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One Tonne Life

Tag: Emissions

Hi Nils, what’s it like to live the One Tonne Life?

The Lindell family have now spent just over two months living their carbon-lean life. They have experienced some trials along the way and learned a lot. We catch up with Alicja, Nils, Hannah and Jonathan to find out what they think thus far. Initially Nils felt a bit like he was acting in a film, he’s thought a lot about how to live a seasonal lifestyle, and he’s noticed the lack of climate-impact marking in shops.

What did it feel like when your emissions fluctuated so much after moving into the house?
“Well, I saw it as one phase leading up to the February break, during which we acclimatise to the house. We’ve had a lot of help thanks to all the technology but that will be followed by the next phase which isn’t going to work all by itself but where we’re instead going to have to make a lot more effort, take more considered decisions. That there would be something of a backlash during the initial phase was entirely expected, at least by me.”

How have the poor results affected you? How seriously do you take the challenge?
“Well, that was a bit annoying, quite naturally. But at the same time it’s positive too because that’s the way it often is in real life, you get the occasional rap across the knuckles. It’s like when you’re involved in sports and you do poorly in one match and you think “we haven’t trained properly” or “we didn’t prepare sufficiently ahead of the match”. If you get one poor showing after the next that’s not a lot of fun, but if you have just one poor result that just stimulates you to improve the next time, it’s a bit of an incentive to do better.”

What’s your strategy for forging ahead?
“There’s a whole lot of additional knowledge that we need. But then it’s a matter of putting all that knowledge to practical use. It’s about thinking of the whole, of systematising above all as regards groceries and commuting habits.”

Alicja said that you are going to have weekly meetings at which you will plan the coming week. Tell us more!
“That’s so we can update one another, so that we are in sync and have a shared view of the week ahead. For instance so we can plan our travel to work and can car-pool as efficiently as possible, that sort of thing.”

Do you plan your meals?
“Yes, you need to be in agreement. For my part food isn’t a major issue, I’m perfectly happy to eat vegetarian meals for two months without giving it a second thought. Well, that’s my version … who knows what I’ll feel if it actually came to the test!”

You’ve blogged about your improvised climate-smart dinners for the family. Do you always improvise in the kitchen?
“Yes, I see recipes as nothing more than good suggestions. I get a little bored with slavishly following recipes, I like to experiment.”

What were the meals like?
“The first was brilliant, carrot-salmon. The second was cod with cauliflower and that too was a success.”

Fish is quite a good alternative from the climate perspective. But do you think about other problems, such as depleted fish stocks in the oceans?
“That looks after itself. There’s a good, comprehensive guide at ICA, at least at the supermarket where we do our shopping. It shows which fish you can buy with a clean conscience, which is green-listed and so on. So that’s something we can manage, but you don’t get any help with the climate-smart aspect in the store. I’ve noticed that food is the one area in which we have least know-how, and it’s also the area where we get least help. Of course it’s difficult to mark the climate impact of each and every product, but the supermarkets could at least have this as an ambition. I also note there are no climate-smart alternatives for lunch. You can get GI-labelled (Glycemic Index) and “Krav” eco-labelled food, but not climate-smart alternatives. It feels as though guidance in the climate area is roughly where I imagine Krav was 25 years ago. Very patchy and uneven. But I have no doubt there will be swift and thorough progress once the process gets under way.”

Is there any specific event during the project that has been particularly enjoyable?
“I guess it’s our surprise over just how much interest this project has aroused. We felt like we were taking part in a film on the day of the launch when we poked our heads out the front door and saw a bank of 20 cameras facing us. Felt like an English feel-good movie. Popped our heads back in again, thought “Oops, what was that all about?” That wasn’t something I was expecting.”

What do you think your final emission level will be?
“Somewhere between 2.1 and 2.3 tonnes. That would make an average of 2.2 tonnes. That’s my realistic guess, but my optimistic guess is 1.7 tonnes. I’m going for 1.7!”

Anything else you’ve been thinking about during these first two months?
“Actually, yes, something I’ve realised increasingly clearly. It’s important to eat seasonal foods in order to be climate-smart. But when you have the type of technology we have in this house, it’s equally important to also live seasonally. In the summer months, we get free hot water from our solar heating system. Since the technology doesn’t allow us to save this energy for use later in the year, what it means is that we can use a lot of hot water in the summer and enjoy long showers, but take shorter showers in the winter. It’s important to live seasonally in a variety of ways.”

Hi Hannah, what’s it like to live the One Tonne Life?

The Lindell family have now spent just over two months living their carbon-lean life. They have experienced some trials along the way and learned a lot. We catch up with Alicja, Nils, Hannah and Jonathan to find out what they think thus far. Hannah was recognised by the Minister for International Development Cooperation, has won a cheerleading competition and feels that so far it’s been pretty easy to live a climate-smart life.

What do you think about the fact that the graph showing your emissions has fluctuated so much since January?
“It feels OK. The graph climbed when we were in Åre but we’ve now started eating more climate-smart, and we can see that the curve is going down.”

Did you get a shock over the high emissions during your holiday in Åre?
“No, not really. It’s not all that difficult to appreciate that we’re going to have high emissions when we live in a hotel and eat at restaurants all week long.”

How do you feel when you get the results?
“I was on Facebook the day the 3-tonne figure was recorded, so that felt good. Now we’re moving ahead – and down.”

What’s been most fun?
“I thought it was cool when Minister for International Development Cooperation Gunilla Carlsson came to our school and she said she recognised me from the newspapers!”

What was it like meeting her? What did you talk about?
“We sat in a group and chatted with her. She was there to listen to us and find out what we thought about sustainability and the environment. She’d already heard about One Tonne Life and felt it was a great project.”

You attended Slottssprinten, a world-cup competition for cross-country skiing around the Royal Palace of Stockholm. What was that like?
“I haven’t really been all that interested in skiing before, but everyone was there egging on and supporting the competitors. Vattenfall was the sponsor, that’s why we were there. We were standing beside Prince Carl Philip, and Princess Viktoria and Daniel were also there cheering. I won a competition where you had to shake your iPhone with a “cheering” app developed by Vattenfall. You can select a cowbell sound, for example, and the idea is to stand and shake your mobile phone so it makes the appropriate sound. It measures how much energy you use in the process. I posted the result 28 times on Facebook so my page was full. That’s why I won.”

What do you think will be the biggest challenge this spring for reducing your emissions still further?
“Coming up with other issues that we have not yet thought about. So far we’ve done the three easy, big things: we’ve moved into a house, started driving an electric car and started eating a more climate-smart diet. The question now is what else we can do apart from these things.”

But surely eating climate-smart isn’t all that simple?
“Actually, I think it’s quite easy. Just avoid meat and eat lots of fish and chicken, which we do anyway. And of course eat root vegetables and always what’s in season.”

So no problem, then. What do you think your emissions will be at the end of the project?
“Well, the truth is that we’ve already dropped by four tonnes, so the rest might feel easy. But the fact is we have a long way to go yet, so I’m guessing 2 tonnes.”

Hi Jonathan, what’s it like to live the One Tonne Life?

The Lindell family have now spent just over two months living their carbon-lean life. They have experienced some trials along the way and learned a lot. We catch up with Alicja, Nils, Hannah and Jonathan to find out what they think thus far. For Jonathan Lindell there are no difficulties – apart from having to abstain from meat.

The family’s emissions have fluctuated quite a lot in these first months. How do you feel about that?
“Well, in the beginning our emissions dropped and then they climbed and I thought ‘Oops! What went wrong there?’”

Were you disappointed?
”No, I just felt we had to work to make this right once again.”

During your trip to Åre your emissions rose to 9 tonnes. Were you prepared for that?
“No, when I found out I was really shocked, didn’t think that was possible.”

What’s your strategy for the spring?
“We have to think about all the small things we do. Every little bit counts – not letting the water run when washing your hands, turning off the shower when you’re soaping up, using the eco-flush in the toilet as often as possible, scraping off the dinner plates with a scraper instead of rinsing them under running water…”

What’s been most fun so far in the project?
“Meeting all the people whom I’d never get the chance to meet otherwise. Everyone’s really nice. And getting to learn things I’d never have a chance of learning otherwise. You start thinking that if you hadn’t been in this project, then you wouldn’t have met these people, or those people, or those other people, or learned this thing or that that or the other thing.”

Is there anything that’s happened that you remember particularly?
“Well, that’s really got to be when I got to drive … I mean ride in the electric car. That’s real cool!”

What has been most difficult?
“Don’t really know, I haven’t felt there are any major problems yet. One thing’s for certain – the easiest part was moving into the new house. That made a huge difference in our carbon dioxide emissions. Changing our habits isn’t all that difficult either. One thing that really is difficult, however, is having to do without meat …”

What would happen if you didn’t get to eat any meat throughout the whole spring?
“Well, I don’t exactly think I’d go crazy or anything but I guess I’ll suffer … no, not really, I suppose I’d get used to that too!”

If you were to hazard a guess, what will your emissions be by the end of the project?
“I think we’ll end up on … 1.7 tonnes.”

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