10 WAYS TO REDUCE YOUR IMPACT ON CLIMATE CHANGE

September 15, 2015

Joely Mitchell

Climate change is a reality that we’re beginning to face, and the affects will only continue to impact our world. While the government has a responsibility to implement strategies and laws to reduce this impact, it’s important that we work hard to create a more sustainable world.

It’s not hard. Making a few small, simple changes can really go along way. Whether that be being more energy efficient, or using your car a little less, every smart decision counts.

Truth4Youth has compiled a list of ten easy steps we can all try to reduce our carbon footprint, and help make the world a healthier place for future generations to enjoy.

1. Green commute

Getting from A to B was made a lot easier with the invention of cars. Unfortunately, they’re not friendly on the environment. The transport sector accounts for 16 per cent of Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions. That’s a lot. But cars are so convenient, how could we ever stop being so reliant on them? While it might be impractical to trade every car journey with a more eco-friendly option, all it takes is making a few small changes. Need to make a quick run to the shops? Ride your bike. Is your workplace or school, or a train station that will get you there, within walking distance? Put your runners on and enjoy the morning air. Every decision counts, and hey, you might make a difference to your waistline too.

2. Be energy efficient

It’s a no-brainer that you wouldn’t leave lights on in rooms that don’t need them. And five TVs on in one household with the same show? C’mon guys. Being smart with your personal energy use is good for the environment and it’ll save you money on your power bills too. But you can do more than just this. Use energy efficient light bulbs, these are relatively cheap and can decrease energy use by 50 per cent. Heaters and air conditioners are often the only relief to extreme weather, but knocking one or two degrees off these appliances, in exchange for a jumper or cool drink, is a smart energy decision. Did you know that leaving your phone charger plugged in can waste power, even if your phone isn’t attached? Yeah, neither did I. We should probably stop doing that.

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3. Renewable energy

The Abbott government offered little support to renewable energies, namely wind and small-scale solar. However, renewables are the energies of the future. Our environment can’t sustain itself on coal power; we need to continue investing in new and existing renewable energies. You can invest in solar energy by installing panels in your own home.

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4. Eat wisely

Raising animals for food is one of the largest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions. As demand for meat grows, animal agriculture will continue to take up more and more water, energy, crops and land. Choosing to eat fewer animal products, or dare-I-say, going vegetarian, will decrease this demand and effectively lessen the impact animal farming has on the environment.

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5. Recycle and compost

Waste has a huge impact on the world. It’s unavoidable. But, you can reduce this impact by being smart in your waste removal process. Have separate bins for your papers, general waste and compost. You can buy recycling bins for your workplace, or anywhere else, online.

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6. Plant

Let’s make the world a prettier place and plant more trees, it’s good for the environment too. There are lots of initiatives and community groups that seek areas in need of some rejuvenation. Grow your own food too! It’s environmentally friendly, and you’ll get the satisfaction out of growing your own produce.

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7. Make every drop count

Remember the most recent drought of 2009? And water restrictions were in place, so you had to have quick showers and only wash your cars on specific days? Well even though those restrictions have eased, it’s still as important to ensure you’re mindful about how much water you use. After a long day, there’s nothing more refreshing than coming home to a nice long, hot shower. But do showers really have to be that long? Get in, clean yourself, and get out. Use a bucket of soapy water to wash your car, instead of a hose. Turn the tap off while brushing your teeth. It’s just common sense.

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8. Shop smart

Buy food and other products with re-usable or recycled packaging, instead of non-recyclable packaging. Oh, and those green Safeway bags that your mum has a collection of? Use those. Plastic bags are incredibly damaging to the environment, and also completely unnecessary.

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9. Cool wash and hang to dry

If you’re old enough to do your own washing, you’re old enough to do it wisely. Use the cool wash, it’ll save energy. And the sun is there for a reason, instead of using a dryer, which shrinks your clothes anyway, dry your clothes in the sun.

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10. Spread the word

While it’s important to start making these small changes, it’s crucial we get as many people involved as possible. Tell your friends, encourage your family, the more the merrier. We have the power to make changes, and help save the world, one switch at a time.

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Joely Mitchell is a third-year journalism student at La Trobe University. She’s the editor of upstart magazine and one of the founders of Truth4Youth. You can follow her on Twitter here: @joelymitchell

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