Changing your lifestyle might sound quite daunting to you if you are just scratching the surface on climate change and learning of the impacts we have on the planet as individuals.
I have been heading down the path of sustainable living for just over a year now and I can assure you it sure isn't easy however, it can be very rewarding! Changing our lifestyles is the first and most important step we can make towards taking action on climate change.
You never stop learning in this field, there is always something more you could be doing to live more sustainably. Sometimes in our busy lives it can be quite difficult to make these changes but once you've made them it's usually quite easy to continue.
I believe that sustainable development is equally everyones responsibility from individuals to companies to manufactures to governments. It needs to change from the top down and the bottom up. We all have the ability to change the world for the better, all it takes is a simple change of habits applied by billions.
Here is what sustainable development looks like as a Venn diagram:
I have put together a list of lifestyle changes we can begin making today, to reduce our carbon footprint and even become healthier, happier beings in the process! I tried to keep it as short as I could while also passing on the some of the critical information I have learned as to why we should make these changes... This is just the tip of the iceberg.
Diet: You've probably heard this one before and yes our diet is one of the most impactful ways we can reduce our emissions. Meat, particularly beef is among the highest producers of greenhouse gas emissions in agriculture.
Cattle farming leads to heavy deforestation, natural habitat loss, (feed) mono-cropping, methane emissions, unethical animal treatment and much more.
If we all cut down on meat consumption it will make a huge difference!
Another thing which many of us don't think of is food miles, if you buy food that comes from overseas, particularly fresh food, it has an even larger impact because that food is usually flown in by airplane to ensure it gets to the consumer before going bad.
We should also consider choosing organic produce over conventionally farmed produce, yes it may be slightly more expensive but the more of us who make the switch the cheaper it will become as demand increases price decreases. This will also encourage safer, healthier farming practices, a healthy soil means healthy humans, we need to break free of the destructive chemical farming. Agriculture is basically natural carbon capture, if we stop stripping the soil of all its goodness and begin farming more sustainably it will not only make for a healthier crop but will store a lot more carbon in the ground where it should be.
Watch this inspirational film about the solution that lies beneath our feet: Kiss the Ground.
Transport: Did you know the transport sector is responsible for 23% of global emissions and
urban transport is the single greatest source. If we can all cut down on unnecessary travel, fly less often, shop closer to home, use rideshare services or public transport more often, cycle or walk, etc. we could dramatically reduce our emissions in this sector. Not to mention that the air pollution created by transport is a silent killer! Invisible but deadly, we're not just talking CO2 but there are also heavy metals from brakes that become air-born and other pollutants from which can lead to a number of illnesses particularly related to the lungs.
If you can afford it of course, purchasing an electric vehicle would be desirable as they are not only much more efficient than internal combustion engines but they reduce pollution substantially and rely less on their brakes thanks to the regenerative braking systems which also increase efficiency. See our article on World Car Free Day to learn more on this topic.
Plastic Reduction: Plastic has made its way into just about every corner of our lives. The more you think about it, the more you will realise how much we have come to depend on it.
I was shocked to learn that there could be more plastic than fish in our oceans by 2050 if we continue the way we are going. Plastic reduction was one of my first transitions towards a more sustainable lifestyle I now go by the 4 R's Reduce Reuse Repurpose Recycle, in that order. The first and most important step is to reduce our plastic consumption, I found this very difficult to begin with which is the main reason why I created Reverse IndusTree, to make it easier for others to go plastic-free! It is certainly no easy feat in the industrial age.
While some plastics are completely unnecessary there are some we just can't replace which is where bioplastics come in, bioplastics are usually made from corn starch but can be made from other vegetables too, they are renewable and 100% compostable.
Plastic food packaging is another big problem, I am lucky enough to have a local health food store who packs most of their own product in a bioplastic packaging which I am able to compost. Maybe we should put more pressure on the big supermarkets to package their home brand packaging with bioplastics or alternative materials. *Hint, I find the platform We Don't Have Time particularly useful for putting across my climate ideas/warnings to big organisations/companies and you will have a whole community to back you up!
Composting/Waste Separation: The most important thing of course is to first reduce our waste, I mean; food waste, plastic waste, paper waste, glass, metal you name it. But for us to survive we will always produce some small amount of unavoidable waste, now it's what we do with it that makes the difference. See our composting page to learn more about how to compost your food waste and divert it from landfill! This will make a huge difference as now your food waste can new sustain life in the form of high nutrient compost in your garden instead of being left in landfill to rot producing more methane for no purpose. Plastic, after giving it your best efforts to reducing your plastic waste there will still be some at the end of the day as it has become almost unavoidable. You should first try and reuse or repurpose any plastic containers before finally recycling. In Australia most supermarkets now offer soft plastic collection as most soft plastics are not accepted in your curb recycling bin, so save them up for your next trip to the supermarket! Paper and cardboard can go in your compost so long as it isn't printed with toxic inks, otherwise it may be recycled. Glass, it is very important to reuse glass as many times as possible before recycling as the glass recycling process requires a lot of energy, similarly with metal tins although they are a little trickier to reuse if they don't have a resealable lid.
Food Waste Reduction: Food waste creates a lot... I mean gigatons of avoidable emissions.
When food is wasted, so too is all of the water, energy and effort put in to making the food. Food waste is not only seen in the home but also on the farm, in the factory, in the shops and the restaurants. A third of the food raised or prepared does not make it from farm or factory to fork, this wastage including what is wasted in our homes could be enough to sustain the worlds starving population. Although food waste further down the line may seem out of your control... maybe it's not! What if you were able to grow your own food or buy direct from the farmer! This would cut out a lot of food wastage, supermarkets can be quite picky as to how a vegetable should look so therefore a lot of the time the food doesn't even make it to the shelf before being wasted! Then there is often produce that goes bad on the shelf because of the time it spends in storage or the time it takes to reach the supermarket. Don't underestimate the the environmental impact of food waste.
Electricity Consumption: We all use electricity, some of us more than others.
Without electricity you simply wouldn't be reading this blog but I am glad that you are!
There are a number measures we can all take to reduce our electricity consumption... and our power bill of course! Things like turning off lights and power points when you aren't using them, putting more clothes on instead of the heater, reading blogs on Reverse IndusTree instead of a white background website! 😂 Sorry... I couldn't resist. But on a serious note we can also switch our electricity provider to one that only buys renewable energy otherwise installing solar panels and a battery in your own home is a fantastic investment for those who can afford the upfront costs.
Sustainable Money: Most of us have a bank account and a superannuation fund right?
Did you know that your bank or super fund may be investing your money in fossil fuels!
If this is not in your best interests please make the switch today, its super easy.
Bank Australia is my responsible banking choice. With the Australian government currently propping up the fossil fuel industry with tax payers money, many superannuation funds in Australia are beginning to see an opportunity to take the role of climate action.
"Money talks" Only 7.7% of super could fund Australia's transition to 100% clean energy.*
Future Super helps move your super out of fossil fuels and into climate solutions to make that vision for your future a reality.
Carbon Neutral Mobile/Internet: Yep... thats right! Have you heard of Belong?
I belong with Belong, in fact the internet I used to write this blog post was carbon offset by Belong! Not many of us think about our carbon thumbprint... Now you have thought about it you'll have to sign up! 😉 It is really quite easy, even if you want to keep your old mobile number, it was really a seamless process for me making the switch and the prices are very competitive! Here, why not use my referral code and get a $20 credit: IAFVAXTV7
Plant Trees While Searching the Web: You'll be quite right in thinking that I used Ecosia to search for any links to web pages which I included in this blog post. Ecosia plants one tree for every 45 searches on average! If you are on your phone, make sure if you haven't already to download the Ecosia app and make sure to set it as your default browser on your computer too. If you are so eager and you want to plant a tree right away, just sign up to Reverse IndusTree for free and we will plant a tree, subscribe to our mailing list and we will plant another!
EverGreenCoin: Is where currency meets environment. That's right! EverGreenCoin is a cryptocurrency used to help accelerate climate action. Anyone can get involved!
Try out a Proof of Environment today, simply take photos of what you are doing to care for our environment and get paid in EGC!
We love using Ecologi because they plant trees where they are needed most and provide jobs to the local communities where the trees are being planted. You too can sign up for just a small monthly cost you can start growing your very own virtual forest! If you sign up using this link Ecologi will plant 30 trees for us and 30 trees for you! What are you waiting for? 😉
Thanks for reading this far! I am sure you would have a question, idea or opinion you may like to express so please feel free to sign up and leave a comment below!