Climate Change Collective
Sustainable Living

Climate Change Collective: What you can do!

Welcome to the Climate Change Collective!

This week we’re excited to dive into the topic of how climate change impacts our day-to-day lives. Michelle at Boomer Eco Crusader started this conversation on her blog last week with her post “Welcome to the Climate Change Collective“. We’ve joined up with a number of other bloggers to form the Climate Change Collective and explore this climate change topic further.

Climate Change Collective
Photo Credit: Michelle at Boomer Eco Crusader

About the Climate Change Collective

The Climate Change Collective was born out of an exchange that took place between Michelle and Jamie in the comments section of a Jamie Ad Stories blog post. Jamie and Michelle both care deeply about the impact of human activity on our planet and wanted to find a way to keep the climate change message top of mind for everyone. A tweet was sent out, bloggers responded, and we’ve all now teamed up to create the Climate Change Collective!

The idea is simple. The members of the collective will take turns writing a monthly blog post sharing their concerns and unique perspective about climate change. After the post is published, the rest of the group will keep the conversation going by sharing a link to the post on their blogs along with their thoughts and ideas. If you’re a like-minded blogger and would like to join our collective, please get in touch. The more the merrier!

My experience

Climate change has been close to home for me as my home in Southwestern BC has been hit by extreme heat, forest fires, and devastating flooding in the past couple of years. All around us are markers of the change that our planet is undergoing as a result of our activities: ice caps melting to levels unseen in our era, unpredictability of weather and increased frequency of extreme weather events, and the impact of these changes seen on all inhabitants of the planet, such as devastating coral bleaching events.

Carbon dioxide’s lifetime cannot be represented with a single value because the gas is not destroyed over time, but instead moves among different parts of the ocean–atmosphere–land system. Some of the excess carbon dioxide is absorbed quickly (for example, by the ocean surface), but some will remain in the atmosphere for thousands of years, due in part to the very slow process by which carbon is transferred to ocean sediments.

United States Environmental Protection Agency

All around me I see people that seem unaware of the impact of their actions on the planet, or maybe feel that it’s too big of a problem to tackle with individual actions. And this is where the Climate Change Collective comes in as we try to keep the conversation around climate change going, share facts about climate change, and inspire with simple actions we can all take!

Climate change background

For some background reading on the current status of climate change, a great source is the IPCC Sixth Assessment Report which provides “the most up-to-date physical understanding of the climate system and climate change, bringing together the latest advances in climate science”.

Human influence has warmed the climate at a rate that is unprecedented
in at least the last 2000 years.

IPCC Sixth Assessment Report

What we can do – so many simple things!

Alison and I were overwhelmed by findings in this report, and so wrote the posts summarized below as we processed our feelings about the changes our planet is undergoing as a result of human influence, and searched for concrete ways we could reduce our impact – and then wanted to share these insights with you!

Cork Yoga Mat

1. Look at your travel choices

Read more here: How Your Travel Choices Help the Planet

Carbon emissions and “contrails” related to air travel are a significant portion of emissions / warming. What we can do to reduce the impact of travel:

  • Choose to travel using climate-conscious travel providers / operators that can connect travellers with responsible hotels and transportation, for example, and travel to climate-conscious destinations.
  • Do your research and select airlines based on, for example: a) how fuel efficient their fleet is b) if they perform any offsetting c) if they ensure their flights are full d) if they attempt to limit stopovers, as these are some ways reduce the overall carbon impact of a flight.
  • Look into offsetting your flights with a reputable company
  • Use your investment dollars to support innovations in technology that will allow for more climate-friendly air travel. Check out this article to learn about some exciting changes we may be seeing in the near future!

2. Look at your food choices

Read more here: How Your Food Choices Help the Planet

Did you know that 8% of worldwide greenhouse gas emissions are caused by food waste? Neither did we! Some ways to reduce emissions related to food choices include:

  • Meal plan and buy only groceries you plan to use.
  • Shop your fridge and pantry first.
  • Plan a “leftovers for dinner” day to use up food cooked that week.
  • Use apps like Flashfood to help grocery stores reduce food waste.
  • Preserve food that is on the verge of expiring (Check out these 20 unexpected foods you can freeze).
  • Get creative and give food new life, like using your veggie scraps for vegetable broth.
  • Watch movies like Just Eat It, a documentary about a couple living out of dumpsters for 6 months, and be inspired to reduce your food waste.
  • Follow organizations like Love Food Hate Waste on social to get tips on preventing food waste

3. Look at your energy choices

Read more here: How Your Energy Choices Help the Planet

The creation of energy used to power all aspects our lives, according to the EPA’s website, accounts for approximately 25% of greenhouse gas emissions.

It can be easy to feel that the changes we make to impact energy usage in our homes and lives won’t add up to much change on our bill, let alone make a measurable impact to our carbon footprint.

However, in my first post where I shared about my family’s journey to solar panels, we identified a number of ways to lower our energy usage before going the solar panel route, and they made a surprisingly large difference to our bill, see the post here!

Here is a summary of our energy-reducing changes:

  • Turn the thermometer on your hot water tank down;
  • Fix leaking water taps (in general) but hot water taps in particular;
  • Switch light bulbs to LED;
  • Use the dryer sparingly where possible and invest in a good drying rack* – I can fit three loads of laundry on this one!
  • Keep your home at a stable temperature rather than allowing large swings where the system has to pump out heat to catch up; and
  • Monitor your usage and understand what drives your energy usage to make effective changes.

4. Look at your clothing choices

Read more here: How Your Clothing Helps the Planet

Surprisingly, greenhouse gas emissions from textile production is more than the total emissions of all international flights and maritime shipping combined. So how can you reduce your carbon footprint related to clothing?

  • Be an outfit repeater
  • Buy less
  • Buy secondhand
  • Wash your clothes less and hang them to dry
  • Repair instead of replace

Many changes due to past and future greenhouse gas emissions are irreversible for centuries to millennia, especially changes in the ocean, ice sheets and global sea level.

IPCC Sixth Assessment Report

What actions will you take today to reduce your carbon footprint?

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    • A Sustainably Simple Life

      Thanks Michelle! We feel the same way about your blog.
      I’m so glad you and Jamie created the Collective idea 🙂

  • JamieAdStories

    These are brilliant points! I would say consider trains as a real alternative to flying. The USA is navigable by train as is Europe and hopefully governments will heavily invest in railways as a viable alternative. Thanks for joining our collective and giving so many details that clarified things for me.

    • A Sustainably Simple Life

      I certainly wish Canada had long distance trains that were easy and affordable. Unfortunately we aren’t there yet. It would be great if money would be invested in them. There are talks (and have been for some time) about a train connecting Vancouver BC Canada to parts of Washington state and I think that would be fantastic.

  • Caroline

    Love these ideas Krista! I am definitely going to reduce my energy consumption as prices increase too. It’s cool that there’s an app that you can use to reduce supermarket food waste, I hope there is something like that in the UK.

    • A Sustainably Simple Life

      Thanks Caroline! Let us know if you do find an app! I have heard of ones overseas that sell food from restaurants (though can’t remember the name), but am not sure about grocery store ones.

What are your thoughts? Let us know in the comments!