Climate change is a big issue with big challenges to overcome. It’s increasingly urgent for us to take climate action and it’s not just governments that should do so — you and I can make a difference, and even small contributions can accumulate to help stop the warming.
Here’s a list of things you can do to contribute. Remember to regularly talk to others about what actions you’re taking — it helps to encourage others to do the same.
Advocacy and being informed
Being informed is important so that you can make the most effective choices, and being an advocate creates an environment of change which enables and encourages others to do the same.
- Advocate about making climate-positive changes, to provide “social proof” and encourage others to do the same. Post on social media using the #ClimateAdvocate hashtag and tell your friends (example here).
- Educate yourself on climate change impacts and mitigations. Here are some resources to get you started.
- Calculate your carbon footprint, before and after changing your lifestyle and habits. For example, use this UN calculator.
- Get a smart meter to improve awareness of home energy consumption.
- Challenge politicians on what climate-change efforts are being made.
Reduce energy demands
Small daily habits can help you reduce your household energy demands.
- Wash clothes at 30°C.
- Reduce tumble drier use.
- Change lightbulbs to LEDs.
- Conserve water.
- Fit draft-proofing.
- Install double or triple glazing.
- Install or improve home insulation.
- Mow the lawn less frequently.
- Only run the dishwasher when full.
- Reduce the central heating thermostat by a few degrees (but don’t risk your health).
- Run appliances on “eco” mode where possible (but check the manual to find out exactly what the benefits are).
- Turn off lights and electric devices when not needed.
Change travel habits
Fossil fuel-powered travel is one of the most impacting personal activities. Make the following changes to reduce your impact.
- Do car-pooling with friends and colleagues.
- Fly less.
- Walk and cycle more.
- Use public transport rather than a private vehicle whenever possible.
- When travelling, avoid using combustion-engine vehicles whenever possible. For example, although buses are good, if they’re powered by fossil fuels, then taking an electric-powered train would be a better choice.
- When choosing a car to buy, choose electric or hybrid, and look for high efficiency (i.e. distance per KWh).
- Work remotely if possible.
- If you pay your bills by travelling to a physical location, see if it’s possible to switch to paying online.
We can all make more effective everyday choices.
- Change your thinking to consider climate-impact when making daily decisions.
- Change energy supply to “green” (non-fossil fuel) sources.
- Buy locally-produced food that is seasonal.
- Eat less meat and more vegetables.
- If eating meat, choose low-emission meats like poultry, fish and pork. Here’s a useful article to learn more.
- Reduce food waste. For example, don’t buy or prepare more than you need. Here’s a useful article to learn more.
- Avoid “fast fashion”.
- Buy energy-efficient products and appliances (e.g. look for “Energy Star” labelling and similar schemes).
- Buy items with low-carbon footprint.
- Shop “local”, but try to ensure that the products are both locally-sourced and locally-sold. For example, being made and sold in your home country is better than shipping goods from the other side of the planet. And it’s even better than that to have it made and sold in your local vicinity, rather than being made at one end of the country and sold at the other end.
- Shop from businesses that make good efforts towards climate change.
- If you invest in the financial markets, review your investments (including funds) so that you don’t invest in fossil fuel producers or related industries.
- If you have a pension fund where you can influence the investment preferences, choose to avoid fossil fuel-related investments.
- Increase recycling.
- Reduce purchases of discretionary goods — don’t buy things you don’t really need.
- Reuse items as much as possible.
- Use carbon offsetting, if you can afford it.
You can contribute to preserving, enhancing and appreciating nature in lots of ways.
- Get outside and enjoy nature — do activities that don’t involve electronic devices.
- Volunteer to help preserve your neighbourhood’s natural environments.
- If you have a garden or some land, plant trees and pollinator-friendly plants.
- Don’t use pesticides or herbicides.