The purpose of the things suggested in this list is to lower our plastic and electricity consumption and food wastage. Big companies will keep making things packaged in plastic, will keep churning out masses of food, will keep using fossil fuels, if there’s a demand for them. We can’t rely on them to take the decision out of our hands by saying ‘okay, we’ll stop this’, because if they’re still making money from it, they won’t stop. They don’t care. The people who own these things, the mega-rich oil barons and oligarchs, the 1% – they’re greedy, and they tend to have a mindset of ‘I don’t care that I’m killing the world because I won’t be here to live in the aftermath’.
We have the power to take their power away from them. If we demand renewable energy, they’ll invest money in it. If we stop mass-consuming technology, they’ll stop mass-producing it. WE have the ability to change capitalist business practices by changing where our money goes.
So, here’s a list of things that we need to start, and stop, doing;
* Don’t upgrade your phone when the newer model comes out. Hang on to your handset as long as possible.
* Same for your car, unless you’re upgrading for something more environmentally friendly (and consider the environmental impact that creating that new car had and if it’s worth upgrading right now, or hanging on to your old one for a bit),
* Don’t upgrade your computer equipment or home gadgetry unless it breaks beyond repair. (The way things are going, you’ll have your work cut out for you just surviving in 10-20 years; forget playing videogames).
* Buy refurbished and second hand at every opportunity – especially where tech is concerned.
* Stop adding to your plastic collection. Refuse carrier bags. Take canvas bags to the grocery store – keep them in the car always. Buy things with less plastic packaging. (Paper bags take so much energy and water to create and recycle that they’re not really better than plastic bags. The key here is ‘re-usable’; switch to containers that you can use over and over, rather than buying new every time.)
* Got a garden? Start planting food. Compost your waste. Don’t know how? Use the internet. Learn.
* Reduce your food waste. Only buy what you need, and eat it before it goes bad. Buy as much un-plastic-packaged food as you can. (Are you in Sweden? Check this out – https://www.matsmart.se/ )
* If you get hot drinks to go a lot, get a reusable cup to take with you. A lot of places will give you discounts if you take your own cup. If you use K-cup machines, get the compostable or reusable/refillable k-cups.
* Eat less meat, especially if you buy it from big supermarkets where it’s come from a system of mass-production. (See https://it.reuters.com/article/idUSKCN1PA34E )
* Package your lunch to reduce waste. Invest in a bento box that will last you a few years (there are non-plastic varieties available). Save your jars and containers from other packaged food and re-use them for storing your own home-made food.
* Buy local. Think about petrol consumption on a broader scale than just your own usage, and help to reduce *global* usage. Also, this supports a local economy and local business. At some point in the relatively near future we probably won’t be able to travel far anyway, so start sourcing locally right now.
* Avoid needless electricity usage. Turn your geyser (water heater) off if you don’t need immediate hot water. Throw your air con out and look at other ways to stay cool (I live in South Africa, I can help with this!), and the same with heating. Hang your clothes out to dry instead of using the dryer. (Some electricity providers have contracts where you can pay extra to support renewable energy. Look into that.)
* Walk everywhere you can. Cycle or public transport where you can’t. Use the car as little as possible. Car-share if it’s feasible. Limit your petrol consumption.
* Do you travel by plane a lot? Try to re-think that. Do you NEED to go by plane; can you go by bus or train? Can you go to a replacement location that’s closer? Can you avoid the trip altogether?
* Buy your new clothes from charity shops/thrift stores. Donate or sell your unwanted clothes back to them.
* Do you NEED to buy bottled water? If your tap water is fine, get a reusable drink container and fill that from the tap instead. Think about getting reusable filter jugs, too. (A friend suggested that if you like drinking carbonated water, buy a SodaStream. Bonus 90s vibes! :D)
* Find out who, in your neighbourhood, can fix things. If you can fix things, let your neighbours know. We need to start working on Community.
* Use bars of bath products instead of plastic bottles. You can get soap AND shampoo bars. You won’t care how shiny or soft your hair is when you’re scrambling for your next meal and your house is under ten feet of sea water.
* Bank responsibly; make sure your bank isn’t one that invests client money into big oil, and switch away from those that do. Your investment returns might take a dip, but your money won’t be actively funding climate change.
The largest contributions to CO2 emissions are heating/cooling, transport, and livestock. Lower the thermostat, insulate your house, replace aircon with other cooling methods, reduce transport, eat less meat.
I don’t know the figures of how much this will help, but it’ll help more than NOT doing it, and I imagine that if everyone globally started doing this TODAY, it’ll go a long way to helping combat climate change.
If you find looking at *everything* on this list a bit overwhelming, choose one small thing and start there. When you’re used to doing that one thing, choose something else. Baby steps are better than no steps! <3
(Got something that’s not on the list? Let me know and I’ll add it. Thanks to everyone on Mastodon for your suggestions! <3)
Are you in the UK? Check this out: http://www.communityscrapshack.btck.co.uk/ (and look for something similar near you!)