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.