In the digital age, our everyday lives are intertwined with digital tools and technologies. Using these tools available to us to make smart and sustainable decisions on a daily basis is incremental to moving towards climate resilience.
Digital tools such as applications have a decisive advantage when it comes to informing and motivating us in our day-to-day lives. Functioning as our daily companions, smartphones and applications can help us to gradually change and adjust our behaviours long-term. They provide quick and easy-to-access information on climate and environmental problems and use a multitude of interactive features and gamification elements to encourage the implementation of step-by-step solutions.
UN Environment, together with the UnSchool of Disruptive Design, have developed the Anatomy of Action. It is an action plan highlighting five key lifestyle changes that individuals can make to contribute to the global shift towards sustainability. The five identified sustainability hotspots of impact include: food, stuff, move, money and fun. Ultimately, the Anatomy of Action is aimed at “promoting sustainable leadership and living through uniquely disruptive approaches to activating change”.
Recognising the wealth of data and digital tools at our disposal today, we have hand-picked several digitally supported actions you can take, spanning the five Anatomy of Action sustainability hotspots. Let’s start with the food we eat. Ready? Here we go:
Reducing your intake of meat-based meals, which are linked to a huge carbon footprint, and swapping these for meals with proteins from other sources is not only conducive to good health, but also leads to a much smaller environmental footprint.
Veggietizer: Tracking the environmental savings of your changing diet
If you’re finding it hard to reduce your meat consumption, the Veggietizer app could help out. It encourages a gradual reduction in meat intake by providing you with practical information on the impact of your change in diet. For instance, you receive exact calculations on how much CO2, water and wheat you have saved by switching to a plant-based diet. The app not only helps you track these savings over time, but provides you with factual and well-researched background information on the impact you’re making with small, gradual changes in your daily food habits.
It is estimated that between 30-50% of food produced for human consumption ends up in the bin, while millions of people still suffer from hunger and malnutrition. From an environmental perspective, food waste also means a huge loss of resources, soil degradation and CO2 and methane emissions exacerbating global heating, as we’ve outlined in our blog here. Given that more than half of food is wasted in households, it is important we start adjusting and changing our behaviour in small steps at home. More appreciation and thankfulness for food is the first essential step.
Too good for the bin: Using all your food at home
As part of its initiative for more appreciation of food, the Ministry for Food and Agriculture has launched the app Too good for the bin. It provides more than 550 creative recipes, which offer inspiration for cooking with left-over ingredients at home. In addition, the app provides you with tips for proper food storage and information on the concept of food’s shelf life.
Growing your own food can also contribute to appreciating food more and connecting better to what is on your plate. Besides, resources and CO2 emissions can be saved, as the impacts of transport and packaging are reduced. Of course, not everybody has access to land. If you cannot grow your own food, keep a look-out for community garden initiatives in your city, or support a local farmers’ cooperative.
Der Gemüse-Gärtner: The app for home-grown food
The app Gemüse-Gärtner is a comprehensive cultivation guide for those who want to start growing food themselves – whether on your balcony, patio or in your garden. Make use of the vegetable and herb catalogues on offer and information on sowing, cultivation, soil and fertilisers to start growing your own organic food at home.
So, eating less meat, creative cooking to use up all the food in your fridge and getting clued up about home grown food local to you will help the environment and you – easy!
Our next blog in this series will explore smart sustainability apps that help us rethink the ways we buy stuff. Stay tuned!
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