Earth Overshoot Day marks the date when humanity’s demand for ecological resources and services in a given year exceeds what earth can regenerate in that year. For more details, please read Simon Wyatt’s blog titled, Earth Overshoot Day 2020: A brief respite for the planet.
To mark the day, we asked people around the global business what they are doing to reduce their carbon footprint – this is what they told us.
Helen Amos, Principal Sustainable Consultant – Hong Kong
“While it is mandatory to put on face masks in Hong Kong to prevent further spread of COVID-19, a recent survey suggests that Hong Kong people discard 35.6 million masks weekly. After seeing the impact of disposable masks on carbon footprint, I sewed masks from leftover fabrics for myself and my family as an effort to save the environment.”
Jon Lee, Head of Acoustics (MENA) – Dubai
“We use a Bokashi bin to recycle all our food waste (that the dogs don’t eat first!) and have a small compost heap in the garden to process the ‘pickled’ food that the Bokashi produces. We also use the (very smelly) Bokashi juice to help fertilize the indoor plants. In our garden, we grow dates, oranges, sweet potato and hopefully soon to be mangoes, plus others once summer is over. For our non-bio recyclables, we use a company called Enviroserve to collect them. We use our own long-life bags at the supermarket as much as we can to reduce plastic bag use. Pre-COVID, I was cycling to work every day, although this wasn’t possible towards the summer months without provision of much needed shower facilities at work.”
Annie Wong, Administrative Assistant – Hong Kong
“I water the office plants using an upcycled fruit juice glass that the office consumed.”
Desmond Lee, Senior Engineer, and Karis Chiu, Engineer – Hong Kong
“We have been using recyclable containers when we go for lunch takeout.”
Elaine Chan, Marketing Assistant – Hong Kong
“I find drinking water is a lot more enjoyable when I use a recyclable water bottle that I love. It also reduces the use of plastic bottles every day.”
Jonnie Allen, Global Marketing and BD Partner – London
“I am very conscious of my carbon footprint and that of my family, so we have decided to make some drastic changes to be kinder to the planet. As a family we got rid of our car, we have stopped flying for holidays and aim to use the train instead, we live in a city centre flat, we compost waste and buy carbon free energy. On a personal level, I have mostly given up meat as part of a plant-based diet and I cycle to work.”
Duncan Cox, Partner – Newcastle
“It’s not always easy but we are constantly trying to find ways to be more sustainable as a family. We have all made the decision to cycle when we can and combine this with walking and taking the train. This has meant we have got down to one car – we are still working on that one! We have planted pollinator friendly plants, invested in compost bins and have used the compost in our garden. We have also taken steps to reduce our footprint when shopping – for household items (washing/cleaning liquids etc) we use refillable containers at our local zero waste shop, our milk is now from the milkman in glass bottles and we have further reduced our use of plastic by visiting a local farm shop (on our bikes!) that have the majority of their produce plastic free (and use re-usable bags). Lastly, we are also conscious about water so invested in a 25-litre water-butt.”
Tavis Creswell-Wells, Sustainability Engineer – London
“Since I moved to London from New Zealand, I don’t have a car and cycle a lot. London is great for cycling and not nearly as dangerous as people think. I’m also looking into changing to an ethical bank because I recently realised the one I currently bank with invests in oil companies, and that’s not something I want my money to be a part of.”
Minesh Vekaria, Graduate Engineer – London
“I have been thinking of ways to reduce household water consumption – especially with the summer months getting hotter and drier. This can be easily achieved by consciously making small changes to your lifestyle such as having shorter showers and harvesting rainwater to water your plants. Lots of people don’t know that most water suppliers will send you free devices to attach to your taps or shower in your home to reduce the rate of consumption. Find out more via the Thames Water webpage.”
Paul Chatwin, Associate – Birmingham
“I watch my energy meter like a hawk. Smart meters were designed to raise awareness of energy which leads to reducing energy use. My boiler in summer is set to a lower temperature to be more efficient in operation. So far we are ~5% less heat energy than the lowest of the 9-year data that I have!”
Tsing Yu Ng, Engineer – Birmingham
“I recently used one of my partner’s old shirts (which is a bit too old for him to want to use for work anymore) as lining material for a skirt. I would like to personally raise awareness about buying second-hand and reusing items. I think people are often too quick to look to buy brand new items and don’t give enough thought to consider obtaining the items second-hand instead. I’ve personally got all my large furniture second hand, and reuse jam jars, hot chocolate containers, and yoghurt pots as storage containers and plant pots. Along the same lines, people could consider selling on or giving away some items which they might throw away in the trash, for others to reuse or repurpose.
Tim Newcombe, Graduate Engineer – Birmingham
Some important things to me in relation to reducing my carbon footprint:
- Eating seasonally and from the garden
- Utilising a compost for all raw fruit/veg and garden waste
- Leaving a section of garden to meadow/wild planting
- Collecting and using rainwater to irrigate
- Darning/mending old items and clothes to reuse
Larraine Maristela, Marketing Executive – Sydney
“80% of our furniture is second hand. In a big city like Sydney, you’ll find people moving from one place to another and older people downsizing. You will be amazed on the quality and value of what you can find online or in local thrift shops. This is giving these unwanted goods a second lease of life (or more!) instead of them going to landfill and adding to an already problematic greenhouse gas problem.”
Meghan Hadley, Marketing Assistant – Melbourne
Working for Cundall has really opened my eyes to all the ways I can reduce my carbon footprint as an individual! It’s great to feel like you are making a difference to the sustainability of our planet through little actions.
- My family purchases all our electricity from certified renewable sources.
- We eat plant based on a regular basis, reducing our footprint by avoiding meat and choosing non-dairy options when possible.
- I love thrifting second-hand fashion from charity shops. This gives you a unique style and has zero impact on the environment!
- I rode my bike into the office in the pre-Covid days and hope to get back to this soon.
- Almost all of our furniture is second hand, passed on by family members or picked up at a charity shop. You don’t need to buy new things to have a lovely home.
Madlen Jannaschk, Sustainability – Perth
“I’m cycling to work pretty much every day now. Our son’s childcare has bunnies and chickens and they witnessed chicks hatching out of the eggs. Therefore, he no longer wants to eat meat and eggs so we’re probably going vegan soon. 😊”
Kate McNicholl, Sustainability Co-ordinator – Hong Kong.
“For work I bring a packed lunch in my reusable lunch box, I always travel with my own water bottle and I use handkerchiefs rather than tissues. At home, I shop second-hand, I use reusable shopping bags, I shop at bulk foods shops, I get a fruit and vegetable box delivery scheme (minimal packaging), only eat red meat 1-2 times per week, buy second-hand children’s books and Lego. My boys (5 and 7 years) love making “junk-art”- reusing items from our recycling bin to create all sorts of things though robots and weapons are popular 😊. “
Jamie Sanderson, Engineer – Birmingham
“Try to buy second hand. For things you cannot, do some research in advance. I recently had to google sustainable pillows – something I never thought I’d be doing in my twenties.
A really good resource for ethical purchasing is Ethical Consumer, it’s a bi-monthly magazine that tackles different subjects each issues and scores products/services on environmental and social impacts. It often judges products on a parent company, so if a small ethical company gets bought by a less ethical multinational this lowers the score. Once you subscribe you can login online and look at articles and scoring. For the money it costs, it saves a lot of time researching ethical purchasing and is well worth the money.”
Elmer Moncada Barahona, Associate – Qatar
“My wife and I worry about the future generations, we see our kids and wonder how difficult the future will be for them in relation to the environment. Therefore, we teach our kids the importance of protecting the environment, from our point of view, the first step it to teach others and become an example to follow. We do small family talks and cover things like not wasting food, reducing usage of plastic, not wasting water…”
Take a step to #MoveTheDate.