As a company, our goal is to help you get a good night’s sleep by creating the best products possible. At the same time, we try our hardest to minimize the environmental impact of our business, which is why we only use natural fibers in our products and manufacture our products as locally as possible.
After years of talk, it seems that awareness about the risks that climate change poses to us all is starting to reach a tipping point. If you are reading this article and are a fan of our company’s philosophy, we will assume that you believe in climate change and are interested in learning what steps you can take to reduce its effects.
Scientists agree that by releasing greenhouse gases - particularly carbon dioxide - into the atmosphere, human activity contributes to climate change. So, reducing your carbon footprint is the most important thing you can do in the fight against climate change.
How can you do that? In this article, we describe four goals or principles, then give you three or four steps you can follow to reach these goals.
Goal One: Consume fewer animal products, especially beef and lamb.
- Eat less beef and lamb. When you do, only eat locally-raised beef and lamb
- Substitute eggs, chicken and pork for beef and lamb
- Substitute lentils, chickpeas and beans for meat
Goal Two: Reduce the carbon emissions created by transportation.
- Use your bicycle or public transportation to get to work
- Whenever possible, travel by train instead of by airplane
Goal Three: Reduce your use of electricity.
- Unplug all of your electronic devices when they are not in use
- Take the stairs instead of the elevator
- Line-dry instead of using the dryer
Goal Four: Be a more thoughtful consumer; consume less in general.
- Buy products that are built to last
- Avoid fast fashion
- Avoid buying the newest gadget; keep a product that still works
Reduce your consumption of animal products, particularly beef and lamb
Significantly reducing your consumption of animal products, particularly beef and lamb, will make the biggest difference in your carbon footprint. Carbon emissions from livestock roughly equal those of all the cars, trucks and airplanes in the world combined.
Why are beef and lamb so bad for the environment?
The reasons are many.
Deforestation is an important reason, particularly in Brazil, the world’s largest beef producer. Cows and sheep require large tracts of land to graze, which often means that forests are cut down to create those spaces. This is the reason for the 2019 fires in the Brazilian and Bolivian Amazon rainforest - farmers and ranchers are burning down the forest to make more space for their cattle or graze on. Instead of putting pressure on Brazil to reign in the fires, the European Union is planning on concluding a trade agreement with Mercosur that would allow 99,000 tonnes of South American beef to enter Europe per year.
Deforestation is a problem for two reasons: (a) the burns themselves release carbon into the atmosphere and (b) the lost trees can no longer absorb carbon dioxide. Generally, beef raised in Europe or the US has a lower carbon footprint, with beef from Brazil, Argentina and Bolivia having the highest.
Another reason is efficiency. The beef and lamb industries use a great deal of water, energy and feed to raise their cattle and sheep. These are resources that humans could use if they weren’t used to raise these animals.
The final reason is methane is another greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming. Cows and sheep have special bacteria in their stomachs which allow them to digest grass. These gut bacteria in turn create methane, which the animals release into the atmosphere in the form of flatulence and burps.
So, if you do eat beef, make sure that it is raised locally and doesn’t come from one of the three countries listed above.
Substitute eggs, chicken, turkey and pork for beef and lamb
The carbon emissions from pork and poultry are significantly lower than those from beef. The chicken and pork industries don’t cause deforestation, as chickens and pigs don’t require large tracts of land to graze on. In addition, chickens and pigs don’t release methane into the atmosphere in the form of flatulence or burps.
Of the two, chicken and eggs are a bit better for the environment than pork, as pigs require more food and water than chickens or turkeys. It also goes without saying that you should eat local poultry and pork, if possible.
Substitute lentils, chickpeas and beans for meat
Meat is an important source of iron and protein. If you are pregnant, it is essential for your and your baby’s health to get an adequate amount of both.
The following plants are good sources of protein:
- chia seeds
- black turtle beans
Nuts and peanuts are also a good source of protein. They are also high in fats, which keep you satiated.
And there you are! These are some concrete steps that you can take to reduce your carbon footprint.
Parts Two, Three and Four will follow in the coming weeks.