“Try flexible vegetarianism or flexitarianism. Not everybody needs to immediately turn vegan or vegetarian,” says Michael Lettenmeier, a post-doctoral researcher at Aalto University. (Markku Ulander – Lehtikuva)


MICHAEL LETTENMEIER, a post-doctoral researcher at Aalto University, has published a list of recommendations for a more environment-friendly lifestyle.

Lettenmeier on Tuesday reminded that debating whether the responsibility for bringing about change lies with consumers or policy makers is pointless, as the reality is that we will all need to reduce our impact on the environment by late 2020s.

“Although political decisions, structures and infrastructure have the greatest impact, this is not an either/or question. Individuals should also make lifestyle changes,” he stated in a press release from Aalto University.

“Everyone should start taking action and making changes for the benefit of our climate – there is no alternative. After all, many lifestyle changes also lead to a better quality of life.”

One of the head researchers of a study of lifestyle carbon footprints published last week by the Finnish Innovation Fund (Sitra), Lettenmeier urged individuals to make changes, small and large, in both their lifestyles and ways of thinking, such as swapping car for bicycle or public transport, enquiring about the possibility to work remotely and switching to environment-friendly electricity.

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“Seal your windows and keep your room temperature to a maximum of 20ºC. Drying laundry outside reduces heating costs,” he listed.

Finns should also take action to reduce the amount of meat in their diet and reduce food waste, according to Lettenmeier.

“More people should have vegetarian days and the more they have, the better. Try flexible vegetarianism or flexitarianism. Not everybody needs to immediately turn vegan or vegetarian. Adding vegetables to your diet is a healthy change,” he reminded.

Lettenmeier also encouraged people to take such issues into consideration in the looming elections to the European Parliament.

“Politicians are usually more conservative than citizens, because the people who oppose difficult decisions are the most vocal. Nevertheless, they should have the courage to make changes. We need decision-makers who are brave enough to make bold climate decisions and can take criticism,” he stressed.

The research report was also discussed yesterday morning on YLE Radio 1 by Minna Halme, a professor of sustainable business at Aalto University, and Anu Mänty, a leading specialist at Sitra.

“We have to make changes in our lifestyle. But those changes don’t have to be moving back into a farmhouse and going everywhere by foot. You can try to reduce meat-eating gradually. You can start making changes with the things that are the easiest for you and continue making more changes steadily,” reminded Halme.

Mänty, in turn, admitted that the list of lifestyle changes presented in the report was heart-stopping. Although Finland accounts for no more than one-tenth of a per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions, she added, its citizens have a relatively large average carbon footprint.

“It’s double that of the average person living on Earth,” she told the public broadcasting company.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Source: Uusi Suomi