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Consumption

How you can contribute to climate action

Global Initiatives | Oct 21, 2020

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Photo by Paige Cody on Unsplash

Written by Haziqah and edited by Global Initiatives

The ongoing debate surrounding climate actions has always raised this question: “Can individual action really contribute to collective change?” The naysayers of individual action remain that personal action is insignificant in the bigger picture. 

Looking at international issues such as global greenhouse emissions, one can understand how powerless a person might feel in the face of a seemingly insurmountable global phenomenon. However, even a small change in behavior can create ripple effects that have the potential to reduce our personal contributions to climate change . 

Individual action has been of much focus during the 2019 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). It emphasised on the effects that personal behaviours and lifestyles have on the climate especially the richest 10% which emit about half the total lifestyle emissions. 

This trend is especially apparent in developed countries such as Singapore which has developed an intricate consumer-centred society

With governments around the world slow to act on the urgency that is the climate crisis, and yet to take any conclusive actions, it is up to us to take this into our hands to mitigate the effects.

Household 

#stayhome #workfromhome 

The home can be a solace to many, but unbeknownst to most, our daily lifestyle practices at home can create unnecessary waste. When unaccounted for, they can cause even more problems for our environment. 

Whenever we wash our dishes, leave the fan running, or keep lights on – all these small little actions that no second thought is given we inadvertently increase our carbon footprint. Overtime, these actions can catalyse into something more damaging. 

For instance, leaving the fan running or light switched on, we can be using unnecessary electricity that would require more fossil fuels or natural gas to generate. 

Having a net carbon neutral household may be extremely tough especially if you live in a technologically dependent society such as Singapore.

However, there still are some simple steps that we can practise. It all begins in the household:

1. Line dry your laundry 

Source by David Mark from Pixabay

This picture depicts a scene that is common to many Singaporeans. We are accustomed to drying our clothes through the natural heat of the sun. However, we have to ensure that this good habit is not lost in our high-paced society where some might prefer the more convenient method of a dryer. 

2. Make your own dishwashing liquid using citrus peels

Instead of throwing out those orange or lemon peels, why not reusing them to make your very own non-toxic cleaning agent? This little hack ensures that you are able to reduce your waste while also ensuring that pollution is kept at a minimum. It also has the added benefit of ensuring your home smells fresh.

Lifestyle 

“We can’t just consume our way to a more sustainable world,” – Jennifer Nini

Man-made impacts have singularly been the greatest harm we could have ever made to our planet. We have taken the resources of our land for granted and now are suffering the consequences. 

“Look after the land and it will look after you, destroy the land and it will destroy you,” – Doeeis Eaton (Aborigional Proverb)

In our society today, we rarely question where a particular product comes from, how it’s made,or whether we even need the product. This culture of consumerism and materialism that we have grown so familiar to has desensitised many to the plight of our home. 

The notion of individualism is so strong that as long as the product benefits me, the negative aspects about the production can be ignored. This way of thinking has encroached how we live every single day. Let us put more thought into how we live our lives and try to actively practice good sustainable habits. 

1. Thrifting over fast fashion 

I get it, we all face stressful weeks at school or work, and it feels so good to wind down… with some retail therapy! But let’s try and switch things up — instead of contributing to the fast fashion cycle, why not try thrift shopping? You get your retail therapy and a little treasure hunt, all while doing your part to lower your personal carbon footprint. 

2. What am I eating..?

Source by WWF

It turns out that our consumption habits contribute to a lot of bad practices within both the food industry and ourselves. Food now is easily accessible, being mass produced and shipped to supermarkets around the world. 

While it may be more difficult to be completely zero waste, the easiest thing that you can do is look out for food that has been given sustainable certifications. These ecolabels highlight food which have been responsibly produced. By doing this you reward companies who pursue sustainability efforts, and also help send a message to retailers that sustainability matters to the consumers. 

3. Out of sight… Well you know the rest 


Source: GIPHY by BH90210

We know the drill by now we get notifications by email or mobile notifications that signal us to pay attention to these “flash sales”. 

You know, 9.9, 11.11, Cyber Monday, Black Friday Sale at Sephora, amongst so many more. You can try and convince yourself that “I’m not buying anything; just looking around,” and before you know it, you have 5, maybe 10, items in your shopping cart and in a matter of days, these items will arrive at your doorstep.

But you can put a stop to this by simply disabling or unsubscribing to the notifications from these sites. Be proactive in removing these temptations and your bank account might just thank you for it. 

Source by Seth Wynes, Kimberly Nicholas, Environmental Research Letters

These are just a few ideas on the steps that you can take to contribute to climate action. 

Don’t wait for someone else to start, you can start now. No action is too small, even if it is as simple as bringing your own bottle or lunch container out, that little action can easily transform to a good habit in due time. 

And the best thing about practicing sustainable habits? They are also (most of the time) the more frugal option. Good for the Earth and good for your pockets! I mean, wouldn’t that make the best of both worlds? 

 

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