Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Addressing climate change

Something is very much on my mind at the moment.  So many people seem to be waiting for someone else to do something to address the problem of climate change.  This seems absolutely crazy!  I believe many people think they have no power to change the situation.   They couldn't be more wrong!

Changes to lifestyle on a personal level would make a huge difference.  Reducing your electricity by a very conservative 2 kWh would be easy to do but no, in one household that wouldn't make a dent to climate change.  However if you applied that to every household in Australia, given that the population is 23 million, the change would be huge. 
 
Similarly, we as consumers create demand.  One person demanding organic food produced locally which improves the soil on which it was grown/raised would not find it easy to source their food.  Yet 23 million people demanding organic food would ensure it was available.  Let's face it.  Businesses are in it for the money so we do have power.
Yesterday there was a great article in the Australian newspaper about ethical food.  I am quite passionate about ethical food for many reasons, one of them being that it helps to address issues of water and fossil fuel wastage and land degradation.  In the article, Nick Rose from Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance (a brilliant organisation of which I am a paid-up member) described the positive outcomes of choosing ethical food -
"Eating ethically means eating according to values and principles that support an ethic of care about people, animals and the environment. Ethical food is produced, transformed and distributed in ways that: 
Replenish and regenerate soils and waterways. 
Provide a dignified life and death to animals. 
Provide a dignified livelihood to farmers and food workers.
          Promote access to good food to all people, regardless of income or social status.

          Promote appreciation of food, its taste and quality, and the people who produce it."

. - See more at: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/executive-living/food-drink/the-ethical-dinner-basket/story-e6frg8jo-1226730157772#sthash.vJf5s9d1.dpuf

See the difference we can make by our choices?!  Or we can wait for the government to make change and decisions for us.  The previous govt. didn't do an awful lot about reducing emissions and the incoming govt. would like the issue of climate change to just disappear so that it doesn't interfere with mining plans and money making.  One of the first things they did after being voted in, was to axe The Climate Commission.  They were the body responsible for studying the climate here in Australia and they reported to the government and the general public on their scientific findings.

Fortunately for us, The staff at the Climate Commission have responded to public outcry by setting up an independent, apolitical, not-for-profit organisation to give us the information we NEED to know about the climate HERE in Australia!  The newly formed Climate Council have called for support from the general public to fund their work and have begun working on their next report already.  The best news out of all of this is that you are not the only one trying to achieve change. The Climate Council began their campaign to raise money about five days ago and already they have raised $969,000 dollars!!!  This amount is from over 20,000 donors!  Five days!  This proves that there are many, many people out there who care just as much as you and me.  Please consider donating to them on the above link.
Fancy our own government not wanting information on the state of our environment.    It kinda screams, "Don't want to know!  We'll just do as we please regardless of climate change and stuff the rest of you."  Sadly it is others we are hurting, more than ourselves because we are not under immediate threat of sea level rise.  (But others are!)  I hate to think what other countries must think of our self centred behaviour.

I certainly don't sit around waiting for someone to change a situation over which I have a strong element of control.  Particularly when it's obvious The Liberal Party are not going to be my knight in shining armour (more like the fire breathing dragon) and the outcome of waiting will be disastrous!  So don't throw your hands in the air and plead helplessness.  There is heaps that YOU can do and it WILL make a change.

You can:-
  • drive less (plan errands to tie in with each other, car pool, ride a bike, catch public transport)
  • cook with basic ingredients rather than packet foods (tastes better and is better for you anyway)
  • eat less meat in a week (there are heaps of other options like risotto and pasta meals)
  • don't buy anything you don't need (spend some time thinking about the true meaning of 'need')
  • use less electricity (turn off lights in empty rooms, turn switches off at the wall)
  • grow an organic veggie garden (it's easy, fun and tasty)
  • donate to groups like the Climate Council
  • become a member of Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance
  • favour free range chook over meat (there is less environmental cost)
  • buy local food and products and use local services whenever you can
  • buy second hand, repair broken items if possible
  • steer clear of plastic
  • shop at farmer's markets
  • keep chooks or other poultry
  • compost (or give the chooks) all your own greenwaste rather than putting it in a bin
  • join a community group that is proactive on environmental issues
  • install solar PV panels and/or solar hot water
  • learn DIY skills and use them
  • repurpose items (old lawnmower catcher as a laying box for those chooks you're getting ;-))
Most of the things on this list are pretty easy so decide on a few and begin (or continue) making change.  It only takes a bit of thought and some practice at changing habits.
Most people who weren't bothering to act on their personal emissions, because they were using the excuse of denying climate change existed, have now changed their tune.  The latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change was released this week.  They are the leading authority regarding climate change on a world wide level.  Surely this report will leave us with no deniers that climate change is absolutely anthropogenic (due to human activity)!

So if you are not a denier but one of those people arguing that you aren't reducing emissions because there's 'no point because you can't make a difference anyway'.......
Well I hope I've taken that excuse away from you.  Just know you're not the only one and that you can make a difference!  And know that it isn't hard.  When you are feeling uncertain about whether to make a reduction in emissions, remind yourself of the urgency surrounding climate change, weigh it up against comfort or convenience and prioritise from there.

Having said all that I'm sure that most people reading this post are already converts to an energy reduction lifestyle.  I would love your input here.  Please leave a comment and add to my list of ways to reduce emissions.

Happy reducing everyone!  Together we can do this.

4 comments:

Jude Wright said...

Great post!
It's true that the only true change to our habits will have to come from individuals.
We live on our little block in the bush, we have solar power only, collect our own rainwater (no other water available), I take the bus to work and my partner takes the car (he is a solar technician), we grow our own veges,buy everything second hand, I keep; chooks for composting and eggs; sheep for mowing the firebreak and wool; care for native animals in need and provide homes for as many strays as we can handle. I also teach kids how to grow organic vegetables, compost and care for the soil at work (environmental educator).
I firmly believe that individual change to lifestyle can impact climate change, and one way to get the message out there is to blog and talk about it. Keep up the good work (and I will too)

Kim said...

Yes Linda, together we can. I think sometimes the news makes us think we are powerless . I am also thinking about something David Suzuki said about we only have to wait 2 yrs in Aust for another election ...the tide is turning , these guys might do such a bad job that people will finally vote against the major parties.
I love all your ideas, x

Suzie Simplelife said...

I love your passion for the environement and agree wholeheartedly with everything you say....I know people who don't believe that individuals can make a difference, but that doesn't stop me either....Politicians don't give a toss, they only care about being elected...can't believe their disregard for the planet....stay positive and keep sending out your message.

Linda said...

Jude, I love all the things you are doing. Must be great to be an environmental educator! I went searching for your blog but couldn't find one on your profile!

Kim, I don't think *any* govt? can afford to ignore these issues in the next election. Did you see the response when the govt. axed the climate commission? Huge support was given from the general public to forming the new Climate Council. When people put their money where there mouths are it's pretty obvious they are serious about it!

Suzie, you're right about the politicians. I wasn't so disillusioned about politics before I began getting serious about climate change. Shocked at how little is being done! Still I think we can do heaps and you said it.... We need to keep talking every chance we get.