Eleven years ago, I decided I wanted to do something positive about climate change. There wasn’t much of a blueprint to follow back then. But I wanted to do something, and I felt that the place to start was with the things I can control; the things I spent my money on. It can still seem like there isn’t much anyone can do in the face of such a behemoth of a problem; just spending less time in the shower or not using so many plastic bags can feel like futile gestures. Instead I started with my home energy use, and it has developed from there to cover every aspect of life.
Over time, I discovered that my new, low carbon lifestyle was saving me a lot of money; and over the following six years my partner and I saved over £90,000, despite being on fairly average salaries. We achieved this mostly through changing our behaviour and cutting out waste, rather than spending lots of cash on cutting edge technology. We don’t have solar panels on our roof, or an electric car, or anything like that (not yet anyway).
Life has changed a lot in the past eleven years. I gave up a full time career in government to spend more time with my young family, and have spent time developing a number of investments. I also started this site (www.livelight.org.uk), largely as an experiment, and to share what I found was working well. I’ve had a lot of lucky breaks along the way, and I’ve had a lot of help from various sources. Throughout though, the foundation has been all about reducing my carbon footprint – cutting out waste, unnecessary expenses, and much (not all!) of the overpriced froth associated with a high spend, high consuming lifestyle. I now have a carbon footprint that is about a fifth of the UK average. I still spend less than half the national average on fuel and energy; I don’t spend money on servicing debts; and I don’t buy nearly so much cock a doodle crap as I used to. The things I do buy are often more expensive, but better quality. Perhaps most importantly of all, I have a different mindset and different goals for living, compared to when I started out on this road. I have never earned more than fairly average earnings, but once I got into this new mindset, it was amazing how easy it was to increase wealth and slash the old carbon footprint at the same time.
If you are working too hard, or working just to pay the bills, or if you want to do something positive and meaningful in the fight against climate change, then I hope that the LiveLight website and this blog will help you. My goals now are to achieve financial independence, and live the two tonne carbon lifestyle that is necessary to stave off the worst effects of climate change – alongside continuing to have a great lifestyle and plenty of fun. Why not come with me for the ride?
I highly recommend trying my cost and carbon snapshot. It’s all completely free, it takes 5 minutes, and it will give you a great starting point.