This page used to be called how to lighten your footprint but in light of the impacts that climate change, urbanisation and the extractive industries are now having on the planet, lightening our feet is not going to cut it.
It's time to change not just ourselves but how things are run in our world.
It's a pretty straight forward recipe to change the world. It starts with surrendering the illusion that the planet is an infinite buffet for us to consume and realising that we are part of an ecology that thrives on cycles, not extraction. In practical terms, changing the world looks a little like this:
- moving from a disposable culture to zero waste
- moving from fossil fuels to renewable energy and zero carbon emissions
- moving from intensive agriculture to localised organic / ecological farming
- moving from 85 people owning the same wealth as 50% of the population to an equitable distribution of resources
- moving from top down corporate controlled markets to bottom up community control
- moving from stealing from and exploiting to learning from and honouring Indigenous people who already know how to look after the land and have done so in Australia for at least 40,000 years.
- and, the only way to do all this, moving from a culture that sees the planet as an infinite resource to be plundered, to one that understands it as a living ecology that people are just one part of, our home, to be treated with awe and respect.
So how do you do it?
Consume less buy fewer things that you don't really need, buy things with less packaging, use less electricity, gas and water, swap and re-use with other people, and where you can't consume less . . .
Consume consciously buy organic, buy recycled, buy second-hand, buy locally grown or made, buy from local markets, buy from small green business, switch to green power (solar and wind) for energy supply, support the sustainable economy.
Give up industrial meat go vegetarian or vegan, take a look at the Australian Vegetarian Society website to find out how to create a healthy meat-free diet and how much you are helping the planet, and if you can't give it up completely . . .
Eat less industrial meat every time you don't eat meat or dairy you'll be using 2% of the water needed to make your meal and avoiding severe land degradation. If you still want to eat meat and dairy you can reduce its impact by choosing organic and local.
Give up the car get a bike and ride, walk, take public transport for longer trips, get to know your neighbourhood, and where you can't give up the car . . .
Drive consciously get your car regularly tuned and cut your emissions by up to 50%, buy a fuel efficient car, buy a fuel hybrid, convert to LPG, find out about bio-diesel and veggie oil, car pool, no more four wheel drives in the city!
Create less waste replace chemical products with bio-degradables (detergents, shampoos, chemical sprays), replace disposable products with re-usables (take your own coffee cup), don't accept plastic bags, and where you can't create less waste . . .
Dispose of waste consciously compost food scraps, recycle paper, plastic and cans, install a grey water recycling system, don't put chemicals down the drain, call your local council or EcoRecycle to dispose of toxics, take your old stuff to the op-shop, not the bin.
Divest from the harmful economy get your super, savings and investments out of the big four banks and fossil fuels, nuclear, arms and gambling. Get it into the renewable economy. Market Forces can tell you how.
Plant natives and grow your own veggies find out what plants are indigenous to your area and make your garden native, grow your own veggies and herbs, and if you don't have a garden . . .
Use community gardens to grow your own food, and go plant some native trees with conservation groups like TreeProject and the Regent Honeyeater Project.
Get Active this is the most important one. Even if we all lived our lives as sustainably as possible, the coal industry, native logging industry, uranium industry and all the other polluters would still be wrecking the place. This is our only home. Express your concerns about the environment, speak up, write letters and articles and send them to all kinds of media, join in public protests, organise an awareness raising event or media engagement, organise a public talk at a school, university or community group about what's important to you, and if you don't want to do it alone . . .
Join a local community group or environment group to be involved in decisions for your local area and help protect and conserve your environment, be part of organising campaigns and actions that bring attention to or challenge the destruction directly, and if you don't think you have time to join a group . . .
Support an environment group by becoming a member, making a donation and joining in events.
Start your own group or project get other people involved in their environment, becoming part of the sustainable community, create new alternatives.
Vote for the environment let your local politician know about your environmental concerns, make an appointment, write a letter, vote for people who protect the environment.
Stay informed about what's happening locally and nationally, what decisions are being made that effect our environment (i.e. you), use Eco-shout to find out more about important issues, links to further information, groups, campaigns, events, ethical jobs, subscribe to an environmental publication or e-list.
Stay well and inspired don't burn out. It's not your job to change the world on your own, we're in it together. Connect with other people who love the planet to stay inspired and supported, join in stuff that makes you feel good, alive and connected to nature, don't stay isolated and feeling sad or angry about the state of the world on your own.
A big lie that can stop us from making change is that, because each of us is just one person, what we do won't make any difference. But the difference is already happening all over the world because so many people understand the power of their actions and are using this power to change the world.
As very smart lady Naomi Klein says, to change everything, we need everyone. That means you. Every decision you make, every action you take (or don't) has its own effect. You can use this power to push for a better world. So get cracking!