On Earth day, April 22, 2020, we will face two crises: One is immediate from a pandemic and the other is slowly building as a disaster for our climate.
We can, will, and must solve both challenges. The world was not prepared for a coronavirus. Leaders ignored hard science and delayed critical actions. We still have time to prepare — in every part of the world — for the climate crisis. As an individual or a family, we invite you to adopt one (or multiple) Green Acts to help our planet. Here are some quick ideas and we have more on our website www.vertemode.com, Link in Bio. Feel free to create and do your own and let’s see how many you can do in one month! Consider making some or all of these small changes. Together, they can really add up.
1. Use energy wisely — and save money too!
Consider making some or all of these small changes. Together, they can really add up.
- A house with a furnace is like a car that idles all day. Swap your furnace for a heat pump, which works by extracting heat from one location and transferring it to another
- Install a programmable thermostat
- Swap your gas stove for an electric stove, which will also lower indoor air pollution
- Unplug computers, TVs and other electronics when you’re not using them
- Wash clothes in cold water. Hang-dry your clothes when you can and use dryer balls when you can’t
- Look for the Energy Star label when buying new appliances
- Winterize your home to prevent heat from escaping and try to keep it cool in the summer without an air conditioner
- Change to energy-efficient light bulbs
- Get a home or workplace energy audit to identify where you can make the most energy-saving gains
2. Make your diet more climate-friendly
The decisions we make about food can have a profound effect on the environment. Here are four simple ways you can make your diet more climate-friendly.
- Eat more meat-free meals
- Buy organic and local whenever possible
- Don’t waste food
- Grow your own vegetable garden without using pesticides
- Plant native flowers for the bees
3. Invest in renewables and divest from fossil fuels
Even if you can’t install solar panels or a wind turbine, you can still be a part of the clean-energy economy. Search online for local renewable energy co-ops to join. As a member, you’ll own part of the co-op’s renewable energy projects and will receive a return on your investment. You can also speak to your financial adviser about clean energy/technology investments.
Let industry know you care about climate change by meeting with your bank or investment adviser to make sure your investments do not include fossil fuels. And make sure your workplace, pension fund or university doesn’t invest in fossil fuels either. And make sure your workplace, pension fund, university or bank doesn’t invest in fossil fuels either. If they do, join or start a divestment campaign.
4. Green your commute
Transportation accounts for 27 per cent of climate-polluting emissions, a close second to the oil and gas industry.
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
- If you have a large, inefficient vehicle, retire it and switch to an electric or plug-in hybrid vehicle
- Fly less (if you do fly, make sure you offset your emissions)
5. Consume less, waste less, enjoy life more
Focusing on life’s simple pleasures — spending time in nature, being with loved ones, making a difference to others — provides more purpose, belonging and happiness than buying and consuming. Plus, when we consume less, we produce fewer emissions and are gentler on the earth. Sharing, making, fixing, upcycling, repurposing and composting are all good places to start.
- Track your trash (great activity to do with kids, table to print below)
- Use less water (when brushing your teeth, showering, doing the dishes…)
- Make your own soap or counter cleaner
- Repair your clothes instead of buying new
- Buy cloth at local thrift stores
- Say no to fast-fashion brands
- Don’t waste food
- Bring your own mug to work or travel (when we can again)
- Join Beach clean-ups (when we can again)
6. When Outdoors
- Pick up litter around your block
- Pick up litter when walking your dog
- Pick up after your dog (pet waste is toxic!)
- Dispose of your dog poop bag in the trash can (landfill)
Educational movies (get the popcorn ready!):
- Watch educational movies about Plastic Pollution: https://beyondplastics.org/article/plastic-pollution-film-series/
- Watch educational movies about the Albatross: https://www.albatrossthefilm.com/watch-albatross