We produced a little booklet about just that – www.thesolution.org.au/booklet – where we are asking: “What if?…” What would happen if more people in Geelong said “Climate change is personal!” and decided to become part of the solution, rather than continuing business as usual and being part of the problem?
‘The Solution’ is written as if it was fictional, but a lot of what is described is actually already happening in real life here in Geelong. A growing number of people are taking part in building up resilience and energy independence in our community.
Number 1: Invest in renewable energy sources and energy efficiency, house insulation, etc (which will save you money in the long run).
Number 2: Reduce your use of energy, re-use, recycle and shop local produce (which will save you money right here and now).
Some ideas to get started
at a personal level:
Spread the good message
Most importantly: start talking about and flag openly about your decision. To reduce your own carbon footprint is to take personal responsibility for your own and future generations’ welfare and safety. By your actions, you can inspire others to follow your track.
Buy pleasures rather than things
It is far more climate-friendly spending money on services and entertainment, rather than buying physical things. Treat yourself to great experiences, but do so locally. Because if you board an airplane, the climate gains go out the window. For instance, visit a local spa resort or holiday inn instead of flying off for a big city weekend.
Energy efficient home
Turn off the computer and lights when not in use. Use energy-efficient light globes. Save on heating and cooling. For instance, install an energy-efficient hot water system. Get the isolation in your home checked. Change to an accredited Green Power option. Use energy-efficient whitegoods. Use triple-A rated shower-head. Put solar panels on the roofs or purchase shares in a local wind turbine project.
→ Solar and Wind Guide
Swap clothes with friends or become member of a dress exchange concept like Resecond. Find the children’s clothes at local flea markets. If it is in good condition, it will last until they grow out of it. Repair instead of throwing out. Use canvas shopping bags and re-useable packaging. Join exchange groups on Facebook and email.
→ For example, become a member of freecycle.org.
Check your bank and your pension
Does your bank and your pension fund put your money in risky oil, gas and coal projects? Not only is it a threat to the climate and our future, it is also a risky investment for yourself. Ask them what they do to the climate. If they don’t do anything, change to one that does.
→ Check this banks comparison page
Hummus, falafel and spinach lasagne
Eat legumes, lentils and grains and let it replace meat. Eat what the season offers. Fresh berries in winter has been flown halfway around the globe. Avoid having to throw food out. If, for example there is rice left over, you can use it in the dough for homemade bread. Remember to sort your waste. Consider composting – there are smart, indoor solutions for that nowadays.
Using muscle power and electricity for the transport
Start walking more and using your bike more often. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Buy an electric car. Enter a car sharing scheme. Make use of public transport, in particular trains and trams.
Streamline your way of working
Use Skype instead of traveling around the world for meetings and conferences. If you live far from your work place, consider moving closer. Have days where you work from home.
When shopping: look for the official labels
It is teeming with green labels, but many of them are self-invented. Go for the official ones in cosmetics, diapers, cleaning, etc, chose products with the best possible energy labeling when buying houses, cars, consumer electronics, refrigerators, look for the organic label when you buy food.
Take the time to learn
The more you know, the better decisions you can make – and the better you can help others to do the same. So allow yourself to spend time on getting into the depth of things. There is no one who can do these things for you – and you can not expect politicians to take action before they can see that there are many who – like you now – have taken the spoon in the other hand and take personal responsibility for dealing with the climate change issues.
» Sustainability Directory free to residents
Life changing help is at hand in the latest Sustainability Directory. “If you’re keen to save energy, reduce waste and live a more sustainable life then help is at hand”, says Cr Richards:
» Dig deeper: What we all can do