The shit has hit the fan. The 6th IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) report was released today, and it has shown the consequences of our ways of life. Yes, global warming will rise from anywhere between 1.5 – 5.5 degrees celsius. And this will have a huge impact on us. An increase in climate-related disasters we already know. Rising sea levels and increased acidity in the oceans will make ocean life less than desirable for us and the sea’s natural inhabitants.
There will need to be policy initiatives, and there will need to be some attacking at the large-scale energy polluters that seem to have their hands in government pockets.
But importantly, what can you do right as an individual right now? We need to change, and while we may think that only one person cannot make a difference – the evidence no longer allows us this ready-made excuse for complacency.
Now, to be clear, I am NOT an expert – but I have consulted The David Suzuki Foundation’s recommendations, and thought about them for my own life, as it is right now. Perhaps some of these will also be feasible for you.
Part 1 – Home Energy
- Install a programmable thermostat that will help you regulate temperatures without overheating or overcooling. You know the drill – program the thermostat so it is cooler when you are sleeping in the winter (or when no one is at home), and moderate when you are awake in the daytime. Unprogrammable thermostats waste energy by adjusting the temperature too often. We have this but don’t use it well.
- Stop using the dryer in all seasons but winter and hang your clothes to dry. Back to how we lived in Thailand and Korea.
- Change to energy-efficient light bulbs and egress windows. Use fans and basements instead of air conditioners. We still have to change the windows.
- If you can put the upfront investment, install solar panels to produce much of your own energy needs. The initial cost in Edmonton, Canada for a 3-bedroom 1200 sq. ft. bungalow that would cover energy needs for a family of 4 would be about $2500 for the panels and $3000 for the energy-storage unit. This cost would be recuperated within 18 months in energy savings. My project for 2022.
Part 2 – Energy for Movement
- Use a bicycle or walk. This is my son.
- Take public transit. This is how my wife and daughter move around when I work.
- Switch to an electric or hybrid vehicle on your next vehicle purchase. Have no more than one car for 3 persons. NEVER buy an SUV. My switch will happen when the 2009 Mazda 5 I own (which has been very reliable) gives out.
- Fly less. I have traveled to 38 countries for all who know me – THIS will be hard to do.
Part 3 – Consumptive Energy
- Eat less meat – and eliminate, if possible, eating red meat. I recommend intermittent fasting (once a month) and becoming a weekday vegetarian. Also, only eat in-season produce.
- Reduce your wardrobe to a two-week wardrobe for each of summer and winter. The fashion industry is the third-largest polluter on the planet.
- Avoid online shopping because of the increased energy to ship products.
- COOK your own food, and make your own coffee and use a travel mug! We have reduced our dinners purchased at a restaurant to once a week.
What could you add to it?