In Australia, our homes are responsible for around 12% of emissions. But there are some simple lifestyle changes we can make to curb our emissions in the home and live a 1.5-degree life. 1 Million Women share their tips.
1. Cut your food waste
It’s shocking to think that approximately one-third of the food we produce globally is wasted. Nearly half of our fruit and veggies end up in landfill and one in five of our shopping bags go straight to the bin! If we eliminate global food waste, we could save 4.4 million tonnes of C02.
Planning your meals is a sure-fire way to reduce your carbon impact and save your wallet. When you decide on what you will cook ahead of time you save on impulse buys and only shop for the ingredients you know will be used.
When you know what’s going into your meals, you know what’s going into your fridge and cupboards and ultimately, what’s coming back out.
Save your food for longer with proper storage. Here’s a quick rundown:
- Store your carrots and celery with the ends in fresh water;
- Your spinach, artichokes, fennel, kale, collards and chard in an airtight container with a bit of water to keep them company;
- And your garlic, tomatoes, avocados, potatoes and squash in a cool dark place.
- Don’t forget to chop the tops off all your root veggies to save the moisture being drawn from the root. But keep a hold of those greens. You can use them for stock, smoothies, pesto, and if you’re crafty, even dyes!)
Even when you get down to the scraps that can’t be eaten, it’s worth remembering they still contain nutrients. Compost your scraps into food for your garden. If you don’t have a backyard to compost in, check out whether your council has a program set up to manage food waste, or check out sharewaste.com. Or feed scraps to animals like chickens!
2. Keep your house cool in summer and warm in winter - the natural way!
Heaters and air conditioners are the biggest producers of emissions in our homes, contributing to almost 11% of household electricity bills.
Here are the top things you can do to keep your house at the perfect temperature:
- Close curtains and blinds to keep the heat in or block out the sun
If you’ve got a window without curtains or blinds, it’s worth the investment of getting some. You’d be surprised how much of a difference they make!
- Draught-proof your home
Cool draughts can make your home feel colder in the wintertime. Get started by sealing up any cracks which could be causing draughts. You’ll need a caulking gun to do this. Draughts are particularly easy to spot on a windy day – you can feel them!
- Seal your doors and windows
Use a door snake or a towel to stop cold air sneaking in under the doors. You can also close the gaps around your doors and windows by weather-stripping them.
- Invest in rugs and carpets
Rugs and carpets help stop heat from escaping through the floor. Rugs are particularly useful if you have wooden floorboards.
- Close off unused rooms in winter
By closing doors to unused rooms, you can maintain stable air flow through the rooms that are in use. This is especially important to reduce heat loss in the colder months.
3. Reduce your consumption
Overconsumption is one of the main drivers of the climate emergency. Everything we consume uses energy, water and resources to make, transport and the dispose of at end of life. When we stop buying new things and instead learn to repair, repurpose and reuse what we have we slash emissions associated with producing goods. By trading a shirt with a friend instead of buying new, we could save enough water for one person to drink for two and a half years!
Here are some actions you can take to reduce your consumption:
- Don’t buy anything new for a month is a great way to jump in the deep end and start changing how we consume. Challenging yourself to do this will help you value what you already have.
- Learn to news ways to get what you need without buying new. Organising a clothes swap if you need a new outfit, trading things with friends or learning how to repair furniture. Hiring items and borrowing them is another great way to get around buying things new.
- If you see something new you want, wait three weeks before buying it. If you’re still thinking about it at the end of the three weeks, or haven’t found another way to source it, then buy it.
- Doing a personal waste audit might also help you get started. It will allow you to wrap your head around what you consume and throw out. Once you’ve identified what you’re consuming and why then you can systematically work through how to change your habits.
4. Cook meals that are made from locally produced, plant-based ingredients
Animal agriculture is one of the largest drivers of the climate crisis today. In Australia it accounts for over 15% of the country’s emissions. And transport is one of the fastest growing areas that contribute to our total emissions. So reducing your consumption of meat can make a big difference.
Shopping at your local farmers’ market is the best place to start. You can chat to stallholders about their produce and find out what’s local and in season. A bonus is that the produce will likely be plastic-free! If you don’t have a farmer’s market nearby then the fruit and veg section of your local supermarket or deli is the next best option.
Now onto the cooking. If you’re used to a standard meat and three veg meal then cooking completely plant-based may seem daunting. If you have any vegetarian friends then having a conversation with them about their favourite recipes is a nice way to kick off your plant-based cooking. They’ll no doubt have some delicious recipes to share with you.
The next stop on your plant-based journey is with the professionals. There’s an abundance of online recipes and cookbooks out there that are filled to the brim with all sorts of recipes and ideas.
5. Easy peasy - Switch your power company
By switching to a green power company like Powershop, you can make sure none of your energy is from coal. With Powershop your energy is carbon offset or you can purchase renewable energy. It doesn’t take long at all to switch - just let them know you’re switching and then they’ll do the rest for you.
“Switching to Powershop was a no brainer for me. When you buy the three-month ‘Megapack’, your power ends up being cheaper or competitive with all the other electricity providers, along with being 100% carbon offset,” said a 1 Million Women staff member. “When I feel like I’ve got a bit of extra money, I’ll jump on the app and literally go shopping for power. You can choose what sort of renewables you want to support with the packs that you buy. Plus the app is easy to understand and it’s pretty transparent. You’ll never get a surprise electricity bill at the end of the quarter.”
What can you commit to doing in your own home? Share your journey with us. We’re all in this together!
Find out what else you can do to live a 1.5-degree life.
This article was written by 1 Million Women.