The report is published to coincide with the launch of a new climate movement –Take the Jump – which aims to to persuade ordinary people and communities that they can “have a direct impact in the here and how”. 

Power of the people found that:

“Government and industry do have most responsibility, but citizen and community action is meaningful, impactful, and urgently needed: 

  1. Citizens have primary influence over 25-27% of the emissions savings needed by 2030 to avoid ecological meltdown. This is the first time this impact has been quantified and shows citizens are not powerless.
  2. At the same time, it is not up to citizens to ‘save the world’ on their own, government and business still have the largest responsibility, for up to 73-75%.
  3. The 25-27% is actually a minimum for the influence of citizens, since citizens can also have in-direct impact on the remaining 73-75% through influencing industry and government.
  4. Due to their capacity for quick action, efforts by citizens and communities are particularly important between now and 2030, the most important decade for climate action.
  5. For the changes led by citizens and communities, it is higher income groups that must take faster and bigger action. Action by lower-income need only influence 9% of savings”. 

“This ends once and for all the debate about whether citizens can have a role in protecting our earth”

Tom Bailey, co-founder of the campaign told The Guardian: “This ends once and for all the debate about whether citizens can have a role in protecting our earth. We don’t have time to wait for one group to act, we need ‘all action from all actors now’.”

The research shows how citizens and communities can deliver these savings through six shifts: 

  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.

Image: Power of the People report, The Jump

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