What will you do right now about the climate crisis? What actions will you personally take to help turn down the heat?
We each need to reduce our own emissions, as well as encourage and lobby others to do the same. Practical, concrete actions which reduce the numbers in the atmosphere and help our families and communities adapt to the new climate reality are required.
Consuming less and saving energy can also save you money. Long term climate-friendly investments such as solar power and green vehicles can significantly reduce your annual costs.
Actively participating in positive change will make a difference, help keen you sane during the worsening climate crisis, help your family and community become more resilient and self-sustainable, and inspire others to do their bit. It all begins with you and I. Today.
ACT PERSONALLY, EVERY DAY
Walk, bike, carpool or carshare, use public transport.
Switch to a hybrid, plug-in hybrid or 100% electric-powered vehicle (bicycle, motorbike, scooter or car) charged by solar energy. You can save thousands each year on fuel, servicing and insurance costs – do the math, you’ll be surprised! (Otherwise offset emissions via a bona fide provider like www.carbonneutral.com.au)
Select 100% renewable energy (GreenPower/NaturalPower) on your utility bill.
Install a solar roof panel system which will provide all the energy you require – for example 5-6kw for a large family’s home. Ask to position some panels to the west to extend production into the early evening.
You can also choose a solar hot water system (get off gas-fired – go solar or electric powered by solar/green energy), solar aircon, solar pool heating and small wind generator options.
Use LED and solar outdoor lighting, install skylights where needed.
Properly insulate your home. If building use solar-passive design principles, environmentally-friendly materials, install greywater and water tanks, and plant a food forest instead of lawns.
Grow cooling greenery around your home to reduce the heat island effect during summer heatwaves.
Moderate your airconditioning and heating temperature settings, as well as your pool equipment settings. Choose a chemical-free Magnapool or ionising UV system to reduce artificial inputs.
Use a gas-free electric oven, bbq and electric lawnmower, hedgetrimmer charged on solar/green energy.
Wash your clothes in cold water (with chemical-free eco-friendly detergent or laundry balls), and hang out to dry on the line/patio racks.
Conserve water to reduce the electricity used by utilities to pump it between desalination plants, dams and the city.
Buy as much fresh as you can from local farmers’ markets to reduce food miles. Eat as raw as possible to reduce energy use in cooking.
Ideally grow some of your own herbs, salad veggies and green sprouts to cancel food miles (using your own composted food scraps).
Consider a weekly organic food delivery direct from a local farmer or organic company for regular items to reduce multiple trips to shops.
Consider keeping a few backyard chooks to debug your veggie garden, for eggs, for recycling food scraps and fertilising gardens.
Buy palm oil-free products to prevent deforestation and orangutan deaths (unless it’s certified) and choose local, Australian, organic, biodynamic, fair-trade, free range and ethical products wherever possible to reduce food miles and ensure both environmental and producer community wellbeing.
Check out Oxfam’s www.behindthebrands.org to see which climate-polluting groceries to avoid.
Compost all your kitchen scraps, floor sweepings, vacuuming and lawn clippings– use an indoor Bokashi system, an outdoor worm farm and/or large outdoor compost or compost bin/s.
Have meat-free days – the carbon footprint of meat and the amount of water used to produce it is very large.
Say no to plastic bags, take reusable bags shopping and choose unpackaged food wherever possible. Take your own reusable coffee mug to work.
Recycle, reuse and choose/create recycled and upcycled products. Get creative – plant seedlings in recycled paper and plastic containers.
Stay away from the mall – stop buying so much stuff you really don’t need or use. Give unused stuff to charity and use your money to buy better quality organic food, and get out and do fun exercise/experiences instead in the great outdoors to improve your sense of wellbeing.
Arrange with your family and friends to share favourite charity vouchers from the ethical Oxfam shop or similar, create and exchange homemade simple gifts, subscriptions to organic/permaculture magazines or donations to favourite causes instead of glitzy ‘duty’ or ‘impressing’ presents.
Put a ‘No junkmail’ sticker on your letterbox to reduce paper wastage/deforestation.
Choose beeswax or soy candles instead of oil-based paraffin ones to avoid burning the future.
Choose hemp-based products and clothing, organic bamboo and cotton clothing instead of synthetic.
Shop at charity stores to save on money and recycle treasures – you can get a whole new look for much less money! Perhaps you could learn to sew and create upcycled wonders yourself.
When you travel by air, or hire a non-green vehicle on holiday, offset your emissions via a bona fide provider such as www.carbonneutral.com.au
Choose a bank, super fund and investments which don’t finance fossil fuels. Avoid the big four banks which do finance the polluting industry, and see comparisons for all providers at www.marketforces.org.au
Join your local Transition Town or permaculture group to learn about zero carbon sustainable living and practical food growing at home. Transition and permaculture groups run sustainable movies and speaker events, harvest dinners, tours of sustainable properties and are a great way to get to know others who are proactive on climate and living low carbon lifestyles. You’ll have fun learning new tricks. Check out www.transitionnetwork.org and watch the Transition movies 1 and 2.
Share homegrown fruit and veg and chickens’ eggs with neighbours to encourage others to learn to grow their own. You can even ask them to give you food scraps for the chooks, or for composting, and give them produce in return.
Get online and be active in the climate conversation – share climate news with friends and family on your Facebook, and with work colleagues on LinkedIN. On Twitter and Instagram there are many climate experts and organisations to follow, and several hashtags to use, including: #climate, #climatechange, #fracking, #auspol #actonclimate…talk about it, and about the solutions!
Get active volunteering for a climate action group like www.350.org.au, Solar Citizens, the Australian Youth Climate Coalition, Greenpeace, Australian Conservation Foundation, No Fracking Way, Lock the Gate, your state’s conservation council, etc. Support initiatives to help people divest from fossil fuels, to stop new fossil fuel projects, and save our remaining carbon sink forests. Join tree-growing and planting initiatives such as those run by Men of the Trees.
Write submissions with these groups or on your own on new fracking and other fossil fuel proposals, local, state and federal government policies. Write letters to the editor, to your MPs, and sign climate action petitions. Organise community events about climate change, divestment, renewable solutions, and invite experts so the public can ask questions and get access to correct information.
Join or create an ethical wholesale purchasing co-operative where you and your group of friends and colleagues decide what ethical products you need to purchase, then buy in bulk direct from the local/Australian supplier and divide out among you. You’ll save money, reduce food miles and have fun at the same time – directly supporting and getting to know local and Australian producers.
Support or create a community renewable energy fund to support this vital industry, create green jobs and get more people off fossil fuels. See the Citizens Own Renewable Energy Network Australia (CORENA Fund).
Encourage your local church, school, sporting club, community group and workplace to recycle and buy sustainable products. Plot to create a community garden together!
Join the Australian Electric Vehicle Association and organise public displays and information events to encourage others off fossil fuels – even organise an electric car rally!
Based in Perth, Western Australia, Tanyia Maxted writes on the climate crisis, divestment from the fossil fuels causing climate change, and solutions such as solar-charged electric cars. The mother-of-two previously worked in water science communication for an Australian Government-funded national research centre, and in science communication for two Perth universities. See archived articles for ScienceNetworkWA and her UK-published books via Amazon.