Here at Urban List, climate change and sustainability are always high on the agenda — as they are across the globe—but with all the new buzz words and terms, it can be hard to know exactly what everything means. And ‘carbon neutrality’ is certainly one of them.
We recently teamed up with Belong—Australia’s first certified carbon neutral mobile and internet—to help us achieve carbon neutrality for our first-ever virtual dinner party, Isolation Degustation. "Belong is the first carbon-neutral telco in Australia, taking responsibility for the emissions associated with their business operations and customer service centres," says Polly Hemming, Climate Active's Communications and Engagement Manager. "They're also bringing consumers into their climate action story, first with carbon-neutral mobile and internet plans and now by sponsoring the Isolation Degustation as a carbon-neutral event."
So with the help of Belong, we’re here to break down the ins and outs of carbon neutrality to help you get around it and ultimately help our beloved and endangered planet.
Breaking Down Carbon Neutrality
Pretty much everything we do releases carbon dioxide into the earth’s atmosphere, which can be harmful to our planet. Therefore, your carbon footprint refers to the amount of carbon dioxide—or other greenhouse gases—you’re generating, which has a negative impact on our planet.
But it’s not all bad news. You can negate this unavoidable release of carbon by offsetting it. In a nutshell, you need to balance out your negative vibes with some positive ones.
Offsetting comes in many shapes and forms like renewable energy projects, tree planting and energy-efficient improvements. And while we can’t exactly jump on a plane to go travelling this summer (sigh), you might remember seeing the little ‘carbon offset’ button when booking your flight. Whoever you’re flying with is doing the hard work for you by offsetting the carbon your trip is cultivating. Offset the same amount of carbon your flight, party or function generates and you’ve achieved carbon neutrality.
Ways To Reduce Your Footprint
You might not realise but many of Australia’s beloved brands boast the ‘Climate Active’ certification, which means they strive and achieve for carbon neutrality with their products, services, events and operations. So, while there are many things you can do to reduce and minimise your own carbon footprint, spending your hard-earned coin with brands who are doing the hard work for you is an easy step toward living a more carbon-neutral lifestyle. Scope out all the carbon-neutral Aussie brands here.
Cutting down, limiting or completely eliminating red meat from your diet certainly helps to reduce your carbon footprint as it requires a ton of water, travel, electricity, food and land to dish up a succulent steak on your plate. If veganism is a step too far for you, meat-free Mondays and exploring a more flexitarian lifestyle is not only a positive step toward helping the planet, it can also be a great way to refine your culinary skills.
One of the biggest issues in Australia, however, is food waste—it's not only costing the earth but our wallets too. Food waste costs the economy around an astonishing $20 billion each year and accounts for more than five per cent of Australia's greenhouse gas emissions. To help combat Australia's major food waste issue, composting, recycling and simply being conscious about your food intake and food packaging can do wonders for our environment.
It might seem like a distant memory but reducing the number of flights you rack up per year can heavily reduce your carbon footprint. While this year has been a rollercoaster, to say the least, carbon emissions around the globe have dramatically decreased, which can be partly attributed to the reduction in flights.
If you’re like us and brimming with wanderlust, we don’t blame you. So, if you can’t reduce the number of flights (when life returns to normal), you can try and equalise—or offset—your carbon emissions by donating money to sustainable projects, although most airlines provide the option of offsetting it at an additional fee – far better to offer it to everyone at no extra cost, but it’s better than nothing.
Ready to step up and help the planet? If you're looking for a mobile data plan that doesn't cost the earth (and at no extra cost to you), Belong has you covered. All of Belong's mobile plans are 100 per cent carbon neutral and use part of Telstra’s 3G and 4G network. Winning!
Editor's note: This article is proudly sponsored by Belong and endorsed by Urban List. Thank you for supporting the sponsors who make Urban List possible. Click here for more information on our editorial policy.