The first session of six in our ninth Carbon Conversations series took place this week.
We dug into motivations for reducing our carbon footprints, who is responsible for addressing climate change and what a low carbon future might look like.

Each week, a different person taking part will report on the themes of each session, giving you a flavour of the series as a whole, while picking up some tips on how you might be able to reduce your own carbon footprint.

Carbon Conversations facilitator, Ben Cuddon, gives us his impressions of the first session.

We took some time this week to look at who is responsible for addressing climate change, and the question was raised of how far individuals can make a difference. There were certainly different opinions – some thought individuals could make a real difference; others weren’t convinced.

We discussed how business and government can take meaningful action and whether legislation or ethical convictions will be the driving force for change.  The question of whether moral or legal change comes first is a fascinating one to think about!

Group members shared thoughts over how the problem could be solved. Whether our entire economic model (free-market capitalism, endless economic growth) was the essential problem, or whether climate change could be solved within capitalism, through technological innovation.

We thought about why we want to reduce our carbon footprints and why it’s important. A range of opinions emerged – from the importance of the equal distribution of resources around people to the importance of reducing the world’s overall consumption of resources. Most people seemed to agree that activism on climate change brought people together through a sense of shared purpose, and that this made it exciting and fun.

Finally we tried to imagine what a low-carbon future world might look like. Some of our ideas were easy to imagine – less long-distance travel, more vegan and vegetarian food, less material consumption. Others were more surprising. I liked the idea of making insects and garden creatures a bigger part of our diet.

Calculating your carbon footprint

Each member of the group also calculated their carbon footprint, so they can start to explore areas where reductions are possible. If you’d like to calculate your footprint, head over to Carbon Collaborations, where you’ll find a range of calculators including some for children.