Climate change – this term is no longer an unknown figure of speech. It has become reality. We all know that we are destroying our planet with our actions and modern lifestyle. But if we continue this way, the future of our children will not be safe. The words of Prof. dr. Andrew Weaver of the University of Victoria, Canada, put it in a nutshell in Rob Stewart’s stunning documentary (R)evolution by saying:
“I mean, let’s face it: what part of our environment and our body can we further burden without getting the receipt for it? The atmosphere – we treat the atmosphere like a dump on which everyone can unload whatever they want. This has to stop!” We talk and discuss a lot about climate change, but only a few really do take action against it. Sure, not every one is a born activist or a world improver. But everyone can try to change something in their daily routine. So let’s have a look at what we can do:
1.) You are what you eat!
Every day you choose what you put on your plate. Of course, it has to fill you up and be delicious, but it can also be good for the environment. Start by eating organic and local food if you have the chance to. This doesn’t have to be much more expensive than the other food – sometimes it’s even cheaper!
Another thing you can do is to put less meat in your meals. No need to turn vegetarian or vegan. But less meat is actually healthier for you, too. Moreover, about 18 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions are caused by stock farming. If the demand for meat decreases, the stock farming – and with that, the greenhouse gas emissions – drops. Tip: Use saturated food like potatoes or rice to saturate you faster. If you do eat meat, then it should be an addition to your actual meal and not the main part.
2.) Bye bye to standby!
We all know these situations: You put your mobile phone away from the charger, but the charger stays in the plugged into the socket. You push the off-button on the remote control, but the standby light on the TV is still on. In our daily life, we put so many electronic devices on standby mode instead of turning them off completely. Even if your phone is not plugged into the charger, the charger uses energy. And even if there is no program on the screen and the TV is “sleeping”, it uses energy. So turn off your devices completely! Tip: Use a power strip with an on and off button, so you have the chance to turn off every device with one click only.
3.) Farmer’s market instead of the grocery store
A walk over to the farmer’s market is not only relaxing and much more personal than the grocery store, but it can also do something for the environment. Let’s look at some facts:
- Imported vegetables and fruits need 48 times more fuel to get to their destination than local food.
- Because organic food doesn’t need things like chemical fertilizers or pesticides, organic farmers produce about 20 percent fewer greenhouse gases than conventional farming.
- Food out of heated greenhouses produces ten times more emissions than outdoor productions.
- The formation of humus bundles greenhouse gas in the ground – this is active climate protection!
So buying local, organic food from your favorite local farmer can change things. We’re not saying you should stop buying food at the grocery store. But if you do so, try to look out for sustainability signets, go to the organic section, and try buying your fruits and vegetables without plastic packaging. Tip: You can bring your own fabric bag to the store.
4.) Warm but not hot!
We know a warm, cozy flat gives a wonderful feeling in the winter. But even for that, you don’t have to turn the heater on full power. 21 to 23 degrees in your living room are completely adequate. For a healthy sleep, your bedroom is sufficient with even 18 degrees. Only one degree less could save 5 to 10 percent energy, 200-kilogram carbonic acid gas, and 70 euros in a year. So you’re not only doing the earth a favor, but you’re also making your wallet happy. If you leave the flat for a few days, turn the heater off. And to save energy, ventilate the room intensely for 10 minutes, instead of leaving the window open in a tilt position the entire day. Tip: A good tea, a cuddly blanket, and your favorite book can work wonders!
5.) Put a lid on it!
You can save a lot of energy doing the smallest things. For example: If you cook, put the lid on pots and pans! The food heats up faster, saving energy. It is even healthier for vegetables because they cook gently through steam. Another kitchen-example: You want to cook your favorite pasta? Heat the water in the electric kettle before putting it into the pot – it is faster and saves energy. Also, try to open the refrigerator for short periods of time and make sure to not leave it unnecessarily open. Tip: Avoid ice building in the refrigerator. A common cause for ice building is a faulty door seal. This is also a waste of energy.
6.) A little ride with the bike!
Here’s something we all know very well: driving a car is not very eco-friendly. Cars and planes are one of the biggest enemies of our atmosphere. But we all use it anyway. No criticism – we know you need them. But you don’t need them to get to the farmer’s market next door. Or to pick up your pizza at the pizzeria two streets down your block. Try to walk or use your bicycle as much as possible! Tip: You can balance the carbon dioxide emissions you produced with your flight by using companies like atmosfair.
7.) Turn the light on – but choose the right one!
Especially in the dark wintertime, we need our warm lights to feel comfortable, right? But your choice of lamp bulbs could affect the climate. Energy-saving lamps are good, but even better are LED lights. An advantage is that the light doesn’t have to be dazzling white. There are dozens of companies that make LEDs with a comfortable yellow light, making you feel cozy. Even if you cast LED lamps away, you’re not hurting the environment because they don’t contain mercury like other types of lamps. Avoiding mercury emissions means they aren’t poisonous. In fact, 90 percent of them are recyclable. Tip: Pay attention to the durability of the lamps. Usually LED lamps last way longer than normal lamps. A bonus!
8.) Sharing is caring
Sharing is probably the easiest way to prevent climate change. It can vary from sharing your car to giving your last egg to your neighbor because you don’t want it anymore. There are various ways to reducing consumption that will help the environment. Whenever you want to throw something away, think that someone else may still want to use it. We already use more resources than the environment has to offer – so think of that before you buy or cast away something next time. Tip: Search for organizations in your town where you can bring food you don’t use or need, such as the red cross. Hereby you do something good for the earth and for another person. It will feel great, we promise!
9.) Put your energy in green mode
Green energy is one of the best ways to save the environment. Fossil fuel like lignite destroys the climate day by day! To turn lignite into energy needs a lot of carbonic acid gas. Whole areas of land are getting destroyed, possibly damaging the underground water for years. Certified green energy causes less carbon dioxide because it comes from renewable energy sources like wind, water or sun. And less carbon dioxide means less climate change! Tip: Changing the energy supplier is easy today. In most cases, your new energy supplier takes care of your old energy agreement.
10.) Vote for the climate!
Avoiding climate change isn’t only about our own actions, a lot begins with the authorities in the government. And which authorities get to decide is your decision – if you vote for it! So keep an eye out in your city for politicians who want to do something for our planet, someone with “green thoughts” and sustainable projects. Besides, you can support startups and companies who want to do something for our nature, such as TreeCoin. This startup plants eucalyptus trees in Paraguay. Tip: Start small by talking about climate change and what we can do against it. Speak to friends and family, sensitize them to this topic and reflect together.
Do you see? It’s not that hard to do something good for the earth. Treat it like it’s the greatest thing we have – because it truly is. Lester R. Brown from the Earth Policy Institute, a nonprofit organization, said in Rob Stewart’s documentary: “No civilization survives the systematic destruction of its natural livelihood. And we are no exception to this.” So let’s begin to do something together!