Australia is famous for being home to a large variety of climates which means our native plants, insects, and animals are threatened by even the smallest disruptions to our ecosystem.
But with global warming causing temperature rises, water shortages, drought, and bushfires, it’s never been more important for each and everyone one of us to lead a more environmentally friendly lifestyle.
From the food we eat and the clothes, we wear to the way we travel, find five simple ways in which you can live a more sustainable lifestyle below.
Eat Local, Seasonal Food
Growing, fertilizing, transporting, manufacturing, and selling food is one of the biggest contributors to environmental damage. By eating fruits and vegetables that are in season, you’re cutting down the need for transport, therefore, reducing unnecessary carbon emissions caused by air, water, and land travel. Seasonal shopping is also kinder to the purse and more nutritional which in turn, makes it a lot tastier too!
Shopping at local food markets will not only reduce the need for heat energy in greenhouses around the country, but you’ll also be supporting low-scale food agriculture too.
Ditch Single-use Plastics
According to The Guardian, Australia produces 2.5 tonnes of plastic waste every year with around 84% of this sent to landfills. What’s more, around 130,000 tonnes of plastic waste leak into the environment annually. In order to combat the growing problem, six of the country’s eight states and territories have pledged to ban single-use plastics.
So what can you do to help? Make sure to always keep reusable bags in the car for when you go to the supermarket, invest in a keep cup to take to your local coffee shop, use reusable cutlery, and wrap food in biodegradable beeswax wraps instead of tinfoil.
Switch to Green Energy at Home
Make sure to choose a good electricity provider which offers to offset carbon emissions at no additional cost to you. In turn, this means you are helping to produce carbon-neutral energy and are supporting environmental and community projects.
You may even decide to switch completely to green energy, which is derived from natural, renewable sources. You may choose to install solar panels on your roof, which can be converted into electricity, hot water, and heating. They generate power during daylight hours which is then stored in batteries so you can use electricity at home no matter what time of day.
It’s not only a great way to reduce your environmental footprint but it will also add value to your home in the long run.
Buy Pre-loved Goods
In Australia, 6,000 kilograms of mass-produced fast fashion items are dumped in landfills every 10 minutes. In turn, fashion waste averages at 2.25 million tonnes per year.
So how can you reduce your fashion footprint?
- Shop and donate to your local charity shop. In Australia, there are lots of different op-shops to choose from, such as Vinnies, Australian Red Cross, and Salvos Stores.
- You can even shop for second-hand clothing, accessories, and homeware online through Facebook Marketplace, eBay, and Depop.
Reduce Your Travel Time
According to the BBC, around 2.4% of global CO2 emissions come from aviation. Together with other gases and the water vapor trails produced by planes, the travel industry is responsible for approximately 5% of global warming.
But with many of us keen to explore in the post-pandemic world, how can you travel more sustainably?
- Ask yourself if you really need to fly. Could you attend the work meeting over Zoom? Could you combine a work trip with a family holiday? Could you take a road trip instead?
- If you really do need to fly, then go carbon neutral. By spending a small amount more on your plane tickets to fly carbon neutral, you will contribute to projects which aim to remove or balance carbon emissions. For example, these might include schemes designed to protect forests or clean energy technologies such as wind farms. Qantas, Jetstar, and Virgin will all allow you to offset your carbon emissions in full during the booking process.
- Fly direct. Instead of opting for cheaper routes that require an unnecessary stopover, consider investing in a direct flight.
If each and every one of us adopted just one or two of these lifestyle changes, we could all make a huge difference in protecting the environment for generations to come.