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New year, same threatened planet… A small contribution from all of us can make a great impact on climate change, so why not add a few points to your 2020 resolutions list! We need all the help to make these next few decades not our planet’s last.
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed and powerless reading about the pace of a coral reefs disappearing, melting of polar ice glaciers or the spread of wildfires. Not sure where to start? We’ve put together a handy guide for you with 10 easy ways to help the cause. If we all do at least one thing, that’s a small start of big changes!
1. Educate yourself – and others. The more you understand, the more we can do and spread awareness. Social scientists found out that we are more likely to commit to green actions if people around us do so too.
2. Recycle & buy recycled – this reduces manufacturing of new products (and greenhouse gases), reduces waste, saves resources and energy. Current recycling contributes to saving over 700 million tonnes in CO2 emissions every year but it is just a fraction what still needs to be done!
3. Make your commute greener – and healthier! Give a bike a go or at least use public transport more often. Going car-free is the most impactful action we can take (except from not having kids).
4. Cut down on flights – taking one long-haul flight is as bad for the climate as a whole year’s worth of driving. There has been a first successful attempt at solar powered flight, but commercial reality is years away. Here you can calculate your travel carbon footprint.
5. Be more energy efficient – turn off lights and appliances when not in the room. Change to energy-efficient light bulbs.
6. Vote – for leaders who take climate change seriously and commit to real science-based targets. Do your research!
7. Cut down on meat and dairy – these industries are responsible for 14% of global climate-changing emissions. If you half your consumption of animal protein that cuts almost half of your diet’s carbon footprint. Read more about sustainable diets in this World Resources Institute’s article.
8. Switch to green energy – you’ll be surprised it’s often not more expensive! It’s time we ditch fossil-burning suppliers.
9. Use a green bank – and they will invest in things you believe in. Like Tomorrow Bank, which finances renewable energy, organic agriculture and other sustainable projects.
10. Shop differently – especially for fashion (which emits 3% of global production emissions of CO2). Support local charity shops, organise clothes swaps with friends – buy less but better quality.
As Paul Rusesabagina, a Rwandan humanitarian said: If we want to change things, we must first change ourselves. If we want to play – if we want to change the world – we must first show up on the field to score.