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 or public transport whenever you can.
This guide from the UK is called "How to Make Your Home More Environmentally Friendly"
The guide offers lots of helpful information such as: the many health and economic benefits of becoming environmentally friendly, reducing our carbon footprint, and having an energy efficient home, including interesting facts and figures about going green; tips and advice on how to assess energy efficiency (including heating and insulation) throughout your home, as well as other eco-friendly practices.
The tips you can read about this link to a "A Guide to Green Homes" contains great ideas for lowering your footprint in the home, although some of the more specific information relates to the UK: https://www.directline.com/home-cover/green-homes
This Ultimate Home Energy Efficiency Guide covers similar practical tips and ideas to improve the energy-efficiency of your home. It offers a lot of options for indoor fans too, which are many times more energy efficient than air conditioning. You can see it here: https://bestfanreviews.com/energy-efficiency/
Another beautifully presented guide has numerous resources and is framed in a positive, motivating way, and comes out of a North American context: https://www.thehousewire.com/going-green-at-home/ It has actionable ideas for every age and circumstance.
A resource for kids and adults
A visitor to the ARRCC website recommended this: https://solarpower.guide/ She wrote, 'The whole website is fantastic -- probably one of the best I've seen for solar education! There's lots of conservation and clean energy information, plus project ideas and educational games for kids to learn about solar energy.'
(ARRCC's caveat regarding one section: burning biomass is not as earth-friendly as the guide's author believes. See ClimatePolicyBrief7.pdf (tufts.edu)
Ideas for people renting
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/
This very professionally presented guide is from the UK, and explores more broadly how to keep a wedding's environmental impact down: “The Guide to Sustainable, Zero-Waste, Ethical Weddings”
Lower you carbon footprint as a business
How to Adapt your Business to become Environmentally Friendly: http://www.british-assessment.co.uk/environmentally-friendly-business-guide/
The Complete Guide On How To Make Your Business Green: https://www.autoenrolment.co.uk/guides/green-business/
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: https://www.greenelectricityguide.org.au/
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 our latest GreenPower Fact Sheet, including information about Powereshop.
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.
Compost your food scraps
When food scraps end up in anaerobic conditions such as happens in landfill, it gives off methane which is much more destructive in the atmosphere than CO2. If you follow the tips in Creating the Best At-Home Composting System you can turn your scraps instead, into organic fertiliser for your garden. This easy-to-follow guide covers everything from how to start your own compost pile to how to use your finished compost.
Clean your home sustainably
This is more about caring for the environment than specifically about climate change but 'The Eco-Friendly Guide to Cleaning Your Home' is guide which offers comprehensive information about eco-friendly and sustainable ways of cleaning your home.
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, [email protected] to express interest.