From little things, big things grow.
To do that, we need to understand that everything is connected. So point #1:
Do not support politicians that are not passionate about doing something about climate change. What is the point of having a ‘solid economy’ if the planet is laid to waste in the bargain? Think about your children and your grandchildren. You owe them the right to live in a decent climate. If you can extend that to becoming an activist, great, but at the very least, do your research and exercise your vote.
2) Examine your housing.
Do you live in a place that is insulated well enough so you don’t need heating and cooling year round? Do you have curtains on your windows? Draught stoppers at your doors? Are you thinking of installing solar hot water or electricity? If not, examine what you can do to minimise your power usage on these large items. It matters. To the climate and your comfort.
2a) Change all your lights to LED.
Bulbs are expensive but last up to 10 years. Fittings need to be put in by an electrician, but will save you hundreds over their lifetime in minimum electricity draw.
2b) Turn off your large appliances at the wall.
Most appliances have a ‘standby’ mode that draws electricity continuously. Turn those appliance off at the wall socket either each time you use them or by using a timer. The difference will be noticeable on your next bill.
2c) Change your power source.
With the savings you make on LED lights, notify your power company that you want at least part of your supply to come from sustainable resources (solar or wind farms).
While it may cause a minor increase in your bill, it sends a signal that you don’t want your power to come from coal fired or gas powered carbon emitting plants. It will inform their investment strategy in the future.
3) Examine how you shop, especially around food.
Minimise the purchase of items wrapped in plastic and trays. It can be difficult, but not impossible. Bring your own paper bags for produce, make or purchase your own cloth carry bags. (See: boomerangbags.org to start a local movement). The supermarkets went from single use recyclable bags to purchased single use unrecyclable bags. So one step forward, 2 back. Not helpful.
3a) Purchase less red meat (serious contributor to methane in the air) and either make it go further or replace with vegetables, white meat and fish.
3b) Eat more whole foods.
Fresh fruit and veg comes with less packaging. Try to minimise pre-packaged foods. Not only will you be saving money, you will have a lot less garbage to deal with at the end of the week. Recycle what you can, compost if you know how, minimise your rubbish.
3c) When you find products that you want to use but their packaging is excessive, complain to them.
Say you want to use their product but that it needs to be presented in a more sustainable way. Understand the power you have. They will listen.
4) Invest ethically.
Almost everyone has a stake in the stock market because people have superannuation and investment accounts. Contact your super provider and ask if they have a ‘socially responsible’ fund. This means that your money doesn’t support things like big tobacco, mining or polluting industries. It’s not just for the planet, it’s good business sense. They often make as high or higher returns. Make the call.
4a) Buy less and neutralise your carbon footprint.
Manage your personal day to day finances by using an app that tracks your purchases. I use RAIZ. It sits on my phone and is linked to my bank account. Every time I buy something, it rounds up the purchase to the nearest dollar and puts that money aside. Once a week, I invest $5 plus whatever is in the round up account. That money is then invested in shares and any dividends I collect are re-invested. You wouldn’t think it would amount to much, but in using the app for 1 year, I have saved/invested over $1400. And because the app knows what I spend my money on, it has calculated my carbon footprint. I ‘pay-off’ my carbon footprint through the app and trees get planted. Nice way to use technology.
5) How are you getting around?
It’s hard to get out of the car, I know. So try to purchase something efficient. If you can’t do that, try to minimise the use so you do one trip instead of 3. Can you replace the odd trip with a walk or a bike ride to the shops? If we slow our lives down, we can sometimes find the time to do things in a different way. Public transport isn’t always a useful option, but consider it for those big events so you don’t have sit and stew in traffic or to find parking. Try to negotiate a day a week to work at home. You know your own situation, just do what you can to minimise the pollution and petroleum usage.
Grow food, plant trees, encourage flowers on your balcony, in pots, in the ground, on a wall. Grow things. It’s great for the air and it’s a balm for your soul. Trim, snip, propagate, watch, learn, eat, heal.
7) Don’t buy junk.
Buy good quality products made from natural materials. Everything else is bogus and harming the earth in one way or another.
Join the dots. Each of us as a role to play in reversing climate change and improving our lifestyle. We have the power. It’s time we used it.