My Sustainability Journey

In this blog post I take you through my journey, from not really caring about climate change to becoming obsessed with climate change. My hope is that people reading this will start to take some real actions on reducing their ecological footprint as well.

Some Quick Climate Change Statistics

These statistics paint a frightening picture, yet point to a potentially positive outcome.

  • South Australia’s emissions have increased by 18% over the last decade, we aren’t doing anywhere near enough
  • Burning 1 litre of petrol creates 1,256 litres of CO2
  • Driving 25,000km will produce over 3,000,000 litres of CO2
  • Australia is the only developed nation on the UN’s deforestation black list
  • I have reduced my footprint to 20% of what it was a few years ago, with little change to my lifestyle and bank account
  • We can still avoid the worst effects of climate change if we act quickly

How dare You

Greta's How Dare You Speech

Like a lot of people, I used to get most of my news from The Murdochracy. Their papers, websites and so on imply that climate change is greatly exaggerated. After hearing Greta’s speech I started googling climate change. Once I did, for me there was no turning back, I was horrified at what I found.

Thankyou Greta, don’t listen to the haters!

The Audit

I decided to look at closely at my footprint, using the WWF calculator (sadly this has been taken offline) my life style was needing 3 or 4 earths to sustain me.

I drilled down into where my emissions were coming from, for me my big one was transport. Did you know for every 100km you drive you will produce about 12,000 litres of CO2. I drive 20,000 per year, so this was creating about 2.5 million litres of CO2 every year.

I ran some scenarios through the WWF calculator and worked out if I started catching public transport, eating less meat and get an EV my footprint would go down to 0.9 earths, that is I’d be living sustainability.

Doing Something

I am a big fan of David Allen’s ‘Getting Things Done’, I’ve been using a personalised version of his system for several years now.

One of his suggestions is to basically start a project by working out the next logical step and just doing it. For me this was to drive less and to eat less meat, so I started there.

There were some unexpected benefits here, firstly public transport, it’s actually works really well from where I live. By catching the bus into the city it turns out I was saving about $12- $20 every trip by not having to park. I’ll be honest I felt stupid for not doing this earlier.

This start had quite a big impact on my emissions, reducing them by about 25%, a really good start I thought.

Still Feeling Guilty

The return trip to the mid coast beaches from my house is about 60km. I found that I was doing this trip less than I used to do due to feelings of carbon guilt. I calculated this drive would create about 10,000 litres of CO2. To get around this guilt I knew I needed to get an EV if I wanted to keep driving with impunity. I was car sharing with Angela at this stage, and it was quite inconvenient at times, so a new car was on my radar. In September 2021 we took the plunge and ordered an EV.

By my calculations this was going to bring my footprint to about 20% of where it was two years prior.

There are a lot of myths about EV’s and their impact on the environment, check out the article from the EPA that addresses these EV Myths.

How it has saved me money

The most surprising part of this journey has been the cost. Yes there has been a large upfront cost of around $35,000 (EV upgrade from ICE version and a  Solar System), but my yearly petrol and energy bills have gone from about $10,000 to about $2,000. This means over a five year period I have paid of my loans, saved money, have an EV and have a solar system.

EV Review

I’m now super happy with my EV. The extra $25,000 I spent on the EV version pretty much matches the money I used to spend on petrol. So financially I am in the same situation I was previously.

My next steps.. to get rid of gas cooking and hot water, but that will need to wait a little.

I hope I have shown that drastically reducing your emissions can be a relatively easy task, just start somewhere!