Business as usual is wreaking havoc on the Earth and causing a disruption in weather patterns. I know–you’re thinking, What can I do? I’m just one person. And I can’t make a difference. And even if I did do something, there’s still China, India, all those other people, etc., etc. etc.
NOT TRUE! It comes right down to each one of us and the choices we make in our daily lives. It also comes down to joining with others. Remember that Margaret Mead quote?
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.
There are plenty of groups working to mitigate climate crisis. Pick one that appeals to you. Join or start one in your neighborhood.
The latest UN report on climate is devastating. Climate crisis is transforming the world more quickly than scientists had thought. We are currently at 1.1 degrees Celsius of warming. The world will race past 1.5 degree Celsius as early as the mid-2030s. That means we only have approximately 10 years to stop climate crisis from becoming uncontrollable.
Think about what we are already experiencing–severe weather, floods, droughts, wildfires, heat waves, sea level rise, crop failures, poverty, climate refugees, biodiversity and species loss. Imagine what the future holds if we don’t take action immediately. We are getting close to the physical limits of what people can endure. Mitigating climate crisis NOW is essential for our survival.
Personal lifestyle changes are now an absolute necessity to mitigate the effects of climate crisis. How could you be more environmentally conscious in the way you live, work, create and consume? Think about it. I know it’s hard to take those first few tentative steps, but when you do, it’ll be like a snowball rolling downhill.
Here are some suggestions to get you started.
- Take the no fly pledge
- Drive less
- Combine shopping trips in one trip.
- Keep your car till it dies instead of upgrading every few years.
- When your car has lived out its useful life, purchase or lease a hybrid or an electric car.
- Walk or bike instead of driving whenever possible.
- Switch from oil heat and an air conditioning unit to geothermal heating and cooling.
- Keep your thermostat at 68 in winter and 78 in summer
- Replace old windows with energy efficient windows
- Insulate walls, attic and basement
- Use the dryer for 10 minutes to soften clothes—finish drying on a rack.
- Even better, hang clothes outside to dry
- Switch to yellow LED light bulbs indoors and outdoors.
- Use energy efficient appliances
- Install solar panels on your roof or in your yard.
- Pay extra for wind energy if your house is not suitable for solar energy.
- Use only non-toxic cleaning products.
- Plant native plants and trees. They are essential for healthy ecosystems.
- Remove invasive plants
- Reduce the size of your lawn
- Use hand tools or electric-powered tools instead of gas-powered tools.
- Compost all appropriate materials from your kitchen.
- Use finished compost for your veggie garden.
- Reduce food waste
- Grow as many veggies as you can
- Buy most of your food from a farmer
- Shop at a Farmers Market
- Join a CSA
- Forgo processed food (it’s bad for you anyway)
- Cook meals from scratch
- Have potlucks with friends instead of going to a restaurant.
- Use 0.5 gpm faucet aerators and 1.5 gpm showerheads.
- Use a travel mug instead of buying bottled water.
- Do the wash in cold water.
- Stop watering your lawn.
- Better yet, replace your lawn with a veggie garden or native plants.
- Mulch your garden with shredded leaves so you don’t have to water.
- Install a dual flush toilet
- Use text instead of email–it uses less energy
- Shop thrift stores and consignment shops instead of buying new
- Even better, shop at the Media FreeStore
- Buy only what you absolutely need
- Live and shop local
- Join a Timebank
- Avoid malls and fast fashion
- Don’t replace anything until it’s totally worn out and not fixable
- Reduce, recycle, repurpose, repair and reuse
- Swap items you no longer want with your friends and neighbors
- Use cloth bags instead of plastic bags
- Use cloth napkins and cloth handkerchiefs instead of paper and kleenex
- Go to the library instead of buying books
- Use recycled printer paper
- Opt out of all junk mail, catalogs and magazines
- Send text messages instead of emails. Text messages use less energy
- Find a hairdresser within walking distance of your house
- Think about EVERYTHING you do—how will it affect the Earth?
- Write to your legislators. Keep on writing until they listen and take appropriate action.
- Use less Christmas lights and make them LEDS
- Give food or herbs from your garden as gifts
- Give handmade gifts
- Use cloth instead of wrapping paper.
- Decorate with greens and pine cones collected from Mother Nature
- Send ecards instead of paper Christmas cards
- Give tickets to concerts, plays, movies, sporting events
- Make a donation to your friend’s favorite charity
- Keep it simple
I wouldn’t suggest you make changes that I haven’t made myself, so I can tell you from experience that all of the above is completely doable. And if you have any other ideas, let me know! Leave a comment. I’m all ears.
Need support to get rolling? Go to transitiontownmedia.org Read Circle of Simplicity by Cecile Andrews. Read our biodiversity blog. Follow our Protecting Biodiversity FaceBook page. Check out NW Earth Institute web site. Explore Shift. For a global perspective on climate solutions, read Designs for All for a World That Works for All by Medard Gabel.
Originally published January 28, 2013. Updated May 27, 2023.