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green talk:
Restoring Eco-Librium

As you descend upon Shanghai’s sprawling nightscape at the end of a gruelling flight from home, you’re probably not ashamedly reflecting on the Godzilla-sized carbon footprint created by your holiday plane-trip. But you should be. If you’re fresh in from Frankfurt, you have travelled a total of 17,710 kilometres roundtrip and emitted a lung-searing 1,330 kilograms of carbon. Your American compatriot touching down at Pudong International after a 23,814 kilometres roundtrip flight from New York tops you with a suffocating 1,730 kilogram carbon emission. Now that both of you are undoubtedly crippled with guilt, it’s time to reach ‘eco-librium’ and reduce your future carbon output by an amount equal to the number of carbon kilogram produced by your holiday trip.

You can start by transforming your own home from a carbon dioxide-producing waste factory into an environmentally-conscious haven that would make Gaia proud. First, clean all dirty air filters to prevent air conditioners and hot air furnaces from losing energy by working twice as hard to filter air. Then, cut down on your hot-water usage and guarantee even more invigorating shower-times by installing more energy-efficient low-flow showerheads. And lastly, replace those electricity-guzzling ordinary light bulbs with some attractive new fluorescent ones which not only use a quarter of the electricity of an incandescent bulb but last up to 12 times longer. Follow these simple home renovation tips and you can reduce your carbon production by over 200 kilograms a year and save your flight’s worth of carbon emissions in fewer than seven years if you’re a Frankfurter or under nine if you hail from New York.

Reduce your greenhouse emissions even more by reducing late-night trips to those expat ensnaring fast-food stops as your packaged and processed food intake may be causing a 400 kilogram annual carbon output. The good news is that you can halve the carbon dioxide production by grabbing reusable bags from your home and shopping at Shanghai’s wet markets, which feature unboxed fruits and vegetables, live chickens and other items that prevent the need to purchase ‘an inconvenient food’. Practice unprocessed food consumption and regain all-ground encroached upon by your flight-created carbon footprint in roughly the same time as home maintenance.

By a similar token, eat at locally-sourced restaurants. Although your average entree may be listed as a special from the house, it might really be travelling over 40,000 kilometres to reach your table. Shanghai’s Madison offers foods sourced domestically, including foie gras from a farm on Shanghai’s outskirts, Chinese waygu and beer from Inner Mongolia. If you drop that T-bone from the land down under and head to Madison for culinary outings, you can reduce carbon emissions by 400 kilograms a year and match the carbon produced by either a Euro or US-air-trip in less than half a decade.

While transportation may be responsible for your flight-fostered carbon footprint, it also can offer the ultimate solution. A regular taxi-passenger emits around 1,310 kilograms of carbon annually. Although riding the subway may appear the simplest solution to cutting down on carbon dioxide, you can display your green thumb’s full potential by buying a bike. Bikes are emission-free, cheaper than cabs and have special lanes that allow them to navigate traffic more easily. Plus, in a city of six million registered bikes, you’ll blend in perfectly. Boom! You have just eliminated your roundtrip carbon output total in under a year and a half.

But how can you exert yourself less and terminate your carbon footprint even faster? By getting involved in “The Million Tree Project” a Shanghai Roots & Shoots initiative that makes planting forests to reduce greenhouse gases simpler than it sounds. Just log on and repay your flight-created carbon debt in one go by purchasing the appropriate amount of trees: 13 hybrid poplars will run you RMB 325 for Frankfurt and a small forest of 17 is RMB 425 for New York-bound travellers.

Ultimately, although you have done penance for your eco-crime, you hopefully realise there is no quick-fix solution to carbon emission. Only when you incorporate all the aforementioned practices into the long-term, will you demonstrate that you truly possess a heart of green.



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