Climate change has already started to take a toll on the planet. From flash floods to seasonal heat waves in different parts of the world, the earliest indications of climate change are becoming evident. These environmental changes are only the beginning, and their impact could worsen if people do not collectively manifest eco-friendly habits in their lifestyles.
There are many ways you can help fight the climate crisis, and it starts by making simple personal decisions in your life that favor the ecosystem. Individually reducing carbon emissions and pollution can lead to a better, healthier planet and grant you self-satisfaction that is beyond comprehension. If you do not start caring about your carbon footprint today, you cannot expect others to act mindfully as well. Only personal and individual changes can pave the way for collective and systemic changes that help fight the climate crisis.
Personal and Systemic Change
As the climate change chaos grows larger from time to time, so do the cries for actionable change. Environmental action seems to be divided into two distinct categories; the first pertains to personal actions, while the second is inclined towards systemic changes. The two options to fight climate change must come forth in collective synchrony rather than separate forces.
One should complement the other. A system must encourage individual change, while individual decisions must orchestrate a systemic prevention strategy for the impacts of climate change. Once you become aware of carbon emissions and greenhouse gasses, you will begin to make conscious decisions that can reduce environmental damage.
Over-consumption is one of the biggest threats to the climate today, and reducing consumerism within societies can be a great way to fight the changing climate. Hyper-consumerism requires mass industries to run giant manufacturing units and power plants to produce goods in response to increased demand. Apart from living minimally and reducing the consumption of goods, many other individual steps lead to less fossil fuel combustion.
Below are ten ways to help mitigate the harmful impacts of climate change.
1. Travel via Transit or Walk
Studies show that an individual produces seven times the amount of carbon dioxide simply by owning and commuting by car. Other studies show that 88% of carbon emissions from vehicles come from the act of driving. If you opt to travel by public transport, you can bring that number down to 1%. To decrease emissions to 0%, you must walk or bike to places.
Overall, you can help incredibly with climate change by actively traveling fewer miles on your vehicle. Burning gasoline for short commutes to work or the grocery store is unhealthy for the environment and your health. Advocating against single-passenger cars and supporting public and bicycle commuting contributes to the fight against climate change, while also solving the issues of congested traffic on public roads.
2. Eat Less Meat and Dairy
The livestock sector is one of the top contributors to global warming. Since 1960, global meat consumption has increased drastically. There are two dominant reasons why the expansion of dairy farms spiked by meat consumption is terrible for the environment, land usage and greenhouse gas emissions.
Greenhouse emissions produce about 15-20% of global greenhouse emissions. Animal food production involves large-scale disruptive measures such as deforestation. A large majority of deforestation is for land usage for livestock. Forests play a critical role in flourishing our environment and natural resources.
Forests are the planet’s lungs, keeping the air clean and cooling the temperature. They also contribute to exotic wildlife’s food, rain, and longevity. They have also been a home for medicine and remedial treatments for human life for many years.
Forests have countless environmental benefits, and the increasing demand for dairy and meat requires large-scale deforestation. Cutting down on meat and dairy products is the only way to stop the food agriculture industry from thriving at the expense of the climate.
3. Do Not Waste
It is estimated that a large percent of the food in your refrigerator and freezer will go to waste, making us contributors to the mass consumption algorithm. One step to prevent this is by decreasing the waste that you produce.
A simple step to help with that is to freeze the leftover food, so you do not have to throw it out. It is also important to stop impulsive consumption while grocery shopping. An easy hack would be to consume a large meal before walking across the snack isle inside the supermarket.
4. Spread Awareness
Despite all your efforts, real change will come about only with combined effort. Encourage your friends and workers to join you in your efforts for a greener future. Take the discussions of the climate crises to your friend circle, workspace, and public. Get people to join you in activities that reduce carbon emissions—joining a global movement that strives to fight against climate change and inviting others to join you will help you play a huge part in climate change and climate action.
5. Vote for Science
Act as a responsible citizen and vote for politicians that promise to mandate greener climate policies and actively work towards legislation that encourages everyone to fight against climate change. Moreover, support businesses that allow you to voice your issues regarding an environmental cause you truly care about.
Voting mindfully and raising your voice on political platforms can help you tackle the climate crisis on a larger scale rather than on an individual level. Joining a business or non-profit puts pressure on politicians in power who do not take climate impacts seriously.
6. Reconsider Your Utility Source
If possible, try to install solar panels instead of relying on power outlets and fossil fuels for your electricity usage. Not only is it clean energy, but switching to renewable energy significantly lowers your carbon emissions. If you cannot switch to renewable energy, then be efficient with electricity usage.
Take measurable steps, such as switching off unnecessary appliances when you don’t need them. Another small step that makes a difference includes reducing heater and microwave usage, along with other appliances that are high voltage. An easy way to prevent heater usage is to insulate your roof, so your indoor space stays protected from extreme temperatures. Another way is to invest in energy-efficient appliances. Energy efficiency can make a large impact overall.
7. Sustainable and Local Shopping
Consider opting for seasonal and local food items to decrease your carbon footprint. Doing so will help your local businesses and community while eradicating the transport emissions associated with large-scale production companies and cold chain storage.
Sustainable agriculture consumes less energy than commercial agriculture and does not drastically impact the planet’s biodiversity. It is safe to say that it is better than conventional food farming. Hence, making a conscious choice to purchase your food from local farms is another way you can contribute to recovering from the climate crisis.
Go further and consider planting your fruits and vegetables instead of consuming them from retail stores. Planting fruits and vegetables is easy; all it requires is a small space and some care and maintenance. You can also create a community garden to get your neighbors involved in this green activity.
8. Plant Trees
This is a no-brainer when it comes to caring for your environment. Every year, many trees are cut down for corporate settlements and developments. Deforestation for means of agriculture is a primary source of the climate crisis. Planting trees and getting others to plant trees can be a move towards reversing the drastic impacts of deforestation.
9. Leave Behind Old Thought Processes
Overall, fighting for the climate involves a to-do list that is difficult to track and monitor. To start abiding by this list, you must first get rid of the conventional ways of thinking. Changing our consumption habits is the dominating narrative when discussing ways to help with climate change.
Even though keeping a close eye on your carbon footprint can be beneficial, it is not a long-term solution to the problem. Individuals must get together and raise their voices against the primary power sources. The system needs to change rather than lifestyle habits. Unless we stop our dependence on non-renewable energy sources, the climate change situation will only worsen as time progresses.
10. Raise Voice for Systemic Change
The systems change approach concept would make way for the federal government to take subsidies away from airlines, invest in better transit systems, and create an infrastructure that accommodates an eco-friendly lifestyle.
The government serves the citizens’ voice in a democracy. If enough people demand a systemic change, the government will have to enforce these rules even if it is against their interest. Overall, it would help if you had a far-reaching systemic change to have a major impact on climate change prevention.
Individual Impact on Climate Change
Even though you cannot influence governments and corporations to push for systemic change to the climate crisis, it is never a bad idea to bring this discussion to your community and spread awareness on an individual level regarding climate solutions. Besides, individual actions and lifestyle changes that reduce your carbon footprint on this earth are also important to counter the effects of climate change and preserve the environment for future generations.