Have you thought about taking action for the climate but are unsure where to start? Or perhaps you’re looking for inspiration on what more you can do?
Then you’ve come to the right place! We’ve listed some of the most high-impact actions you can take to fight the climate crisis. They range from significant lifestyle changes to something you can do from your couch. Let’s get right into it!
Switch to Sustainable Savings
Switching your pension savings to sustainable funds can knock down your climate impact if you’ve accumulated some savings during your work life.
We’re all too often unaware of what our savings are funding. It could be anything from oil drilling and deforestation to renewable energy and clean transportation. And while some banks and initiatives are working to make this visible to us, there are still some ways to go.
A UK study estimated that the average individual (with a pension of £30,000) could save as much as 19 tonnes CO2e by switching from a global index fund to a sustainable fund. For something you can do with just a few clicks on the computer, that’s a significant carbon saving!
It takes some research, and it’s always a good idea to reach out to your bank to understand your options. And redirecting your savings to a sustainable fund is definitely among the top things you can do for the climate.
(Re) Consider your Car to fight the climate crisis
Here are some road-related stats for you:
- Transportation accounts for one-fifth of global CO2 emissions.
- Road transport makes up three-quarters of all transport emissions.
- Passenger road traffic represents nearly half of all transport emissions.
In short, how we choose to get around affects the climate. And this makes it an area in your daily life where you can dramatically impact the environment.
Going car-free means saving around 2.4 tonnes of CO2e a year, assuming you usually travel by a gasoline car., And ditching the car has more benefits than just reducing your carbon footprint. It also contributes to reducing traffic congestion, petroleum dependence, and environmental toxicity issues related to vehicle production.
Of course, going car-free is the highest impact you can have when reducing your car-related emissions. But you can still reduce your emissions while having a car at hand.
If you have a gasoline car today, you can halve your car-related emissions by switching to an electric vehicle. Even switching to more efficient gasoline or hybrid car makes a big difference.
Forget about a Flight
It’s hardly surprising that flights pop up here. The aviation industry would be the antagonist if the climate were the protagonist in a film. All the attention air travel gets in the climate debate has been argued as undeserved since it accounts for only around 2.5% of total global CO2 emissions.
However, from the individual consumer perspective, flying is one of the most high-emitting activities we can do. If you usually go on at least one long-distance trip by flight a year, avoiding just one round-trip impacts you. You could also shave off 2.74 tonnes of CO2e from your carbon footprint by avoiding just one round-trip transatlantic flight.
Move away from Meat
For some of us, this can be a tough nut to crack. But it’s one well worth the effort. Globally, over 14% of all human-caused greenhouse gas emissions are estimated to come from livestock supply chains.
How exactly is livestock so bad for the environment? The digestive process of ruminants such as cows and sheep causes them to emit carbon dioxide, as we do, and methane (a greenhouse gas around 30 times more potent than carbon dioxide). And there’s more. One of the leading causes of deforestation is the conversion of land for beef production and animal feed.
It’s estimated that removing meat from your diet can reduce your yearly emissions by 0.8 tonnes of CO2e. While switching to an entirely plant-based diet could be up to five times as effective as lowering your meat consumption.
And if that’s not reason enough, there are other benefits to reap if you move away from meat. Eating a more plant-based diet can reduce chronic illnesses like heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and cancer!
Roll out Renewables
Now that we’ve covered some trickier lifestyle changes, let’s go back to what kicked this list off, how to fight the climate crisis from your couch.
Switching to renewable electricity can reduce your carbon emissions significantly, especially if you live in a large house with electric heating and/or AC. Estimates show you can save up to 2.5 tonnes of CO2e a year by purchasing renewable electricity.
And if you’ve already switched to renewables, there’s plenty more you can do. Heating and cooling account for the largest share of our household energy use. So simply lowering or increasing our indoor temperature by 1°C can make a massive difference to the climate and our wallets.
One study concluded that if you live in a hot climate, you could save up to 13.5% on your energy consumption by increasing your indoor temperature by one degree.
While lowering your indoor temperature by one degree in a cold climate can reduce your total energy consumption by around 5%. Other great examples of how you can reduce emissions through your energy consumption include:
- Washing clothes in cold water (0.25 tonnes CO2e per year),
- Hang-drying instead of tumble-drying,
- And recycling (both 0.21 tonnes of CO2e per year).
Influence other individuals to fight the Climate Crisis
Finally, let’s move away from the direct ways we can reduce our climate impact with a shout-out to how to reduce emissions indirectly. Let’s all become influencers to fight the climate crisis!
Research shows that if a friend or family cares about the climate, we’re more likely to care for ourselves. Ever heard the saying “actions speak louder than words”? This applies to climate action as well.
For instance, one study found that neighbors are more likely to follow suit if a fellow neighbor installs solar panels. Of course, as individuals, we can influence more than just our closest circle of friends, family, and neighbors.
Political inaction is an enormous obstacle to climate change mitigation globally. And you can do something about it locally by meeting with your local political representative about a topic close to your heart.
Got an idea of how your community can become more sustainable? Then make sure your voice is heard. Let’s not forget that we humans are social animals. We influence one another, something we can use as a force for good to fight the climate crisis.
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