#29 7 Immediate ways you can help to combat climate change

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This is a guest blog post by Addie Fisher

Climate change is defined as a change in global climate patterns. What looks menial on paper, such as an increase in average global temperature by just 2 degrees, is actually fatal to many ecosystems, to put it simply. Our actions as humans is changing the very system that maintains our environment, so it’s going to take each one of us, as well as governments and businesses, getting serious about halting and reversing the harm we are causing. At the rate we’re moving with climate change, Hannah won’t be able to ski like she loves to, I won’t be able to cool down during the summer in Texas, and we’ll all be struggling for access to clean air, clean water, and healthy food.

Is living sustainably on your radar now? It is a big buzz word on social media and in advertisement, and it's gaining popularity amongst creators in every niche. Influencers are sharing the ways they’re making changes in their everyday lives, such as using reusable items and buying less. It’s me! I’m one of those influencers. I have been for a while, and it’s amazing to see how this field has grown.

Daily sustainable lifestyle hacks are great info to have and actually implement into your life. However, even though the manner in which you live your life does have an impact on the world, changing your daily lifestyle habits isn’t the only way that you can make a difference. Actions that are bigger than your everyday lifestyle changes can be taken to help make a positive impact on the environment, too. I hope some of these tips help you to make a change.

Stop Using Single Use Plastics

Easier said than done, right? Single use plastics (SUPs) are the plastic items you use one time (or a few more, but not for long) and then throw “away.” We now know that they never really go “away,” they just go out of our immediate sight, until they show up on our social media news feeds, filling marine habitats and killing whales, turtles, birds, and more. How do you stop using SUPs? Invest in reusable items. What are these items? Reusable shopping and produce bags, reusable cutlery and food containers, and reusable straws are a great starting point. These items can be second hand, they can be items you already own, or they can be new. An important factor to note is that they should be sturdy, because you’ll need to use these items for years in order to make a significant impact. Also, the more you use them, the more you’ll encourage others to do the same.

Offset Your Carbon Usage

Carbon dioxide is produced when fossil fuels are heated. Our "carbon footprint” is the amount of carbon dioxide that we - individually, as a family, or as a business - produce. The little “everyday” things that we do without thinking usually contribute more carbon to the earth’s atmosphere. Flying on a plane, turning on a heating and cooling system in your home, eating imported fruit - these are all common examples. We need transportation to get where we’re going, we need food, and while there may be small changes we can make to be more eco-friendly, the truth is that mainstream infrastructure doesn’t readily support a change as big a driving an electric car if you live 50 miles away from a major city. 

What you could do, though, is calculate the carbon dioxide you contribute through your daily actions, and pay to offset it. When you offset the carbon you produce, you are investing in methods that save carbon, and thus make your total carbon output 0. Methods to offset carbon often involve planting trees or saving existing trees and forests, because trees absorb carbon dioxide and release fresh oxygen. Some companies that provide carbon offsets for individuals and families include Terrapass and Carbonfund.org.

Use This Eco-Friendly Search Engine

It seems like everything can be done sustainably, if one tries hard enough. Websites can be hosted by providers who only use renewable energy, cars can run on hydrogen, and EcoAsia provides a way for you to sustainably surf the web. It doesn’t stop there, though. Each use of EcoAsia results in trees being planted from the ad money that the search engine generates.

Ethical Banking

Most of the large “brand name” banks that we easily recognize use their money to support different causes and businesses. Do you know who your banks supports? Here’s a hint: many support politicians that you may or may not agree with, companies with unethical practices, and executives that continuously raise their own profits, but not those of their employees. This is legal, but it is neither ethical nor sustainable. To combat this system that is in place, switch to a bank that practices ethical business tactics. Some ethics-first banks include First Green Bank and Spring Bank.

Follow This Buying Hierarchy 

Buy nothing, buy second hand, buy ethical and sustainable. This is the way we should think when it comes to “things.” Vivienne Westwood has a poignant quote that is also a good reminder here - “Buy less, choose well, make it last.”

Repair Culture

This phrase is gaining traction, but it’s the action that counts most. The youngest generations don’t repair things as much as generations before us because we know we can buy something new to replace whatever broke or malfunctioned. Thinking that we have endless resources is one of many reasons why our environment is nearly in disrepair. We have depleted so many natural resources that we have taken away homes from other species, and in turn, it is negatively impacting us, as well. When the bees don’t have wildflowers, or when they’re ingesting pesticides, they also can’t help with the pollination process for food crops. That means we are becoming less able to produce the food we need. So, yes, repairing your things can also lead to a positive impact to help save the bees.

Make Non-Toxic Choices

Choosing non-toxic items to clean your house or clothes, to paint your nails, or to protect your lawn from insects has an impact larger than protecting you from those chemicals. It also protects the environment from those deadly chemicals. Non-toxic products don’t always have to feel unattainable due to prices, either. There are several affordable brands creating non-toxic products that were previously only available in toxic forms. You can also create your own non-toxic cleaners! Some are as simple as using two ingredients that you may already have in your kitchen. Old school tactics like creating your own cleaning solution - something most of us never witnessed growing up - is a lifestyle habit that should definitely get used to doing.

Related articles:

  1. Reusable Sustainable Straws: Sustainable Living Tips

  2. 19 Plastic Alternatives | Reusable Shopping Bags

  3.  5 Ways to “Buy Less. Choose Well. Make It Last

  4. Eco Friendly Cleaning Resources

Addie Fisher is a sustainable lifestyle content creator. She started blogging 7 years ago on her website, Old World New, and has recently launched audio content, Sustainable Living Tips via the Amazon Alexa audio platform. You can follow Addie on Instagram @oldworldnew for tips to help you live a more environmentally friendly lifestyle.