Practical Actions For Parents To Help Ease Climate Anxiety
PRACTICAL ACTIONS FOR PARENTS TO HELP EASE CLIMATE ANXIETY.
To get started, we have put together a handy list of practical actions that will help morph that climate anxiety we might feel as parents into positive action. Change is coming, and the individuals who embrace it will be part of the change we wish to see in the world.
Step 1: Estimate your current emissions and take steps to reduce it.
There are some great apps around like Earth Hero that will help you track your personal carbon footprint, compare that to other citizens around the world, and help you set goals to bring it down. If your largest chunk of the emissions pie is driving for example, try walking where possible, plan your trips, opt for public transport or get fit and ride a bike! If you have no other choice and have to drive, perhaps look at investing in an electric vehicle next time you upgrade.
Step 2: Electrify your home.
Step 3: Reduce energy and water consumption.
Analyse the energy and water consumption choices you make on a daily basis. Only have power on when necessary, and conserve water as it is our most precious resource. A handy tip to save energy, is to try washing your clothes on a cold wash and only when you have a full load. If you save solar power, put the wash on in the day to make use of the excess renewable energy that your home is generating. Try and use the dryer only when you really need it, as drying in the sun is also a better option for longevity of your clothes.
Step 4: Eat seasonally.
The 'locavore diet' (eating seasonally and locally) is climate happy eating.
Supporting local produce is also an excellent way to cut down your emissions, and even better, growing your own herbs and veggies is an incredibly rewarding process that helps the earth as much as you!
Step 5: Understand your power as a consumer.
Fast fashion is currently the biggest contributor to landfill. Try visiting the op-shop and/or purchasing sustainable fashion with good quality fabrics that will stand the test of time. Buy for keepsakes, not for the sake of it. Try and avoid impulse buying, and next time you are considering purchasing a product, consider why you are purchasing it. Being aware of the power we have as consumers is a great step forward when it comes to our impact on the world.
Step 6: Cut the waste.
Refuse to support the single-use industry wherever possible. It is a process of creating habits, but it is doable. Keep a reusable coffee cup and water bottle in your car at all times, along with canvas or recycled bags for the food shop. Say no to single-use plastics when it comes to take-away drinks and food. Perhaps opt to eat in and slow down and enjoy the atmosphere. Your soft plastics (anything that is scrunchable) can be disposed of responsibly by delivering to your nearest Coles or Woolworths. Check out your local council website to find out what goes in what bin so you are disposing of your household waste responsibly. If you are out enjoying the outdoors, take your rubbish with you. Walking along the beach? Take 3 for the Sea and take three bits of rubbish to help fight plastic pollution in our oceans.
Step 7: Get politically engaged.
No major party in Australia is delivering the goods on climate policy. The best thing we can do to be heard is to protest. Check out School Strike 4 Climate for upcoming protests. Make the climate a topic you talk about with family and friends. Just discussing it makes a difference. Engage with like-minded individuals and tap into local community groups making a difference at a local level. Get connected with grassroots activist groups like Australian Parents For Climate Action. Write to your local MP and let them know you want to see stronger emissions reduction targets and that the current government isn't doing enough. Let them know this will be a deciding factor in how you vote. If we all speak up and make ourselves heard, we can shift the politics toward positive solutions that help secure a safe climate for all. Both major parties in Australia accept donations from coal and gas lobbyists AND subsidise the industry. This is unacceptable. Look to smaller parties and independents in your area and see whose policies best represent you and your environmental interests.
Step 8: Money talks. Make the switch.
Every cent we have can be divested from fossil fuels and reinvested into companies that don't invest in fossil fuels. If the money moves, these large polluters will lose the ability to operate. Divest by switching over your super and banking to an institution that does not invest in fossil fuels (we choose to bank with Bendigo Bank for this reason specifically). There are also many super funds to choose from, like Future Super and Verve, as well as Australian Ethical Super. If you feel totally bamboozled by the process, Market Forces is an excellent resource that allows you to see how your current bank/super is going in terms of their investments.
Further reading and resources:
School Strike 4 Climate:
Australian Parents For Climate Action:
Writing to your MP:
Take 3 For The Sea: