save the planet, Reduce your consumption of animal products – or go vegan
Meat consumption is one of the most significant contributors to climate change. According to the UN, meat production constitutes over 14% of all man-made greenhouse gasses, including methane, and an MIT study has shown that producing a pound of meat emits roughly 15 times the CO2 used to farm a pound of peas, corn, or wheat. Roughly 60% of our land is used to feed livestock for meat production, which often means cutting down large areas of forest.
Even swapping just a few meat meals for plant-based alternatives every week can make a difference. Those who love red meat should try the plant-based meat of the new company Redefine Meat, which creates incredibly meaty-tasting products using high-quality ingredients and a revolutionary new method of food production involving 3D printing. Other tasty vegan meals include flavourful falafels in a pita, quinoa dishes with Napolitana sauce and nuts, or pizza with vegan cheese – which is incredibly delicious! PS – did you know what many vegan products are good for your health?
Keep pressurizing the government to change
The biggest changes come from those in power, and with enough pressure from the ground up, they will be forced to make them. Choose a specific issue you care about – decisions about greenhouse gasses from large companies; cycling infrastructure; waste management; recycling; green spaces – and lobby for a specific change to laws with a local team or a city movement. Getting involved with a group such as #ActNow and Count Us In can make a difference. Remember that your voice is important.
Turn your home into an energy-efficient, money-saving hub with these ideas:
- Add padding and insulation to conserve power from your heating system in winter and aircon in summer
- Replace your furnace with a heat pump (which extracts and moves heat around from one place to another)
- Buy appliances that are marked as energy-saving, and use power-saving lightbulbs
- Wash clothes in cold water
- Avoid using a dryer as much as possible
- Keep appliances, computers, and TVs unplugged when not in use
Cut back on flying
If flying is avoidable, use other means of transport such as a train or electric car, or switch your meeting to a zoom call. Choose holiday destinations closer to home, and/or fly economy (business class leaves a carbon footprint three times higher). Speak to your boss about reducing air travel within the company. If you HAVE to fly, pay a little extra for carbon offsetting.
Go green for other transport
Other forms of transport contribute heavily to greenhouse gases, too. Try some of the following:
- Switch to a hybrid or electric car – and simultaneously find some added luxuries
- Carpool with friends, family, or co-workers – and sneak some more fun into your day
- Take public transport – allowing you to catch up on work, reading, or self-development through videos and podcasts
- Cycle – and get your exercise for the day in, at the same time
- Advocate for cycle-lanes locally – and inspire others
Shop local and buy sustainable
Buying local, sustainable goods and choosing seasonal foods (which can also be a fun way of choosing meals and adapting or creating menus) will help offset your carbon footprint. Opting for items and food produced locally reduces the fossil fuel emissions caused by trucks and other transport vehicles. Finding sustainable products is actually a lot easier than it seems, with more and more grocery stores and smaller establishments supplying these items every day. Many vegetables are also easy to grow yourself – or you could create or join a neighborhood garden (with the added benefit of building community in your area).
Find out where your money is going
Several banks, large corporate companies, and pension funds have investments in fossil fuel companies. You could either choose an environmentally conscious option before doing business or ask to opt out of any contributions towards fossil fuels.
Whether through your personal interactions with small companies or through the use of your own place of business, you are choosing where your funds are used. Start becoming aware of where you shop, eat and do business and what associations these places have.
Spread awareness for save the planet
Whatever information you find as part of this journey, share it with loved ones, friends, and coworkers or on social media – knowledge is power! Often, people do not make certain choices because they do not think the other options are even available to them. Talk about the changes you’ve made too – especially the “hows” – and inspire others to make a few easy adaptations.
There are plenty of other small and easy lifestyle adaptations that have a large impact, such as cleaning your home in an environmentally friendly way. Any and all changes you make, count – cheer yourself on and do whatever you can to be part of the fight against climate change.