The new climate change report released by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) states that policymakers around the world must take “rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society” to avoid the worst impacts of global warming.
The report makes it clear that “transformational” change will be needed to limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius as was agreed as part of the Paris Climate Accord. It outlines what the world can expect to see at 1.5 degree Celsius and 2 degrees Celsius.
Basically, the higher the temperature rise, the more extreme weather events we will see, including heatwaves, droughts, wildfires, floods, food insecurity and food shortages, and increasing numbers of displaced people due to climate change.
Since our politicians are taking their sweet time to act on the findings of our climate scientists (let’s not forget that scientists sounded warnings about global warming since the 70s-80s), we must take it upon ourselves as engaged citizens to help achieve carbon emissions reductions.
Now the five most carbon-intensive sectors are: energy production, food and agriculture, industrial, transport, and residential and commercial buildings.
Here are some sustainable lifestyle actions you can take as an individual and a consumer, to tackle these areas and help achieve a warming no greater than 1.5 degrees Celsius (while we wait for our politicians to get with the climate program FFS lol!)…
What consumers can do to reduce global warming
Here’s how you can reduce your fossil fuel energy consumption:
- Install solar panels or if you can’t afford home solar systems or are renting, make sure to switch to electricity companies that offer green power
- Switch off electrical appliances at the wall when not in use
- Switch to energy-efficient appliances and white goods, easy to do as most now come with energy star ratings
- Choose LED lighting options
- Wash clothes using cold water
- Use clothes lines and horses and avoid the clothes dryer (that’s if, you have the capacity to do so)
- Avoid using air conditioners or heaters unless you absolutely must
- Invest in solar charges for your digital devices
- Avoid driving and opt for walking, cycling or using public transit
Related Post: 6 Energy-Saving Habits That Could Reduce Your Annual Bill by 50%
2. Food and Agriculture
Here’s how you can reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions through your food choices:
- Take your reusable shopping bags and produce bags when shopping
- Don’t buy so much food if it just means being thrown out at the end of the week, food waste is so not cool
- Set up home composting to ‘recycle green waste’ and if you live in a small apartment, try Bokashi Composting
- Buy in season produce, ‘fugly’ fruit and support a slow food revolution
- Shop direct from farmers at farmers’ markets and purchase chemical-free organic produce (if budget allows)
- Buy food in bulk (if possible and affordable)
- Start a kitchen garden and grow your own food
- Reduce meat and dairy consumption (animal agriculture contributes about 14.4 percent of GHG emissions globally) and if possible embrace a plant-based diet
Related Post: 10 Ways We Can Make the Food System More Sustainable
Here’s how to curb your carbon emissions when it comes to transport and travel:
- Suggest working from home to avoid the fossil-fuel powered commute if you can (and especially if your home is powered by clean energy like mine!)
- Switch to more sustainable modes of travel such as walking, cycling, trams, trains and buses
- Carpool and rideshare whenever possible
- Travel less, don’t just tick off travel destinations to cross off a bucket list, question why you’re travelling to begin with
- If you must travel, offset your flight’s carbon emissions
- When you’re done with your old car, consider investing in greener vehicles such as a hybrid like the Toyota range of hybrids or electric vehicles such as the Nissan LEAF or if money is no issue, a Tesla
Related Post: 7 Eco-Friendly Luggage Options and Travel Suitcases For The Green-Minded Jet Setter
Here’s how to adjust your household activities to help tackle global warming:
- Learn to consume less, undertake the buy nothing new challenge, and every time you shop ask yourself – do you really need it?
- Embrace a minimalist lifestyle
- Renting is smart and think sharing economy: sharing an Uber or Airbnb, renting fashion and sharing wardrobes, renting toys from libraries etc
- Choose to shop from ethical and sustainable brands that are conscious of their environmental impact
- Say no to plastic, reject single-use disposables and switch to reusables
- Shop for secondhand and preloved furniture and other materials if renovating
- Invest in a home solar system, go off grid or get a clean power service provider
- Follow water saving practices such as practicing sustainable gardening, taking shorter showers and buying drought-resistant plants
- Switch off digital devices, get out into nature and embrace slow living
- Start a veggie garden
- Compost food scraps or start a worm farm
Related Post: 6 Green Building Ideas For Your Upcoming Renovation
The mining, manufacturing and construction industries contributes about 21 percent of carbon emissions annually. Make sure to divest your fossil fuel investments and invest in clean energy. Now if you work in these industries, here’s how you can help to reduce your carbon footprint:
- Introduce sustainable practices in your workplace where possible, such as advocating for reusable coffee cups and reusable straw usage, setting up work composting, switching to FSC-certified recycled paper, advocating for car-pooling systems and if there are no sustainability-focussed teams that monitor these issues, put your hand to start one
- Encourage the company to switch to clean power and invest in solar power
- Encourage business to invest in a corporate fleet of electric-powered vehicles rather than standard ones
- Attend corporate sustainability events to learn from sustainability experts and network with others to share best practices
Related Post: 14 Famous Female Leaders on Climate Change, Sustainability and Protecting Our Environment
Some of the ideas above crossover so where you see an opening to take sustainable action, by all means, do so, whether at home, at the office, at your kid’s school or even hanging out at your sports club. And don’t forget to combine individual action with collective action – it’s is an unbeatable combo when fighting for a better world!'Where you see an opening to take sustainable action, by all means, do so, whether at home, at the office, at your kid's school or even hanging out at your sports club. And don't forget to combine individual action with collective action...'Click To Tweet
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