This is a guest blog post by Kate Berrisford, Founder & Managing Director, Green Africa Directory – Africa’s sustainability network. Visit www.greenafricadirectory.org to learn more.
Climate change affects us all and will continue to do so unless we collectively take actions now to reduce emissions. We are at a pivotal moment in time, where our actions now will have long-lasting impacts. We may also be the last generation that can stop climate change — this provides us with a huge opportunity to transition and transform our world to be more sustainable, resilient, equitable and livable.
While the business sector and government have important roles to play in accelerating action to prevent climate change, there are also many actions we can take on an individual level. Below is a list of 10 ways we can help address climate change. These relate to the sustainable consumption of resources — that is, finding ways of consuming more efficiently and in a less resource-intensive way.
10 things we can do to address climate change:
Green your transport: Consider using the most sustainable forms of transport available, including nonmotorized transport such as walking or cycling; public transport such as trains and buses; and carpooling, ride sharing or car share schemes.
Use sustainable energy: Using sustainable energy in your home helps prevent carbon emissions and has various co-benefits, like saving money. Renewable, clean and efficient energy sources for the home include solar cookers, solar water heaters, solar lights, biogas and clean cookstoves. Be energy-efficient through your choice of home appliances and use of energy.
Support sustainable agriculture and diets: Sustainable agriculture can help mitigate climate change and build food security. Support sustainably produced food (e.g., organic) and consider growing your own food or joining a community food garden. A major contributor to climate change is the meat industry — cut down on meat or eliminate it from your diet to help prevent climate change.
Raise your voice and awareness: Get to know more about how climate change may affect you (including your health, livelihood and children), expand your knowledge by taking the “Understanding Climate Change” course, and then start conversations with others about climate change to help raise awareness and inspire action. Join local climate-change groups, attend climate events and talks, and engage your local political leaders to take bold, ambitious action on climate change.
Build green: There are many innovative, affordable and sustainable building techniques available across Africa. These include using sandbags, eco-bricks, hemp and straw bale. Retrofit your home to be more sustainable — My Green Homein South Africa is a practical example of how to do this on a household level.
Plant trees and protect biodiversity: Trees and forests provide carbon sinks and help mitigate climate change, while protecting biodiversity helps sustain vital ecosystem services (which include regulating climate). Plant trees, join or support tree-planting initiatives and events, donate a tree and support local nature-conservation initiatives.
Save water: Help conserve water in your home through using low-flow shower heads and waterless, low-flush or dual-flush toilets; have shorter showers; ensure your garden is water-wise and indigenous; collect and use rainwater; consider grey water recycling; and repair leaky taps.
Protect oceans and coasts: Oceans help reduce climate change by storing large amounts of carbon dioxide, and coastal ecosystems can help minimize the impacts of climate change. Protect healthy oceans by keeping them clean, taking part in beach cleanups and supporting sustainably sourced seafood.
Collaborate and share: There are many ways people collaborate that create opportunities to meet basic needs, while being resource-efficient and cutting down on GHG emissions. Some examples of the new collaborative or sharing economy include co-working, bike sharing, carpooling, crowdfunding and garden sharing.
Support climate innovation: Innovative technologies that will help us mitigate and adapt to climate change are becoming ever important in helping to accelerate climate action. Give your support to climate entrepreneurs and inventors to develop innovative technologies and ideas.