In a world where Donald Trump is in the oval office, and coal is being tossed around Australia's Parliament – it's easy to feel a little despondent. Chin up though! We’ve got good news: there are still plenty of ways that you can help tackle climate change by reducing your own carbon footprint.
1. Walk, cycle or use public transport
Australia’s transport sector accounts for a whopping 16% of the nation’s total greenhouse gas emissions. Choosing active transport like walking and cycling can not only dramatically reduce your carbon footprint, but you could end up saving heaps of dollarydoos, and staying fit at the same time! Win, win, win.
When walking or cycling is not an option, swapping the car for a bus or train can also make a significant dent in emissions. Every kilometre travelled on public transport instead of a car saves up to half a kilogram of polluting greenhouse gases from being released into the Earth’s atmosphere.
2. Eat less red meat
Many of us love a good steak, but our love of meat can be pretty rough on the planet. 70% of global agricultural emissions come directly from livestock farming, whilst they also account for a staggering 37% of total worldwide methane emissions.
Red meat in particular produces the highest amount of greenhouse gas emissions of any meat type, almost five times higher than chicken. That doesn’t mean you have to go cold turkey (or cold steak?!) but reducing your red meat intake can have a dramatic impact on the planet.
3. Move your moolah
Despite the Paris Climate Agreement to limit global temperature rise to no more than 2°C, Australia’s big four banks are still investing heavily in the fossil fuel sector. Last year they invested a mammoth $7 billion into fossil fuels, more than three times that of renewables!
Moving your funds into an alternative bank can help encourage the big players to put their money where their mouths are, and invest more in Australia’s growing renewables sector.
4. Love your leftovers
Throwing away those sad looking carrots may have a bigger impact on the planet than what you think. Australians waste a staggering amount of food, throwing out 1 in every 5 bags of groceries – the equivalent of wasting $1,036 per year.
When food rots in landfill, it produces methane, a greenhouse gas that is 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide. In fact, if global food waste were a country, it would be the third-biggest greenhouse gas emitter. Yikes! Creating shopping lists, making meals out of leftovers and composting your scraps are all simple ways to reduce your food waste.
5. Switch off
We’re all guilty of wanting to crank up the air conditioner on a scorching summer’s day, but heating and cooling our households has a substantial impact on the environment. The average Australian home is responsible for a massive 7 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions every year, with 40% of this energy used for heating and cooling.
There are a bunch of cool ways to reduce your energy use. Insulating your roof, walls and floors, sealing up any draughts and shading your windows will all help lower your impact on the planet (and your wallet too).