It’s Friday, and this means that students all over the world are striking again, skipping school and holding up signs in front of city halls to get politicians to take climate change seriously – and finally ACT on it. Whether you’re in school, university, or sitting in an office all day – here are five things you can do today, yes, immediately, to help stop climate change.
Let’s be real for a moment here, though: You probably won’t stop climate change on your own just by doing these little things. However, we as people who live on this earth, especially in first world countries, are powerful as a whole. Imagine the changes if everyone would to these five little things everyday from today on! And these little things are just ideas to get you started! Imagine what we can change, together, step by step – even if we’re not perfect, just by doing the best we can. If you take two steps forwards and then one back, you’re still moving further than if you didn’t take any steps at all. So let’s all strive to make things better, to help the environment and at least slow down climate change.
Personally, I would describe myself as someone who was concerned about climate change and the environment from a young age. I remember using school projects to speak out about issues like pollution, waste, or the climate change in general. I’m not saying this to boast, I’m putting this in writing to remind myself that I’ve been slacking recently, and that I want to try harder. Maybe you didn’t do any school projects, maybe you’re trying to ignore anything climate-related that’s on the news – but don’t even @ me, as we young’uns say here on the Internet, we all know what’s happening. I also like to turn away when all the TV spots, reports and news shows make me feel guilty. But when I actually stop and think about it for half a second, my stomach churns and I want to cry. I’m also really pissed off.
Climate. Change. Is. Not. A. Joke.
It’s called climate catastrophe for a reason. Wake the fuck up and to something because it basically already is too late.
Enough with the moral pointing finger, though. I dare you to do these five things TODAY. Not tomorrow. And if you want to learn about further steps you can take to help our planet, let me know. This is just a starting point, and I’d be happy to share more.
In this day and age, we use so many things that rely on power and energy. Energy comes from fossil fuels (Greenhouse gas emissions! Also limited!), nuclear power plants (Radioactive!), coal-fired power plants (Emissions! Pollution!) and the like. Even though the number of sustainable energy sources are increasing, using too much energy is still a huge factor for greenhouse gas emissions and therefore climate change. So. Save energy!
Check all of your devices and switch them off when you don’t use them. TVs, computers, gaming consoles, bedside lamps etc. – they all use up energy even in standby mode. Switch them off completely or get one of these sockets with a switch, there are countless options at any store and online. Pull your phone charger out of the wall when your phone’s charged. Don’t leave the fridge door open. Turn off the lights when you leave the room. Hang your clothes instead of drying them. You get the idea.
The production and transportation of pretty much anything requires energy, water, and resources. Single-use products like coffee cups, straws, paper napkins and the like are being used for a few minutes, then thrown away. Which requires more effort and energy if it’s recycled, produces more emissions if burned, or ends up in a landfill (self-explanatory).
Refuse at least one thing like this today. If you want to get a coffee, bring a reusable cup from home or take the extra five minutes to sit in. If you get a drink, order it with a little additional sentence: “No straw, please!” If you pack a lunch to take with you, put it in a lunch box instead of wrapping it in plastic. Try to think before buying anything and find a solution that involves less waste.
But you like the taste so much? Well, the planet doesn’t! The process from growing plants to feed to cows and pigs, keeping the animals in stables, killing them and producing the final meat product involves SO MUCH energy and water. Plus cattle even produce their own emissions!
If you’re eating out today, choose a meat-free dish. If you buy groceries, go for vegetables and legumes instead of meat. (NY times even says that it’s better for the climate to buy veggies from across the world than local meat!) Of course, the meat is still there in the restaurants and supermarkets – but think for a second: What if everyone would refuse to eat meat? The demand would basically vanish, which in turn wouldn’t require any supply, and the climate-damaging meat industry would shrink drastically.
Yes, don’t buy the meat, but also don’t buy anything else that isn’t absolutely necessary. As I mentioned earlier, making anything from a t-shirt to a pen to whatever else requires energy and resources. And it ends up cluttering the landfills and trash dumps if not used.
So think twice before any purchase. Do you really need this thing? Shop clothes secondhand, buy appliances off Craigslist and the like, read magazines and books at your library.
It’s time that not only we as individuals focus on saving our planet. Governments and institutions need to take action on a political level. Strike, participate and protest to get politicians to realize that they need to act now. The Fridays For Future movement is currently growing in many countries across the world. Students skip school to protest in front of city halls and other political buildings. However, it doesn’t seem to be enough. Find out more about the movement here, and take part. If you’re reading this early in the day, drop everything you’re doing and head to the nearest protest. If you can’t make it today, look up future times and locations, then put it in your calendar, and commit to being there! Then, use the hashtags #fridaysforfuture and #climatestrike to spread the message on social media.