My carbon footprint.


We all have a responsibility to limit our personal carbon emissions in order to help combat climate change and as birders and naturalists we probably appreciate this as much as anybody. Yet many of us will travel large distances over the course of the year, either chasing rarities around the country or taking flights all over the world.

It's a dilemma for all of us, how do we pursue our hobby and love of travel with minimum impact on the planet?

Here is what I have done to try to keep my carbon footprint as small as possible. I don’t deny that I could still do a lot more.
  1. Diet. Cattle are a major source of greenhouse gasses and it is now widely recognised that meat production does more harm to the environment than cars. Not only do animals produce a lot of  greenhouse gas in the form of methane, they also require feeding and vast tracts of habitat are destroyed all over the world every year in order to produce more and more animal feed. Even if you are a climate change denier, the habitat destruction alone due to meat production is appalling and everybody needs to reduce their meat intake or better still stop eating meat altogether. I’ve been vegetarian / vegan since 1985, 35 years at the time of writing. 

  2. Renewable energy. Society as a whole needs to drastically reduce dependence on fossil fuels. We have solar panels on the roof of our house, and actually put electricity back into the National Grid. The house is also modern and well insulated.

  3. Carbon emissions from cars. Emissions from cars are amongst the highest contributors to climate change. I have always owned small, economical cars which produce low emissions and I have never owned a diesel car. Apart from holidays, most of my birding is local with just the occasional twitch.

  4. Flights. I've been birding for around 45 years and have taken about five return long haul flights during that time, far less than many other birders. 

  5. Career choice. In 2010 I changed career to become an ecologist. A very large part of my work is now on renewable energy sites, such as windfarms or solar farms, both vitally important sources of sustainable energy as we move away from fossil fuels.


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