Cape Town

An average of 9.16 tons of carbon dioxide equivalent per person is what the City of Cape Town produces annually. While the citizens of Cape Town need to make efforts in adopting low-carbon lifestyle options, it needs to happen simultaneously with the support of the government by implementing low-emission infrastructures. By adoption carbon neutral lifestyle options and with the efforts of the high-consuming citizens the average carbon could be reduced to 5.5 tons per year, and with the systems changes in place it is possible to reach the 2.5 tons per person by 2030.

Read more about the Cape Town vision in the city brief.

Cape Town Low-carbon lifestyle options

Compost your kitchen
waste: -404kg CO₂e/cap/yr

Grow vegetables
at home: -13kg

Eat vegetarian and
follow a plant diet:
-3326kg CO₂e/cap/yr

Eliminate consumption
of soda and juices:
-470kg CO₂e/cap/yr

Reduce portion size:
-925kg CO₂e/cap

Take left-overs from restaurants:
-44kg CO₂e/cap/yr

Repair clothing:
-293kg CO₂e/cap/yr

Experiences instead of
goods for holidays
and birthdays:
-49kg CO₂e/cap/yr

Purchase quality clothing:
-188kg CO₂e/cap/yr

Use e-services instead
of visiting branches:
-76kg CO₂e/cap/yr

Half shower time or
bathwater level:
-227kg CO₂e/cap/yr

Water-saving taps:
-120kg CO₂e/cap/yr

Switch to gas cooking: -838kg CO₂e/cap/yr

Task lighting: -17kg CO₂e/cap/yr

Install EE Light Bulbs: -39kg CO₂e/cap/yr

Invest in a Net-Zero
Energy house:
-742kg CO₂e/cap/yr

Carpool: -377kg CO₂e/cap/yr

Use public transport:
-571kg CO₂e/cap/yr

Work from home:
-127kg CO₂e/cap/yr

Halve local and
international flights /
Stop flying: -117kg CO₂e/cap/yr

Walk to work:
-18kg CO₂e/cap/yr

Cycle to work:
-266kg CO₂e/cap/yr

Use an electric vehicle
(with renewables):
-469kg CO₂e/cap/yr

Reduce meals at restaurants:
-47kg CO₂e/cap/yr

Choose vegetarian restaurants:
-176kg CO₂e/cap/yr

eBooks: -8kg CO₂e/cap/yr

Share books & public library:
-14kg CO₂e/cap/yr

Go camping:
-128kg CO₂e/cap/yr

Halve the time on
your mobile phone
and computer:
-116kg CO₂e/cap/yr

Relax outside:
-140kg CO₂e/cap/yr

Illustration by Tania Vicedo

I found the participatory workshop on Low Carbon Lifestyles very interesting as it reviewed best practices in reducing your own carbon footprint that were practical and implementable.

Grappling with social and spatial equality challenges, this project hopes to improve access to resources and improve the quality of life for all. The 2030 vision of Cape Town is a city where its citizens can live, work and play within a 15-minute radius; a city which incorporates the natural environment by building greenery and permaculture and where sustainably sourced and affordable food options are available. The vision also includes adequate recycling systems, the adoption of sustainable technology solutions and investments in locally sourced products.

I started riding my bike to work thinking that would be a good way to not get stuck in traffic, and to reduce my carbon footprint. The added benefit that it gave me was the time to clear my head before and after work, and enjoy seeing other parts of the city.

Through the household experiments ICLEI Africa could identify a few low-carbon lifestyle options that urban residents could adopt in their daily lives. These activities includes: reduction of food waste; cooking more meals at home instead of eating out; composting; reduce sugar consumption; reduce geyser temperatures; adopt a vegan lifestyle and reduce meat consumption; working from home; reducing international flights; and turning off lights and appliances when not in use.

I live in a place where I need a car to get anywhere but I am conscious about water usage, the food that I eat, where that comes from, if possible I would take non-motorised options.

According to the participants, some of the lifestyle options were easier than others and it came down to building a habit and making the adjustment in ways that are suitable for themselves and their household. The major challenges were found in the lifestyle options which require infrastructures to enable these choices, including limitations in public transportation systems and lacking availability to support recycling at household levels.

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