Today, our good friend Zadie Snowden is celebrating ten years of carbon neutrality.We think that’s something worth celebrating, so we had a good long chat with Zadie and are sharing her story and advice here. So, how can we all achieve carbon neutrality, and why does carbon neutrality matter?…
The Daily Meditation (Paul): Zadie, what inspired you to go carbon neutral?
Zadie: I was brought up to believe that mother nature is divine. Nature is the most sacred, beautiful, and precious thing that there is. I believe in doing everything I can in order to protect nature, and a part of that is making sure that my lifestyle has no impact on nature.
Climate change is a very serious problem and it’s largely caused by carbon dioxide released through fossil fuels–coal, gas, etc.
Here’s how it works: if you add polluting emissions to the atmosphere, you can effectively subtract them by purchasing carbon offsets. Carbon offsets are simply credits for emission reductions achieved by projects such as wind farms, solar installations, or energy efficiency retrofits. You can purchase these credits and apply them to your own emissions to reduce your net climate impact.
The Daily Meditation (Paul): How difficult has it been to become carbon neutral?
Zadie: It takes a little effort and a lot of diligence, but carbon neutrality is definitely achievable, and so very worthwhile.
The Daily Meditation (Paul): Can you explain what carbon neutrality is exactly?
Sure thing, Paul. Carbon neutrality is taking responsibility for gas emissions, like those produced when we drive, and also those produced through our computer and other items. Climate change is a global problem, so we’re all in it together. If I do something to reduce emissions, helps to have a positive effect the world over.
The Daily Meditation (Paul): Do you believe people have a responsibility to lower their carbon emissions?
Zadie? Yes, absolutely. We should all try to take account of our carbon emissions and we should all strive to reduce them. We might not be able to achieve zero carbon emissions, but we can go carbon neutral by purchasing carbon offsets. Thankfully, a lot of people and organisations are already doing there bit…
People and organisations who have gone carbon zero include:
- Sporting events like the FIFA World Cup and athletes
- Airlines offer customers the option to offset emissions
- Hotels offer carbon neutral accomodation
- Movies and media companies like BSkyB and MTV are offsetting their emissions
- Business including HSBS, Google, Nike, Dell and Swiss Re have committed to carbon neutrality.
The Daily Meditation (Paul): So, how did you achieve carbon neutrality and how can other people do the same thing?
Zadie: There are quite a few different aspects of my lifestyle that I changed. So, here goes…
Zadie’s Tips to be carbon neutral
Firstly, I changed my transportation.
I don’t drive to work and I don’t take the bus. I did take the bus for a short while, which is a lot better than driving yourself (because the emissions are shared among all passengers). But these days I either cycle or walk. [She smiles] And that’s great exercise too so it’s a win / win.
Then I became energy efficient and carbon neutral: This is really all about the little things. Changing the light bulbs to LEDs, unplugging the computer (though I’ve actually stopped using the computer completely now). Turning off TV and electronics. Wash clothes in cold water. Hang everything out to dry. And never using any electricity without good reason.
Next up, renewable power: Get your utility to switch your account to renewable power, such as wind farms. Some of the companies don’t offer this option yet, but if you ask them you’re doing your part to get them to switch.
Diet is important too: Organic foods… they’re pricey, and I know not everyone can afford them, but if you can then I think you should. Growing your own is also an option. [She laughs] I’ve had my own vegetable patch for years now. It’s good fun too.
Reduce waste: Landfills produce methane which is a greenhouse gas. So, you can help by reducing garbage. I asked our local store manager to sell more recyclable products. At first he ignored me, but I kept asking him. I think he got a little irritated actually–sorry, George–but he did eventually start selling more recyclable goods.
Fly less: This one has actually been the toughest for me. I have family in England. I’m here in the US. So… it’s been a challenge to fly less because that means seeing family less. [She turns aside sadly for a moment]. Honestly, that’s the one thing I regret. But… sometimes you have to make sacrifices. I still see them at least once a year, and I make sure to save up so I can afford to offset the emissions for the flight…
Get involved: I honestly think that this is the best thing you can do. The best way to help is to educate other people about the effect of their carbon footprint. A lot of people ignore their carbon footprint because they don’t realise how important it is. Some of my friends didn’t really get it, so I told them all about the affect our carbon emissions are having and what we can do to reduce the environmental cost of our lifestyle. And I’ve got to say, I’m proud to have such amazing friends. They all did their bit to help out. I’m sure other people are in a similar situations. Let your friends know about carbon emissions and they’ll surprise you. They’ll change their lifestyle. And then we all win, and we all get to help protect this beautiful planet.
The Daily Meditation (Paul): So, Zadie, is there anything else you’d like to say?
Yeah. Guys, we truly can change the world. Most people want to help out and to do their part for the planet. Help them to do that. Maybe you can share this article, or just explain to them in your own words why carbon footprint is so important. Help other people to do their part. They’ll surprise you, and we’ll all be better for it.