While creating a less materialistic world will require major changes to our economic systems there are also things you can do as individuals to reduce your consumption:
1. Say no to plastic
Plastic is harmful, not only to the health of humans but also to the health of the biodiversity of the planet. Banning the production of plastics and cleaning up the existing plastic in our oceans and environment will automatically reduce the current levels of plastic pollution. But how do we continue to avoid plastic when it is so pervasive in every corner of our daily life?
Taking some of these small steps can considerably reduce the amount of plastic in your life:
- Always use a cloth bag when shopping
- Always carry a reusable stainless steel, glass or clay water bottle with you
- Replace your plastic lunch boxes with stainless steel ones
- Aim to buy the majority of your food in bulk
- Choose glass, paper or cardboard over plastic packaging, or go package free
- Keep reusable containers and cutlery in your car/bag
2. Solar Power
Harness the sun’s energy with the use of solar panels in your home. Solar power is a 100% clean, renewable energy source. It reduces reliance on oil, coal and natural gas for electricity production.
3. Educating people
Lack of awareness among people is one of the major aspects of the misuse of resources which ultimately leads to pollution and continued global warming. Read the summary of the 2019 IPCC report, which shares knowledge on climate change, its causes, potential impacts and response options. Educate yourself with the aid of documentaries, short films and campaigns.
Rethink the way you travel to and from work and explore the following alternatives; walk, bike, electric bike, electric car, carpool, bus. Using public transportation eases traffic congestion on the roads and reduces omissions. The government of Luxembourg recently waived all fares on public transport in order to make their country less polluted and traffic free. This small step is a real game changer. Many people who work in offices on computers are now requesting to work remotely from home. Write to your local district and city council to push for change in city infrastructure to reduce omissions.
5. Support the local food economy
Buy as much of your produce and meat from local farmers and growers. This builds a strong local food economy and reduces carbon omissions from food transportation. Or even better, grow your own food.
6. Plant a tree
Deforestation is one of the major reasons why the quality of air has degraded. The loss of trees and other vegetation causes climate change, desertification, soil erosion, flooding, increased greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, species extinction and numerous problems for indigenous people. Plant trees and other vegetation on your property to attract bees, insects and to build biodiversity. Spearhead a tree planting project in your community.
7. Unplug all your devices
Leaving your charger plugged when not in use leads to a continuous flow of energy without any use. Make sure you unplug all appliances and phone chargers before you leave home to reduce your carbon footprint.
8. Buy less stuff
Be content with less, choosing experiences over stuff. Teach your children the same values.
9. Buy second hand everything
When you do need to buy something explore buying second hand. Here are some reasons why:
- Used products are less expensive
- Used products don’t require new resources
- Used products don’t generate pollution
- Used products don’t require energy to manufacture them
- Used products don’t have packaging
- Buying used supports the local economy
10. Get involved
Find out what environmental initiatives are happening in your community and explore where you can volunteer your time and skills. Now more than ever before we need to collaborate to create game changing solutions that will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions to safer levels.