If you judge the election results of Australia and the USA, it can seem there is a lack of political leadership when it comes to tackling climate change. The good news is that we don’t need to wait for our politicians to do something about it as there’s lots of things we can do as individuals to ensure forward momentum.
Here are 30 actions you can take while government officials and politicians get with the climate change program:
Go zero waste
- Reduce your waste by packing a zero waste kit and taking it with you everywhere you go, to work, to school and everywhere in between. Check out this list for zero waste travel tips.
- When shopping for birthdays, house warming prezzies or Christmas gifts, get your friends and family zero waste gifts such as reusable cups, bottles, reusable straws, reusable utensils etc to help them make the environmental switch. When they use your gifted reusables, don’t forget to make a big fuss. It’s important to positively reinforce good climate behaviour as it means their new habit may just stick!
- Purchase (or borrow) zero waste books such as Bea Johnson’s “Zero Waste Home” that will help you learn ways to reduce your waste and subsequently, your environmental impact further. These books also make great gifts for friends, family and work colleagues and may help to inspire them to reduce their waste.
- Make the switch from single-use disposables to reusables. Here are some disposable items you can replace with reusables: instead of disposable sanitary pads and tampons, use a menstrual cup; instead of buying cotton balls for makeup remover, use a cloth pad; instead of disposable razors, invest in a safety razor. Check out this post for a comprehensive list of switches you can make.
- Follow zero waste influencers and advocates online and like and share their social media posts and videos to help spread zero waste lifestyle ideas to your networks.
- Say no to extra packaging and pretty wrapping paper. Even if the packaging can be recycled, the best way to reduce production of an item is to ensure there is no demand for it to begin with. If you’re purchasing online, send the business a quick note and ask for minimal packaging.
- Recycle all recyclable items; this includes soft plastics such as chip packets and lolly wrappers. Soft plastics can be recycled! You can learn more about soft plastics recycling here.
- Bring your own food containers in case you need them when you’re wanting to buy takeaway food or if you’re at a restaurant and need to pack leftovers.
- Cut down food packaging waste by shopping from bulk food stores such as Source Bulk Foods and Provisions.
Tackle food waste
- According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) if food waste was a country, it would be the world’s third largest greenhouse gas emitter. Around 1.3 billion tonnes of food is wasted globally each year. To tackle this issue, plan grocery trips and always use a shopping list so you only buy what you need. Learn more about how to reduce food waste by reading this post.
- Start composting if you aren’t already. If you live in an apartment, flat or a residence with no backyard, a Bokashi Composting system will do the trick. If this isn’t practicable, why not engage the services of a food waste collection business such as Mallow Sustainability that tailor waste management systems that can pick up your food waste and compost it for you.
- Pressure your green grocer and local supermarket to donate and giveaway food to charities rather than dumping in landfill. OzHarvest provides inspiration on ways you can go about doing this.
- Shop from ethical and sustainable businesses and fashion brands that have implemented sustainable practices and are actively reducing their eco footprint. This page has a comprehensive list of conscious brands to shop from.
- Buy less. Avoid shopping out of boredom, or when you’re feeling depressed. Chances are you’re just trying to fill a void or make your self feel better buy spending money on things you don’t actually need to get a quick ‘high’. You’ll find tips on how to shop less in this comprehensive post.
- Ask brands that you love to make the switch to eco-friendly packaging such as using compostable mailers.
- Instead of buying new, why not search out a second hand item first? Start browsing sites such as eBay, Gumtree, Craigslist and even Facebook selling groups for second hand items and you’ll likely get it for a fraction of the price you’d pay if you had to buy it new. For preloved and vintage fashion, check out this list of apps where you can buy (and sell) unworn or second fashion and used goods.
- If you need an outfit for a special event, why not borrow, rent or hire? Our post “10 Online Clothing Rental Places So You Can Sustainably Indulge In Your Love of Fashion” will help you get started.
- Join the Fashion Revolution, start asking brands “who made my clothes” and take action to demand a better, fairer and cleaner fashion industry. This post runs through a comprehensive list of things you can do that will help to accelerate positive changes.
- Review your share portfolio and make sure to divest from any investments that help to fund coal projects, fossil fuel companies, mining exploration, tobacco or anything that doesn’t align with your sustainability values.
- Make the switch to an ethical superannuation fund (retirement or pension fund) such as FutureSuper and Australian Ethical Super.
- Invest in companies and industries that help communities decarbonise such as those in renewable energy and the circular economy.
- Support sustainable agriculture by purchasing organic food that is free from synthetic chemical sprays and prioritises soil health and the wellbeing of the environment.
- Shop at farmers markets and show your support for farming families and local producers.
- Grow your own food as doing this reduces food miles, helps you connect with the earth and you get to appreciate the effort it takes to do so. If this is an overwhelming prospect, start growing herbs first as this is a lot easier if you’re time poor or don’t have a backyard. Check out our post “16 Herbs That An Amateur Green Thumb Can Easily Grow” for herb gardening inspiration.
- Reduce your meat intake as animal agriculture has a substantial environmental impact and is a key contributor to climate change. If you’re keen to challenge yourself further, why not cut out meat and dairy entirely? We recommend checking out the free e-book ‘Questioning Meat’ by Robin Schaper if you’re keen to transition. If you can’t reduce your meat intake, at least buy from a butcher that offers free-range, chemical-free and certified organic meats and small goods such as Australian Natural Food Co.
- Say no to coal power and make the switch to green electricity. This post will set out ways you can do this. If you own your home (or the bank does), invest in a home solar system.
- Offset your household (and travel) carbon emissions. Learn how by reading this article.
- Watch these environmental films and share what you’ve learned with your family and social networks. The newly released documentary film ‘2040‘ is an uplifting and optimistic film and we highly recommend you watch it if you’re feeling the climate blues.
- Follow, support, participate and donate to environmental and activist groups such as Friends of the Earth, Sea Shepherd, Greenpeace, GetUp, Stop Adani, Extinction Rebellion and School Strike 4 Climate. They need all the help them can get to pressure politicians to take climate action. You can also tweet, email or direct message a local politician and ask them what they’re doing about it.
- Keep sharing green lifestyle posts like this on social media and engage in reasonable discussions with people that aren’t based on extreme ideology. Don’t be an an annoying, know-it-all, “I’m right and your dumb” greenie because it just turns people off – no one likes an ‘eco’ basher. To learn how to effectively advocate for the environment, read our article on the do’s and don’ts of advocacy.
Now this is not an exhaustive list. Our free sustainable lifestyle guide sets 101+ ways that you can live a green lifestyle. Sign up for our weekly newsletter here and it’s yours. And remember, chin up. Each day provides new opportunities to take action. Surround yourself with like-minded people, take time out if you need it but remember that the earth and all life that depends on it is definitely worth fighting for!
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- Daily Sustainable Habits: 7 Ways You Can Reduce Your Waste
- Bringing Frugality Back: Why Living Frugally is More Sustainable
- Concerned About The UN Climate Report? Take These Sustainable Actions Today…
- Individuals in the Developed World Consume More of the Earth’s Resources. Here’s How to Consume Less…
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