10 Ways You Can Do to Help Fight Climate Change

Climate change has become one of the most pressing global issues.

It is well-known that humans are the primary driver of climate change through our actions and activities, such as burning fossil fuels for energy, manufacturing, and more.

Climate change has already impacted ecosystems, economies, and communities worldwide.

While tackling climate change might seem like a daunting task, many small actions that can be taken at an individual level can help fight it.

What is Climate Change?

Climate change is the long-term shift in temperature and weather patterns, including average conditions and variability changes.

Since the early 20th century, changes in the Earth’s climate have been caused primarily by human activities, such as burning fossil fuels.

Human activities release heat-trapping greenhouse gases that continue to drive climate change.

The biggest challenge associated with climate change is that heat-trapping gases, such as Carbon Dioxide, linger in the atmosphere for hundreds of years. Even if we stopped emitting all greenhouse gases today, climate change would continue to affect future generations.

Responding to climate change requires both mitigation and adaptation. Mitigation refers to the efforts to reduce or prevent the emission of greenhouse gases, while adaptation involves adjusting or adapting to life or projected life in a changing climate.

Mitigation often refers to new technologies and renewable energies globally, but it can also be applied locally or individually. You can help fight climate change by changing your daily habits or consumer behaviors!

10 Ways You Can Do to Help Fight Climate Change

1. Reduce Transportation Emissions

Transportation, including cars, trucks, commercial aircraft, and railroads, is a major contributor to climate change.

In the United States, it is the most significant contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, accounting for 29% of total emissions. Nearly three-quarters of the greenhouse gas emissions associated with transportation originate from road vehicles, e.g., cars, trucks, buses, and motorbikes.

This is unsurprising, given that many people commute to and from work daily. Although acting on your transportation emissions might seem challenging, several minor adjustments can be made on various journeys (e.g., to the grocery store) that can help make a difference.

Tips to help you reduce your transportation emissions:

  • Drive less
  • Avoid Idling
  • Walk or bike
  • Use bike-share or car-share programs
  • Take public transportation whenever possible
  • Carpool or ride-share
  • Switch to a hybrid or electric vehicle
  • Work from home occasionally if possible
  • Plan your journey ahead of time

Learn more on how to reduce car pollution.

2. Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle

Reduce, reuse, and recycle are often called the three R’s of the environment. They refer to reducing the amount of waste generated, reusing things that otherwise would be thrown away, and recycling old useless items into something useful.

Tips on how to reduce, reuse and recycle:

  • Think before you shop – ask yourself, “Do I really need that”?
  • Repurpose items (e.g., old clothing, cloth grocery bags, and containers)
  • Shop at thrift stores and buy used items
  • Donate or sell unwanted items
  • Research your local recycling program to know what is collected
  • Research where electronics, batteries, or other more oversized items can be recycled
  • Maintain products, appliances, and cars to ensure the lifespan is maximized
  • Repair products instead of just throwing them out
  • Borrow, rent, or share items you don’t frequently use (e.g., party decorations or tools)

3. Reduce Your Carbon Footprint When Flying

Flying has a massive impact on the environment, as it is energy-intensive and dependent on fossil fuels. Flying is responsible for 12% of transportation emissions annually. Flying would be among the top 10 global emitters if it were a country.

Flying produces many CO2 emissions, air pollutants, and greenhouse gases, which contribute to climate change. The main concern with these emissions is that they remain in the atmosphere for centuries.

One way to reduce your carbon footprint when flying is to purchase carbon offsets. A carbon offset is a credit for emissions reductions that can be sold as compensation for an individual to offset the environmental cost of their air travel.

They are usually measured in tonnes of CO2 equivalent and are bought and sold through international brokers, online retailers, and trading platforms.

Tips to help you reduce your carbon footprint when flying:

  • Fly economy to improve efficiency
  • Take direct, non-stop flights to avoid high emissions during takeoff and landing
  • Take the train if that is an option
  • Take daytime flights
  • Choose airlines that have policies related to energy efficiency and passenger capacity
  • Purchase carbon offsets

4. Boost Your Energy-efficiency

Globally, energy usage is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions. Approximately two-thirds of greenhouse gas emissions are linked to burning fossil fuels for things such as heating and electricity.

Adopting more energy-efficient practices can significantly impact the environment and your pocketbook. For example, LED lightbulbs use an average of 50% less power than fluorescent or high-intensity bulbs and 80% less energy than incandescent lighting.

Energy efficiency is an effective way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Tips to help you boost your energy efficiency:

  • Install a programmable thermostat that allows you to reduce cooling and heating when you’re not home
  • Lower your thermostat by a few degrees in the winter and raise it a few degrees in the summer
  • Unplug computers, TVs, and other electronics when you’re not using them
  • Wash clothes in cold water
  • Hang-dry your clothes
  • Use dryer balls when you are drying clothes in the dryer
  • Look for the Energy Star label when buying new appliances
  • Change to energy-efficient (LED) light bulbs
  • Turn off any lights when they are not in use

5. Reduce Food Waste

In North America, food waste costs the economy more than $28 million, and the wasted food could have fed over 260 million people. Food is wasted both at home and in stores because it spoils before it can be consumed.

When food is wasted, it ends up in a landfill, creating methane (greenhouse gas), and all the resources (e.g., land, water, energy) that go into producing it are also wasted.

Tips to help you eliminate food waste

  • Plan your meals ahead of time
  • Go to the grocery store with a list and stick to the list
  • Avoid impulse shopping (stick to the list)
  • Check the “best-before” and “packaged on” dates
  • Store perishable food in the refrigerator or freezer as soon as you get home from the grocery store
  • Organize your refrigerator and freezer so food doesn’t get “lost.”
  • Make sure that leftovers are always near the front of the fridge
  • Anything that you are storing in the freezer should be dated

6. Switch to Reusable Cups, Water Bottles, and Containers

Single-use plastics and other disposable materials have become increasingly popular in our fast-paced society. These plastic bottles or paper coffee cups often find their way to our oceans or waterways, harming wildlife and the environment.

For example, in the United States, an average of 50 billion water bottles are disposed of each year, of which 23% are correctly recycled.

Plastic bottles take centuries to break down and release toxic chemicals during that process. Making the switch to reusable reduces waste and saves resources.

Tips to help you make the switch to reusable:

  • Put your cup, bottle, or container somewhere that you will remember (e.g., in your bag)
  • Use your cup, bottle, or container whenever possible (e.g., at the coffee shop or for takeout)
  • Find no-waste stores where you can bring your containers

7. Make Changes to Your Diet

Agriculture and forestry activities associated with food production account for over one-quarter of greenhouse gases emitted from human activities. Over half of the agricultural emissions are from animal products, such as livestock and methane gas production.

Believe it or not, what you eat impacts the environment, and making minor changes to your diet can help tackle climate change. For example, some studies have suggested that adopting a vegan diet can reduce the number of greenhouse gases your diet contributes to climate change by up to 60%.

Tips to help you make your diet more climate-friendly:

  • Eat less meat (e.g., meatless Mondays)
  • Reduce beef consumption (e.g., once or twice per week)
  • Try new recipes
  • Adopt a vegetarian or vegan diet
  • Eat more vegetables
  • Buy more organic and local foods
  • Grow your own produce or herbs

8. Invest Responsibly

Responsible investment is an approach that acknowledges environmental and social factors. Making responsible investments requires an individual to determine where their money is going. For example, if you have a financial advisor or investor, they guide you on what to invest in.

However, many people must realize that their investments are in oil companies or multinational corporations. Most banks, pension funds, and big corporations often hold investments in fossil fuel companies.

Ask your financial advisor or investor where your money is going and how to make responsible investments.

Tips for Investing responsibly:

  • Ask your financial advisor or investor if you can opt out of funds with investments in fossil fuels
  • Invest in renewable energy, green tech, or other sustainable industries

9. Plant Local Flowers and Wildflowers

If you plan to do some landscaping, it is essential to research. Planting native plants is vital as it provides nectar, pollen, and seeds that help native species (e.g., butterflies, birds, bees, and other animals) thrive.

Native plants do not require harmful fertilizers or pesticides that are toxic to the environment and native species.

Planting native species helps reduce the threat of invasive species, reduce water consumption, reduce one’s carbon footprint, and create natural habitats for native species.

Tips for planting local flowers and wildflowers:

  • Determine plants that are native to your area
  • Find the right location in your yard (e.g., shade, full sun)
  • Use a rain barrel to capture water for your plants

10. Reduce Your Fashion Impact

The fashion industry is responsible for 2-4% of greenhouse gas emissions, as its production requires significant energy, water, and other resources.

For example, the fashion industry uses 93 billion cubic meters of water annually, which is enough to meet the consumption needs of five million people.

One of the major problems with the fashion industry is that a significant amount of energy is required to manufacture, transport, package, and sell clothes. In contrast, only 15% of clothes are recycled, meaning that most clothes produced end up in a landfill or are incinerated.

Consumerism is another problem, as we buy more than ever, especially for cheap fast fashion.

Tips to help reduce your fashion impact:

  • Buy less
  • Buy clothes from sustainable brands
  • Shop Local
  • Shop at thrift stores or online re-sale apps
  • Rent items (e.g., a dress for an upcoming event)
  • Spend the extra money on better-quality
  • Try to repair clothes
  • Donate old clothes
  • Sell clothes on re-sale apps
  • Find shops that buy clothing items
  • Recycle clothes in textile bins

Final Thoughts on Ways You Can Do to Help Fight Climate Change

Climate change is a complex global issue that requires action at all levels – international, local, and individual. Climate change mitigation can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions being released into the atmosphere.

Start making minor changes to help fight climate change! Small individual actions can have a significant impact on climate action. For example, imagine how many plastic water bottles would be saved even if only ten people switched to reusable water bottles.

Related content: Ways to Make Your Home Appliances More Energy-Efficient

Did you find this article helpful? If so, please share it with your friends! Many thanks.

You May Also Like