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Lower your carbon footprint, grow your tribe, turn the tide on climate change


Lower your carbon footprint, grow your tribe, turn the tide on climate change

The rise in global temperatures is a visceral reality for those of us who live in India, particularly, in the metros. Each year, our summers have gotten more extreme, heat waves more frequent, and the season itself seems to shift on the calendar. We've just experienced the hottest March on record in 2022. Climate scientists have been calling attention to the problem for over half a century but ordinary citizens have started to take note of the problem only recently. The good news is that many of us are already doing all the right things - we don't use our cars unless we really need to, we buy appliances with 5-star energy ratings, we grow plants, and if we have the space, we compost. However, we must scale up our efforts.

Investing in our future

The primary focus must be on capital allocation. How we choose to invest our money can be an effective tool for change. Green investing came about as a result of investors placing a premium on sustainable business practices and corporate social responsibility. And in due course, they have managed to bring about a shift in the strategic priorities of businesses and regulations that govern them.

Even simple bank depositors can take the initiative to ensure banks are financing only sustainable businesses. Here's the best part; the model already exists. Triodos Bank, in the Netherlands, is an "ethical bank". What does this mean? It's a bank that vets each company it invests in rigorously, and only finances those companies that benefit both people and the environment.

Making Conscious Choices

The power of consumerism can be a force for good too. The question we need to ask ourselves is: are we rewarding the right businesses with our patronage? We have the option to incentivise businesses which are promoting sustainability across the supply chain.

Being a conscious consumer takes a little bit of homework to get right. One can start by researching the businesses we patronize. It could grow into a database of green businesses that can be shared within small groups and communities. By rewarding businesses that are good for the planet, consumers can help make sustainable practices a commercial priority.

Changing daily habits

Our efforts to cut emissions and promote sustainability are intimately linked with our eating habits. Everything we eat must be grown and/or fed, processed, transported (and stored), packaged and finally, sold. The cumulative impact on the planet and our sustainability goals can be extremely detrimental, especially if it involves deforestation, cattle farming, use of chemicals, and plastic in packaging.

But change in dietary habits requires a cultural shift. Enlightened individuals can lead the way, by challenging themselves and others to cook with local varieties of food, patronise restaurants and food businesses that use local produce, and spread the message of sustainably sourced food.

A Little Heroism Goes A Long Way

Changing long standing habits isn't easy. But it isn't impossible either. We're in 2022, and the world is richer for the conversations we have, the changes we put in motion, the things we no longer tolerate. So, start small. Spark conversations. Walk the talk. Grow your tribe. Set positive ripples in motion. Don't wait for someone else to change the world.