The most effective individual steps to tackle climate change aren't being discussed

According to recent study, governments and educational institutions are not educating people about the best strategies to decrease their carbon footprints.

The study from Lund University, which was published today in the journal Environmental Research Letters, discovered that the gradual improvements supported by governments may be a wasted chance to cut greenhouse gas emissions below the levels required to avert 2°C of global warming.

The four lifestyle choices that significantly reduce a person's carbon footprint include eating a plant-based diet, staying away from airplanes, not owning a car, and having fewer children.

To determine the potential for a variety of individual lifestyle choices to minimize greenhouse gas emissions, the research analyzed 39 peer-reviewed studies, carbon calculators, and government reports. The activities that individuals might take to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions are identified by this thorough investigation.

Seth Wynes, the lead author, said: "There are a lot of variables that determine how choices we make as individuals affect the environment, but comparing all these research together gives us confidence that we've found acts that have a significant impact. Those of us who wish to take action on climate change must understand how to have the biggest potential effect with our activities. The goal of this research is to empower individuals to make better decisions.

We discovered that adopting a plant-based diet, limiting air travel, living without a car, and having smaller families can all significantly reduce a person's carbon footprint. For instance, avoiding driving a car year saves around 2.4 tonnes of CO2 equivalent, whereas eating a plant-based diet annually saves 0.8 tonnes.

Therefore, these steps "have much greater potential to reduce emissions than commonly promoted strategies like comprehensive recycling (which is 4 times less effective than a plant-based diet) or changing household lightbulbs (8 times less effective)," the study said.

The researchers also discovered that these measures are not highlighted in Canadian textbooks or official materials from the USA, Canada, Australia, or the EU, instead choosing to place more emphasis on tiny improvements with considerably less potential to lower emissions.

Kimberly Nicholas, a co-author of the study, said: "We understand that these are very personal decisions. However, we cannot overlook the true impact our way of life has on the environment. I've personally found that several of these modifications have been really beneficial. It's crucial for young individuals creating lasting habits to be mindful of the decisions that will have the largest effects. We believe that sharing this knowledge would encourage conversation and give people more power," she said.