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What is a Net Zero Life & How Can You Achieve It?



Net zero is a hot topic around the world right now, but what does it actually mean? In short, net zero means producing only as much energy as you or "it" consumes. This can be done through a variety of methods such as using solar panels or wind turbines to generate energy for a building, on a larger scale. Or using reusable mesh produce bags while doing your personal grocery shopping, on a smaller scale. So why should you care about living at net zero? Read on to find out!


First of all, have you ever thought about what it would mean to live a net zero life? No we aren't talking about living in a treehouse or wearing hemp clothing (although both of those are admirable choices.) We're talking about making sure your everyday life has as minimal effect on the environment as possible. Net zero carbon means producing and consuming energy in a way that doesn't add green house gases back into the atmosphere. We know this can sound like a daunting task, but with a few simple changes, you can make it happen.


You may be asking, why do we as a society need to change our focus, and have a larger perspective on what it means to live net zero? While It’s natural for humans to distract themselves from larger issues, the question becomes what if we fail to address the underlying issues of our time? Where does that leave us as a race? A wise man once wrote a book called There is No Planet B. That man wasProfessor Berners-Lee. His book teaches us that we need to love the planet we've got. Not just for the ones living here right now, but also for any chance that future generations can thrive the way their predecessors did.


Unfortunately, climate action is a large, murky, and highly subjective area. What could work for one person won't work for everyone as it will effect people in different ways. What works for someone in Canada won't work for someone in China as these countries have different economic, social, and environmental demographics.


As written in Professor Berners-Lee’s book "There is no Planet B" he states that while choosing between an electric hand dryer or paper towels to dry hands is trivial and up for debate on which is more eco friendly. It could be considered to be almost a non-action, when performed by someone who flies around the world a dozen times a year. Berners-Lee also comments on how large industries would rather guilt the population into using reusable coffee mugs to make money than do something about the fact that 70% of the world’s pollution comes from unsustainable building, transportation, and the production of electricity. The transport industry would rather market electric cars as the way of the future than support zero-carbon transport methods such as cycling or walking.

The fact of the matter is that there are so many ways to get started on your journey towards sustainability and eventually achieving net zero status in all aspects of one’s life. Here's how to begin working towards hitting net zero.


1. Make a list of every choice you make and calculate its carbon emissions


The first step to understanding your carbon impact is by listing out every single action you take in a day, week or month. The key here isn’t just identifying the big actions but also all those little tasks that seem insignificant because they add up together too! Once this has been completed then list down each of these "footprints" and find out where exactly did I emit more than usual?


You can begin by going through your daily routine step by step, or use the following categories that Rosalind Redhead (London environmental campaigner & climate education)

does:

  • Transport: walking, cycling, private car, subway, taxi, auto rickshaw, bus, bullet train, etc.

  • Data: online videos, blogs and websites, social media, communication apps, wifi or personal data, TVs, smartphones, smart speakers

  • Food: number of meals, ingredients and their sources, purchases, exotic versus local ingredients

2. Review your daily actions/log

To find out how much of an impact you have on the environment you'll want to review your daily log every evening. We are going to be honest when we day that your findings might be shocking!


If this is too difficult to find time for everyday, you can try and calculate what would happen if it were a long-term perspective. Using one day as an average day will allow you to see just how big your own footprint really could become, and what you need to do to improve them.


This is a great way to identify what you can remove, reduce or substitute to decrease your environmental impact. For example, if you spent an hour mindlessly lounging on the couch scrolling through TikTok, replacing that with a walk outside and it becomes an instant net-zero win.


3. Calculate your emissions using AI!

To find out how much of an impact your actions have on the environment you can visit the Ecological Footprint Calculator designed by the Global Footprint Network. They have created software which takes into account everything from the type of food you eat, the packaging on the items you buy, the type of home you live in, and much more. It even has helpful tools that allow you to get a more accurate answer to their questions.

What's crazy is that when you go through the whole process, you'll notice how much you question the knowledge you have around things like, knowing where your groceries came from, local or import. Knowing how much trash is average for a family of 4 and what is considered too much.


This service will help people understand firsthand exactly where their footprint falls within each category at length and ultimately help our society get more informed about the things that are not widely known.

In summary



As we discussed above, there are many definitions to what it means to live a net zero life. We know that the most common one is to live in a way that you are only producing as much energy as you are consuming. If you have ever considered how your current level of consumption will impact future generations or if you want to lower your environmental footprint by reducing waste, then pursuing a net-zero lifestyle is definitely for you, and is something our homes will help you achieve.

Because climate research is so new it is hard to say to what extent humans have on our ever-changing climate. However to believe that we have no effect on it is a pretty narrow way of thinking. Attempting to live a lower-carbon lifestyle has ripple effects on climate activism and government policies. The more people demand eco friendly items the more they will become available and in turn become more affordable.


If we’re all able to understand how we contribute and what changes are needed at a personal scale, we’d be much more knowledgeable about what steps to take as a whole.

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