We have to stop polluting the air. Cut the carbon. So stop talking and thinking about it – get started now: reduce your carbon footprint. Take personal responsibility for your contribution to creating a safer climate. Show others that this is what you are doing, and how you do it. Teach them how they can save money and become part of a more resilient community too.
→ Three initial steps
→ Carbon footprint
→ Top of the list: Have less kids
→ Shortlist: Top 10
→ Carbon footprint
→ Save on electricity
→ Improve and insulate your house
→ Save on petrol
→ Save on ink
→ Travel green
→ Recycle, reuse and reduce
→ Buy carbon-free
→ Eat more vegetables
→ Divest: look into your pension fund and bank
→ First, study and learn
→ Then, spread the word, create!
→ Take the initiative to organise an event
→ Join an organisation
→ Help decarbonising the atmosphere
→ Teach and inspire your children to be carbon-conscious
→ Play games
→ Treat yourself to a course or a retreat
→ Find more lists with advice and ideas
→ Sign petitions and make pledges
→ Be innovative
→ Green funerals
→ Have a ‘green drink’
Related inspirational pages (continuously under construction):
→ What parents can do
→ What activists and clicktivists can do
→ What artists and arts institutions can do
→ What teachers and headmasters can do
→ What religious leaders and communities can do
→ What journalists and editors can do
→ What leaders of businesses and organisations can do
→ What governments and policy makers can do
On 16 August 2018, this page passed the mark for having been visited by its first 10,000 unique visitors.
“We cannot ask others to do what we have not done ourselves.”
Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, speaking at St Paul’s Cathedral in London in May 2014
If you don’t think you have time to all of this, jump over to this QuickStarter
Welcome to your new life as a Carbon Freedom Fighter
It’s time to initiate your own, personal journey towards a zero carbon lifestyle. You could aim high and become a leading all-electric urban-organic off-the-grid ‘Carbon Freedom Fighter’ and a role model for others. Or you could say, “I am only going to do what is feasible and makes economic sense at this point and time.”
Either way, in less than a decade, we must all become zero carbon citizens. So how does one achieve real carbon freedom?
On this page you will find the kind of knowledge and inspiration which – when enough of us do the same kind of things – has the potential to remove some of the threats of the escalating climate emergency – ultimately: save life on this planet from the most dreadful catastrophe caused by runaway global warming – practically without having to wait for any of the world’s decision makers and elected leaders to make up their minds.
The fact of the matter is that because you and I, and millions of others, have started to do this by ourselves, the business leaders and politicians take notice. They are changing too.
We, the people, will have to be the first-movers. Then politicians will quickly follow.
It is a fact that if climate change was something each and everyone of us felt personally responsible for, then this problem which we have known about since the end of the 1800s, would have been solved long ago.
So, let’s face it: Climate is a personal issue, and it is your responsibility. Not alone, but together with the rest of us.
Doing something on your own of course won’t make any difference, you say? No, just like putting your vote in for a parliament election doesn’t make any difference. Surprisingly, because a lot of people do the same and at the same time, it suddenly does matter a whole lot. It represents the difference between anarchy and democracy. Concerning carbon emissions and climate change, one could say it makes the difference between ‘no future’ or ‘prosperous future’.
So, enter the solution: we must all learn how to reduce our own carbon footprints, step by step.
Not all at once, but systematically and for instance with around 10 percent per year. Every year. What this means is that you must change certain habits and the way you do certain things – and you’ll need to invest both time and money in becoming more modern, smart, efficient, all-electric and ‘smoke-free’.
Lead by example
Climate change is personal. So is the solution to the problem. Climate change is about your lifestyle and your relationship with the air and the community around you. It is about air pollution – and about manners. Respect for those who come after you.
The key principle to understand here is the ‘lead by example’ principle: Just like most civilized persons understand why we shouldn’t be throwing litter in front of our own houses or apartments, regardless whether your neighbour does something like that, climate change also is a consequence of our individual decisions and whether we have manners and moral standards which tells us to lead by example and do what is right – rather than continuing business as usual just because that is what our neighbours are doing.
If we want to clean the air, we must begin with ourselves. Be the change, as Gandhi said.
It is really quite simple
Climate change is simple. The solution is simple too. Scientists are telling us it is like this: If we stop most of our polluting the air with dirty smoke from fossil fuels within the next decade, then the climate change crisis will be manageable.
So, really it is not as complicated as we are being made to believe it should be. All we got to do is… stop polluting the air!
It is unrealistic to think we can do that overnight. But we have managed to stop other kinds of pollutions earlier in history. We stopped slavery too. When at first we have said that we want to stop it, wholeheartedly, then we can work on that for some years, we can set ourselves more and more ambitious targets, we can keep inventing and developing better technologies, and before we know it, we will have stopped it.
Climate change is huge, but not hopeless or terminal. There is light at the end of the dark tunnel, and the journey starts with yourself. There are many things you can do about it. Here are three of the first steps you’ll have to take to become part of the solution:
Three initial steps
1) Be the change
“Don’t tell it, show it!”
In an interview in 2007, the American singer Pete Seeger said: “If there is a world here in a hundred years, it’s going to be saved by tens of millions of little things.”. He was right. The solution to climate change and carbon emissions will be achieved with a million of small steps that we take to save money, be smarter and feel better.
To ‘be the change that you would like to see in the world’, as the legendary Indian leader Mahatma Gandhi is often quoted as having said, you initially will need to invest a bit of time and money of your own. Not a whole lot. But a bit.
Do the obvious: Modernise your home. Invest in technologies that save you money and saves the environment as well. Solar power on the roof, maybe. LED lamps, sensors that turn light off in a room that is not being used, better insulation, and so on.
Should your next vehicle be a cargo bike with a zero-carbon-engine such as the ‘Copenhagen Wheel’? Should your next car be electric?
The average Australian household produces about 14 tonnes of greenhouse gas each year. Of those 14 tonnes, car use (34%) and water heating (16%) account for the largest percentage.
Divest: Make sure your money isn’t financing dirty fossil fuel projects.
Make the right and choices when you do your everyday shopping. Don’t buy products from companies that you know are ignoring the climate issue. Start using the apps ‘Buycott’, for instance, and/or eEcosphere
Don’t feel guilty about not being able to go to zero carbon emissions overnight. If you aim at cutting 10 percent carbon emission per year, in average, you are off on the right track.
2) Educate yourself
Do your own research. Understand the issues.
You can’t make any choices unless they are informed choices. You need to know.
In politics and news media, always question the validity of the source.
Find out about the impact of our every day decisions.
This will not only increase your knowledge about the climate and solutions, and thereby enable you to see through the mist of doubt and lies that the fossil fuel industry is producing, it will also make you realise that you are not alone. On your virtual research trip you will be meeting up with thousands of likeminded human begins who, like you, have decided to become part of the solution. This is an important realisation to make.
Alone, your efforts will be a nothing but a tiny drop in the sea. That’s absolutely right. But luckily, and you really need to understand this, you are not alone. You are part of a global movement, and millions of drops can easily create exactly that river of change we urgently need to see now.
When a lot of people make that kind of realisation simultanously, as it happened in Egypt and Tunisia not so long ago, it is the kind of material that creates reforms and revolutions. You may not have noticed, but an ‘Energy Spring’ has already erupted, demanding the end of dictatorship and the introduction of democracy and decentralisation in the field of energy. This is a movement which will benefit the individual citizens as large energy corporations, extremely wealthy and powerful as they have been, will crumble in a very similar way that the large record companies crumbled when mp3-files began to replace CD’s in the music business.
3) Speak up
“Tell it, tell it, and tell it again!”
But when you do, then remember to keep it simple. Focus on solutions and benefits.
Counter the manipulation of truth.
Make your family and friends understand that this is the safety and prosperity of your own family which is at stake here.
Organise a film evening. Whether it is just with your husband or wife, with a couple of friends, or as a public event in the local pub doesn’t matter. What matters is that you begin to vocalise the issues, and meet people face to face to talk about them. Show you have made up your mind about this. Another reason to educate yourself is that you should be able to defend your viewpoints in a way that makes common sense to everybody.
“No one ever said fighting climate change would be easy”
“A groundbreaking study outlines what you can do about climate change. Researchers in Sweden examined the possible steps that people can take to help tackle the climate crisis. Although a lot of resulting news coverage focused on the most effective action (having one fewer kid), the real takeaway is that individual actions still matter. A lot. Click to see how they stack up.
In fact, the researchers found that behavioral shifts could be faster than waiting for national climate policies and widespread energy transformations. As far as I know, this is the very first comprehensive analysis on the effectiveness of specific individual climate actions.”
~ Eric Holthaus in Grist
The four climate actions we’d rather not hear about are: Have less children, sell the car, avoid air travel and skip the meat.
The two researchers considered a broad range of individual lifestyle choices and calculated their potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in developed countries:
“We recommend four widely applicable high-impact (i.e. low emissions) actions with the potential to contribute to systemic change and substantially reduce annual personal emissions: having one fewer child, living car-free, avoiding airplane travel and eating a plant-based diet.”
→ The New Daily – 12 July 2017:
If you want to save the planet, don’t have children
“A new study has identified four things people can be doing to offset global warming and climate change, the main one being to have fewer children.”
→ The Telegraph – 11 July 2017:
How to save the planet: cut holidays, sell the car and don’t have as many children, say scientists
Shortlist: Top 10
To put it in another way and a different order, here is a Top 10 list you could use as your start-up reference point:
Spread the good message
Most importantly: start talking about and flag openly about your decision. To reduce your own carbon footprint is to take personal responsibility for your own and future generations’ welfare and safety. By your actions, you can inspire others to follow your track.
Buy pleasures rather than things
It is far more climate-friendly spending money on services and entertainment, rather than buying physical things. Treat yourself to great experiences, but do so locally. Because if you board an airplane, the climate gains go out the window. For instance, visit a local spa resort or holiday inn instead of flying off for a big city weekend.
Energy efficient home
Turn off the computer and lights when not in use. Save on heating and cooling. Get the isolation in your home checked. Put solar panels on the roofs or purchase shares in a local wind turbine project.
Swap clothes with friends or become member of a dress exchange concept like Resecond. Find the children’s clothes at local flea markets. If it is in good condition, it will last until they grow out of it. Repair instead of throwing out. Use canvas shopping bags and re-useable packaging. Join exchange groups on Facebook and email. For example, become a member of freecycle.org.
Check your bank and your pension
Does your bank and your pension fund put your money in risky oil, gas and coal projects? Not only is it a threat to the climate and our future, it is also a risky investment for yourself. Ask them what they do to the climate. If they don’t do anything, change to one that does.
Hummus, falafel and spinach lasagne
Eat legumes, lentils and grains and let it replace meat. Eat what the season offers. Fresh berries in winter has been flown halfway around the globe. Avoid having to throw food out. If, for example there is rice left over, you can use it in the dough for homemade bread. Remember to sort your waste. Consider composting – there are smart, indoor solutions for that nowadays.
Using muscle power and electricity for the transport
Start walking more and using your bike more often. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Buy an electric car. Enter a car sharing scheme. Make use of public transport, in particular trains and trams.
Streamline your way of working
Use Skype instead of traveling around the world for meetings and conferences. If you live far from your work place, consider moving closer. Have days where you work from home.
When shopping: look for the official marks
It is teeming with green marks, but many of them are self-invented. Go for the official ones in cosmetics, diapers, cleaning, etc, chose products with the best possible energy labeling when buying houses, cars, consumer electronics, refrigerators, look for the organic label when you buy food.
Take the time to learn
The more you know, the better decisions you can make – and the better you can help others to do the same. So allow yourself to spend time on getting into the depth of things. There is no one who can do these things for you – and you can not expect politicians to take action before they can see that there are many who – like you now – have taken the spoon in the other hand and take personal responsibility for dealing with the climate change issues.
Six steps you can take to help stop climate change
Source: NRDC, USA
Here is another list, from America:
1. Speak up!
What’s the single biggest way you can make an impact on global climate change? Talk to your friends and family, and make sure your representatives are making good decisions and pushing for large-scale action on climate issues.
2. Power your home with renewable energy.
Choose a utility company that generates at least half its power from wind or solar and has been certified by Green-e Energy, an (American) organization that vets renewable energy options. If that isn’t possible for you, take a look at your electric bill; many utilities now list other ways to support renewable sources on their monthly statements and websites.
3. Weatherize, weatherize, weatherize.
Building heating and cooling account for almost half of home energy use. You can make your space more energy efficient by sealing drafts and ensuring it’s adequately insulated. You can also claim federal tax credits for many energy-efficiency home improvements.
4. Invest in energy-efficient appliances.
Since they were first implemented nationally in the United States in 1987, efficiency standards for dozens of appliances and products have kept 2.3 billion tons of carbon dioxide out of the air. When shopping for refrigerators, washing machines, and other appliances, look for the (American) Energy Star label. It will tell you which are the most efficient.
5. Actually eat the food you buy — and make less of it meat.
Approximately 10 percent of U.S. energy use goes into growing, processing, packaging, and shipping food — about 40 percent of which just winds up in the landfill. So, try not to waste food. And, since livestock products are among the most resource-intensive to produce, eating meat-free meals can make a big difference, too.
6. Buy better bulbs.
LED lightbulbs use up to 80 percent less energy than conventional incandescents. They’re also cheaper in the long run: A 10-watt LED that replaces your traditional 60-watt bulb will save you $125 over the lightbulb’s life.
There is more…
Now, having said this in brief – when you look deeper into things, there are many many more things you can do, right here, right now, when at first you have made the decision you want to reduce your ‘carbon footprint’ and to help create more awareness in your family and your community.
The purpose with the information on this page is to inspire you to begin doing something constructive about climate change yourself, in your own household and workplace, so that you really can be that change you want to see in the world.
When you start digging into this, you will find that the list is ever-expanding.
“Never underestimate the individuals’ ability to change the world”
Think local, rather than global
On 15 October 2011, a global network of occupying movements under the banner of ‘United for Global Change’ mobilised hundreds of thousands in 951 cities in 82 countries around the world, claiming social justice and true democracy. But… looking back now, some years later: did this campaign actually change all that much, seen in a global context?
It will never be enough to sign petitions or write blogs-posts about what we’d like to see. With Gandhi’s wisdom, as individuals we really need to look inwards and ask ourselves how we can be that change we would like to see. Because so many of us currently are doing just that, and because we can use the Internet to connect and empower us, we are creating real change.
• The Transition Network is one example of people who do positive things in their local communities.
• As part of the effort to make everyone’s personal safe-climate actions visible, so we can see and tap into our enormous collective power to tackle climate change, do take this survey and show what you are doing to reduce carbon emissions: www.onepersoncan.org. Or… go back and do this, once you have read this page an implemented a couple of the suggestions you liked the most.
• Oh, and did you meet Terry who lives 100 percent ‘Off the Grid’ in Orlando, Florida? More and more people are doing this, all over the planet. They are the Zero Carbon Pioneers.
“Most important thing an individual can do: persuade other individuals to live low-carbon. This is far more important than living low-carbon oneself, as simple arithmetic demonstrates: persuade 100 other people to cut their emissions in some way, and you cut 100 times as much as you can cut by doing that thing yourself. However, it’s easier to be persuasive when we are not hypocrites. Thus the proper way to view our own efforts to live low-carbon is to increase out ability to persuade others to live low-carbon.”
Teratornis, on guardian.co.uk
The word ‘green’, as you will notice, encompasses anything and everything that is better for the environment than doing nothing at all. Being ‘green’ means to be a supporter of a movement who’s main concerns are environmental protection and sustainability, including an awareness of our CO2-emissions in the atmosphere.
The list below on this page is in no way complete — it is only to give you some inspiration for a start.
If you’d like to help improve this list – for instance by creating a more user-friendly open source database with this kind of individual-directed information, let us know.
“The cost of doing nothing is catastrophic. But for a relatively modest amount per person, basically a latte a week, we can dramatically alter our climate profile for the future.”
M. Sanjayan, CBS News environmental contributor and lead scientist at the Nature Conservancy
Your ‘carbon footprint’
Use knowledge about your carbon footprint
• The average annual footprint for people in United States is 20 metric tons
• The average for the industrial nations is about 11 metric tons
• The average worldwide carbon footprint is about 4 metric tons
A normal flight from Europe to the US and back represents a carbon footprint of two metric tons per person.
United Nations’ Climate Footprint Calculator (1)
This calculator enables you to estimate the greenhouse gas emissions generated in your day-to-day life. Once you calculate your climate footprint, you can try to reduce your emissions and then compensate for the rest by purchasing United Nations-certified carbon credits.
→ Try the United Nations’ Footprint Calculator
→ Try WWF’s Ecological Footprint Calculator
→ To calculate your climate footprint for air travel, use ICAO’s Carbon Emissions Calculator
→ Go Climate Neutral Now!
Online platform for voluntary cancellation of certified emission reductions (CERs)
Test your carbon footprint (2)
Carbon footprint calculations are typically based on annual emissions from the previous 12 months.
→ Try the calculator.carbonfootprint.com
Test your carbon footprint (3)
You can also use the Nature Conservacy’s Carbon Footprint Calculator to find out what’s your carbon footprint:
“The Nature Conservancy’s carbon footprint calculator measures your impact on our climate. It estimates how many tons of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases your choices create each year.”
→ Try nature.org’s Carbon Footprint Calculator
Test your ecological footprint (4)
Are you aware of the size of your ecological footprint? How much land area does it take to support your lifestyle? Take this quiz to find out your Ecological Footprint, discover your biggest areas of resource consumption, and learn what you can do to reduce your footprint. An interactive, fun way for people to explore and reduce their ‘footprint’: The Footprint Calculator
→ See also: The Australian Consumption Atlas
“It is common sense that we need to act”
“We are without doubt the first generation in history that has the power to connect behind a common purpose. The empowerment of individuals. The empowerment of organisations and communities. And there probably can be no greater common purpose than protecting and preserving the place that we live.”
Andy Ridley, CEO, Earth Hour
Earth Hour is about creating an hour of inspiration to show that we care about the planet, explained Andy Ridley in his presentation in Singapore, where he shared his vision of the campaign ‘Earth Hour’ which takes place yearly in over 150 countries, literally all over the planet.
20 environmental calculators to track your eco-efforts
Published by the American Green Living Magazine
Before a person can make even the smallest changes to their lifestyle, it helps to understand the environmental impact of certain choices. Online calculators are particularly helpful for figuring out how many resources a person uses and how big of an environmental footprint they have. Different calculators measure different areas. Some will figure out how much pollution a person’s car contributes, while others measure the amount of paper a person uses. Other calculators look at the big picture and measure all areas.
- Carbon Footprint Calculator – The Nature Conservancy provides a calculator that lets people compare their carbon use to the average around the country.
- Paper Calculator – A calculator from the Environmental Paper Network that lets people see how much paper they use and allows them to see the impact of their paper use.
- Footprint Calculator – The World Wildlife Fund provides a calculator that measures a person’s environmental impact.
- Home Energy Saver – A tool that calculates energy use and makes suggestions for ways people can reduce energy costs.
- Vehicle Pollution Calculator – A calculator that determines the environmental impact of the type of motor vehicle a person drives.
- What You Can Do at Home – 10 easy steps to take to reduce greenhouse gas emissions at home, from the Environmental Protection Agency.
- Sustainable Choices at the Store – Tips for reducing impact on the environment when shopping, from Stanford University.
- Make Small Changes for a Big Eco Impact – Article from the “Today” show on ways to make small environmental changes and the benefits of making those changes
- What is Environmentalism? – A discussion on the definition of environmentalism from graduate students at the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies.
- Tips for Going Green at Home – Tips on ways to go green at home by reducing waste, making healthier food choices, and using less energy.
- Going Green at Home (PDF) – Comprehensive booklet on ways to go green. The booklet also breaks down why being sustainable is important.
- 10 Ways to Go Green and Save Green – Money saving tips on going green from the Worldwatch Institute.
- Tips for Going Green at Home and Work – Advice for reducing energy use at home and at the office. Tips include lowering the thermostat and investing in Energy Star appliances, especially for items that are left on.
- Going Green at Home – Get Your Child Involved – Tips on ways parents can teach kids about going green in the home.
- Tips for Going Green – Advice from the federal government on going green. Tips include making better product choices and learning to identify products that actually live up to their green claims.
- The Language of Recycling – The Federal Trade Commission explains the ways to determine if something can be recycled and the ways to determine if a product is made of recycled materials.
- 5 Ways to Green Your Food – The Greater Lansing Initiative describes five ways a person can make more eco-friendly choices when buying food and groceries.
- Safe and Non-toxic Lawn Care (PDF) – Tips on growing a lush lawn without using toxic pesticides, from the City of Bloomington.
- Living In A Friendly Environmental (L.I.F.E) Manner – Advice for ways to live an eco-friendly life at home. The article includes tips for being more green in each room or area of the house.
- How Can I Be More Sustainable? – Ways that people can live more sustainable lives at home.
Change your habits
Be carbon-conscious. Begin reducing your CO2-emissions today. Start with the obvious things. Below is a list of things you could do, right away. But first, it is a good investment to spend eight minutes on watching Alex Laskey’s presentation here:
Alex Laskey: How behavioral science can lower your energy bill
What’s a proven way to lower your energy costs? Would you believe: learning what your neighbor pays. Alex Laskey shows how a quirk of human behavior can make us all better, wiser energy users, with lower bills to prove it. Alex Laskey helps power companies to help their customers cut down — using data analysis, marketing and a pinch of psychology.
Ted talk published on YouTube.com on 4 June 2013.
» Australia: Your Energy Savings
Save on electricity
► Save on electricity: Do like the Japanese have done since the nuclear disaster there: simply be more aware of the electricity you use. The Japanese population have managed to cut their use of electricity by 15 percent, and it took nothing but their awareness of the issue. You and I can do that too. Fight climate change with our electricity bills!
First of all: Switch to a renewable energy option with your electricity company – and if your supplier doesn’t have that, then quickly switch to a company which does. It may cost a few cents more per kWh, but surely it is worth it. Here is our story: What we did in our household in Victoria, Australia.
Did you know that the average water heater makes up 14-18 percent of a home’s total utility bill, costing each household up to $600 a year?
Buy LED lamps. They reduce your electricity bill and will save you money – while shrinking your carbon foot print – in the long run.
Small simple tips to save energy:
· Turn off at the switch
· Fill the dishwasher and washing machine
· Wash at 20-30 °C
· Use the clothesline to dry your clothes
· Go for low-energy machines, when you buy new
· When you buy a new computer, choose a laptop
→ If you live in the United States, check pear-energy.com who have the motto “People Powering Change”. They write: “Cutting your home-based carbon footprint by 34 percent will help create two million jobs for workers in all industries and at all levels of the economy.”
– Also, if you live in the United States, check this home energy efficiency guide: basementguides.com/basement-and-home-energy. The page includes the biggest culprits of energy waste in a home, tips for locating the source of energy-waste issues, and how to lower your bills while reducing your footprint.
→ USA: Citizen’s Guide to Reducing Energy Waste – “Scroll down to learn how you can reduce your energy waste and become more energy efficient in your home.”
→ If you live in United Kingdom, check goodenergy.co.uk. “Good Energy was founded over a decade ago with one clear goal – to make a difference to climate change.”
A simple step to save energy: Shut off the lights. They’ve started doing that in France. By requiring shops and offices to turn off their lights at night, France expects to save the energy it takes to power 750,000 homes.
→ The Economist – 28 May 2013: Turn that light off! – Measuring energy efficiency in buildings
→ Australia: Get inspiration from places such as enviroshop.com.au
→ For your smartphone: Check the People Power App
→ “Join the Green Button movement”
→ Check all the new devices you can get which are solar powered. For instance, at places like Solar Gods
The Australian Industry Group has developed a series of short videos covering topics such as energy efficiency, optimisation and management as well as energy saving technologies/options as well as an energy management tool. The videos and tool are now available at: energyefficiencyassist.com.au/onlineinteractivetools.
“The videos are an important tool in helping companies to identify energy saving opportunities and reduce operating costs.”
· Easy wins
· Process Cooling & Refrigeration
· Motors & Drives
· Compressed air
· Heating Ventilation Air Conditioning (HVAC)
· Demand Management
· Energy Data Management
· Understanding your bill
· Online Energy Dashboard
→ About dishwashing: buy an energy and water efficient dishwasher, wash full loads, avoid hand-washing, and buy eco-friendly detergent. 12 Tips to Green your Dishwashing
Especially if you live in United Kingdom: Get the monthly energy-saving newsletter from the Energy Saving Trust. Every month you will get the latest tips on how to save money, combat rising energy prices, and fight climate change. Sign up
Australians, and in particular Victorians, will benefit from digging into Sustainability Victoria’s Energy Efficiency at Home which has a video which “will help you make simple, but effective changes to reduce your energy costs and increase the comfort of your home.” The average Victorian household spends more than $2,500 on energy bills every year. The graph below shows where an average Victorian household spends their energy dollars.
Buy devises that save energy. Just a few examples here — there are lots more out there:
In Denmark I stumbled over little, cheap devices like these ones:
→ The Eco Button (available in Denmark, DKK 149) for your computer
→ The Belkin Conserve Socket (available in Denmark, DKK 199) – a devise with a timer which automatically turns off machines when they are not in use.
→ In Australia, this page has examples of energy-saving devises, some of which are free.
→ Also in Australia, noCO2.com.au has a number of articles on the topic.
→ Download Apps that will enhance your low carbon-emission lifestyle and give you tools for saving energy. The Open Energy Info has a list of over 200 Apps you can download. Venturebeat had an article on the topic in January 2013: Green Gamification: the apps, sites, and people that are going to save our planet — about the use of games to make sustainability fun and rewarding.
→ Start tracking your home energy, for instance with MyEnergy.com.
You’ll find even more inspiration on these Energy Infographics
Improve and insulate your house
► Make your house energy efficient and virtually airtight. To date 40,000 houses, schools, offices, and other building types have been built to the Passive House Standard around the world. Never heard of a ‘passive house’? Then take a look at this video:
“The most important thing people can do to reduce energy use is to ensure their homes have ample insulation so it doesn’t leak heat and have drafts,” said Shelley Hastie, PowerSense community ambassador, in a press release. “The second most important thing to do is improve their heating system, whether it is gas or electric. And thirdly, review hot water tanks and the amount of hot water they use.”
→ If you are living in a rented house or flat: Check GreenRenters.org – a not-for-profit organisation providing sustainability advice specifically for those living in rental accommodation. Renters are a growing part of the community, and the renters’ involvement is vital and possible.
→ If you live in United Kingdom, check: Insulating your home just got cheaper.
→ This is another good place to start when you Want to reduce your household energy costs
→ If you live in the United States: Expertise.com has developed several home sustainability and energy efficiency resources, which includes guides on window insulation, heating and cooling, efficient lighting, water conservation, solar energy, and more. See: www.expertise.com/green
→ If you live in Australia, check: www.sanctuarymagazine.org.au/sustainable-design-directory
→ Melbourne Energy Institute: 22 ways to cut your energy bills
→ 1millonwomen.com: 10 simple actions to lower your household energy consumption
This film shows you ways that you can get started working towards a sustainable future: The Off the Grid house is sustainable through energy and transportation, and working towards food and water.
Save on petrol
► Save on petrol. CO2 emissions from road transport have increased by 21 percent in Europe between 1990 and 2011, and now accounts for about 23 percent of the EU’s total CO2 emissions. So, lots of potential here! You could…
→ Share your car instead of just driving on your own. Find people to drive together with. In Denmark, they have gomore.dk – a website for car-sharing. Your country might have similar sites.
Sharing a trip to work is called ‘ridesharing’, ‘carpooling’, ‘lift sharing’, and ‘covoiturage’, among other names. In the 21st century, ridesharing has gotten a makeover, as social media, smartphones, apps, and online services link people in need of a ride with people offering one. This hybrid service has been referred to as ‘real-time ridesharing’, ‘dynamic ridesharing’, ‘dynamic carpooling’, ‘instant ridesharing’, ‘and novo ridesharing’. www.fix.com/blog/ridesharing-on-the-rise
→ Only drive when you really need to.
→ Move your home to a location as close to your workplace, school or university as possible.
→ Buy a brand-new car which is electrical or low on greenhouse gases. Read more
Save on ink
► Save on ink for instance, do you know about ‘Ryman Eco’ – allegedly ‘the world’s most beautiful sustainable font’:
“Every year 1.5 billion ink cartridges are used around the world on presentations, documents, invoices memos… Ryman are proud to present the beautiful Ryman Eco, the new sustainable and eco friendly font. Ryman Eco users 1/3 less ink than any standard ink cartridge which could help lower CO2 emissions by 6.5 million tonnes a year. That’s the equivalent of 15 million gallons of oil.”
→ Video on youtube.com
► When you travel, you can offset your emissions. To ‘offset’ means to take the same amount of carbon out of the air as that vehicle or airplane, which transported you, put into it.
Other than setting fire to a forest, flying is said to be “the single worst thing an ordinary individual can do to cause climate change.” So you may want to consider that replacing a long-haul flight with a local holiday can save over six tonnes of CO2-emissions.
No technical solution for air travel, such as unproblematic biofuels or a zero-emissions plane, exists today. Some day, there will be a renewables option for the air travel industry, perhaps a solar hydrogen airplane, just like some railways in Europe already are able to offer a train ticket that guarantees the use of non-polluting renewable energy, and the energy sector is building hydropower stations, wind turbines and solar plants in order to be able to provide ‘clean and green’ electricity for the coming generations of electric vehicles and trains.
However, as long as this solution and other climate-friendly alternatives do not exist, airplane passengers with a climate conscience are able to compensate their flight emissions – which is called to ‘offset’ their ‘carbon footprint’ – with companies such as the Australian Greenfleet or the German Atmosfair.
A growing number of Australians offset their carbon emissions with Greenfleet: “Greenfleet will plant enough native trees on your behalf in Australian biodiverse forests to offset your emissions. Choose what source of emissions you would like to offset: vehicles, flights, households etc. To calculate the exact amount of CO2-e to offset, visit the Australian Greenhouse Calculator and select per tonne offset.”
→ Greenfleet’s individual carbon offset: www.greenfleet.secure.force.com/offset
“Peter Kalmus is an atmospheric scientist who came to a jarring realization about his own carbon footprint. When he added up his emissions, he found it wasn’t the fuel he put in his car or the electricity he used in his home that had the biggest impact. It was his air travel. In the new theme issue of Yes Magazine, ‘Life After Oil’, he writes about his decision to stop flying altogether, and how, rather than missing out, he has built a more fulfilling way of life.”
» Read more on www.yesmagazine.org
→ Use the European CO2 Calculator to calculate your travel carbon emissions
→ Australia: NoCO2’s travel calculator
→ USA: Staying Green While Traveling: How to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint!
“We might not be able to avoid flying altogether, but there are plenty of things we can do to reduce the impact.”
→ Overlandsite: 17 Things You Can Change to Reduce Your Impact on the Environment While Overlanding
“There are several things that overlanders can do to decrease their impact on the environment.”
To offset your carbon footprint from driving 10,000 kilometres a year in a car, you need to plant two trees to take those 2 tonnes of CO2 out of the atmosphere which your car has emitted.
An economy class return flight from Europe to New York equals two tonnes of carbon emissions, according to the Flight carbon footprint calculator.
To offset your carbon footprint from one return flight between, for instance, Denmark and Australia, you’ll need to take almost eight tonnes of CO2 out of the atmosphere. You could plant trees to take those tonnes of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere again, or you could pay a company to do it for you. There are also other ways to offset the carbon emissions.
→ “Why CO2 offsetting is a good idea”: Introducing Atmosfair
→ In Denmark, two young Danes have set up Vitapus to promote the sales of carbon offsets that come from investing in sustainable projects all over the world.
→ Grow-Trees.com allows you to locate your tree plantation project through Google Maps. Plant trees on Grow-Trees.com and the planter and the recipient can locate the trees planted with the help of the unique eTreeCertificate number.
→ Check also Sustainable tourism
→ Businesses, see Climate Friendly’s Carbon offset programs for your business
→ The Conversation – 23 September 2016:
A green and happy holiday? You can have it all
Recycle, reuse and reduce
► Recycle, reuse and reduce as much as you can. Repair things instead of replacing them. Be creative!
Join a network of over nine million people around the planet and become a member of a local freecycle.org group. The idea is simple: Drop off used items you no longer need or desire, (appliances, electronics and clothes, etc.) and search though an array of replaceable gifts. No money is exchanged, and no usable items will crowd an already overflowing landfill. One (wo)man’s trash freely becomes another (wo)man’s treasure. “Gift economy” and by all accounts, it’s a win-win situation. “Freecycle” groups and facilities are popping up all over the world.
Organise a local Swap Market for swapping vegetables of clothes — or organise a Swap Meeting between 10 of your friends.
→ Check out pages like Waste Not
Stop throwing away food carelessly. Eat it before it gets outdated. Did you know that wasted food accounts for around one third of our global carbon emissions? If it was a country, wasted food would be just behind China and the US as one of the top three greenhouse gas emitters. So reducing the amount of food we waste is a critical part of building our zero carbon future.
Tell your friends you want recycled/reused birthday-presents only.
→ Christians, why not recycle or reuse the christmas tree? Read here about living Christmas trees delivered and replanted for free
→ Ethical Christmas gift ideas: Eco lunchboxes – a years supply of veggies – an environmentally sound soccer ball – fairtrade chocolate – the Shopping Companion, guide to chemicals… for good gift ideas, check web sites such as:
Find more ideas and advice about recycling, food waste and more on:
► Buy carbon-free. When you need to buy, buy carbon-consciously. Consume less, simply. “Manufacturing and consumption is responsible for a remarkable 57 percent of the greenhouse gas production caused by the UK,” wrote George Monbiot in The Guardian on 12 April 2013. Consumption matters when we talk about carbon emissions.
– The clothes company H&M sets the new standard by stating clearly that all their business operations must “be run in a way that is economically, socially and environmentally sustainable.” Give them a hand, should we?
Their ‘Conscious Collection’, for men, women and children, is made from sustainable materials including organic and recycled fibers and will be on sale in all H&M stores from 14 April 2013.
– When you need sportswear, get PUMA’s “closed loop” range of products. Puma is one of the first major brands to embrace the sustainable production practice.
– Does your bank finance CO2-emissions? Change to bank which has a policy that it does not invest your money in carbon-polluting enterprises. In Denmark, there is a bank like Merkur Bank. In Australia, there is Greenbank. Each country has similar green banks, if you look around for them.
– Or simply… buy less! ‘Buy Nothing New Month’ is a campaign that promotes conscientious consumption and educates where the goods we buy come from and where they go. “Buy Nothing New Month isn’t about ‘buy nothing never’. Simply make the pledge to beg, buy, barter and swap whatever you need, making sure it’s pre-loved, with the exceptions of necessities (including food, drink, medications and hygiene products)” | http://www.buynothingnew.com.au
– Here is a tool enabling you to make informed purchasing and investing decisions based on how well major name brands are addressing climate change: Use Climate Counts’ Company Scorecard to see how serious companies are about stopping climate change.
– Grow you own: Five steps to a greener home – article in Sydney Morning Herald on 11 April 2013: “We all want to care for the environment but it can sometimes seem overwhelming. The easiest place to start is in your home.” By Bree Player
More about leading ‘green’ companies
Eat more vegetables
► Eat more vegetables, less red meat. Why? Simply, it can be explained like this:
Animal production = CO2 emission.
Vegetable production = CO2 reduction.
The livestock sector represents a major source of greenhouse gas emissions: 12-17 per cent of total EU emissions. 50 per cent of Australian emissions. That amount of carbon we produce can be reduced by up to 60 per cent if we begin to consume fewer animal products and waste less food. According to data compiled by former World Bank advisers Robert Goodland and Jeff Anhang, on a global scale the livestock industry produces between 18 per cent and 51 per cent of all global greenhouse gas emissions.
“Observing meat-free Mondays, says Greg Barker – the former climate change minister who is now the Prime Minister’s personal adviser on global warming – has the same impact as “taking your car off the road for a month each year”.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has been calling for reductions in meat-eating since 2001.
The McCartneys’ Meat Free Monday campaign has attracted support from pressure groups such Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth and WWF (formerly the World Wildlife Fund) and from a clutch of celebrities, including Kevin Spacey, Gwyneth Paltrow, Ricky Gervais, Lily Cole, Pamela Anderson, Victoria Pendelton and Sophie Dahl.
Paul McCartney, as all the world knows, grew up on a council estate in Liverpool. What is less well-known is that there were fields nearby, and these fired a little-publicised lifelong commitment to the environment – which has now led to him heading an international campaign to conserve wildlife and combat climate change.”
The meat figures
Serving one kilo of beef has the same carbon footprint as driving 140 kilometres in your car. That is six times more than the carbon footprint of one kilo of pork.
Between 19 to 29 percent of humans’ global greenhouse gas emissions is caused by our food production, when also considering the transport, packaging and marketing of food. Out of this, the livestock sector accounts for 14.5 percent of human greenhouse gas emissions, and beef production accounts for 41 percent of this sector’s emissions.
In countries like Denmark, diet shift with less intake of meat from cows can reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the food by between 20 and 35 percent.
» Source: ‘The ethical consumer – ethical consumption of climate damaging foods’, a 2016-report from the Ethics Council in Denmark
According to Scientific American, producing 226 grammes of potatoes emits the same as driving a small car 0.2 kilometre. 226 grammes of beef emits as much as driving the same car 12.7 kilometres.
» Listen to the podcast: Transition towards climate-friendly energy AND diet
» Article in ThinkProgress: Eating less red meat does more for the climate than giving up your car
» Article in Treehugger on 21 October 2009: Steak ‘n Bake? 51% of Greenhouse Gas Emissions Now Come From Meat & Dairy Industry.
A Dutch report, which came out in 2009, showed that if enough people adopted a vegetarian diet we could reduce the costs of mitigating climate change by up to 70 percent — even if people returned to eating meat at levels normal for our grandparents, those costs could be reduced by 50 percent.
» Article in Take Part on 3 July 2014: Need Another Reason to Stop Eating Meat? Going Vegetarian Chops Your Carbon Footprint in Half
A group of Oxford researchers managed to nail down the specific CO2 output of everyone from heavy carnivores to vegans.
Get into gardening: 82 Sustainable Gardening Tips – “Go beyond organic with these creative, real-world ideas for more sustainable gardening.”
“The food we eat is responsible for almost a third of our global carbon footprint. In research recently published in the Journal of Cleaner Production we ranked fresh foods based on how much greenhouse gas is produced from farm to fork.”
» The Conversation – 8 December 2016:
How to reduce your kitchen’s impact on global warming
» Climate Reality Project – 2 March 2018:
Spring into action: 6 tips for climate-smart gardening
» Download the WWF report: Food in a warming world
» The Guardian – 28 March 2018:
Off the lamb: how to eat with a low carbon footprint
“A WWF report has named the British meals with the highest carbon footprints, with lamb cawl topping the list. So which foods are more sustainable?”
► Divest: look into your pension funds Sell your shares and stocks in oil, gas or coal projects. Tell your pension fund to do the same. Are you aware how much your pension fund has invested in the fossil fuel industry? If you don’t know, find out! Call them. Meet up at their next general assembly. Investigate what your pension fund is doing to stop digging up coal, gas and oil reserves that should be left under the ground. Most likely, you will learn they are doing nothing, on the contrary: they are funding the climate-catastrophe. So demand that your pension fund sell all its ‘black’ shares and instead invest in ‘green’ ones. For moral reasons, but also for economic reasons.
Quoting the mission statement of the Fossil Free movement: “If it is wrong to wreck the climate, then it is wrong to profit from that wreckage.”
If your pension fund refuses to divest oil shares, then move your pension to another pension fund.
If you, your family, partner, or your company has shares in fossil fuel projects, sell them now. Regardless of which profit they are currently making.
» Read more
– Australia: Banc Mecu – is this your ideal bank?
Study and learn
► Very very importantly, study and learn: Read about the subject independently — on the net, in books, in newspapers. Research. Enlighten yourself. Spend time on this.
– Read about the Pioneers of our carbon neutral future and take inspiration from their actions and achievements.
– Read The Guardian and similar newspapers which make special efforts to give environmental issues good coverage. For instance, currently The Guardian has over 170 articles on behaviour, and for a start, you can subscribe to their ‘Sustainable Business Newsletter’ free of charge.
– Read books on the topic, such as
‘The Sustainability Generation’,
‘The business leader’s guide to a low-carbon economy’, or
The Green Book,
The Carbon Crunch: How We’re Getting Climate Change Wrong — and How to Fix It,
Worldchanging: A User’s Guide for the 21st Century
– Check these book reviews here.
– Here is a list of Top 100 websites for going green
– Become member of relevant online forums and groups, like the Green group on linkedin.com — a group for those who want to share ideas on environment, climate change, renewable energy, clean tech, sustainability, CSR and Green. It has over 2,000 discussions a month, and over 150,000 members.
– Mashable: 9 Tumblrs Every Environmentalist Should Follow
– Search the net in new ways. For instance, ever wondered what is written about ‘Zero Carbon’ right now on social media? Find out! — on kurrently.com
– Figure out what YOU think are the most excellent examples of ‘best practice’ and common sense, and use them in your daily life.
– Enhance your debate skills in this field.
Spread the word
► Then, spread the word: Create! Write a song that makes other people aware of the carbon-emission problem, and what we need to do about it.
– Produce a film, write a book, a poem, a speech, or a reader’s letter to a newspaper.
– Musicians, here’s some ‘climate songs’ for your inspiration.
For instance, take a listen to the ‘100 Generations’ song — an international global-warming music project, which Californian sixth-grader Aitan Grossman created for children all over the world to sing to raise awareness about the climate change.
Or take a look at the lyrics of Judy Leonard’s song ‘The Green Revolution’. Maybe this will inspire you – or maybe on the contrary it will make you think, that is most certainly the way not to go about it. Either way, don’t tell it, show it! Make your own artistic contribution to the carbon awareness campaign…
‘I’m A Climate Scientist’ by Hungry Beast, 10 May 2011 &mdash with a number of actual Australian climate scientists lip syncing and performing.
Video created by Explainer Music with musicians Andrew Bean and David Holmes made this ‘Climate Change, Remixed’: Make your own explainer with our interactive, remixable video, March 2013
– ‘A Song of Our Warming Planet’ – Daniel Crawford is using his cello to communicate the latest climate science through music: He has converted global temperature records into a series of musical notes.
– Jules Cazedessus has written a ‘siren song’ about rising oceans which aims to “awaken humans to their beautiful but warming planet, before it’s too late.”
– Encourage artists you know to start carbon-conscious campaigning.
– Create a blog and join our global sustainability blogger network, Bloggers for Climate Safety.
– Use Facebook to boast about what you have done for the environment today.
– Make your own little animation movies, like Cicero did:
– Print a climate poster: ‘What can I do?’
Free climate change posters to download and print out – A4 colour PDF files:
» More on: 2degreesmovie.com/what-can-i-do
» Or how about this one:
► Advocate and be politically conscious. Support local and national politicians who take the carbon-emission problem serious.
– Demand that public funded building projects in your city or country are always carbon-neutral.
– If they haven’t already introduced carbon tax, demand that they do it.
– Send a letter to the American president Barack Obama and let him know that you have been encouraged by his inaugual speech . (If you didn’t see it on tv on 21 January, watch it on YouTube ). Your could let him know that he has your full support in this, and at the same time that you are worried by what appears like a total abscence of American leadership and responsibility coming from the Congress. Read this page before you write.
– Find out if your local government has implemented a scheme for greenhouse gas reduction. If not, show them how it can be done. For instance, the could copy the model of the Australian local government initiative called the Victorian Energy Efficiency Target scheme. Or check the overall plan, which the Australian government has implemented (cleanenergyfuture.gov.au) and demand that your governments follows their example.
– Demand Low Carbon Strategies at all levels in public administration, including your local government.
– Demand better a recycling system in your city.
– Demand better bike paths and better conditions for pedestrians EVERYWHERE.
– Advocate for a consumer label or certificate for food and goods which have been produced in a carbon-neutral way. Is it working in your country? If not, do something about it! You could take inspiration from the Green Business Certification which is gaining momentum in America, because, as they say: “Customers want to buy from eco-friendly companies, so gain a competitive advantage by displaying the Green Business Certificate.”
There is also the label WindMade™, an initiative leading to the first global consumer label identifying products and companies made with wind energy, and there is the Carbon Disclosure Project.
Singapore started already in 1992 with their Green Label, and futhermore, there is a Global Ecolabelling Network which supports and promotes this kind of initiatives.
– Buy products that you have noticed are conscious and doing something about their carbon ‘footprint’. For instance, check H&M’s sustainability vision.
Organise an event
► Take the initiative to organise an event: a ‘Sustainability Week’, a ‘Decorbonising Day’, a Swap Market, or a ‘Sustainability Festival’ on your local school or workplace. Or integrate it into an annual festival you already have there.
Get inspiration from events such as:
– Earth Day (global event),
– The Earth Hour (global event), or the
– Sustainable Living Festival (Australia-based event).
– Check the Ideas for US Toolkit
– Here are some ideas to how to organise your own Swap Market. The many Transition Network groups around the world generally have a lot of practical experience and good advice on this kind of activities.
Join an organisation
► Join an organisation, a festival or a campaign which works for the decarbonising-cause, and/or for creating a better street-environment for bicycling and walking. There are thousands of good organisations out there, big and small, and many of them are asking for a helping hand.
– The global initiative Earth Charter is looking for volunteers.
– Friends of the Earth is “the world’s largest grassroots environmental network, campaigning on today’s most urgent environmental and social issues.” They have groups in 74 different countries.
– If you are young and live in Australia, you could — again, just as an example — join Australian Youth Climate Coalition — a coalition of youth organisations working together to build a movement to solve the climate crisis.
In almost every country on the planet, you will find similar organisations waiting for your support and/or contributions.
– If you live in the US, there is gofossilfree.org — an American movement working to stop investmenst in fossil fuels.
Decarbonise the atmosphere
► Help decarbonising the atmosphere: If you live near equator, you can grow new plants and trees. Most people are familiar with the idea that trees and vegetation help to defend our planet against global warming. However, recent scientific studies show those benefits depend on where those trees are planted. Forests in the tropical belt around the equator benefit the planet: They absorb CO2, in a process called carbon sequestering, which helps lower temperatures. It’s the forests outside of the tropics that may have little or no impact on climate change. Read more…
Just to make up for the world’s loss of trees in the past decade, we need to plant about 14 billion trees every year for 10 years in a row, covering 1.3 million square kilometers, an area as large as Peru.
In this TED-presentation, the Brazilian photographer Sebastião Salgado argues why we must rebuild our forests. He and his wife started a project at their farm in Brazil where today they have planted two million trees, with the resulting sequestration 100,000 tons of carbon from the atmosphere annually.
– Planting trees around your home, in your community and in national forests can help fight climate change! Through photosynthesis, trees naturally absorb carbon dioxide and other toxic pollutants, while releasing pure oxygen back into the atmosphere. Stand with organizations like Project GreenHands and commit to planting a tree.
» Take the Take Part pledge
– ‘Earth Day’ has the tree-planting Canopy Project which over the past three years has planted over 1.2 million trees in 18 countries, while
– If you’d like to help planting a billion trees in Brazil, consult The Nature Conservancy. One dollar plants one tree. (Maybe an idea for a birthday gift to the man who has everything already anyway?)
– USA: The Coollection is “the all-star team of carbon-cutting projects. It puts the best of the best into one sleek portfolio, so you can support them all at once and pulverize pollution.” www.cooleffect.org
– Trees for the Future is dedicated to planting trees with rural communities in the developing world, enabling them to restore their environment, grow more food, and build a sustainable future.
Through agroforestry, the organisation teaches agricultural and sustainable land management practices that not only feed people and help the poor gain income, but are also improving the environment and the quality of life. Since its founding in 1989, Trees for the Future has planted more than 80 million trees worldwide in over 20 countries.
» Visit www.treesforthefuture.org to learn more.
» ‘Like’ their Facebook page
“The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The second best time is now”
Inspire your children
► Teach and inspire your children to be carbon-conscious and carbon-clever.
The book ‘True Green Kids’ is “an innovative collection of fun and practical ways to help kids become agents for environmental change in their world. It invites the whole family to embark on an eco-adventure with fun ideas that can be applied everywhere from the living room to the local park. The book puts an energetic spin on conservation, making environmental stewardship exciting and empowering for young kids. They can make a difference!”
Do you know the The Green Ninja? — a climate action superhero.
The US Insurance Agents have created the Green Guide for Kids and Adults at Home – Assurance for a Healthy Earth with tips about recycling, water and energy conservation, how we can make our kids involved and more resources on how to keep our environment green and healthy.
► Play games — or give your children games — with environmental aspects: For instance Fate of the World. There is a small article about it in Worldchanging.org. Try it, and if you like it, let others know about it.
– If you are into developing computer games: Start yourself developing a new and even better game which can help create awareness. You can learn more about Fate of the World on the developers’ Facebook page.
Click here to remix and share your own climate change music video explainer in real-time.
– Play with Pinterest. On Pinterest.com, create a board for ‘Environment’, ‘Climate Change Solutions’, ‘Going Green’, ‘Energy efficiency’, or whatever you think you’d like to collect knowledge and inspiration about — and then begin to pin. In the beginning, it might seem like a silly thing to spend time on, but you’ll find that over time you actually learn something from those stories, infographics, photos and videos, which you begin to pin, or re-pin.
Join a course – take a retreat
► Treat yourself to a course or a retreat. Join one of the many ‘Sustainable Lifestyle’ or ‘Living Consciously’ courses or retreats.
– As an example: Living Consciously, a one week to a one month retreat beginning on any Sunday throughout the year in Rocklyn, Australia. This retreat cultivates awareness of living a sustainable lifestyle with practises of awareness as the core foundation with participation in mud building, vegetable gardening, vegetarian cooking, creativity with recycling and yoga.
Find more lists and further advice
► Search for more idea- and checklists which are out there in large numbers. For instance:
» Wikipedia – the open encyclopedia:
What You Can Do About Climate Change
“Two researchers at the University of Michigan’s Transportation Research Institute, Michael Sivak and Brandon Schoettle, recently set out to answer those questions. Their conclusion:
The largest single source of greenhouse gas emissions is
• making things (industry, clocking in at 29 percent of greenhouse gas emissions). After that, there’s
• moving people and things around (transportation, 27 percent), then
• the energy we use at home (17 percent) followed by
• the energy used by non-industrial businesses (17 percent) and
• the energy used in agriculture (10 percent).”
1. Buy the most fuel-efficient car you can afford, then drive it as little as possible
2. Drive your fuel-efficient car until it’s so old that it turns into dust — actually, use everything you own for so long that it turns into dust
3. Drive your fuel-efficient car like it is a leaf on the breeze
4. Fly coach
5. Fly nonstop
6. Turn down the thermostat
7. Eat low on the food chain
» Energy Saving Trust – 18 October 2018:
Climate change: what can you do to help?
“We look at what can you do to reduce emissions.”
» Forbes – 23 January 2017:
9 Things You Can Do About Climate Change
“The Powers That Be may not heed our protests, read our letters, listen to our environmental groups, but they can’t stop us from taking back the thousands of dollars we inadvertently contribute to their polluting economy every year.”
In brief, Jeff McMahon suggests:
1. Become a vegetarian, or better yet a vegan.
2. Eat organic when you can.
3. Buy local when you can.
4. Live in the climate.
5. Line dry your clothes.
6. Vote with your feet.
7. If you have children, don’t use them as an excuse to wage war on their environment. “I have children, therefore I must buy meat,” goes the thinking. “I have children, therefore I must drive a car.” This is like saying, “I have children, therefore I must destroy their future.”
8. Reduce and reuse before recycle.
9. Offset your carbon emissions.
» Scientific American – 12 July 2017:
A Hard Look in the Climate Mirror
“One scientist looks at her own carbon emissions—and makes some major lifestyle changes.”
Step 1: Consider a plant-based diet
Step 2: Travel overland
Step 3: Live car-free
Step 4: Consider the next generation
By Kimberly Nicholas, Associate Professor of Sustainability Science at Lund University in Sweden.
» Grist – 19 February 2016:
Want to fight climate change? Here are the 7 critical life changes you should make
. . .
Climate action advice: Start with food, water, and energy
“A lot of people ask me how they can live more sustainably, and help tackle environmental issues like climate change in their own lives. Here’s my advice. I encourage people to think about their use of food, water, and energy. The vast majority of Earth’s species extinctions, ecological degradation, resource depletion, freshwater decline, climate change, and unraveling planetary systems are caused by how we use and produce food, water, and energy. Other stuff matters too, but food, water, and energy are the big ones. If we don’t get these right, solving the other issues won’t matter all that much. (…)
Most importantly, individual actions are a catalyst for change, and can help us ultimately get better policy and better practice from governments, businesses, and other institutional players.”
~ Dr Jonathan Foley, global environmental scientist, sustainability advisor, author, and public speaker.
» Abstract of Sivak’s and Schoettle’s report:
» New York Times – 3 December 2015:
What You Can Do About Climate Change
Seven Simple Guidelines for Thinking About Carbon Emissions
“Global climate: it’s complicated. Any long-term solution will require profound changes in how we generate energy. At the same time, there are everyday things that you can do to reduce your personal contribution to a warming planet. Here are seven simple guidelines on how your choices today affect the climate tomorrow.”
– 50 ways to help the planet by Zlated.
– 70 Ways to Save the Earth is Greenmatch UK’s extensive list of ways to help the Earth that also includes sources for every single measure.
– VIDEO: Six Things You Can Do About Climate Change | Climate Reality Leader Paul Reale helps answer these questions and discusses six things nearly anyone can do to support the transition to a future free from fossil fuels. Read more on www.climaterealityproject.org
– 10 ways that you can help stop climate change – pamphlet put together by the David Suzuki Foundation in Canada.
– 337-page book (draft) by atmospheric scientist Peter Kalmus: ‘Life with a tenth the fossil fuel – turns out to be awesome’ | Website: www.becycling.life
– “Practically Green is the best way to start living a healthier lifestyle. People like you are taking action every day. It’s easy and free to join!” practicallygreen.com/actions
– Top 10 Apps For Climate Activists – “with these 10 apps you’ll be amazed at how easy it is to stay in the know when it comes to your health, and the health of the environment.”
– The Green Guide – the directory for planet-friendly living
– The website instructables.com has 100 simple ways to reduce your impact that a lot of people would not really think about. Small tips for in the home, outside and on the road that could really help make a difference.
– or simply make a Google search, for instance on on “Easy ways to go green”, and you will see lots and lots of tips and advice from all corners of the world.
– Practically Green “helps you and your friends live a healthy, sustainable life.”
– Article in South Jersey on 20 March 2013: Residents share tips on living a sustainable life.
– “Easy greening for families…” Green Lifestyle Changes takes you step by step to a greener lifestyle. The website is written by a husband and wife team who want to help others get started living greener and saving money by doing simple and affordable things that make a big difference in your community and the world. “Take simple, easy steps for your family to start living a healthier lower-impact life”:
– ‘Simple Tips for Green Living’ by Colette Boylan. “Contrary to popular belief, taking the step towards a more environmentally friendly lifestyle does not need to require frightening shopping receipts or a complete turn-around of a standard way of life. A shocking realization to some, individuals and families can actually save money in making some simple changes throughout their household and daily life rather than spending excess funds.”
– Top 5 Green Myths: How do you choose which green living changes are right for you? And how can you be sure your choices are right for the planet? It can be hard to sort out the facts about leading an eco-friendly lifestyle, and there are many shades of green…
– mygreenside.org – ‘Simple Tips for Green Living’.
– Green Home Tips: “Greening your home is simple and something that you can start today. By following basic tips, your home will be a greener, healthier place to live!” Twitter: @Green_Home_Tips. http://www.greenyourhomeguide.com
– Green Tip videos at www.youtube.com/GreenTipGuy
– dailyecotips.com – ‘Easy tips for being a little greener and more eco-friendly’
– Environmentally Friendly Tips for Individuals: All Eco Tips – ‘eco friendly tips and sustainable solutions for a healthy planet’
– All Hands on Earth: What will you do for Earth? Take action, and earn points and badges. For instance:
Short Shower (Every 5 minutes in the shower uses 20 gallons of water).
Trashless Lunch (We’ll show you how to pack a meal that will fill your stomach, not a landfill).
Clean Green (Your house & conscience will be clean if you skip the toxic chemicals).
Picnic for Earth (on Earth Day)
» Read more: nature.org/all-hands-on-earth
– Low-Impact Living Initiative: What you can do as an individual: 180+ topics
– Bethechange.org.au: Awesome tips for taking action
– Australians should definitely check the Living Greener website, as well as Zero Carbon Home – an educational initiative that takes a practical, performance oriented approach to home design and building. Zero Carbon Home was formed out of the South Australian State Government Zero Carbon Challenge to the housing industry to design and build Australia’s very first Zero Carbon Home.
– Theo Kitchener’s practical advice: ‘What you can do’ – on www.doingitourselves.org
– Climate Change Tips for Individuals on NoCO2.com.au with tips for your household. “You don’t need to make big sacrifices or investments to reduce your personal carbon footprint.”
– Moreland’s Zero Carbon Evolution: Actions – in Melbourne, Australia
– British? Check EnergySavingAdvice.com which is “working towards a sustainable future where renewable energy use is the norm and climate change is managed effectively. Together this reality can be achieved.”
– Greenlivingpedia: Energy saving tips
► Be innovative
– Make stuff. Get inspiration from this long list of solar ideas in Make Magazine.
– Come with suggestions and different, new ideas contributing to this list with the kind of things we all can do.
– or improve it and make your own list in your own language which suits the options you have in your country, town or local area.
» “eEcosphere is an exciting new app that lets you discover and share smart ideas for a better future. Download it at: www.eecosphere.com”
» More information about the #climate app and its makers on: www.hashtagclimate.org
The give grid
The Give Grid is a live source of energy saving ideas co-created by you. Use thegivegrid.org for sharing and supporting Good Energy Stories as we tackle energy efficiency together.
Have a ‘green drink’
► Socialise green
– Every month people who work in the environmental field meet up at informal sessions known as Green Drinks. The movement is active in over 500 cities world-wide. If there is no Green Drinks near you, you might want to set up a Green Drinks in your City. Check greendrinks.org and have a green drink!
– For instance, if you live in Sydney, Australia, you have the option on the first Tuesday of the month to take part in “green drinking to inspire green thinking” at an inner city Sydney bar.
– Transition Film Festival in Melbourne has put this page together with ways you can start your changemaker journey and open yourself up to a new universe of inspiration, empowerment and impact, divided in four categories: Citizen | Consumer | Doer| Thinker
– Ask Umbra: How can I throw a party without crashing the planet?
Recommendations for hosting large gatherings in a sustainable way.
– A general Christmas and Birthday Sustainability Tip: Consider “Do It Yourself” (DIY) gifts! This is a way to give your loved ones unique, personalised presents. If you do buy something, take this opportunity to support your local artists and thereby decreasing the transportation route and the carbon dioxide emissions.
…and when it is all over
Australian green funeral initiatives and companies:
Don’t print this page because it keeps changing.
And generally, print less — read on the screen.
What are we waiting for?
Citizens of the Earth, it is time to get started. Now.
“Think of 2013 as the Year Zero in the battle over climate change, one in which we are going to have to win big, or lose bigger. This is a terrible thing to say, but not as terrible as the reality that you can see in footage of glaciers vanishing, images of the entire surface of the Greenland Ice Shield melting this summer, maps of Europe’s future in which just being in southern Europe when the heat hits will be catastrophic, let alone in more equatorial realms.”
Rebecca Solnit in Utne Magazine on 26 December 2012: Facing Down Year Zero on Climate Action
Related inspirational articles
» DW – 20 December 2018:
How hard is a low-carbon lifestyle? A Berlin family tells all
“For the past year, Karin Beese and her family have been on a low-carbon diet in an effort to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and head off the worst effects of climate change. And it’s changed their lives.”
» The Age – 10 April 2013:
Saving the world one coffee at a time
Many of us feel helpless in the face of climate change, poverty and pollution but Sarah Johnson, the Australian Conservation Foundation’s national sustainability and energy program manager says it doesn’t have to be so hard.
“People think they need to make a grand gesture such as buying a (Toyota) Prius or installing solar panels, but every choice is an opportunity to do something positive,” she explains. Here are five ways to help the planet without really trying. By Fiona MacDonald
on climatesafety.info – continuously under construction
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