Researchers from Sweden’s Lund University concluded that one of the most powerful ways that we can reduce our carbon footprints is to have smaller families.
“A US family who chooses to have one fewer child would provide the same level of emissions reductions as 684 teenagers who choose to adopt comprehensive recycling for the rest of their lives,” the research states.
According to the report, smaller families with fewer children would save an average of of 58.6 tons of CO2-equivalent emission reductions per year.
The researchers also identified three other ways for people to reduce their carbon footprints, which includes eating a plant-based diet, steering away from air travel and living car-free.
The research – based on an nalysis of 39 peer-reviewed papers, carbon calculators, and government reports – concluded that not having a car aves about 2.4 tons of CO2 equivalent per year, while avoiding plane travel saves about 1.6 tons of CO2 equivalent per trip. A plant-orientated diet saves 0.8 tons per year.
“There are so many factors that affect the climate impact of personal choices, but bringing all these studies side-by-side gives us confidence we’ve identified actions that make a big difference,” lead author Seth Wynes told AFP.
“Those of us who want to step forward on climate need to know how our actions can have the greatest possible impact.”
The report was published on Wednesday in the journal Environmental Research Letters and it combined studies from 10 Canadian high school textbooks, as well as government communications in the US, Australia and Europe with the aim of determining whether governments were doing enough to promote effective ways to reduce pollution.
The research marks a growing trend among the mainstream scientific community to identify population reduction as a solution for curbing carbon emissions.
Back in 2012, a prominent population analyst Paul Ehrlich has called for significant reduction in human population and redistribution of natural resources from rich to the poor.