The United Nations Environmental Program is promoting its new GreenUp campaign which should help us to paint our lives green on a small, medium and large scale.
Generally, the campaign has done a good job in assembling areas where people can easily change to a more sustainable way of doing things. It goes from construction which uses less resources to eco-tourism and recycling. In short: nothing new but still important topics to talk about.
WIth the upcoming Rio +20 Summit, green economy is much talked about. The campaign tries to break it down for the simple user. What I like about the take the UN has on green economy is the following: “Building a Green Economy is not about throwing out the old system and starting from scratch, it’s about making choices according to the full cost – not just the financial cost – of any and all activities.” And it continues: “In a Green Economy, the full cost of cutting down a forest includes damage to habitats and biodiversity, reduction in carbon-storing tree cover, loss of the social and cultural value of the forest, as well as the inability of future generations to reap these and other benefits from the forest. Under the Green Economy model, then, it makes economic sense to manage the forest sustainably rather than cut it down all at once so as to maintain these non-financial benefits.”
Back to GreenUp, let’s have a look at the 10 ways to green up your life:
Forestry: The UN advices us to use electronic files rather than print to reduce deforestation and to “support certified sustainable forest products”. More here.
Fishery: It’s very simple: buy “seafood products that have been harvested sustainably”. Or better (that’s not what the UN says): don’t eat fish or seafood. More here.
Transport: Give up your car for carpooling and public transport and “walking or riding a bike for short trips is good for your health – and the environment’s, too!” More here.
Agriculture: The UN says “it’s time to support sustainable agriculture to ensure our ability to feed EVERYONE.” Further, grow your own, eat seasonal and organic. More here.
Manufacturing: “Be a wise consumer – support businesses that have sustainability plans, use ecolabels, and invest in renewable energy.” The UN also warns us of greenwashing! More here.
Energy: First and foremost: be more energy efficient, and with what is left “support the development of clean, renewable energy by choosing businesses and products that invest in them – or by investing in them yourself!” More here.
Construction: There are many ways to reduce the use of resources of your house. “A home or business energy audit can reduce your building’s climate footprint and lead to significant savings in energy costs.” More here.
Tourism: The same goes for tourism as for food: local, home-made and low on energy is best. “Know before you go: What hotels and travel agencies support ecotourism? How can I limit my impact on sensitive habitats?” More here.
Water: We all know how to reduce the use of water. But since we don’t do it, here’s a reminder: “Turn off the tap when you’re not using it, wait until you have a full load to run your laundry or dishwasher, limit shower time, and don’t water your lawn right after a rain.” More here.
Waste: Recycle recycle recyle is what the UN suggests. “Electronics in particular are only recycled at a rate of 15% globally.” I would add: REDUCE! More here.