Climate change is affecting us all. Extreme weather events are becoming more frequent and intense, sea levels are rising and many species are being driven to extinction. The good news is, we are not alone! People, communities, cities, businesses, schools, faith groups and other organizations are taking action to help fight climate change. What changes will you make? Here are ten things you can do about climate change. Choose just one to start with.
1. Urge government to take bold, ambitious climate action now
Top climate scientists issued a “code red for humanity” recently, warning that this is our last chance to implement the transformational changes necessary to keep warming below 1.5 C and avoid the most dangerous impacts of climate chaos.
Canada’s climate targets are still critically insufficient to do our fair share on the global scale and we are the only G7 country whose emissions have increased since the Paris Agreement was signed.
The climate crisis won’t wait. Join us in calling on all federal parties to cooperate and get Canada to act on climate change with the ambition and urgency this crisis demands.
2. Use energy wisely — and save money too!
Canada is the top per-capita energy consumer in the world! By becoming more energy-efficient, you not only pollute less but save money too.
Consider making some or all of these small changes. Together, they can really add up.
- A house with a furnace is like a car that idles all day. Swap your furnace for a heat pump, which works by extracting heat from one location and transferring it to another
- Install a programmable thermostat
- Swap your gas stove for an electric stove, which will also lower indoor air pollution
- Unplug computers, TVs and other electronics when you’re not using them
- Wash clothes in cold water. Hang-dry your clothes when you can and use dryer balls when you can’t
- Look for the Energy Star label when buying new appliances
- Winterize your home to prevent heat from escaping and try to keep it cool in the summer without an air conditioner
- Change to energy-efficient light bulbs
- Get a home or workplace energy audit to identify where you can make the most energy-saving gains
3. Green your commute
In Canada, transportation accounts for 24 per cent of climate-polluting emissions, a close second to the oil and gas industry.
The many ways to reduce your transportation emissions will also make you healthier, happier and save you a few bucks. Whenever and wherever you can:
- Take public transit
- Ride a bike or advocate for bike lanes in your community
- If you have a large, inefficient vehicle, retire it and switch to an electric or plug-in hybrid vehicle
- Fly less (if you do fly, make sure you offset your emissions)
4. Consume less, waste less, enjoy life more
“We use too much, too much of it is toxic and we don’t share it very well. But that’s not the way things have to be. Together, we can build a society based on better not more, sharing not selfishness, community not division.” — The Story of Stuff
Focusing on life’s simple pleasures — spending time in nature, being with loved ones, making a difference to others — provides more purpose, belonging and happiness than buying and consuming. Plus, when we consume less, we produce fewer emissions and are gentler on the earth. Sharing, making, fixing, upcycling, repurposing and composting are all good places to start.
Fire up your commitment to the people and places you love by acting every day on the understanding that we are one with nature.
5. Support Indigenous-led climate action
Indigenous Peoples are well-positioned to take leadership on climate because of their ecological knowledge, deep connection to the environment and lived experiences with the impacts of climate change and environmental racism.
Brave land and water defenders have long been on the front lines of the climate movement, protecting their traditional territories from fossil fuel expansion while putting themselves at personal risk.
Learn to be a good ally by supporting, volunteering, donating and showing up for Indigenous-led organizations like Indigenous Climate Action and land defenders like the Wet’suwet’en.
You can also learn about truth and reconciliation and build anti-colonial practices and perspectives into your life and climate advocacy.
6. Invest in renewables and divest from fossil fuels
Even if you can’t install solar panels or a wind turbine, you can still be a part of the clean-energy economy. Search online for local renewable energy co-ops to join. As a member, you’ll own part of the co-op’s renewable energy projects and will receive a return on your investment. You can also speak to your financial adviser about clean energy/technology investments.
Let industry know you care about climate change by meeting with your bank or investment adviser to make sure your investments do not include fossil fuels. And make sure your workplace, pension fund, university or bank doesn’t invest in fossil fuels either. If they do, join or start a divestment campaign.
Learn more about why it’s important to divest from damage and invest in a healthier future.
7. Eat for a climate-stable planet
The decisions we make about food can have a profound effect on the environment. Here are four simple ways you can make your diet more climate-friendly.
- Eat more meat-free meals
- Buy organic and local whenever possible
- Don’t waste food
- Grow your own
Get more info on how to eat for the climate and how eating less meat will reduce Earth’s heat.
Fun fact: You can also help save the planet by eating insects!
8. Start a climate conversation
Solving climate change requires us all to work together. We can’t do that without finding common ground with those who may not share our perspective.
Since people often trust peers, family members and loved ones more than they trust experts, scientists and environmental organizations, you can talk to people about climate change in ways we can’t. You are more likely to open people’s minds.
Learn from CliMate, a fun and interactive chatbot that teaches you how to have conversations about climate change that decrease divisiveness and help cultivate empathy and find common ground. Overcoming polarization is key to moving forward on climate solutions.
9. Mobilize for local climate action
“What our cities do individually and in unison to address climate change can set the agenda for communities and governments everywhere.” — C40 Cities
In Canada, municipalities have influence over about 50 per cent of our emissions. And with about 80 per cent of Canadians living in cities, it’s important — even crucial — that we focus on their potential to help stop climate change.
Citizens like you, who are willing to work with progressive local government leaders, stand to make a huge difference. Your role as a citizen with your local government is powerful.
We have created a comprehensive online resource that will support you to work with your local government on climate action.
Your voice: mobilizing local government climate action
10. Get politically active and vote
Although it’s important to take action to reduce our individual carbon footprints, we also need to focus on changing the larger system. That’s where we have the greatest opportunity to reduce emissions.
Vote for leaders at all levels of government who take climate change seriously. They should commit to setting science-based targets to reduce harmful carbon emissions, implementing clear plans to reach those targets, adapting to climate change and shifting to a clean-energy economy.
Make sure you are registered to vote and then get informed for all elections — not just the ones that get the most media attention. Candidates’ positions on climate change vary widely, so research the parties, ask questions about climate change at town halls or debates and let your candidates know you are voting for the climate. Know that your vote really matters.
If you’re too young to vote, encourage your class or school to join a Student Vote program, which provides students the opportunity to experience participation in the election process. You can also talk to your parents about the importance of voting for climate action.
- Alberta – provincial – May 29, 2023
The first step is registering to vote.