The term climate change can feel really difficult to reconcile on a personal level. How does what we do as individuals impact climate change and when we take action or make changes does it make a difference? .
The way I see it, how and what we consume is our impact on the world around us. The clothes we wear, the food we eat, the electricity we use, the way we get around, the manufacturing that goes into the things we buy, the waste we throw away – how and what we consume is our carbon footprint, our emissions contribution, our climate impact.
There are multiple things we can do as individuals to slow our consumption and reduce our impact, but are the actions of a single person like you or me going to stop climate change? On the face of it, no – we need system change, Government policy, fundamental shifts in the way we live and do business, technological innovation and more. But, on my own journey to living a bit lighter on the planet I’ve learnt that there is more to individual action than first meets the eye.
From buying second-hand to taking fewer trips in our cars, composting our food scraps to planting native trees, avoiding single-use plastic to using our voice with Government and business – every choice and change we make as individuals makes a difference beyond what we see.
- Action is infectious: As humans, we are driven by social norms – we look to those around us to inform our decisions and our behaviours. When we make a planet friendly choice, we will be role modelling it and normalising it for those around us. Change ripples out, and as a collective we are so damn powerful.
- Gateways: One of the first changes I made on my climate action journey was to switch to using a reusable coffee cup. That small simple change felt good and so I went on to make a another change, and another, and another… No matter where you start or what change you make, I reckon you’ll find it becomes a gateway to more change.
- We have a voice: Companies, brands, political parties , governments and local councils spend a heap of time, money and energy trying to understand what we all want. I’ve learnt to use my voice to engage and give feedback on environmental and climate related topics. It can be as simple as sending an email to a brand, supporting companies that are doing the right thing, filling in a survey or using my vote. Never underestimate the power of your voice to influence change.
- Change feels good: I’ve found the best way to navigate the overwhelm I sometimes feel with Climate Change, is to take action. It doesn’t matter how small the action is, it feels good to be doing something tangible and I always feel more hopeful as a result.
Photography: Jodi Bennett