Is online shopping sustainable?

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I personally considered Online shopping to be very sustainable. Saving a trip to the store and getting some serious discount was the highlight for online shoppers. I stopped buying online lately due bad experience with the quality of the product but I always thought that at least it saves you time via e-commerce.

But what about the emissions from fleets of delivery vehicles bringing orders to houses? Delivery trucks also contribute substantially to the burden of fine particulate matter, known as PM2.5, in the air, which is associated with many effects on human health. Especially when the product is returned (which happens in great number) there is likely to be more trips from the firm’s driver and not to mention, sometimes you are not at home and they have to return to your house again.

An increase in the number of home shopping purchases increases travel time, traffic delays, and vehicle emissions of the transportation network as a whole, the researchers say. While some previous studies suggest that e-commerce is associated with lower carbon emissions than traditional retail, other researchers have warned of a “rebound effect,” which occurs when gains in efficiency merely stimulate new consumption. Something similar may be going on in Newark, the results suggest.

But a recent study in Newark, Delaware suggests that the knock-on effects of online shopping may worsen traffic congestion and transport-related carbon emissions.Researchers at the University of Delaware conducted a survey of downtown Newark residents’ shopping habits and preferences and used the responses to calculate the quantity of goods purchased through home shopping.They also got information from delivery companies about the number of trucks on the road and the number of packages per truck, and used this to determine how many delivery trucks are required to distribute home shopping purchases.Finally, the researchers used transportation simulation software and data from local transportation authorities to determine the effect of delivery trucks on the transportation network, focusing on an area of downtown Newark that includes a portion of the university’s campus.They conducted similar analyses in 2001, at the dawn of the online shopping era, and again in 2008. They reported their results in a recent paper in the International Journal of Sustainable Development & World Ecology.

Read this journal to know more about the ill effects of Online shopping.

 

Source: Laghaei J. et al. “Impacts of home shopping on vehicle operations and greenhouse gas emissions: multi-year regional study.” International Journal of Sustainable Development & World Ecology

Life transitions can help to instil better environmental behaviours

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You are most likely to change your habits if you are changing your city, a job or even a country. Maybe that’s why people say that their life changed once they moved to some other country. Different language, people or food can have a very positive effect on you. At least the researchers of University of Bath (Bath?! Really??) think so too.

“The study tested the habit discontinuity hypothesis, which states that the behavior change interventions are more effective when delivered in the context of life course changes. This assumption was that when habits are (temporarily) disturbed, people are more sensitive to new information and adopt a mind-set that is conducive to behavior change. A field experiment was conducted among 800 participants, who received either an intervention promoting sustainable behavior, or were in a no-intervention control condition. In both conditions half of the households had recently relocated, and were matched with households that had not relocated. Self-reported frequencies of twenty-five environment-related behaviors were assessed at baseline and eight weeks later. While controlling for past behavior, habit strength, intentions, perceived control, biospheric values, personal norms, and personal involvement, the intervention was more effective among recently relocated participants. The results suggested that the duration of the ‘window of opportunity’ was three months after relocation.”

Check the link below to read the actual scientific paper for more details.

We all can’t move to other location but we can try to change our lifestyle to be more sustainable. Maybe following Meatless Monday’s or going to office twice in a week by public transport, walking more or using less plastic.

Source: ScienceDirect, University of Bath

Extreme weather is due to Climate Change. Really?!

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Every once in a while, I meet someone who doesn’t believe in climate change. They say that all the changes are happening since the beginning of the time and will continue to be so it is quite normal for the Earth to be so warm or to be so cold. Well, I always partially agree with them. But since last century we can see more and more storms all over the world. Maybe 2 of them you might think as a normal phenomenon but we saw in UK,China and India among other countries made it clear that it is indeed happening due to Climate Change.
If you still do not agree, read this post where the scientist in UK did some research and Carbon Brief did further research on that research and then followed up some Question and Answers session to understand these disasters happening all over the world. Why I can a storm a disaster? Well, it completes ruins your city and daily routine and not to mention the financial problem it causes the government in the matter of days.

A series of storms – first Desmond, then Eva, and finally Frank – dumped 230mm of rain on the UK during December, triggering flooding across much of Scotland, northern England and Northern Ireland. The preliminary results – from three different approaches – indicate the human impact on climate was as large, or even larger, than the impact of natural fluctuations in the Atlantic and Pacific ocean – even during a strong El Niño event. Climate change and ocean variability each made the record rainfall totals 50-75% more likely, the researchers say, and doubled the chances of such a warm month. Random variability in weather also contributed to the severe conditions.

Do you still feel that Climate Change isn’t happening? Is Yes, then I am sure you believe that Santa Claus exist too!

Source: Carbon Brief, Climate Prediction

Reduction in consumption of meat might be a good idea!

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I know that the post image might tempt people to eat some meat right now. But as I have written few posts before about how the meat industry is kind of more responsible for the pollution around the world. Documentaries like ‘Cowspiracy’ and ‘Food Inc’ are worth watching for some reason. Deforestation is done also because of meat industry. According to some assumption, the demand for meat is going to be higher in the future. If this happens, the 2 degree target is well of the table.

If you read this article on Carbon Brief, there is strong evidence that reduce in meat might really reduce the pollution. I really have reduced my consumption of meat since Jan 2015. I intended to completely quit it but I will be honest, I can’t quit it 100%. Ever since I have started eating more veggies, my cooking skills have improved as I can try to cook different types of vegetables ( going off the topic now).

 

These two images taken from the article shows how the current consumption is happening around the globe. If you do not wish to quite it, no need as long as you reduce a little.

Read the article for more details.

 

Source: Carbon Brief.

What’s in your climate agreement? – Konrad Luders

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On December 12th 2015 the governments of 196 nations have finally decided to work together against climate change, a problem known to exist for more than four decades… starting in 2020! But can this be it? Have our governments really just managed to conserve a habitable planet for humans? Or is it too early to pad ourselves on the back just yet?
While it should be acknowledged that this is a big step forward, compared to previous agreements, the deal holds next to no legally binding regulations and the countries mainly responsible for the current state of the environment managed to avoid legal responsibility. Leveling off of emissions will not happen until the second half of this century. Even insurances that are mentioned in the agreement will not cover the main risks of climate change; rising sea levels, vanishing drinking water and droughts. Leaving small countries vulnerable. Only time will tell if this agreement is truly a success. I sure hope it will be, but sadly I’m pessimistic.
But what can we do in the meantime? We don’t have to wait for governments to start acting, do we? We all have the power to make changes every day, no matter how incremental they might seem.
Every time we step inside a car, we can ask ourselves if there are other means of transportation we could be using instead. Maybe we can spend the next vacation exploring the country we already live in, instead of flying half way across the globe.
The livestock sector is the largest emitter of greenhouse gases. So, every time we are about to buy or order meat we can stop and think about a vegetarian alternative instead. This does not mean we cannot eat meat anymore. We can eat as much or as little meat as we feel comfortable with. But, if we just stop and consider the consequences every single time, I’m sure more often than not we are going to choose the vegetarian meal instead.
About 1/4 of all food purchased ends up in the trash. That’s not only a waste of resources, but also a waste of money. Between eating leftovers and small scale biogas plants, there are plenty of ways to re-use food waste.
We can look for sustainable alternatives to big banks who keep investing in fossil fuels and move our money to those investing in sustainable small and large scale projects instead. Or, if we’re too attached to our bank, because the IBAN we have is just soooo perfect, we can at least voice our desire for more sustainable investments to our bank. There are energy providers out there who re-invest their profit in the establishment of more sustainable energy sources instead of paying big bonuses to their managers. They deserve more customers.
And finally, remember to ask yourself: “Do I really need another t-shirt?”
Learning about all of these alternatives is not only the right thing to do, it can be a lot of fun and very satisfying as well!!
Change the world! I know you can!

This post is written by Konrad Luders.

EuroEnviro2016  |  Vice Project Coordinator
Website: euroenviro.org

Highest number of premature deaths due to air pollution – Italy!

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On ‘Corriere della sera’ (one Italian newspaper) few weeks ago, there was an article regarding the highest premature deaths in Italy. If the data is to be believed, more than 59k people died due the high level of air pollutants in Italy. I always mentioned my country to be highly polluted and I always consider to be really clean in terms of air ( I still do) but after reading the article and the European Union recently released data on air quality, it is clear that Germany and Italy leading in bad air quality index.

Clearly living in a big city or a rich country doesn’t assure you to breathe clean air. However, Italy has been working a lot on it. During the Ecomondo, they held a discussion on Green Economy where they spoke about various technologies to be used so to emit less pollution.

Waste management is still a huge issue in this country!

Chasing Ice – Documentary review

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Stalking people around the world on Facebook, I stumbled upon a link which talked about some nice documentaries ( I knew stalking was always a great idea). When I opened the linked, one documentary – Chasing Ice was mentioned as one film ‘must be seen’.

It seemed like a good idea to see it since we all might have read the news that Paris Summit pledges are not enough. I must say, I am really happy I saw this documentary. First off, what an amazing majestic beauty of Ice. It looked so good. Just like ‘featured Image’ of this post. It kind of saddened by seeing how rapidly they are melting away. I read about it in newspaper but seeing a proper documentary made on it had a strong effect on me. It is horrific to see the Ice melting away like this.

James Balog goes across the Arctic as he deploys time-lapse cameras designed for one single purpose: to capture a multi-year record of the world’s changing glaciers. He put some 25 cameras in Greenland, Iceland,Montana & some in Alaska. The concept of ‘ancient air trapped as bubbles in the ice’ was amazing!

This documentary only lasts for 1 hour so please do not be lazy. Grab your healthy less fat popcorn and watch this brilliant documentary!