As the impact of climate becomes more apparent, so does our Government’s ability to ignore science and the will of the people to make changes to reduce emissions and stop climate change.
While our country has been suffering terrible fires, I have the feeling of wanting to help but not knowing where to start. I am frustrated with the attitude that climate change is someone else’s problem despite the huge impact we have faced over the past few months. The government is happy to blame other countries while making zero progress ourselves.
What can I do?
I heard a story about a forest fire and a hummingbird filling her beak with water to drop onto the flames to stop the fire. The animals all criticised and told her it would make no difference. She responded that “this is what I can do to help so I will do what I can.”
Every single person has an impact and we all need to be part of the solution to stop climate change.
Here are some ways to reduce your carbon emissions and take responsibility for your impact on the planet.
Buy local produce
The less the distance your food travels from farm to table the less the emissions from transport. Support local farmers and business. Check your area for farmers markets and buy fruit and veg that is in season.
Buy second hand goods
Buying new clothing has a huge impact on the environment especially when it is very common to dispose of clothing after only a few wears. There are a huge amount of charity stores that sell used clothing and raise money for their cause in the process.
You can get great deals on all kinds of goods through online marketplaces such as Gumtree or Facebook
Your investments and superannuation funds are supporting businesses which may not align with your ethics such as the fossil fuel, gambling & tobacco industries. Look into options that align with your values such as:
Read, listen, learn
Educate yourself. Stay up to date with current issues and discuss with others. Knowledge is power, and in the current state of fake news, targeted advertising and the purposeful misinformation by the media we need to learn as much as possible about the current events.
Stay up to date with the news and always fact check information. Support and vote for politcal parties who will act on climate.
Grow your own produce
Food straight from your backyard is going to have the lowest carbon footprint of all. Think about how you can use the space you have to produce fruit, vegetables and herbs.
Get to know your community
Connect with the people around. Your community can come together in adverse times for support and to bring about positive change in your area. Different areas will have different ways they currently impact the environment the greatest and a localised approach to sustainability is a key part of global change.
Zero waste/ minimalist mindset
Making a conscious effort to not “waste”.
Every item we purchase or use has an impact. Energy and resources are used to produce and transport goods to us. Try making an effort to say no to plastic and single-use items and only buy what you really need.
Reduce your transport emissions
Transport is one of the biggest causes of emissions.
Walk or bike when you can or take the bus for long-distance. If you need to drive, be efficient. Carpool when possible or do as many tasks in one journey as you can.
Avoid flights where possible and look into offsetting your emissions.
Reuse, Make, Create
Upcycling and making things out of materials you already have can give them a new life and keep them out of landfill. It can also reduce the need to buy new products.
Support ethical companies
If you do need to buy a new product try to support brands that align with your ethics. Not only do ethical brands assure fair trade, they often use recycled materials. Look for brands with a “closed-loop” system where garments are made to get the maximum usability with the minimal waste generation, water and resource use.
Be responsible for your impact
The more you know about where and how your purchases were produced the easier it is to make the best choices. Look at the ingredients in your food, see where the ingredients are grown and where the product was made. Get to know brands and support the ones you believe in.
Your money can do a world of good to support organisations fighting climate change and the impacts.
Donate what you can. If you have no spare funds, donate your time. Look into ways you can use your skills to make a difference
Buy quality products
In a world of convenience, the cost of goods is incredibly low. You can buy a toaster at K-mart for $7.50! The monetary value is low but the impact on the planet is great when it ends up in landfill in 2 months and the consumer just buys a new one.
Planned obsolescence is where a product is designed with an artificially limited useful life so that it becomes obsolete. Tech giants such as Apple are accused of such practises. Do your research when buying and match a product to suit your long term needs.
This is a very easy way to drastically reduce your carbon emissions. Meat production is a huge contributor to serious environmental problems. Vegans use less than a third of the water of the average Australian. Check out this guide by Eco Times on how to switch to a plant-based diet.
If you are not ready to jump straight into a vegan diet, start to reduce meat, dairy and eggs you consume weekly.
Look into choosing the “greenest” electricity provider.
Install solar panels and make sure your light bulbs are energy efficient.
Get in the habit of saving energy.
Don’t buy bottled water
So many countries have great drinking water straight from the tap but I still see so many people buying water. There is no reason to buy it in single-use plastic. If you don’t like the taste, look into water filtration systems. Take a reusable bottle with you. Cafes and restaurants will be happy to give you a refill wherever you go.
If something breaks, the common response is to send it to landfill and buy a new one. Look into ways to repair and give it a new life. There are many skills you can learn to give products a longer life such as sewing, electronic repairs or furniture restoration.
I hope this gives you some ideas to make changes to stop climate change. If we all do our part we can change the course of the world.
Please get in touch with comments or more ideas!