Climate change - what are we to do?

I find myself a frustrated at the 'you must do something and fast' campaigners. The message is good, but it's the consumers' demands which drive the wheels which create the gases which pollute the atmosphere which leads to climate change, if the scientists are to be believed (which is a discussion for purgatory, not here).

And so what can we as individuals do to make a difference? If we could halve our demand for fuel, that would surely help. Ideas for making it happen please. Some possibles:

Wearing more warm clothes and turning thermostats down;

Getting up earlier to walk or cycle rather than using the car.

Looking for a job nearer to home.

Using an axe rather than a chain saw, a hand mower rather than a powered one.

Buying what's produced and sold locally.

Travel via the internet rather than the plane.

Over to you.







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Comments

  • Yes, we have discussed this, and thought of driving less, not flying, stop eating meat, buy locally. We are getting there.
  • Well, it's a work in progress.

    I don't do any car trip errands unless there's 3 thing to do. That's the basic rule. It means there's no running off to a store for the one forgotten thing. It's a discipline. Like going on a diet. You have to behaviourally commit and then work at adherence. A change in thinking and then doing it.

    When asked to go somewhere, part of the discussion is how to get there. Thus, I've an evening meeting today. I shifted my work schedule so I can cycle to it.

    In my 60s, in a cold climate. Realized that being in good physical condition is required to do active transportion. Walking and cycling in a winter city. So would recommend doing physical activity everyday. Also a discipline. If you pray everyday, make activity your prayer.

    Flexitarian eating. Less meat. More plants. Less prepared foods. Making meal prep a valued activity. Cooking yourself. Something to plan for. Not a burden of life.

    No guilt. Positive approaches. Missing the mark, trying again. That sort of things.
  • I'm not going to naysay anyone changing their individual lifestyles- it's always a good thing to cut down on waste, pollution, consumption, etc.- but the bulk of the problem is from a handful of very powerful corporations/ state fossil fuel companies. That's not to let us as individuals off the hook but this "recycle more, bike to the store" sort of advice is really a smokescreen on what the major problem is.

    China's coal power is way at the top of the list. The government there has taken measures to reduce emissions which seem to be working according to a recent study- if India, Russia, etc. can do the same that would be a big help. But even this is too little, too late, and few countries have a central government with the strength of China's. It really needs to be a global concerted effort and not something done piecemeal or incrementally. Relying on corporations to clean up themselves is wasted time. Feelgood personal consumption changes aren't going to make a dent in it either.
  • @SirPalomides - this thread is specifically about individual things not about the Bad Companies. Evil Corporate Interests etc.
  • Thanks, mom.
  • @SirPalomides This is meant to be a place for positive suggestions. You said you didn't want to naysay the idea of everyone reducing demand, and then poured cold water on it. Please join in with the spirit of the thread.


  • For me, personal changes are those I require of myself in order to hang on to a degree of self-respect - that of someone who, in my own eyes, does not treat other people's lives with contempt. I am not looking on these choices as a set of utilitarian decisions, so their impact on the final result is not pertinent. If personal changes give us a sense that we are free (from a degree of hypocrisy) to campaign for larger changes in our society - then so much the better.


  • Plant 1 Trillion trees.
  • I have made a resolution to be more respectful of PAPER: I'll think about the trees and forests and I'll only buy that FSP ("responsible") stuff. I will make more greeting cards (I'm not especially artistic but I can glue a nice pic on card). I will write nicely and more neatly, not scribble.
    I already make my own Little-List-papers from printouts which I no longer need and recycle all our paper in the right bin. I use fountain pens and ink which I buy from A Small Internet Family-Business or good quality pencil (the one I use now has water based lacquer on it!)
  • The thing about changing people's lifestyles is that it's not going to happen fast. Indeed you have to start by convincing them it's necessary, then there have to be affordable means available to make the switch. You're not turning a skijet, you're turning an aircraft carrier.
  • But small acts of momentum lead to big ones. If everyone aims to reduce demand by 50% but only manages 5%, it's better than nothing - and a 'making a difference' mindset has been made, which will be shared.
  • At a certain point in the near future, we may well be forced to make drastic cutbacks that will make us laugh at the privations we devise for ourselves today.
  • Raptor Eye wrote: »
    But small acts of momentum lead to big ones. If everyone aims to reduce demand by 50% but only manages 5%, it's better than nothing - and a 'making a difference' mindset has been made, which will be shared.

    Yes. I'm arguing against denigrating small changes.
  • jedijudyjedijudy Heaven Host
    I do think our individual efforts help. I also think our youth will be leading by example and helping us older folks to think outside the ways we have done things our whole lives.

    My BFF and I were talking about this very subject yesterday. When we were teens, one of the (many) things our generation did was to eliminate colored toilet paper. We encouraged our parents to buy only white TP, because the colored stuff was one of the pollutants impacting our world. Just a small thing, but it made a difference. I have high hopes that the small things we do (re-purposing, recycling, ride-sharing, planting trees!, etc.) to reverse climate change can make a difference, too.
  • HuiaHuia Shipmate
    I used to ride my bike everywhere, but hurt my knee, so now I rely on buses. I am fortunate to live in a small city with a reasonable public transport system that is (slowly) transitioning to electric buses.

    Many of the things I do already like choosing a power supplier that uses wind and hydro-generated power, not flying internationally and using the library, rather than buying books are kinder to the planet, but were initially chosen for other reasons (mainly because of the cost), but I am aware that other life choices I have made such as living alone and having a cat have a negative impact.

    One positive change I can make is taking part in the Government's initiative to plant more trees. I figure if I can't actually plant them I can do things like collect seeds or propagate cuttings or bake goodies for the more actively involved.

    Tiny steps.

  • I've been doing many of the "little things" for as long as I can remember. My mother was an environmentalist, so we were recycling, etc., long before most people had heard of it.

    What I'd like some recommendations about (maybe start a new thread?) is worthy causes in need of my contributions. There are two charitable organizations (not environment-related) to which I'm no longer donating, so I have a little extra money on hand -- not enough to solve the problem, but as we've said above, every little bit helps.
  • I have a friend who has done as much as possible to reduce her home's energy consumption. She also walks, cycles or takes public transport. She is the sort of environmentalist I stand in awe of.

    I think there needs to be a sort of list of things we can do, some of which should be small practical things which cost a few pennies more or cause a small inconvenience. The point is that we need to train ourselves to actively take the green option and these small tasks are precisely the sort of things that give us that training. The baby steps in transforming who we are. However, we are not to stop there. There is evangelism to be done, campaigns to be engaged with and bigger more fundamental changes for us to make. The thing is really until we have trained ourselves on small things we are not ready to engage with those.
  • PigletPiglet All Saints Host, Circus Host
    I confess my efforts in this matter are tiny, but while having lunch with a friend today in a Tim Horton's, it struck me what a waste it is that if you're eating in, they still give you your soup in a paper bowl with stupid, child-sized plastic cutlery to eat it with. Surely it would be less wasteful (and far more comfortable as well) to use proper bowls and cutlery?
  • I've never been to a Tim Horton's, but I'm wondering if they have automatic dishwashers? If not, proper bowls and cutlery wouldn't work. (Whereas if they do, there's no excuse.) One deli near me serves their soup in hollowed out bread loaves.

    And why do so many places still give you straws without asking if you want one -- often with the wrapper mostly torn off, so that it has to wind up in the trash whether you use it or not?
  • finelinefineline Kerygmania Host
    Many coffee shops give you a discount if you bring your own cup. I keep meaning to get myself a nice cup to take to coffee shops.
  • Pigwidgeon wrote: »
    I've never been to a Tim Horton's, but I'm wondering if they have automatic dishwashers? If not, proper bowls and cutlery wouldn't work. (Whereas if they do, there's no excuse.) One deli near me serves their soup in hollowed out bread loaves.

    And why do so many places still give you straws without asking if you want one -- often with the wrapper mostly torn off, so that it has to wind up in the trash whether you use it or not?

    Food Safe or whatever it is province to province prohibits hand washing and drying of dishes. Places like Tim Hortons - doubtful they make any food on site, more likely aside from sandwiches and coffee, the food is cooked, frozen and heated. Including their vats of soups, which probably come ready-prepped in vacuum-sealed pails.

    I know a little bit about hospital food here: for 3 hospitals in different parts of the city, the food is actually prepared at one location and then flash heated before giving to patients on site. The quality is poor (in my view) and the system may be efficient in terms of money. Once the cutlery packs, straws, anything leaves the food prep place, it is trash. Because trash isn't a cost to throw out, it's efficient to throw all the waste out at the individual hospital sites.
  • PigletPiglet All Saints Host, Circus Host
    Some of the Timmy's cafes give you a proper soup bowl, so presumably they do have dishwashing facilities. Some even used to give you proper cutlery.
  • LothlorienLothlorien All Saints Host
    edited September 25
    Small changes but we try here. Everything is recycled that can be. Woe betide anyone who puts something in garbage which should be recycled.

    We are a multi generational family living together. Public transport or walking wherever possible and one car for five people. That can mean juggling times and dates.

    We do have two cats, kept indoors most of the time unless they escape.

    Since moving here a year ago, we have worked toward efficient, ethical living as much as possible. Decrepit hot water service has been replaced by large , efficient one. Rain water is harvested into an enormous tank. This goes on garden, waters chooks and is a backup for fighting bush fires. Anything we cannot feed to chooks is recycled or goes into compost.

    Repairs have been carried out to roofing and gutters cleaned of leaves etc. we now have a massive solar installation, 75 big panels and sell electricity back to the grid.

    I am sure there are other things we can do and some I have forgotten but we are trying and will get to them.

  • Wow, some people are making such a difference already! It's inspiring, and spurring me on to do some of those above.

    A couple of small things that I do, to reduce the amount of water I heat:

    Less showers, wash downs instead.

    Waiting until there's a full load before doing the washing.

    All suggestions welcome.
  • Raptor EyeRaptor Eye Shipmate
    edited September 25
    Pigwidgeon wrote: »
    I've been doing many of the "little things" for as long as I can remember. My mother was an environmentalist, so we were recycling, etc., long before most people had heard of it.

    What I'd like some recommendations about (maybe start a new thread?) is worthy causes in need of my contributions. There are two charitable organizations (not environment-related) to which I'm no longer donating, so I have a little extra money on hand -- not enough to solve the problem, but as we've said above, every little bit helps.

    I think it would be good to have suggestions here for effective charities which make a difference environmentally @Pigwidgeon, they might also add suggestions as to what we can all do.
  • We have multiple cars but (a) we all work in different directions, and (b) where we are we need one of them to tow trailers and deal with bad weather. They are serviced regularly to ensure the engines are as efficient as possible.

    We eat seasonally and grow more and more of our own vegetables and fruit - even my "black fingers" (the opposite of green) can manage that! Food waste has always been minimal. Garden waste goes to a friend (I can't "do" compost, we're in a cold pocket) who returns some as compost.

    Clothes are mended rather than chucked out, the same goes for shoes. Paper is recycled, most books are either bought from a charity shop or borrowed from a library, plus we're in a book buying club where we meet once a month, a list is made of what new publications people want to read and the club buys and shares on a rota basis.

    Perhaps most important, appliances aren't left on standby, lights are all LEDs, the house is insulated except where the Heritage Conservation Officer won't let us alter things, and we wear clothing appropriate to the weather.
  • LothlorienLothlorien All Saints Host
    Our vege garden should be better than last year when moving in at end of winter was difficult amalgamating three households and their goods into one. Gardening took a back seat. I am sure local op shops for miles around flinched as they saw DIL approach with yet more things for them.

    I am the designated mender for clothes and eldest son has overhauled the ride on mower and small mower we inherited from former owners. He also keeps thing in good order so they run efficiently.

    I am currently wearing darned socks. I knit all my own as my feet prefer them to commercial. Darns are like badges of office for them. They last for years, I have some in my drawer which are over fifteen years old.

    The teenager did a grand job on ripping pocket and lining of school shorts. It feels good to return useful items to service.

    As we settle in, we will find more ways to recycle and re-use.
  • finelinefineline Kerygmania Host
    I have one of those manual lawn mowers, and I like it - much easier to manoeuvre than the electric ones, and quieter too. I also have a manual sort-of alternative to a vacuum cleaner, which brushes in a circular motion and collects what it brushes up in a little tray that I empty. I have a Dyson too, but I don't use it very often - the little manual thing is much easier.

    I think if you live alone on a small income it is easier to be eco-friendly in many ways, because you don't have the money to consume a lot. I don't have a car, so I walk or travel by public transport. I don't put my central heating on much - often just for an hour a day in winter, to stop damp. Because I like creating art, I reuse a lot of stuff to be art materials - a plastic container that food came in can become a paint palette, and packaging card/paper from Amazon packages can become a canvas.
  • Raptor Eye wrote: »
    @SirPalomides This is meant to be a place for positive suggestions. You said you didn't want to naysay the idea of everyone reducing demand, and then poured cold water on it. Please join in with the spirit of the thread.

    I'm not naysaying it. If it makes your life simpler and healthier, and it makes your community just a little bit cleaner, then it does tangible good. But if you read the sober assessments of climate scientists, it's very clear that changing individual habits and consumption patterns is not going to slow climate change meaningfully. If a million people turn vegan tomorrow, switch to solar power, and ride bikes everywhere it will not put a dent in the problem. It may well make their locale better to live in but it's not going to address a problem that stems chiefly from massive, growing economies dependent on fossil fuels. That's not pouring cold water, that's just true. And to an extent I think putting the weight of combating climate change on the shoulder of individuals has been encouraged by the corporations and governments for a long time to keep heat off themselves.

  • LothlorienLothlorien All Saints Host
    edited September 25
    Putting on Hostly sunbonnet,

    Sir Palomedes, I take your points and also suspect companies etc are very reluctant to spend money on anything except window dressing. I do think you are veering out of All Saints territory and a discussion of those points is more purgatorial in character. Support for individuals is fine here, but anything more along the lines of this post really is not AS suitable. If you want to discuss such matters, Purgatory is probably the place.
    Hanging up hostly sunbonnet

    Thank you
    Lothlorien, AS Host
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