"I'm kind of approaching my carbon footprint like I approach my weight, going to the gym regularly, watching what I eat, and realizing I'm not going to lose that 10 pounds (4.5 kilograms) all at once, like I want,” said Augustenborg, who is chair of Friends of the Earth Europe. "I'm going to chip away at it."
Individual actions can make a difference, Augustenborg insists. But she says that it has to come with action that brings about broader change.
The average Irish citizen has a carbon footprint of around 13 tons per year. To meet the goals of the Paris Agreement, that needs to come down to around 4 tons.
Augustenborg has calculated she can reduce her footprint to about 7 tons, but can't achieve the rest unless Ireland's energy and transportation systems are decarbonized. She described her recent switch to an electric vehicle on her blog.
"We can be pushing all these individual change things on people, but unless the government steps up, we won't be able to reach the target," she said. "So maybe the one biggest thing you can do is to get politically engaged, because behavioral change is really slow. Too slow to stop runaway climate change."
Women should also speak out more about climate issues and embrace the power they have to shape climate-friendly household decisions, she added.
"There are so few women talking about it, and that means fewer women are engaged. And a lot of the big things we are talking about as far as household carbon footprint are shaped by women. Things like which car to buy, what to eat or where to go on holiday," she said, adding that her family no longer flies overseas for vacations.