Every Step Counts When Reducing your Carbon Footprint
How smart choices around transportation, housing & food can help.
People love to throw around the term “carbon footprint” but how many of us really appreciate how our daily actions affect climate change? As a quick reminder, your carbon footprint is the total amount of greenhouse gases (mostly carbon dioxide and methane) that is generated by your daily activities.
If there’s been something hopeful to come out of the pandemic shutdown it’s the positive, if fleeting, impact it’s had on the climate crisis. 2020 reported the biggest annual decline in global carbon dioxide emissions since the Second World War.
While we all lived in a state of paralysis a 7% decline in greenhouse gases was triggered when factories closed, planes were grounded and cars sat idle. This demonstrates that our collective actions have real, impactful consequences.
Unfortunately, the optimistic buzz of this good news has already fizzled. The International Energy Agency reported in April 2021 that these record-low emission levels will surge back dramatically as governments continue to pour stimulus funds into economic recovery. The IEA also projected that this major economic resurgence will jeopardize crucial carbon reduction targets.
The reality of one step forward, two steps back is disheartening, to say the least. When governments prioritize economic bottom lines over climate science it’s hard to have faith that individual citizens can have a meaningful effect on slowing climate change. But we believe we can and we will.
Indeed, this is what has motivated VOOMcart to plough ahead with our start-up vision. The idea began on a personal level with our daily routines and wanting to feel more connected to our neighbourhood and our friends. We knew if we could walk more it would not only make us happier, it would also make our cities healthier. We just had to start small and think big.
At a basic level we were inspired by how we wanted to move through our days. How can we get stuff done while also staying active and happy? Mostly, though, we didn’t want to drive to do errands within walking distance of where we lived. It made no sense and resulted in traffic congestion, pollution and stress. We were convinced there was a better way.
So we just started by building a sense of community. Since we lived in walkable neighbourhoods the ground-up approach of focusing locally came naturally and drove our innovation. We asked friends and family for their expertise and advice and piloted various versions of the cart with the support of local businesses.
VOOMcart is tackling climate change, literally, one step at a time. If we can provide more opportunities for people to choose to walk rather than drive then we believe we will have a lasting impact on building more sustainable cities.
There are numerous apps available which help calculate and track your personal carbon output. They measure modes of transportation, energy use at home, shopping habits, diet and so on. However, most of our carbon footprint comes from three things: transportation, housing and food. And the single, easiest way to reduce our individual environmental impact is to DRIVE LESS. Of course, our answer to drive less is easy -- WALK MORE!
When we were dreaming up VOOMcart, one of our references for simple ideas having a big impact was the concept of “Meatless Mondays”. We loved how straightforward the idea of committing to NOT eating meat one day a week was and the impact it can have on methane gas emissions if adopted broadly. The “Walking Wednesday” movement is working on the same premise by encouraging people to commit to NOT driving one day a week. These are achievable goals which don’t require a massive paradigm shift to integrate into your day-to-day life.
So, what do we think are the best ways to reduce your carbon footprint? First, start using a VOOMcart. Not only will you be helping reduce carbon emissions every time you decide to walk your shop -- instead of using a car, uber or grocery delivery service -- you will also be getting fresh air, supporting small retailers, building local economies, socializing and reducing your stress levels.
Second, for every VOOMcart we sell we plant a tree. What good is this for carbon reduction? As trees grow they remove carbon dioxide from the air and store the carbon inside the tree as well as in the soil - where it is needed. In return, trees release much needed oxygen into the air. We need to plant a lot of trees to have a substantial impact but if more than half a trillion trees are planted worldwide, we could capture about 205 gigatons of carbon. This would reduce atmospheric carbon by 25%. This inspires us and we’re motivated to plant as many trees as we can.
Third, In order to achieve these carbon offset goals we’ve partnered with our friends at The New Farm in Creemore, Ontario to support their regenerative farming initiatives. Regenerative Farming is the practice of sequestering carbon and returning it to the soil to restore soil biodiversity and offset carbon emissions.
In the April 2021 Federal Budget, the Canadian government announced a $200 million dollar investment over two years to support organic farmers practicing regenerative farming. VOOMcart is proud to be associated with these efforts as Canadian farmers work to create climate-resilient, food secure communities.
Fourth, and finally, through our tree planting and regenerative farming initiatives VOOMcart is working towards becoming a “net-zero” or “carbon neutral” company. In other words, whatever greenhouse gases are emitted in the process of producing VOOMcart, we will endeavor to remove the same amount from the atmosphere through an ever-increasing commitment to carbon reduction.
So, don’t get discouraged by climate news – get active! We’ve made it super easy for you. All you have to do to begin reducing your carbon footprint is start VOOMing!
It’s the little things which collectively have a big impact. The starting point for this transformation is simply connecting with your community and walking more. That’s not our opinion – that’s just fact. Walking is the magic elixir of climate change. Okay, I made that up - but you heard it here first. Let’s move forward.