Never fly again? Go vegan? It was too hard. But I still cut my emissions by 61% and it made life simpler and better
(The Guardian, 3 Nov 2023) When I had a baby, those future generations I’d worried about had a face. It transformed me.
I’ve been worried about climate change my whole life. When I was a kid we called it the greenhouse effect and I assumed that, by the time I grew up, someone else would have fixed it. But no one did.
In my 20s I realised that, as one of the grownups, it was my job to fix it. I sought out roles in sustainability and grew increasingly despondent at leaders who denied climate change. Then I had a baby.
This transformed me. Those future generations I’d worried about now had a face. I couldn’t keep working my day job in recycling and flying halfway around a burning planet in my spare time. I wanted to take direct action.
I began my carbon diet in 2018, setting out to cut my carbon footprint and that of the average Australian by 75%. I ran 34 lifestyle experiments to see what worked. Along the way I learned carbon accounting, started a recycling company, wrote a blog, made art, looked after my daughter and became a politician. Meanwhile, Australia endured floods, fires, storms, choking smoke and a pandemic.