Making personal changes to fight climate chaos

How much would you be personally willing to change your life in order to help avoid climate chaos? 

I feel strongly that we really need government action. We need the fossil fuel industry brought to heel and the voices of its lobbyists rejected by those in power. We need rules that hold those with most influence to account – rules about built in obsolescence, single use plastics, and what goes to landfill, for example. We need the right to repair. Those kinds of things have to be organised by governments. We need governments to tackle pollution and infrastructure. Banning massive cruise ships and private jets would be a good idea.

Every one of the 100 companies that most pollute the planet does so because people buy its products. So long as they feel like they can get away with it, they will. 

Making it the job of ordinary individuals to fix things is a cop-out from politicians, and totally unfair. But at the same time, if we aren’t prepared to change things in our own lives, how can we expect change to happen?

For us regular folk, there are four areas of life to particularly consider. These are only going to be an issue if you aren’t living at the margins.

Transport – including luxury journeys, holidays, flights. If you’re stuck with a commute, can you liftshare sometimes, or work from home one day a week? How much travel do you feel entitled to? 

Food – how much food do you waste? How overpackaged is your food?  How far has your food travelled? What are the carbon and water costs of your food? Are you eating unsustainable animal products? If you don’t really know where your meat came from, then the odds of it being a massive driver of climate change are really high. 

Heating – is your home insulated? (not a question for renters, obviously). How are you sourcing your energy? How much energy do you use on luxury things? 

Clothes – fast fashion is a terrible industry with massive impact on the planet. Too many people throw clothes away after wearing items once or twice. Overwashing has a huge environmental impact. Clothes production requires a lot of resources. We urgently need to use less and throw less away and really all this takes is care and effort and those who can afford to buy disposable clothing not doing so. This is the easiest area for change to occur, and the one where there are no real excuses. 

Changing your life requires effort. Often, in my experience that effort brings its own benefits and you can end up improving your quality of life by making better choices.

About Nimue Brown

Druid, author, dreamer, folk enthusiast, parent, polyamourous animist, ant-fash, anti-capitalist, bisexual steampunk. Drinker of coffee, maker of puddings. Exploring life as a Pagan, seeking good and meaningful ways to be, struggling with mental health issues and worried about many things. View all posts by Nimue Brown

3 responses to “Making personal changes to fight climate chaos

  • Christopher Blackwell

    Been changing my way of living since the late seventies.Having been poor a lot of the extra things were not in my life to start with.

    Clothing I have my basic uniform of the day, then I had layers, such as a long sleeve work shirt as it gets colder, wind breaker to winter coat, mittens as necessary, much as I did in the Marine Corps. So basically my clothes have not changed in decade, I wear the same every day according to the season.

    I get supplies one a week, hire someone to drive as I can no longer drive, that ends up three to four hours. The only longer trip is by bus, that is a 40 hour round trip. One side effect of my little tourist shop is that I meet new people staying at home, with no need to travel at all as shop is also home.

    Not taking part in any of the official holidays, my cost of living rarely changes much due to season, nor events.Outside of my computer I have not much contact to the media, nor its advertisers, not that I ever would pay attention to a ad it I saw one. In spite of increasing inflation I have had no problem so far. The test may come with my next fill up on propane for heat, but I kept my temperature at about 58 F. In the summer I try to keep the temperature in at 75 F.

    At this stag of life I do not drink alcohol, don’t smoke tobacco, nor use any recreational drugs. Part of that was changes in health issue, but it also saves a lot of money.

    Being comfortable on my own I rarely need to socialize and I have never been one to be lonely. Meanwhile I have my cat, the local wild birds and critters to entertain me. Just costs me a fair amount of bird seed, putting water out,and proving for he cat.

    Meanwhile my occasional customer keeps me from becoming an hermits. I have a few local people who keep watch on me and check on me from to time.

    Works for me and my needs, but it might not work for others, especially those with more social needs.

  • Judith Shaw

    What you say here is absolutely true. In reality consumerism, even if fueled by green technologies, is a very large part of the problem. How much stuff do we really, really need after all?

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