Act Now @ Youth Forum – Participants at the UN Youth Forum holding signs in support of the Act Now campaign. UN Photo
Facts and Figures
We can all live more sustainably and help build a better world for everyone. But this means taking a look at how we live and understanding how our lifestyle choices impact the world around us. We make hundreds of thousands of decisions during our lives. The choices we make and the lifestyles we live have a profound impact on our planet.
The richest one percent of the global population account for more greenhouse gas emissions than the poorest 50 percent.
Demand-side measures, such as making it easier for people to use cleaner forms of transport or eat more plant-based foods, can help shift consumption patterns, particularly among the world’s wealthiest, and could cut global greenhouse gas emissions by 40-70% by 2050.
Use this Lifestyle Calculator to see your carbon footprint and find out how your choices impact the planet, allowing you to make climate-smart decisions.
The Sustainable Development Goals include targets (4.7 and 12.8) to ensure that, by 2030, people everywhere have the relevant information, education and awareness for sustainable development and lifestyles in harmony with nature.
Here’s where every one of us can make a difference
Electricity drives our lifestyles. Although some 750 million people in the world still lack access to electricity, for the rest, everything from a computer to a television to refrigerator needs energy.
Switching to renewable energy sources, such as solar, wind or hydroelectric power, also means less pollution and new and better jobs. Currently, around 80% of global energy and 66% of electrical generation are supplied from fossil fuels.
17% of all food available at consumer levels is wasted. This amounts to a big waste of resources used in production, such as land, water, energy and other inputs, and unnecessary greenhouse gas emissions. By reducing food waste, you can save money, reduce emissions, and help preserve resources for future generations.
Purchasing local foods that are in season can also help the environment, reducing the impact of shipping food. Local and seasonal produce also tastes better.
Shifting to healthy diets that include sustainability considerations can contribute to reductions in environmental impacts on land, energy and water use.
A diet that is higher in plant-based foods, such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds, and lower in animal-based foods, has a lower environmental impact (greenhouse gas emissions and energy, land, and water use).
From 2010 to 2019, e-waste generated globally grew from 5.3 to 7.3 kilograms per capita annually. Meanwhile, the environmentally sound recycling of e-waste increased at a much slower pace – from 0.8 to 1.3 kilograms per capita annually.