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5 ways families can tackle climate change from home

Created: Fri, 2 Oct 2020

Amid the many troubling headlines of 2019 and 2020, there were many signs of encouragement as Australians realise the reality of climate change.

5 ways families can tackle climate change from home

It’s all good and well being aware of our reality but if we don’t do anything about it, how do we expect it to change.

There are many major climate solutions that requirement significant leadership and investment from governments but we also need changes within regular households as we are collectively responsible for a large proportion of greenhouse-gas emissions.

Here are five areas in the home that you have some control of when it comes to emissions. We get it, habits are hard to break and if change is difficult initially, perhaps use these as conversations starters to get the ball rolling.

What you eat

When it comes to what we eat and confronting climate change, ultimately it will require us to adjust our diet. One of the most effective carbon-cutting changes is to eat lower on the food chain or eliminate meat and diary entirely.

Aside from what we put in our mouth, how it is produced plays a significant role as well. While it’s compelling to eat locally, just 11% of the lifecycle emissions come from the transportation of food, while 83% comes from food production.

What you eat

If the concept of eliminating meat altogether is too far out of reach, consider buying products that use lower-emissions production processes such as regenerative grazing.

Children learn best when adults link cause with affect. Discuss what dietary changes your household can make and how they contribute to the climate-change solution. If we collectively choose to eat less meat, we can reduce the carbon emissions that contribute to climate change.

What transport you use

Given air travel is the most carbon-intensive individual activity, there are some pluses to the majority of 2020 having limited air travel world-wide because globally transportation accounts for 23 per cent of human emissions.

If and when air travel does return to (a new) normal, keep this quick fact in mind: one transatlantic round-trip flight produces half the emissions (per passenger) of operating a car for a year. If you must fly, a shorter flight is a good way to lower-emissions.

What transport you use

Aside from air transportation, every day we make choices as to how we move and get around. Here are a few ways that you can change your behaviours to reduce transport emissions:

  • Get around more naturally by biking, walking or even running;
  • Carpool or take public transportation as often as possible;
  • If driving is a must, focus on fuel consumption;
  • Try living car free or downsize to one car for the household, instead of two;
  • If you are buying or leasing a car, choose smaller and best-in-class vehicles; or
  • If you are buying or leasing a car, choose smaller and best-in-class vehicles; or

What energy you use at home

Reducing the energy you use in your home doesn’t make a huge impact on emissions but it will impact the cost of your energy bill. This is still a great target to aim for given we’ve seen a 12% increase in energy use and the cost of bills since many Australians moved to working from home.

Where we do see significant (33% of Australia’s total) emissions from household energy is from the energy source. Put simply, these emissions come directly from traditional energy sources, Goal and Gas.

Thankfully we now have more cleaner (and cheaper) options than these harmful traditional fuels. Solar, Wind and Hydro Power are in abundance in Australia but we need continued demand from homes to increase the supply of renewable energy to really make an impact on the energy sectors emissions.

What energy you use at home

If this sounds like a government leadership change issues, you wouldn’t be wrong (as continued investment into large scale renewable energy farms would help significantly) but you can single-handily help by doing one thing:

Switch to an electricity plan that is provided by an energy company who is proactively investing in renewable energy so the source of your energy produces fewer emissions. It’s that simple. only allow Australian energy providers who are proactively investing in renewables. Upload a bill, compare the plans available and switch in minutes - no phone calls or fuss!

What you throw out

If you’re an avid sorter and recycler, you might need to sit down for this one.

We all know the mantra: reduce, re-use, recycle however the recycling industry isn’t as successful at recycling as we’ve been lead to believe and much of what we put into our recycling bins ends up in landfills.

What you throw out

While the emphasis has been on the ‘recycle’ part of the mantra, due to the complexities of the recycling industry we need to shift our focus to ‘reduce’ and ‘re-use’ and this shift will have a lasting impact on the environment.

While the emphasis has been on the ‘recycle’ part of the mantra, due to the complexities of the recycling industry we need to shift our focus to ‘reduce’ and ‘re-use’ and this shift will have a lasting impact on the environment.

Repurposing or exchanging items, both inside the home and within your community are great ways to re-use goods. Low Tox Life offer many ways to reduce and re-use around the home.

What (or who) you can influence

Misinformation is rife in the age of social media so while education is key to climate change and an easy way to make small steps to change longstanding behaviours, it’s important to make sure your family is learning from credible sources. Researching evidence, causes and effects of climate change is a good place to start.

Children are constant observers of our choices. While they may push away from you in their teenage years through their own desire for independence, the choices we make that are witnessed by our children, are likely to drive the behaviours as they evolve into adults.

What or who you can influence

Never forget that in 2019 a 16-year-old launched a global climate movement that is inspiring millions.

Don't be disheartened - change is the product of individual actions

Our current crisis is the product of billions of individual decisions. When you’re told that individual actions won't make a difference or that domestic changes don’t matter if others don’t follow suit this can be incredibly disheartening. These views ignore the fact that household actions lead to changes in collective behaviour and are an essential part of social movements.

Author: Ross from EnergyIQ

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