Consumption-based emissions—the so-called indirect emissions associated with food choices, travel habits, supply chains and many more activities that keep cities running but are not directly tied to local production—are proving to be the blind spot of current mitigation efforts.
Cities eager to target consumption-based emissions should focus on the transition to sustainable lifestyles at the local level. Some cities are already working with experts and learning how to communicate efficiently about lifestyle shifts to a local audience – and there’s a lot more to learn.
For instance, at the end of last year, Turku, Yokohama and Nagano launched the 1.5-Degree Life Campaign, a global campaign that engages with youth groups to address consumption-based emissions. The campaign invites youth to creatively showcase how they lead their 1.5 degree lives in order to inspire others to also make lifestyle changes.
This campaign is inspired by the data about how much consumption-based emissions must be reduced if we are to achieve the goal laid out in the Paris Agreement of limiting global warming to 1.5°C. To reach that goal, per-capita lifestyles carbon footprints need to reach 2.5 (tCO2 e) by 2030, 1.4 by 2040 and 0.7 by 2050.
As of 2017, per capita lifestyle carbon footprints were estimated to be 10.4 tCO2e in Finland and 7.6 t CO2e in Japan. With these numbers in mind, Turku, Nagano and Yokohama are aiming to use all tools at their disposal to address this challenge, starting with the 1.5-Degree Life Campaign.
In each city, youth were invited to submit videos that showcased their 1.5-degree lifestyle, the videos were shared widely across social media and finally, a winning video was selected.
“One of our main goals when starting this campaign was to showcase that there are many ways to transition to a 1.5-Degree Life. For some it is changing to use a hybrid car or to share rides, for some adding vegetables to meals and for some changing to a smaller apartment. We also wanted to showcase through videos that these lifestyle changes are not only good for our environment, they are also linked to health and well-being benefits and they can be fun!” says Lotte Suveri from the city of Turku.
Turku launched the campaign as a part of the Circular Turku project, reaching an audience of 215.000 people on social media channels such as Facebook, Instagram and Tiktok between Oct 2020 – February 2021. 12 videos were submitted, which by the end of the campaign had combined a total of 5000 views. The final ranking of the videos was based on the “Likes” on YouTube and the assessment of a local jury, composed of representatives from the city’s climate team and Turku´s Youth Council.
In Yokohama, the top three videos pre-selected by a jury were seen over 2000 times. “We are very pleased that many young people participated in this video competition and thank all participants for their wonderful work. Through these efforts, I would like to continue to create the opportunities for people to enjoy learning about climate change mitigation.” says Eriko Yakushiji, Director General of the Climate Change Policy Headquarters for the city of Yokohama.
In Nagano City, 161 videos were submitted and collected over 1500 views. “In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, various public awareness events continued to be impossible, but the city of Turku proposed this project as a new method of enlightening global warming countermeasures, and Nagano City decided to join. One of the major achievements of the campaign is that so many people investigated the problem of global warming and thought about counter measures. In the future, we would like to make use of the submitted works to create an opportunity for more people to be aware of the problem of global warming” says Saori Matsuda from the Environment Department of Nagano City.
Through the Circular Turku project, the ICLEI network has been supporting the campaign and connecting it to global climate action processes such as the UN Climate Change Conference COP26, during which ICLEI will convene a group of experts to discuss the challenges linked to localizing the transition to sustainable lifestyles and lessons learned on engaging with youth groups.