Lower you carbon footprint as an individual
See also tips for lowering your carbon footprint as an individual: http://www.arrcc.org.au/action_for_individual
Top tips are (1) minimise any heating and cooling - these use the most energy, (b) only run appliances when you have a full load (c) use active transport of public transport whenever you can.
The resources found via the following link includes ideas for people renting or otherwise not in control of their home: http://livewell.net.au/how-to-guides/
Heat water with the sun
Heating and cooling are the most energy intensive aspects of domestic energy use (much more than lighting). A solar hot water system will source up to 30% of your household’s electricity from the sun, and the initial payment will be repaid in a relatively short time via lower energy bills. After that, you get free energy!
Even better, use a heat-pump since it will produce all your hot water needs most efficiently. www.earthworkercooperative.com.au has both ‘bolt on’ heat pumps and complete systems available.
Switch to an earth-friendly energy provider
A number of the larger utilities such as Origin, Energy Australia and AGL, lobbied against the Renewable Energy Target (RET) and have low to very poor investment in renewables. The RET helps foster the renewable industry in Australia and the 21,000 jobs it underpins.
Together, the “dirty three” account for 77% of small electricity customers. If you are a customer of Origin, Energy Australia or AGL, you have some power to effectively challenge their behaviour. Write to your retailer challenging their behaviour and, if you are not satisfied with their answer, switch to another provider. Get Up! endorses Powershop in Victoria and NSW. The Total Environment Centre and Greenpeace have released a Green Electricity Guide to help you choose: http://www.greenpeace.org/australia/en/what-we-do/climate/The-Green-Electricity-Guide
Switch to GreenPower
You can organise to have renewable energy sources provide 100%, 50% or 20% of your household’s electricity by changing the arrangement you have with your existing electricity provider. See: http://www.arrcc.org.au/images/GreenPower%20Fact%20Sheet.pdf
Install PV solar cells
If you can, harness Australia’s abundant sunshine for your own home by installing photovoltaics. If you want to add renewable capacity in Australia, beyond what the energy companies are obliged to add because of the Renewable Energy Target, you have to waive the rebate offered in your quote. For your own benefit, look out for an insurance-backed warranty, at least 5 years if you can get it.
Eat less meat
Eating less meat, especially red meat, is one of the most earth-friendly things we can do. Cattle and sheep in particular are significant producers of methane produced during the digestion process, a greenhouse gas at least 25 times more potent than CO2. Livestock contributes well over 10% of Australia’s emissions, and much more if land-clearing for livestock grazing is also taken into account. The Australian Conservation Foundation has calculated that, if every Australian reduced their meat consumption by just 150g per week, it would equate to taking an eighth of the nation’s cars off the roads.
Add to this the carbon emissions from refrigeration and transport, the effects of land degradation and the large amounts of water needed to produce animal protein, and the environmental cost is considerably more. See http://www.arrcc.org.au/eat-less-meat
Waste less food
Around 40% of food is wasted, some of it before it reaches the supermarket shelves (due to perceived imperfections), some of it because it is past its use-by date and some after it has been prepared but not used. Food that winds up in landfill becomes another source of methane.
Green Vehicle Guide
Want to make an informed decision when purchasing your next vehicle? Check out this guide: http://www.greenvehicleguide.gov.au/GVGPublicUI/home.aspx
Ultimate Guide to Eco-Friendly Cars: http://www.driving.co.uk/car-clinic/driving-green/
Carbon Neutral Driving Calculator: http://www.carbonneutralcalculator.com/drivingcalculator.aspx
Move your money out of fossil fuel investments
You can, step by step, make your lifestyle more sustainable but, in the meantime, your money may be countering your efforts by investing in supply side of fossil fuels. Moreover, in Bill McKibben’s now famous words, “If it’s wrong to wreck the planet, then it’s wrong to profit from that wreckage.” World-wide, 55% of investments are in some way connected with extractive industries while just 2% is invested in low-carbon technologies! This is within your power to change. With regard to each of the following, see how you can best switch.
(a) Superannuation – compare funds at SuperSwitch, http://superswitch.org.au/
(b) Banks – compare banks at Friends of the Earth’s MarketForces website, http://www.marketforces.org.au/banks/compare
(c) Funds under management – see “Climate Proofing your finances: making your money fossil free” by The Australia Institute and 350.org. Also see, http://www.arrcc.org.au/go-fossil-free-collectively
Write to your local MP
ARRCC has a resource on how you could write to your local MP or visit them: http://www.arrcc.org.au/write-to-your-politician
ARRCC as an organisation has worked out the climate policies which we see as flowing from the beliefs and values we, in various faiths, hold in common: http://www.arrcc.org.au/policy-positions
Training in community organising
Community organising skills can empower you to bring your community along with you on the path to taking action. The principles are not difficult to learn, but will make you a much more effective agent of change.
In Sydney: the Change Agency, http://www.thechangeagency.org/
or the Sydney Alliance, http://www.sydneyalliance.org.au/training
In Melbourne: Plan to Win, http://plantowin.net.au/
or contact ARRCC, firstname.lastname@example.org to express interest.