The New Year presents a great opportunity for fresh hope in the battle against climate change. Why not throw some climate change goals into your New Year resolutions mix? You will be surprised at what you can do to push for action on climate change in your community plus make a personal impact. Here are a few resolutions to consider:
Speak out and vote with your feet. 2019 is a national election year in South Africa and a great opportunity to decide which party has climate change goals in their policy planning. Communicate with your party representative and let them know that climate change will be an election-deciding issue for you. You can also make you voice heard at public meetings, live debates or even by writing to the political party concerned.
Spread the word. Get your family, work colleagues and friends involved in climate action. Start the conversation at dinner, work breaks and social media. Strike up a conversation about why climate change is important to you, and share what you know. For example, Johannesburg recently experience a four day heat wave over Christmas with temperatures of between 35 and 40 degree’s followed by 10 days of cold weather (20 -25 degrees) and torrential rain. Why is this happening?
Exercise you purchasing power. Your money is hard earned, lever your purchasing power to make a change. Do not support companies that are ignorant when it comes to climate change. Ask the everyday business’s that you support what they do to mitigate the risk of climate change? Similiarly, do not support banks or finance houses that invest in things like fossil fuel projects or projects that destroy natural habitats.
Change the way you travel. Transport is the second biggest polluter in South Africa after coal. If you work from home, consider selling your car, seriously. You will be surprised by the fact that you can do without a car (it’s a mind-set thing). Walk or cycle to your immediate amenities and enjoy the outdoors, exercise plus the social aspects. There are services like UBER plus public transport for the longer destinations. Also, avoid unnecessary travel if you have meetings – make a conference/video call instead. You will be surprised how much you save.
Change the way you consume. Is the supplier of the food that you consume 100% committed to renewable energy? Read the label in terms of sustainable ingredients. Consider changing what you eat so that you reduce the amount of food you waste. New bylaws in South Africa will prohibit all organic waste on municipal dumps. Think about what you need and don’t need in terms of food, this will reduce the amount you throw away.
Reduce or eliminate plastic altogether. Plastic packaging is generally use once before being discarded, with much of that ending up in our oceans. Many plastics actually give off powerful greenhouse gases as they break down, contributing to climate change. Shop with a reusable shopping bag and buy products that do not have plastic packaging or make sure that the packaging is recyclable. Support your recycle waste pickup by separating your plastic waste at the point of disposal.
Climate change is upon us. We are experience extreme weather conditions which has a compromising effect on the lifestyles that we have become accustomed to. The New Year offers an opportunity to change your mind-set and take action by setting realistic climate change resolutions. It is not too late.
Author: Bryan Groenendaal