What Can You Do About Climate Change?

Field of natural flowering plants during a sunset with a single wind turbine off in the distance.
A naturalized field in the countryside with a wind turbine visible off in the distance. Image courtesy of Natural Visions Photography.

LHSC Green Team News » What Can You Do About Climate Change?
Published: 2024-04-08    Author: Mike Apostol

With Earth Day on April 22 approaching, it’s a time for people reflect on the actions they can take to address climate change.

To address our global greenhouse gas emissions, it will take collective action from everyone. Governments will need to act with regulation, businesses will need to change internal policies and practices, and individuals will need to modify their behaviour.

The aim of this article is to provide some actions you can take if this issue is important to you.

1. Write to your political representatives

Contact or visit your Member of Parliament or municipal leaders. Write a letter or email or call them to communicate the importance of taking climate change seriously. This is one of the most effective personal measures you can take on climate change.

2. Vote for parties with science-based climate plans

As you consider who to vote for in the next election, review what each party has done to address climate change and what they are proposing.

3. Participate in climate protests

Climate protests work. The more people that go to them, the more likely the political parties will feel pressure to act on climate change.

4. Fly less

Air travel has a large greenhouse gas footprint. Consider having a vacation closer to home if possible.

5. Donate to environmental groups

Donate to non-profits or charities that advocate for the environment, plant trees or support other climate related initiatives.

6. Buy used, buy less

Evaluate if you really need that new product and always try to repair or buy used instead of new. Join your local “Buy Nothing” group to find used items that people are giving away for free (www.buynothingproject.org/).

7. Eat less or no beef

Beef generates the highest amount of greenhouse gas emissions (60 kgCO2/kg meat). Change to a less carbon intensive meat like chicken or pork (6 kgCO2/kg meat) or eat a few more vegetarian meals per week.

8. Transportation choices matter

Reduce your use of gas cars by taking public transit, biking, or walking to your destination. Purchase an electric scooter or electric bicycle. Need to get a new car? Consider models that are smaller and more fuel-efficient or better yet, an electric vehicle.

9. Electrify your appliances

Next time you need to replace your stove, go electric instead of gas. This positively impacts both indoor air quality and your greenhouse gas emissions.

Get an electric water heater or electric heat pump water heater. If you need a gas heater, opt for a high-efficiency one. If you rent your water heater, ask if they can replace your old water heater with a new high-efficiency one (sometimes they will do this for free).

Heating your home is the top household greenhouse gas emission source. Consider planning to change your gas furnace to an electric heat pump, talk to your local HVAC company about heat pumps (some companies specialize in these), and keep an eye out for government incentives that may help offset the costs.

10. Talk about climate change

Talk to your family and friends about climate change to build support for climate action. Educate yourself from science-based websites such as climate.nasa.gov.

Project Neutral (www.projectneutral.org) has a great online tool for measuring your household emissions by asking questions about your lifestyle. You can also learn a lot about the major sources of your emissions.

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