17 Actions You Can Take To Combat Climate Change
As a musician, I often wonder what differences I can make to help the environment. In the grand scheme of things, my actions are so small it’s hard to feel like they matter, compared to what big companies and governments could be doing to cut greenhouse gas emissions and pollution. My job as a freelancer has me on the road a lot, and this directly hurts my mental health knowing the emissions my car produces. My only consolation is knowing that using this 2003 Subaru Outback until it’s dead is more environmentally friendly than buying a brand new electric car, with all the mining, materials, and emissions that go into building that car.
Ever since the last big climate report came out in the news a few months ago, I’ve been spiraling down, feeling defeated and hopeless, especially since our government cannot push through any lasting climate action. This in turn made my usual actions fall by the wayside because I thought they were worthless. The pandemic hasn’t helped anything, with the huge uptick in the use of single-use plastics and bags in restaurants for take-out. Every time I see them I get infuriated.
My anger and frustration does nothing to help the earth, however. It makes my body think I’m doing something proactive because I’m spending energy towards my anger and I think about it constantly, but that still is not action.
I write all of this not to make you feel depressed about our current climate crisis, but to show you that on the other side of the social media snapshot, I am feeling deep pain with Mother Earth. Maybe you can relate? Just know you are not alone in these feelings. It has taken me a long time to be in a mental space where I could write about this, simply because it, all of It, has been so overwhelming. When I go out into nature on my hikes and backpacking trips, I often cry for the earth. I apologize to Her for what humans have done to Her. I breathe in the crisp, clean air and with Her gift of life, I feel a hint of forgiveness on one condition: do what I can even if it is small, to keep writing to raise awareness, to remind others to take action.
I have compiled a list of actions, big and small, that you can take throughout your life to improve the health of our environment and climate. We can do this together, even if our government won’t. I have to stay hopeful, we all have to.
Actions you can take
- Drive less: Take public transportation, walk, or bike.
- Have less children: Or have no children at all. Yes, it is okay to not have children, no matter what society or your parents tell you.
- Eat less (or no) meat: Livestock produces methane, and the land used to grow food for livestock devastates biodiversity and soil health.
- Stop buying so much online
- Buy local and research brands: Before purchasing an item, try to choose higher quality products that will last a long time, and are preferably made within your own country/locally to reduce shipping emissions/packaging.
- Vote: Vote in ALL elections for representatives that fight for environmental action and restoration.
- Reduce take-out plastic: Tell your favorite take-out restaurants to switch away from plastic containers and utensils (including “compostable” plastics) or eat out less (this is better for your health, too).
- Garden: Restore land that has been overtaken by invasive species and plant native flora. This in turn will bring back biodiversity in both plants and animals and give nutrients back to the soil.
- Stop planting invasive species: This includes ivy, bamboo, blackberries, English laurel, and many more.
- Use reusables: If you have to travel a lot for work like I do, bring reusable mugs and utensils in the car to reduce single-use plastics, or pack food from home.
- Buy smaller cars: If you’re in the market for a different car (used or new), look for hybrid, electric, or much better gas mileage. Push the car market back towards small cars by voting with your wallet.
- Buy less plastic: Wash out recyclables before throwing them in the bin, otherwise they won’t get recycled. “According to National Geographic, an astonishing 91 percent of plastic doesn’t actually get recycled. This means that only around 9 percent is being recycled.” (Source: GreenMatters)
- Compost: Eat the food you buy, produce less food waste, and compost your organic waste. Food in the landfill produces methane gas, the strongest greenhouse gas.
- Borrow, share, and thrift before buying new.
- Put on a sweater, turn down the heat: Reduce your energy consumption.
- Fly less: Create local adventures and have more staycations.
- Find joy and hope within your community: find people that share your efforts to combat environmental destruction and the climate crisis. Your actions will fuel each other.
What actions will you pledge to take? Let’s create a community here. We can support one another, and together we can make an impact.
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