Would you stop flying to help tackle climate change? Taking a transatlantic flight from London to New York puts as much carbon dioxide into the atmosphere as a typical year spent commuting to work by car.

Would you give up meat? Livestock and animal products – including meat – are responsible for the vast majority of food-related greenhouse gas emissions, accounting for around 15% of total greenhouse gas emissions.

Would you sell your car? The World Bank estimates that roughly 20% of global CO2 emissions from fuel combustion come from the transportation sector, including cars.

What do our readers think? We had a comment sent in from Karin, who thinks that too much burden is being placed on individuals to change their behaviour over climate change, and not enough is being asked of big companies. She believes, for example, that “fiscal incentives to fossil fuel companies should be banned”. Is she right?

To get a response, we spoke to Leena Vuotovesi, CEO of the development company Micropolis, located close to the Arctic Circle. Micropolis helps municipalities pilot solutions for green, sustainable growth. What would she say to Karin?

Next up, we had a comment sent in from Simone, who views the changes that we need to make to save the planet in a positive light. She says: “I can say that I got great benefits from sustainable living, clean air, healthy food, cheerful friends.” Are we looking at this in the wrong way? Should we be focusing on the benefits of changing our lifestyles as opposed to sacrifices?

For a reaction, we spoke to Sébastien de Halleux, a European Young Leader and Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Saildrone, a company focusing on data collection at sea through the use of wind and solar powered drones. What does he think? Do we need to make personal sacrifices to prevent catastrophic climate change, or is that the wrong way to see it?

What would you give up to save the planet? Would you give up meat? Or flying? Or your car? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below and we’ll take them to policymakers and experts for their reactions!

IMAGE CREDITS: CC / Flickr – runmonty

41 comments Post a commentcomment

What do YOU think?

  1. avatar

    Atomkrafwerk is the answer. Utilization of the atomic debris for the production of Energy. Bill Gates know it. Green is a Hoax

  2. avatar

    Politics that create the problems, members of Congress that voted laws against the global environment!!! Time to see who is the problem and act!!!

  3. avatar

    I would give up petrol, not cars. And stop trying to make people give up meat. Good health is governed by nutrition, nutrition is governed by food intake. Vegan diets can cause detrimental health issues in some people. Many people do not want to eat processed fake foods made in chemistry labs with chemicals however profitable they are for the EU and corporations. We do not solve environmental issues by causing ill health to some people. Deal with the root cause: polluting energy resources and the profit model we run society by.

  4. avatar

    We all should try to give up stupidity and emotion. It is not easy but absolutely necessary.

  5. avatar

    I would give up all corrupted politicians.

  6. avatar

    “Save the planet?” that is almost as stupid a statement as “conquer a mountain”. Planet is just fine, with or without humanity. Lump of rock orbiting the Sun

  7. avatar

    Saving the planet means gaining not giving up anything

    • avatar
      C Nugent

      We should all do as much as we can and a bit more. Stupid messages from stupid people not helpful

  8. avatar

    you dont have to ask me…
    you have to ask the big oil and big capital what they would give up…

  9. avatar

    Nothing we are not immortal, if you die on Mars, like Elon Musk it’s the same shit.

  10. avatar

    I would give up any free lunch I am getting. Flying and driving cars today are free lunches, because they fail to internalise the wider costs they impose on society. A one-way flight Vienna – Copenhagen costs 75€, a night train via Hamburg costs 140€. It should be the opposite. In other words, flying and driving should be taxed adequately.

  11. avatar

    or 50% of the riches moneys

  12. avatar

    Sugar, corn and other cereals, any processed foods and fashion clothes, plastics and oil in general.

  13. avatar

    I don’t have a car, sons, I recycle, I wear the same clothes for years, sometimes more than 10 years. I never throw out food, I’m reducing meat. I live in Lisbon, my family in the Azores, so I fly, a lot, there is no other way.

    • avatar
      A pangolin

      Give up your family. Or move back to the Azores. Do you think pangolins fly back from China to visit replies in Indonesia?

  14. avatar

    You meant to say what the huge corporations polluting MASSIVELY and governments denying the destruction of the planet and scientific proof HAVE TO give up to rescue the planet? Their huge profit is the answer. I – an individual with no direct power to change regulations- am already vegetarian and very eco friendly.

  15. avatar
    Maia Alexandrova

    It is the companies exploiting the resources of the earth (oil, gas, minerals, forests) that are the biggest polluters of the planet and contributors to global warming. It is also the factories that use poisonous chemicals in their manufacturing process and then dump enormous amounts of toxic waste in the rivers and oceans. It is the pesticide companies that are killing the bees and our health with their poisons, marketed as absolutely necessary when they are not. They have to be made to change. They refuse to do that simply because it will cost more money and effort to switch to renewable energy sources and find methods of production that exclude chemicals harmful to the environment. People do not have to give up electricity, planes or cars. Just the companies producing the fuel for them need to change to using 100% renewable energy, then we will have to buy electric cars and fly on electric planes or whatever new means of transport is invented. It is the governments that must enforce this transformation for the sake of the planet. However, most of them are corrupted by the same large corporations – major polluters of the earth, and do not want to take any action. So in the end, when bees and food disappears, when all rivers are poisoned and all forests destroyed for wood and farming, everyone will have to eat money to survive. Because this is what it’s all about right now – saving the profits, not the planet.

  16. avatar

    Give up on ‘saving the planet’ and start focusing on ‘saving people’ and both the ‘planet’ and people will benefit.

  17. avatar
    Ian Coleman

    Give up worrying about climate change and do whatever you want and can afford. This will have exactly the same effect as obsessing about climate change and living in severe low-consumption austerity when few other people are too.

    The climate where I live (western Canada) is fine. The climate here s going to be temperate all this century, no matter how much carbon dioxide enters the atmosphere, so I literally don’t worry about climate change. There is just nothing for me to worry about that will affect me personally. I don’t care about anyone in the Southern Hemisphere. No one here does except hopeless neurotics.

    Incidentally global sea levels are now rising at the rate of an eighth of an inch a year. I doubt if the people of Southern Florida are so stupid as to be unable to figure out a way to avoid the harms of rising sea levels at those rates of sea level rise.

  18. avatar
    Julia Ivanova

    Within our world, there are many issues and for most of these issues you only have to give up something or just use less of it to benefit are the world. The main problem within our world is the pollution in our water from plastic that gets thrown away. For me, the main thing that I would be able to give up would be plastic straws in my daily coffee and plastic cups as well. But there is an issue because there are some companies that do not but coffee in a glass cup that you bring to them so then, in the end, they just give you the plastic cup. One of the main factors that I still contribute to this issue is having a bad habit of forgetting to bring the cup with me and then I have to get a plastic cup. But I do hope that in the future I will be able to bring my own cup and they will just put my morning coffee in there instead of supporting the pollution epidemic within the world.

  19. avatar

    I never flew so how can I give up something I haven’t did?

  20. avatar

    We can nail ourselves to our chairs and starve to death so as to limit emissions and reduce the population. Or we could be reasonable and avoid flying for distances less than 1000kms. Both options have their supporters

  21. avatar

    The lockdown allows to realize, I do not need exported food anymore.
    Increase local food consumption, reduce meat and fish.
    Use washable micro-fibers and vinegar to clean house.

    • avatar

      Avoid processed food full of fat and sugar.

  22. avatar

    Planes, fashion, fireworks, ads, shop lights at night, plastic toys and gadgets

  23. avatar

    I would give up our monarchy, our handouts to the Catholic Church, and our special life-long pension schemes for retired politicians. What would you give up?

    • avatar
      Debating Europe

      Interesting ideas, but how would that help the planet?

    • avatar

      One must see the whole picture. Such a malaise cannot be neatly compartmentalized and isolated, but rather feeds into a zeitgeist of cynicism and selfishness. These changes would have the following immediate beneficial effects:
      The additional funds would contribute to reducing our deficit and making our social security institutions sustainable, curbing the inequality and hopelessness that is a source of despair, indifference and resentment.
      An end to privileges for an elite few would restore credibility to public institutions, making it possible to salvage the ever dwindling remains of the European Union.
      As it stands public institutions in Europe have lost so much credibility that they are having trouble competing with Kremlin trolls and conspiracy crackpots. That does not set the stage for a sustainable future, but rather a very messy collapse.
      This would make it politically feasible to propose a greater contribution from everyone, which it now is not.
      A leader who does not share in the lot of the people they lead simply lacks the moral authority to govern by conviction. At best they can manage to dictate, for a time. People will not give up air travel so that the jet set can have more leg room again. People will not give up private automobiles to leave the motorways we paid to build to people with special privileges.
      Brave ideas and changes are needed, and simply actually living up to some of the foundational promises and ideals of our societies would go a long way towards salvaging the dismal situation. It is bad enough that we live in societies with privileged groups – it is ten times worse that these societies are also founded on a myth of equality before the law and equal opportunity.
      If there is no intention to diminish the overwhelmingly widespread resentment and disaffection by living up to the ideals, I strongly suggest dispensing with the insulting and embarrassing democratic pretences and formally acknowledging an oligarchy. The democratic pretences are only making people even angrier.

    • avatar
      Debating Europe

      Very interesting arguments, thank you, Michael!

  24. avatar

    People do not want to give up freedom. Freedom is our natural born right.

  25. avatar

    I don’t think that we should give up on things in such a radical manner, we just need to acknowledge that we are too many to consume irrationally. Like everything, it’s not al black and white, but even more of fifty shades of grey. Giving up small parts of many things or actions that we buy or do without considering the environment multiplied by our number might mean a lot. Shortly, longer life span products and using more efficient and cleaner technologies I think is the answer.

  26. avatar

    “Save the earth” more like save a lump of rock orbiting the sun.

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