FAQ: personal ways we can each individually act on climate instability.
Vote — Get out and Vote
The biggest action we can take is to vote consistently in every (federal, state, local, municipal) election for candidates who are committed to taking action on climate instability. Help others get out to vote and encourage others to become mindful voters.
Communicate about the Climate Instability
Let elected and appointed people in seats of power know that climate action is important to you as a voter or the child of voters. Elected officials often say that they do not hear about climate change from their constituents. We must consistently contact our Members of Parliament, Local Members, Mayors, State and Local Members, Public Utility Commissioners and City Council Members and ask for a climate action plan to protect the well being of our communities. Most organisations have a plan but it is often shelved due to lack of perceived interest.
Ask businesses and corporations if they work to lessen their emissions and green business practices and if not why not?
Talk to your family, friends and neighbors and ask how they feel, their answers might surprise you.
Attend events, meetings, and take sing out loud with those you love. See words and music to the "Do It Now" - sing for climate song here (3M zip)
Switch to 100% green power
Around two-thirds of global greenhouse gas emissions are linked to burning fossil fuels for energy used for heating, electricity, transport and industry. Options exist to help green up your power consumption. If you can’t afford or don’t have the ability to go solar check with your energy service provider to see if they provide an option from a renewable source. If renewable energy is not provided by your local energy company/public utility commission, ask why not.
Converting to green electricity supports the phase-out of coal. By switching to renewable sources we can help increase the demand and accelerate the move toward green energy and directly reduce CO2 emissions. In addition, by switching to green power we can help build the energy infrastructure so that all communities will be able to access renewable options.
Saving energy not only saves you money – it also helps to cut emissions too. Here are a few ways to save energy:
Have an energy audit done on your home, weatherize/insulate your home as hearting ad cooling are the major energy use areas.
Change you energy use behaviors
Install programmable or smart thermostat
Install LED or CFL light bulbs
Use energy efficient appliances when possible
Turn off and remove plugs on devices when not in use, use Smart Power strips
Line dry your laundry
Turn off extra lights
Install a shower head that uses less water
Add solar lighting to your landscaping
Minimize the number of devices you own
Reduce your water heating expenses – use less, turn down your heater, insulate pipes.
Protect our forests and plant more trees
The biggest and best method of reducing greenhouse gases is to protect our forests and plant more trees. A research team at ETH Zurich has compiled some fascinating figures: Two thirds of man-made CO2 emissions could be removed from our atmosphere if we were to reforest 900 million hectares of forests worldwide. Forest restoration “isn’t just one of our climate change solutions, it is overwhelmingly the top one,” said the lead scientist, climate change ecologist Tom Crowther.
But we should not only focus on reforestation measures, but also stop the deforestation of huge areas at the same time. Beyond the logging and destruction of our forests, in the past year we have seen a dramatic loss of forests due to wildfires. Help plant trees in your community.
Green your diet — less meat = less heat
Greening your diet doesn’t mean that everyone has to become vegan or vegetarian – even a small shift in our diet, with a reduction in meat and dairy products, and more organic plant-based foods instead, can significantly reduce the greenhouse gases created by agriculture. Limiting our diet to meat once a day is recommended by the World Health Organisation and has a substantial impact on your health and wellbeing.
Here’s a few tips
Bring your own reusable produce & grocery bags to a bulk food store or farmers market.
Eat seasonally when possible.
When buying fruits and vegetables, buy organic, organic foods are considered healthier because grown without harmful pathogens and so have many more good bacteria on them that your gut will love.
Check your community for ways to support local organic farmers by signing up for community supported agriculture shares or buying from the local farmers market, thus also helping to cut down on the emissions caused by transporting produce throughout the world.
Better yet, grow your own garden or start a community garden in your area. Build a food forest in your community and inquire about composting!
Avoid plastic wherever you can
We can see that plastics, produced by fossil fuels, have found their way into our oceans, waterways, roadsides, cosmetics, clothing and even our bodies. The convenience of plastic has made it appear in nearly every aspect of our lives from toothpaste tubes, toys, food storage, to medical devices and more. The ease of using plastics while alluring, presents major challenges in our environment. There is a close connection between our global plastics addiction and the changing climate. At every phase of their life plastics emit greenhouse gases. Avoid plastics wherever you can. Here are a few quick suggestions:
Install a home in-line water filtration system
Glass or stainless steel reusable water bottle
Reusable Coffee Cup
Reusable storage containers for your next carry out meal.
Reusable Bamboo Cutlery set & Straws
Reusable grocery and woven produce bags
Reusable wax wraps (in lieu of plastic wrap)
Reusable Fabric or Silicone food storage bags (in lieu of Ziplock)
Glass food storage containers
Purchase gifts made of natural materials
Purchase clothing and household goods made of natural materials. (cotton, bamboo, hemp)
Own less, share more.
Own less, share more. Reduce, reuse, recycle. If we can buy more things used and repurposed and fewer new, and we collectively share more, fewer goods need to be produced. We are seeing global trends in sharing cars, exchanging clothes, lending and borrowing tools — ultimately saving precious resources. Consider your options before you buy… it will save you money and carbon emissions!
Avoid buying new. Check with friends or charity stores before buying an item new.
Let friends and neighbors know you welcome sharing! Start a sharing program in your community, like the Buy Nothing Project.
Donate your unwanted items to organizations in your area.
Reduce your digital footprint
Did you know that our digital data contributes to our carbon footprint? Every search we type, every email we send or receive, and every video we stream requires energy to produce the data, and therefore causes CO2 emissions. Simple fixes like limiting screen time, switching to a “green” search engine such as Ecosia that plants trees, cleaning your email inbox and limiting the number of devices you own will help minimize your digital footprint.
Avoid flying (buy offsets when you can)
Think before you fly. On average, a plane produces a little over 53 pounds of carbon dioxide (CO2) per mile. Therefore, flying is the single largest contributor of CO2 by an individual in a short amount of time. For flights you can’t avoid, if you can, purchase carbon offsets. It is relatively inexpensive. Carbon offsets help plant trees, help fund innovation and technology, and help fund projects that actively draw down carbon in the atmosphere.
Our friends at Yale Climate Connections suggest, “To protect your wallet, you can buy offsets that have been authenticated by third-party certification programs, such as Verified Carbon Standard, Gold Standard, and Green-e Climate Standard. Those programs help confirm that projects actually exist and that you’re not wasting your money.”
Analysis by Barry Saxifrage, National Observer (CA), Jan 7, 2020
The global aviation industry has started burning jet fuel like there is no tomorrow. Its climate pollution is rocketing upward. And hoped-for “solutions” like biofuels and electric planes are being buried by the rising flood of emissions. In response, a growing number of climate-concerned people, including the world’s most famous climate champion, Greta Thunberg, are advocating less flying.
Get on your bike or use public transportation
How we get from point A to point B is important to many elders. In many cities you can travel faster by bike than by car, bus or train. For the nimble, the number one form of sustainable transportation is the bicycle — but we can also reduce our impacts by driving less, carpooling and using public transportation when available. More and more options for electric cars, electric scooters, and electric bicycles are becoming available. Electric vehicles are an emerging market in Australia but a booming market in other countries. We can help pressure auto manufactures for alternative and hybrid fuel options while also supporting more sustainable public transportation options in our community.
Electric cars, public transport, carpooling and simply walking are great ways to reduce your impact but in regional Australia not always a possibility. But did you know reducing your speed from the limit of 110 to 90km has a 25% reduction in not only CO2 but also NOx and other green house gas. Yes the slower you go the less your petrol car has to work and the less impact you have. Acceleration and deceleration are the greatest consumers of fuel and producers of CO2 so
less speed = less heat
Make informed choices as a consumer and as a citizen
Did you know the 100 largest companies in the world are responsible for more than 70 percent of global emissions? Our strength and power lie in our choices — how we choose to spend our money, what companies we choose to support, and who we vote into seats of power. As consumers, WE HAVE THE ABILITY to change the practices and behaviors of corporations through our purchasing power. If there is less demand, there will be less production. By consuming more carefully and responsibly, and supporting organizations that account for their environmental practices, we can help build a more livable future. Before you vote and before you buy goods, find out who is committed to climate protection in your city, region and country and make your choices in favor of climate action.
Make sustainable investments
When making investments think longterm, at least 20 years or more, and choose a financial institute that considers social, ethical and ecological aspects as well as financial aspects. Invest in sustainable activities such as reforestation and renewables, rather than short term fossil fuels which by their nature, are not sustainable in the long term. You want your investments to be about long term growth that helps make the world a better place.
And perhaps, most importantly — GET OUT and MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD
We’ve read countless reports stressing the urgency of taking action now to reduce the greatest threats of the climate instability. In 2019 we have seen an amplified plea for action, but we can not become complacent and rest on our laurels. It is critical that all generations come together to take action on climate instability. Speak to others in your community about climate instability and listen to what they have to say. Link up with other local organizations to collaborate on actions and events for your community. Push for a climate action plan within your town, city or state. Talk with your friends, family, neighbors, and elected officials.
Show that you care about climate instability and are taking action!