sustainable living

Sustainable living means making big changes, so why can’t we face up to it?

Despite the significant risks for human and non-human life, greenhouse gas emissions (GhG) are still rising. Something has to give – and that something would appear more significant than those with the power to stimulate change are willing to admit.

The UK government’s Global Calculator is a good example. This recently released tool allows us to model the compatibility of our food, travel, housing and work environment with national targets to limit climate change. The climate secretary, Ed Davey, reckons the calculator shows “everyone in the world can prosper while limiting global temperature rises to two degrees, preventing the most serious impacts of climate change.”

Yet even the most ambitious changes the tool advocates deviate little from our current “normal” patterns of behaviour – supposedly “essential” appliances still include tumble driers, while under the “extremely ambitious” scenario, the urban car would still account for 29% of journeys (currently 41.5%) per year. Meat is included as a core component of daily meals, and very few indicators relate to diet. It remains to be seen which government would adopt the “extremely ambitious” changes.

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