With the new year round the corner, it’s a good time to start getting more sustainable in our daily lives. With only a decade left to prevent irreversible damage and tackle the climate emergency, the pressure is on for governments and corporations to act fast and act now. There are lots of ways we as a society can also collectively help stop the destruction of our planet.
Ditch single-use plastic
Make the decision to ditch plastic bags, single-use cups and plastic bottles and use canvas bags, reusable coffee cups and water bottles. Say no to plastic straws and disposable cutlery, and avoid excessive plastic packaging as much as you can by buying loose items and using refill stations.
Get behind not-so-fast fashion
Did you know the global fashion industry emits almost as much carbon as the entire European continent? Or that textile production accounts for global emissions equivalent to 1.2 billion tonnes of CO2 every year? That’s a bigger carbon footprint than all international flights and shipping combined. Don’t buy what you don’t need, and invest in clothes that’ll last longer. Commit to buying reused, recycled or sustainably-sourced items – and maybe make a plan to learn to mend and upcycle in 2020.
Eat mostly plant-based
Start small to make it easy and fun – try meat-free Mondays, or Veganuary, and slowly increase the number of plant-based items in your diet. Even being partly vegetarian or vegan is a great move for your health (and your wallet).
The many ways to reduce your transportation emissions will also make you healthier, happier and save you a few bucks. Whenever and wherever you can:
- Take public transit
- Ride a bike or advocate for bike lanes in your community
- Switch to an electric or hybrid vehicle
- Fly less (if you do fly, make sure you offset your emissions)
Get politically active and vote
Although it’s important to take action to reduce our individual carbon footprints, we also need to focus on changing the larger system. That’s where we have the greatest opportunity to reduce emissions.
Vote for leaders at all levels of government who take climate change seriously. They should commit to setting science-based targets to reduce harmful carbon emissions, implementing clear plans to reach those targets, adapting to climate change and shifting to a clean-energy economy.
The good news: We are not alone. People, communities, cities, businesses, schools, faith groups and other organizations are taking action. We’re fighting like our lives depend on it — because they do.