While there are many well publicized ways we can take individual climate action, like reducing single-use plastic; recycling; shopping with reusable tote bags, for example; there are a number of other things we can do to help the environment that may be slightly unexpected.
Our personal choices about how we live a more environmentally conscious lifestyle undoubtedly help establish a positive difference. It’s worth noting, however, that the most significant thing we can do for our planet is to demand comprehensive, industry-wide change; that hold Fossil Fuel companies accountable for their overwhelming responsibility for driving the climate crisis. If defending our planet is not put before profit, our own approaches to environmental sustainability will become disconnected from the realities of what really needs to be done; saving our world from rushing into preventable ecological collapse.
We have the technology required to replace fossil fuels. There’s plenty of money, which is currently being squandered on the destruction of life on Earth. | George Monbiot – The Guardian
Making individual and systemic change that generates a global response to environmental protection and sustainability cannot be done without centering Indigenous voices. Fossil Fuel multinationals continue to disregard sovereignty, treaty rights and the protection of culturally significant lifeways that are connected to the land (not to mention water/food supplies and areas of ecological importance). Colonialism sustains its insidious tradition of taking and destroying Indigenous land, this time through oil pipelines, fracking, mining and other environmentally devastating industrial practices. Indigenous climate activism has to be part of every stage of climate action policymaking.
Therefore, while we’re identifying ways to establish an industry-wide shift towards environmentalism that holds the world’s polluters accountable — find out how to achieve that here — we can implement a number of everyday lifestyle choices that prepare us to be part of the solution.
Here are more than 15 surprising ways to help the environment …
- if possible, reduce reliance on using air-conditioners by opening windows instead — this isn’t recommended during extreme heat, but can be effective during warmer days that don’t necessitate it being on
- during colder months, turn your heating down a degree or two and wear some warm clothing — this reduces your energy bill while being environmentally friendly
- if your laundry items aren’t heavily soiled, wash your clothes using cold water — this saves energy, money and reduces the amount of microfiber shedding (plastic pollution) that synthetic fabrics produce
- if feasible, air dry your clothes using a washing line outside or an indoor clothes rack
- keep your refrigerator and freezer clean — make sure the coils at the back are free from dust accumulation, as this will help the appliances run more efficiently
- when looking to replace clothing, household appliances or other items, buy secondhand
- this might be an odd one, but flushing your toilet less will save you a bit of money and lowers the amount of water your household uses — if it’s just urination, skip the flushing
- whenever manageable, limit car use when running errands; shop local and create nearby ‘trip chains’ where you do everything all at once on a route that reduces mileage and the need to drive — don’t forget to donate leftover canned goods to local food banks and shelters
- cut down on the amount of meat you eat and replace it with beans, lentils and other legumes (the most eco-friendly options) or other meat alternatives so that the negative impact the meat industry has on land use and climate emissions is decreased
- get into the habit of composting your vegetable and food scraps — this minimizes your household waste and can be used to fertilize and improve soil
- when eating out at a restaurant, take your leftovers home so they aren’t just thrown away (you can even bring a reusable container to put them in) and if you’re getting take out, ask that napkins and utensils not be included
- wherever it is offered, opt-in to paperless billing to limit the amount of paper being used
- donate your old eyeglasses and sunglasses or reuse the frames yourself when getting a new prescription/look — this reduces waste and/or supplies vision care for those who may need a more affordable option
- use matches instead of disposable lighters — it’s a simple trade between non-recyclable plastic/metal and a fully biodegradable wood
- swap out tea bags and instead use loose leaf tea — there’s less packaging, no chemical infused permeable paper and the used leaves can become compost for plants/gardens
These seemingly minor actions represent an integral part of how we create a mindset shift that embraces sustainable living. They may be small, but their collective impact can be profound. And if we add our own individual climate action to that of a comprehensive revamp of how legacy fossil fuel industries wield their power and profit; we may yet save Earth and all that rely on it to survive.
What eco-friendly things do you practice in your everyday life? Where any of these suggestions unexpected? Will you try them out?
Tracing Big Oil’s PR War To Delay Action On Climate Change – The Harvard Gazette