24 Acts on Climate Change: What I Can Change

(Photo: YPCCC)

The average human releases around 5 tonnes of CO2 per year. Is it different in each country? Yes, even just between two people. Developing countries like Pakistan and the Philippines have around 1 tonne per person each. Compared with developed nations that have higher national averages like the US (16.5 tonnes) and South Korea (11.5 tonnes). It’s about where we are, who we are, and what we do.

By considering our daily decisions within our reach. Climate change issues won’t be solved effectively by your eating, buying or driving habits alone. Or even by a country alone. It needs a system-wide changes.

As the IPCC report says, “unprecedented changes in all aspects of society.” “Everyone is going to have to be involved,” says Debra Robert, co-chair of the IPCC.

Before we go to the “what to do’s” we should know first the “why we do’s”.

Change what and how we: Know

1. Are you already well informed?

Get informed! Knowledge is power. You can learn more about the science behind our climate challenge and the responsibility that all sectors hold in addressing the issue. You can also add your voices to the issues that are shaping the climate debate, and emerging, evidence-based data that directly relates to change in our climate. Learn what do many climate-deniers thinks and believes, the truths, the lies, the hoaxes.

2. Are you also accountable?

Know your impact! Take a personal inventory of everything you could remember until now of your impact on the planet. Remember, if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it!

If you wonder how much are your carbon emissions, this calculator by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley would help you. Or this calculator. And if you consider offsetting your carbon emissions, find out how many emissions you need to ‘buy’ back by using this handy carbon footprint calculator.

Of course, not everyone is a lawmaker, a CEO, or a billionaire, or even live adequate to change their habits, as some in the working classes and low-income family. What’s the best daily action we can take?

Change what and how we: Eat

Our food’s carbon footprint or ‘foodprint’ is the greenhouse gas emissions produced by the growing, harvesting, processing, transporting, cooking, and disposing of the food we eat.

The food industry particularly the meat, dairy, and egg sector is one of the most important contributors to climate change after fossil fuels. The global livestock industry produces more greenhouse gas emissions than all cars, planes, trains, and ship combined. Additionally, food waste is an enormous ‘hidden’ contributor to climate change.

Around 12-17% of total greenhouse emissions in the EU are from meat and dairy production. If cattle or global waste have their nation, it would be the world’s third-largest greenhouse gas emitter, after China and the US. The carbon footprint of this wasted food is about 3.3 billion tons of CO2. So, enjoy more plant-based meals, reduce your food waste, and compost your food scraps.

3. Reduce our animal protein consumption

We can reduce our carbon footprint through food choices. By reducing your animal protein consumption say, half, it can cut your diet’s carbon footprint by more than 40%.

4. Shift diets to more plant-based foods

Should we all be vegetarian or vegan to make a difference? No, you don’t have to. You can cut down gradually and become a ‘flexitarian’.

5. Buy organic, locally grown and seasonal plant-based foods

The best approach for us is to eat locally grown and seasonal plant-based foods. By buying organic plant-based foods, not only it’s usually healthier because they contain fewer substances, but also growing them protects the environment. By buying locally grown plant-based foods, it helps cut down on the emissions caused by transporting produce.

Even better beating only purchasing local, eating vegetarian.

Change what and how we: Buy

How harmful are your shopping habits? To be noted, anything we buy has a carbon footprint, in how it is produced or transported. Land, maritime and air shipping whether it is national or international will have more ‘food miles’ so it has a higher footprint than local produce.

Do you truly know where your money is going? Our power as a consumer can be enormously impactful. So, if you are unhappy with a company’s impact on the planet, make your voice heard!

Support companies which driven by sustainability and committed to transparency throughout the supply chain. Shop with thoughtful purchasing to minimize waste. Consider reused and pre-loved items to take part in the circular economy and keep goods out from filling out already overflowing landfills.

Change what and how we: Use Things

6. Sharing is caring

If we own less and use more things collectively, we need to produce fewer things, and that saves resources. There are multiple different possibilities for collective consumption are they’re being used by millions of people worldwide. Sharing cars, exchanging clothes, lending and borrowing tools. Avoid purchasing electronic devices that you don’t need.

Change what and how we: Use Energy

7. Save energy

It might sound like the most original-sounding tip around, but it’s as relevant as ever. Saving energy saves you money and helps cut your emissions. Use energy more efficiently. Unplug items when they aren’t in use, or already fully-charged. Buy electronic goods with high energy-efficient standards.

8. Limit our use of fossil fuels

Why should we limit our use of fossil fuels?
First of all, we should already know what is fossil fuels. Fossil fuels such as oil, carbon and natural gas. Things such as driving less, flying less. Around two-thirds of global greenhouse gas emissions are linked to burning fossil fuels for energy to be used for heating, electricity, transport, and industry. Around 80% of the EU’s greenhouse gas emissions are accounted for from energy production and use.

9. Switch to renewable energy

By far throughout the world, the use of energy represents the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions caused by human activity.

The most commonly used renewables are solar, geothermal, bioenergy, hydropower, and onshore wind. Aside from limiting our use of fossil fuels, it would be much better for us and the environment to also replace it with renewable and much cleaner sources of energy all while keeping our energy use efficient. Things such as switching to a ‘green’ energy provider. By 2020, several of the most commonly used renewables will be on par with or cheaper than fossil fuels, according to Irena’s latest report.

10. Choose HFCs-free

Use an HFCs-free fridge and air conditioning. Because of HFCs, there are up to 9,000 more warmings for the atmosphere than CO2.

Change what and how we: Use Resources

11. Limit and reduce plastic-use

Plastic present in pretty much every aspect of our lives. The material durability has its advantage: being so durable, and disadvantage: we’re struggling to get rid of it. Plastic has found its way pretty much everywhere. On streets, rivers, beaches, cosmetics, wastewater, clothes, even the water we drink and the air we breathe. Almost every plastic is produced from fossil fuels. And in every single phase of its life cycle, it’s emitted greenhouse gases.

Change what and how we: Use Techs

12. Shrink your digital footprint

Energy is needed for all the data we’re producing. Typing search query, sending or receiving emails, streaming song or video causes CO2 emissions.

By 2018, the CO2 emissions produced from the use of digital technologies had overtaken even the aviation industry. Netflix currently consumes 15% of the world’s internet bandwidth.

Try downloading rather than streaming anew each time you go back to them. Switching to a ‘green’ search engine such as Ecosia that plants trees. Clean up your email inbox.

Change what and how we: Travel

Travel smarter! In the US, transportation is now the largest source of carbon emissions. No matter where you live, travel by car or airplane contributes heavily to our shared carbon footprint. Take public transit, or even better, biking, or walking whenever possible. It’s good for your health, wallet, and the planet.

13. Going car-free

Going car-free was the number one most effective action an individual could take. Compared to using public transport, cars are more polluting. In European nations, going car-free can reduce 2.5 tonnes of CO2. “We should choose more efficient vehicles and, whenever possible, switch directly to electric vehicles,” says Maria Virginia Vilarino, co-author of the mitigation chapter in the IPCC’s latest report.

14. Fly less

There is, of course, no other means of transport that faster than planes. But at the same, time there is no activity which a single person can emit such large quantities of CO2 in such a short time.

How harmful are my flying habits? Until now, planes, especially for commercial flights, still run on fossil fuels, and we haven’t figured out a scaleable alternative to it, yet. Here comes the inequality of climate change: only a minority of humans fly and even fewer people take planes often, but everyone will be affected.

Ways to cut down other than avoiding air travel as much as possible are held meetings virtually, holidaying in local destinations or using trains instead of planes.

15. Bike!

Bicycle is still the number one form of sustainable transportation. In most cities, travel on a bike can be faster than by car, bus or train.

Change what and how we: Invest

16. Divest funds out of polluting activities

If you are lucky enough to have investments or a pension, pledge to separate them from exposure to fossil fuels assets and increase your stake in clean energy companies.

By avoiding buying stocks in fossil fuels or banks that invest in high-emission industries. We can both take climate action and also reap economic benefits by getting rid of the financial instruments of the industries.

17. Make sustainable investments

It doesn’t stop at your portfolio. Ask your university, your company, and your organization how they invest their money. When it comes to climate change, money talks.

Find your local sustainable bank by checking out this list of member banks of the Global Alliance for Banking on Values (GABV). Sustainable investments consider social, ethical and ecological aspects aside of the financial aspects.

Change what and how we: Decide

Exercise our rights! As an individual, we also serve as citizens and as consumers. Put pressure on our governments and on companies to make that system-wide changes that we need as soon as possible.

18. Make informed decisions as a consumer

Did you know that 100 largest companies in the world are responsible for over 70% of global emissions? We can consume more carefully and consciously. Giving preference to companies that act responsibly.

19. Make informed decisions as a citizen

Consider climate issues on local, national and even global levels. Find out who is more committed to climate protection in your city, region, and country. Examine the climate and environmental platforms of your candidates and choose the one with clear, ambitious, and convincing plans to protect our planet.

20. Have fewer children

Having fewer children is the best way to reduce your contribution to climate change. It will avoid almost 60 tonnes of CO2 per year, according to Nicholas’s study. Even though this result has been contentious, and leads to other questions like the philosophical ones.

Change what and how we: Speak

21. Show your support

Consider showing your support for campaigns, programs, and organizations including community and citywide actions that trying to tackle climate change, and the one working on the ground to make a difference.

Support organizations that trying to hold companies that account for good environmental practices.

22. Organize others

One person can make a difference. Together, we can make a movement. Consider the neighborhood, communities or organizations that you are a part of. Collective action can have a major impact and influence on a change. Consider how you can gather support by mobilizing a larger group for action.

Fridays for Future has become a huge movement in which people regularly take to the streets to demand more political action taken to climate protection. Extinction Rebellion is using civil disobedience and non-violent resistance, setting up blockades in cities across Europe.

Change what and how we: Preserve

23. Protect our forests and plant more trees

We all know how important forests are for the microclimate in individual regions and the global climate as a whole. Forests ‘feed’ on CO2 and convert it into oxygen, which is vital for our survival.

Two-thirds of man-made CO2 emissions could be removed from our atmosphere if we were to reforest 900 million hectares of forests worldwide, according to a research team at ETH Zurich.

Change what and how we: Opt

24. Offsetting your carbon emissions

If you simply can’t give up eating meat, going car-free, fly less, and else, consider offsetting your carbon emissions by investing in a trusted green projects such as in the clean and renewable energy sector.

Find the one that support local communities, drive sustainable development, and truly protect our planet. Don’t act if it’s a ‘get out of jail free card’, but another resource in your toolbox to compensate your carbon footprint.

There are dozens of trusted projects around the world, like the ones in the UN Climate Convention’s portfolio. Or international organizations that promote the rights of indigenous people living in the protected forests, or protect forested areas by monitoring and reporting on illegal logging, such as Amazon Watch.

Would my action do much difference?

So, even if I do it all of the above, that’s just me, right? how much difference I as an individual would make? Actually, it counts. When one person makes a sustainability-oriented decision, other people do too, according to social scientists. This occurs because we constantly evaluate what our peers are doing and we adjust our beliefs and actions accordingly.

No matter who and where you are, whether you are a high school student in India or a business owner in New York, climate change will impact your life. But it’s also true, that:

Whoever and wherever we are, huge or small, our actions counts.

References:
• Earth Day Network. “How to Act on Climate Change: A User’s Guide for 2020 and Beyond.”
• Ortiz, D. A. 2018. “Ten simple ways to act on climate change. BBC Future.” November, 5.
• RESET. “12 Things You Can Do Right Now on Climate Change.”

Published by Lifenvi

Live life in a livable environment.

46 thoughts on “24 Acts on Climate Change: What I Can Change

  1. This is a very comprehensive list of actions that the average person can take. Even if one can’t implement all of them (and I don’t believe anyone could), at least implementing a few of them would help. If everyone all over the world chose to do only two of the recommendations, I bet it would help.

    Liked by 5 people

  2. I’ve been interested these last few years to see some web hosts claiming that they are carbon-neutral, just by virtue of they themselves using renewable. But I don’t remember seeing that when I jumped on board with WordPress. I could be wrong.
    I could not tell that English was not your first language, by the way. I don’t travel much any more but I know Normandie/Bretagne quite well.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Different from WordPress.org, WordPress.com host site is hosted by Automattic, its parent company. Whether it’s carbon neutral or not, there aren’t any available information on that.

      English is my second. And I live in Indonesia by the way.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I found out about the two when I came on board, I started from the place “wtf is WordPress?” wordpress.org seems a very good idea. wordpress.com are just out to make money. I looked at it when I first joined, but many of my blogging friends are on wordpress.com.
        It is nice to “meet” somebody from the other side of the world. But we are all in this together 🙂.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yeah, expanding to wordpress.org is the vision here.

        Nice to meet you too. Yes, we all are. Even though the climate crisis will hit differently between the developed and developing nations, rich and poor nations, it doesn’t mean some are less responsible and less obliged to act than the other.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. sicher kann man vieles zum besseren in seiner lebensführung ändern. aber nicht alles unter dem duktus klimawandel – das wäre viel zu kurzgegriffen. realität ist, dass die meisten menschen durch die kampagnen des kapitalismus und materialismus in ihrem konsumdenken konditioniert sind. eine umkonditionierung wird nicht einfach passieren. die appelle an den gesunden menschenverstand werden nur bei jenen fruchten, die sowieso systemkritisch sind.
    wenn man das weltklima und die ökologie der erde in ihrer wunderbaren vielfalt retten will, kann dies nur durch ein umdenken der mächtigen geschehen. nun aktuell auf die klimakonferenz in madrid geschaut, sehe ich leider keine fortschritte in der politik. im gegenteil.
    ein großteil der menschen auf diesem planeten ist in einem maße ignorant, geldgeil und konsumsüchtig, dass ich wenig bis keine hoffnung habe, eine zerstörerische entwicklung zu stoppen, welche von wissenschaftlern bereits vor hundert jahren erkannt wurde. darum lethargie zu verfallen, wäre sicher auch falsch…

    schöne weihnachten!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes, I agree with most of your view. Climate change is just one of many global issues such as poverty, right to food, gender equality, etc. that we still face until today. But, many global issues have causal relationship to one another.
      Desire, the emotional motivation that exists in all human, is one of the main reasons why it’s hard to resist our materialistic urge on things. And that’s what powers capitalism the most. The desire to own, desire to control, desire to obtain, all of them to have more than we need.
      Yeah, and that’s why global climate strike are happening all over the globe, and young people are on the lead. Politicians inability to act accordingly, conflict of interest, lack of trust in government, and many more in the local, national, or even international level are fueling the why of our ineffective and inefficient environmental action.
      Well, at least we’ve tried to prevent it. No matter what we do or these young activist say or the politicians policing, ignorance and hate will always exist. And that’s what we at least shouldn’t do. If we all lose hope on life, we lose our reason to live.

      Fröhliche Weihnachten!

      Like

  4. A great list. We do as much as we can. We have one child. We haven’t flown at all for fifteen years. We use public transport as much as possible and make all long journeys by train. We use less than 20 litres of petrol a month but we have to drive sometimes because we live in the countryside with very limited bus connections.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. That’s great! Not many countries have a good, affordable, and green public transportation system. Also, geography factors a lot too. Building integrated public transport in EU countries for me is easier than in island nations. And until now, there’s still countries with ongoing war and conflicts that just living in peace is almost impossible. We should all be thankful.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Reblogged this on Robby Robin's Journey and commented:
    This blog, lifenvi.science.blog aka Live Life in a Livable Environment, regularly posts informative articles on climate change issues and how we can help address our planet’s crisis. Yesterday’s post, which I’m reblogging here for your consideration, presents 24 – count then, 24 – actions we should all be aware of that we could do ourselves. #12 is particularly interesting: Shrinking your digital footprint. Live streaming, you may be surprised to learn, uses an inordinate amount of energy. Check out the list of 24 actions and see which ones you already do. Which new ones might you give a try?

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I stopped by to thank you for following my blog, annieasksyou, and find myself thrilled by the depth of your coverage of this life-and-death issue—and grateful for the helpful links you’ve provided. I write on a variety of topics, but climate change is always in my thinking. Your blog is a great service. And now I am about to follow you.
    Cheers,
    Annie

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Thoroughly enjoyed this post very informative and a good reminder of what we should be doing, my favourite point is #20 have less children or no children in some instances too many children are not sustainable, puts to much pressure on the rest of the world to provide for them.

    I will put myself in check on my own carbon foot print.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I’m so happy our blogging paths crossed (waving to you from Only In Japan!) because I love what you’re doing here. Words are more powerful than they’ve ever been before, and the way you’ve linked to facts and suggestions for action WILL help change the world. (I’m disappointed that WordPress keeps sending me a “subscription failed, invalid email address” message, though, no matter which of my otherwise tried-and-true email addresses I used, so I haven’t been able to subscribe yet ( ; _ ; ) Will keep trying to figure this out, but meanwhile, keep doing what you’re doing, because it’s really great.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Thank you for following Storyteller. This list is admirable, but let’s talk about plastics. I’d like to think my family is very plastic aware. My eldest daughter wanted to try an experiment. At her direction, we put all plastics in paper bags for a month. We filled three. Almost everything is packaged in plastic. Medicine, spices, milk and juice cartons.The list goes on forever. We thought we’d use reusable cloth bags for veggies. We ordered the online… they came packaged in plastic.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you too for reading! That’s a wonderful family you have there. Merely using plastics doesn’t mean we are a really bad person. They were invented because they can make our life easier, just like cars or planes. As if fruits with plastic-wrapping on it for prolonging its shelf life. What we should do are being more thoughtful and conscious in every decision that we make. In purchasing, using, and disposing plastic goods and packaging.

      Like

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