The rich not only hold big bank balances or luxurious lifestyles; sadly, they also leave huge carbon footprints behind.
It’s no secret that the more stuff you own and the more you wander, the larger is the volume of your fuel consumption and greenhouse emissions. Private jets, luxurious amenities, exploiting natural resources in the name of convenience – everything affects the planet adversely. And this has been proven by research which states that the average carbon footprint of the world's richer community (1% of the global population) could be 175 times that of someone living in modest conditions. Ironically, the poor end up suffering the most from climatic damage.
But, things can change! If the world's richest people come together to work for a greener future, it can lead to a huge change in the global climatic condition. How? Well, here’s a glimpse.
Spending money wisely
The purchasing decisions of a wealthy household make a significant impact on the climate condition. Researchers at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research believe that a typical super-rich household consisting of two people has a carbon footprint of 129 tons per year. That's roughly 65 tons of carbon dioxide a year per person! If the wealthy make better lifestyle choices, such as installing solar panels on the roofs, switching to climate-friendly products and electric cars, and limited flying, they can create a market for more sustainable goods.
Invest in the climate
Funding climate research and investing in projects that contribute to the betterment of the environment is being highlighted by more and more celebrities with hopes that others will follow suit. Leonardo DiCaprio, for instance, has taken a step back from investing in leading oil, gas, and fossil fuel companies as part of a global ‘divestment’ initiative. Instead, his foundation will be funding research projects for boosting sustainable projects.
Cause political influence
It isn’t said in vain that wealth means power. Rich people have the power to influence political decisions. By funding political parties who are more environmentally inclined, they can do their bit for the planet.
It’s a fact that super-rich people have quite an influence on other people's lives. They’re role models for many. But unfortunately, high status is often associated with higher material wealth rather than higher standards of living. We as a society need to dig deep into the meaning of rich and should understand it isn't always related to monetary benefits. We have to revamp the definition of wealth in our surroundings, only then will we be able to bring the change the planet needs.