Australians are already feeling the effects of climate change, and we’re running out of time to turn things around. We urgently need governments and big business to take significant action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and transition more quickly to renewable energy.
So this New Year, why not commit to some resolutions that will help to reduce Australia’s emissions, positively change the national conversation around climate change, and pressure decision-makers to take climate action seriously?
Here are our five top suggestions:
1. Make a commitment to get your news from credible, reliable sources – especially when it comes to climate.
There is no better time to conduct an audit of the news you consume and subscribe to than at the start of a fresh year. Have a good look at what sort of news content you’re currently consuming and think about where it comes from, what vested interests or personal bias may be influencing the news piece, and whether the claims can be fact-checked.
Nowadays, over 50% of Australians consume their news via social media, so make sure you’re also taking a critical eye to the accounts and pages you’re following there.
Our top picks for climate, energy and extreme weather news platforms to follow are:
– Bureau Of Meteorology
– Renew Economy
– Climate Council – you can also find us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, where we post daily about the latest climate and energy developments in Australia and the world.
At the Climate Council, we believe providing Australians with credible, reliable and up-to-date information is key to developing a deep understanding of climate change impacts and solutions and changing the public narrative around climate and energy policy. It’s safe to say we take our news seriously.
2. Make your home more energy efficient
Electricity generation is the biggest contributor to climate change in Australia because the majority of our electricity is still made by burning fossil fuels like coal and gas. Australians are also among the biggest emitters of greenhouse gases on the planet (both in total and per person), which means there is a lot more we could be doing at home to reduce our energy consumption heading into the new year.
Read more about improving the energy efficiency of your home during winter here!
Whether you’re a renter or an owner, here are our top tips for reducing your household energy consumption – especially in the peak of summer – to help you reduce your electricity bills and your carbon footprint at the same time.
Heating and cooling
Around 40% of home energy use goes on heating and cooling.
- Close windows and draw your curtains during the hottest part of the day (to reduce heat from direct sunlight), and then open them when the temperature drops to cool down your home.
- If you have an air conditioner, use it only when you really need it and set the temperature as high as you can. Every degree lower (e.g. 25 instead of 26) can add up to 10% to your energy bill.
- Fans can also be very effective and are much cheaper to run – just remember it needs to be blowing directly on you to keep you cool.
Appliances make up around 25% of the energy used in the average Australian home.
- Where you can, buy energy-efficient appliances – the more stars, the better.
- Be smart about how you use your appliances. Washing your clothes in cold water, for example, uses around one fifth of the energy that a warm wash does. Avoid the dryer when you can.
- And switching off your appliances (including those power-hungry laptops) at the powerpoint saves a lot of energy too.
Lighting accounts for around 5% of total energy use in the average Australian home.
- Swap out your old halogen lights for LEDs – which use around 80% less energy, and last up to 10 times longer.
- Remember to make the most of natural light in the daytime to reduce bills further.
Top tips for improving your household energy efficiency during summer.
3. Commit to having more conversations about climate change with your nearest and dearest
People are more likely to take information on board if it comes from a friend or family member. This means chatting with your nearest and dearest about climate impacts and solutions is one of the most important actions you can take to influence the public narrative on climate change today.
Click here to find our climate conversation guides, and learn how to have an effective conversation about climate change with anyone!
So this year, make a conscious effort to sit down with your parents, neighbours or friends – even if it’s just over Zoom – to let them know why you think climate action is important, and why they should too.
A few top tips to get you started:
- Help people understand how climate change is affecting them in particular. For example, were they affected by the bushfires last summer? Do they love snorkelling on the Great Barrier Reef? Have they experienced a heatwave?
- Talk about how renewables are already creating good, new jobs for Australians and lowering power bills, and explain how it can also solve long-term problems like climate change.
- Invite people to be open to new information by sharing the latest facts and demonstrating how a renewables-led recovery can create a more self-reliant and sustainable Australia.
- Help people understand that phasing out fossil fuels is inevitable, makes economic sense, and is already well underway.
- Explain that investing in renewables is a win-win situation: it’s both a win for the environment, and a win for our economy.
Plus, check out the Climate Council’s social media pages for ideas on what to post on your own accounts – you can find us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
4. Send an email to your MP calling for a renewables-led recovery
The Australian Federal Government keeps banging on about a ‘gas-led recovery’ as our way out of the COVID-19 crisis. This doesn’t stack up economically and it’s also putting Australians at risk.
So a worthwhile resolution for this new year period would be to call out the Government on this ludicrous plan, by sending an email to your State and Territory MP, explaining why you think they should support a clean economic recovery. Sending your MP a personalised message about why you’re passionate about this issue can have a big impact. After all, you’re one of their constituents – they work for you!
Click here to use our handy tool to send an email to your state MP
Gas is one of the main fossil fuels driving climate change. It is not just silly but completely irresponsible for the government to invest more public money into something that is dirty and dangerous when there are clean and affordable alternatives already out there. Australia can transition to 100% renewable electricity and storage quickly and efficiently – which will create thousands of clean jobs, boost the economy, and bring Australia’s emissions down. It’s a win-win.
5. Become a Climate Council member
In the past year alone, Australians have endured the Black Summer bushfires, devastating drought as well as storms and flooding and the third mass bleaching of the Great Barrier Reef in five years. And we know the challenge before us will only get bigger and bigger, the longer we delay action.
This year, we need to fight harder than ever before, change more hearts and minds, and have the biggest impact yet, to stand up against a tough, well-resourced opposition.
It’s our Climate Council Members, who contribute an average of $7 a week, who underpin the work that we do. So if you haven’t already, consider joining us by becoming a Climate Council Member today.
Weekly and monthly donations make up a significant proportion of our funding, and they’re critical in helping us shape the conversation on climate change in Australia and push for real action from our Federal politicians. Time is running out, and we know that we need to be bigger and better to see significant emissions reductions and large-scale solutions to climate change.
Becoming a member powers our important work, so we can keep doing what we do best.
So make your New Year’s Resolutions count this year, by taking on board one – or all – of our climate resolutions.