Home/5 Simple Ways to Reduce Your Impact on the Planet
November 26, 2019

When it comes to climate change, the science is clear. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the only way to avoid the worst consequences of climate change is to become a carbon neutral world.

But do individual actions really matter in the big scheme of things?

Throughout history, it has always been individual actions that have led to change. Think Gandhi, Nelson Mandela and all the people who rallied behind them. These people chose to make a stand at a time when world needed changing for the better. Now is our time.

Every day, the positive and negative choices we make ripple out and affect our friends, families, workplaces and communities. In the same way, the choices we make as individuals matters and are vital in the fight against climate change.

So, where do we start?

Here’s a list of ways you can reduce your impact on the planet:

  • Consume consciously: Purchase local produce if possible, only buy what you need and eat less meat
  • Save on energy at home
  • Cut waste: Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Repurpose, Recycle. Avoid single-use items.
  • Think of alternatives to flying and driving by car
  • Offset your carbon footprint

1) Practice conscious consumption

Don’t buy more than you need and ideally, money permitting, choose organic, local or sustainable produce and second-hand items. As livestock are one of the largest emitters of methane, limiting your meat consumption is a very effective way to reduce your carbon footprint and, according to the World Health Organisation; improve your personal health. The animals would be pretty stoked too.

2) Save on energy when you’re at home

Cooling, heating and laundry account for a whopping 74% of the average household electricity usage. If you try and live outside during the summer months, wear more layers in winter and hang that laundry on the line, you might be able to cut the usage in half! Oh and no need to light up your house like you’re hosting the world cup, embrace the Scandinavian concept of “hygge” instead and light a few soy-candles while spending time at home. Bonus: the money saved on the electricity bill can be used to get some more goodies from the local farmer’s market.

3) Reduce your waste — cut the trash!

Can you limit your rubbish collection to once a month? Give it a go — this couple managed just one rubbish bag a year! It’s actually pretty easy if you take your soft plastics to the supermarket, recycle religiously and compost food scraps and garden trimmings. Organic leftovers sent to landfill generate methane, so by composting your carrot skins, you’re also helping to save the world!

4) Be a conscious traveller.

Embrace your inner backpacker and see if you can get to your destination without using a plane. Always choose local transport, accommodation and sustainable tourism activities. This is not only better for the environment, but we would argue, makes the holiday much more fun and interesting! Also, think about catching public transport or cycling to work. This alone will reduce the majority of your day to day emissions.

5) Offset the carbon emissions you can’t avoid

Sometimes we just can’t avoid emitting carbon. We get that you sometimes don’t want to spend 50 days travelling on a cargo ship from New Zealand to Europe. And for those important trips, and other necessary purchases, knowing that you can offset your carbon through companies like CarbonClick can provide peace of mind. Every time you offset your carbon emissions, you’re sponsoring indigenous forest restoration and renewable energy projects from around the world. What we can’t reduce we need to offset.

If you need to compensate for your carbon footprint and flights visit the CarbonClick carbon offsetting app and get started.

5 Simple Ways to Reduce Your Impact on the Planet was originally published in CarbonClick on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.