The PSLifestyle online platform gives you information about the environmental impact of your day-to-day activities and inspires you to think about how current habits can be changed through smarter daily actions. So far, more than a million people have taken the test.
"We were challenged by the Sitra Foundation, which had already developed this PS Lifestyle project in Finland. When it applied this carbon footprint calculator in Finland, one million citizens took part in the test. So they came to talk to us because this is a project that wants to be publicised at a European level and also beyond Europe's borders. For us, this made perfect sense insofar as a large proportion of our actions are responsible for greenhouse gas emissions,” Fernanda Santos from DECO told The Portugal News.
This platform allows "consumers to realise that the homes we choose to live in, the food we eat, the food choices we make, the way we transport ourselves. Many of our day-to-day actions as consumers contribute to greenhouse gas emissions and have an environmental impact. This tool allows us in a more precise and individual way to realise what our impact is," she pointed out.
With a few questions on the test, it's possible to see how our actions are quantified. This is important because when we talk about greenhouse gas emissions, we don't really realise what impact each of us has on those emissions in our daily lives.
“We know that if we use energy we are causing greenhouse gas emissions. We know that cars release greenhouse gases, as does travelling by plane, but how much? This test quantifies that”, she said.
“Many consumers are surprised by this example, but if we choose to fly, which is now very attractive to most people for holidays, it is one of the options that has the greatest environmental impact. All people who travel for more than five hours in a year substantially increase their carbon footprint and the tool gives this information very precisely. This really helps people to realise the emissions they have from the choices they make”, Fernanda Santos highlighted.
In addition to transport, which has the greatest impact, food also has a major influence on our greenhouse gas emissions. Especially the consumption of meat, red meat and dairy products, food is one of the areas with the greatest environmental impact, according to DECO.
The questionnaire has 32 questions and then at the end, there's a graph that allows you to see how much greenhouse gas emissions your specific actions cause and which areas have the highest greenhouse gas emissions, whether it is food, transport, your home, the way we eat, for example. It's very practical. Anyone can take this test. And the best thing is that it's in English too.
This tool is available in eight European countries: Portugal, Germany, Greece, Italy, Turkey, Finland, and Estonia, so the questions are more generalised and not adapted to the specific cases of the countries, as it is important to identify the various countries involved in the PSLifestyle.
Everyone's change is key
Unfortunately, there is still widespread thinking that there's no point in doing better if your next-door neighbour still doesn't change their behaviour, or that our behaviour alone won't make a difference, but it's important to realise that the actions of each and every one of us count.
“We always leave action to others because we think that our action alone won't solve anything. It's important to realise that we live in a society and it's everyone's action that counts. If I change and each of us changes, change will happen”, Fernanda said.
In this sense, young people are very concerned about the environment and can be a lesson to us older people to change our behaviour. But there's also a lot to mobilise among young people," she admits
"Above all, what you're looking for is a perception, for the person to have an insight of their behaviour," she pointed out.
Tips for a better life
At the end of the test, you'll get tailored suggestions for lifestyle choices. With these tips, you can start defining a plan that suits your life and helps the environment. Also, by using this app, you're helping the organisers learn about sustainability. "Your answers and choices feed into an anonymised data pool," they say on their website.
For further information or to take the test, please see the website at https://www.lifestyletest.eu/
After taking the test, if you would like to give your feedback, please email email@example.com
Paula Martins is a fully qualified journalist, who finds writing a means of self-expression. She studied Journalism and Communication at University of Coimbra and recently Law in the Algarve. Press card: 8252