Simple Emissions Reduction

Simplicity is key

The one thing we can do to dramatically reduce our greenhouse gas emissions is to think less. Consume less, desire less, use less. The thread that weaves this all together is simplicity. A simple life in which we focus on the small things that make us happy, particularly our relationships, and doing work that we enjoy because it’s meaningful, frees us from desire to get fulfilment from extravagant thing, like nice cars, big houses, and grand holidays. It is fun to indulge sometimes, but it’s a whole lot more enjoyable to indulge if it’s a treat, not something we do all the time.

Desiring less is not just good for the planet, it’s great for us too

Most of us will know through experience that the times in which we are most content and fulfilled, is when we have a balanced life. We have great relationships, with family, a few close friends, and maybe an intimate partner. We have a job that we really enjoy because it’s challenging and rewarding, and a bonus is when we love hanging out with the team we work with. We are physically fit, and our bodies are healthy. I’m sure most of you would agree that these are the keys to a happy life. But usually what we actually strive for is more money, so we can consume more things in the hope of being happy. These things whether they are travel, or food, or clothes, or even a big house, will only make us happy fleetingly at best.

Why not kill two birds with one stone? We can consume less for our own wellbeing, and for the planet’s. Below is an article with the top 5 ways we can reduce our emissions, by consuming less.

  1. Buy higher quality stuff, and less of it
  2. Drive less, and share a car
  3. Use clean electricity, and less of it
  4. Eat better quality food, and less meat
  5. Halve your plane travel

Here are some topic ideas about simple living that I would love to discuss with the forum. If anyone feels like kicking any of them off, please add a new topic, or just reply to this one.

  • Simple travel | Explore your backyard, take a staycation
  • Simple food | Eat less meat & dairy, drink less alcohol
  • Simple energy | Slash your electricity usage (and bill)
  • Simple style | Spend more on clothes and buy less
  • Simple life | Spend less than you earn
  • Simple life | Find a job that pays less, but that you would jump out of bed to do
  • Simple life | Mindfulness through meditation and fasting
  • Affluence without abundance
  • Inequality and Climate Change
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Thanks for sharing these thoughts. It is brilliant to be thinking much more holistically about how we can contribute to the environment. Small, simple steps can make a big difference!


I think the #1 thing that humans should do less of in order to reduce greenhouse gas emmisions, save humanity, wildlife and the planet in general is to propagate less (or maybe not at all for a while). It’s unfortunate that such an obvious solution to such a huge variety of problems gets left out of almost all “save Mankind” discussions.

Thanks so much for taking the time to comment Richard.

That is a very good point, thank you for raising it. Population growth used to concern me a great deal. The reason that it no longer concerns me as much is that human population growth is already falling at a really dramatic rate. I’m not sure we could make it fall much faster if we tried.

See this chart from Our World in Data:

Historically population growth rate was a paltry 0.04% a year. But in the 20th century is skyrocketed to an insane 2% a year - which compounded annually is truly staggering. However, it’s now dropped to 1% a year, and the UN predicts it will fall to 0.1% a year by 2100.

I totally agree with you that the number of humans on earth is really straining our planet. However, I’m not sure if we could realistically reduce our population growth any faster than we are (although sometimes it feels that deadly global conflict is never too far around the corner).

What I find alarming about this chart is you can see how insane an annual growth rate of 2% is, and that is what pretty much all economies target as GDP growth targets. Even if we somehow capped our population at current levels, if we still find a way to consume 2% more every year, that’s what I find most concerning.

Keen to hear more of your thoughts @QandAR.


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Awesome response Marty! In retrospect to the subject, I do realize that there is certainly a logic to the phrase “strength in numbers”, and I try to make a habit of looking to nature for answers to paradoxical questions that come up in my life. We probably wouldn’t even know what things like termites, sharks, nematodes, and tardigrades were if they weren’t doing something right in the evolution department. If the average termite needed a new cell phone every couple of years they likely wouldn’t have been around for as long as they have been.

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