Table of contents
Climate change is one of the biggest threats of our species. Unless we act quickly, there’ll be devastating global consequences.
This article is part of a comprehensive guide on what you can do to help fight global warming. Your contribution counts more than you think — we have incredible strength in numbers, but we’re headed towards oblivion unless we act right now.
This piece focuses on what you can do at work, how you travel, and other miscellaneous suggestions.
Adjust the power settings on your computer
Both Windows and Macs have settings in which your computer will automatically sleep or turn off the monitor after a certain period of inactivity. A University of California study found that office computers are idle 61% of the time¹. That’s a ton of electricity to be saved.
Turn down the brightness
Unless you’re a graphic designer, you probably don’t need to have your monitor’s brightness set to full. A monitor uses double the power when set to the highest setting².
Move closer to work
Commuting is a source of misery for most people. The University of Waterloo in Canada even found a direct link between commute time and well being³. The longer your commute, the more miserable you’ll be, and the more CO2 you’ll be contributing to the atmosphere.
Work from home
Days spent working from home are often incredibly productive, because there’s nobody around to pester you—a selling point when pitching the idea to your manager. You can also wear nothing but your underwear (when working from home, not while pitching). Fewer commutes = less CO2 emissions.
Switch off your computer and monitors at the end of the day
If you’re an office worker, there’s a good chance that you put your computer to sleep at the end of the day, instead of shutting it down. Standby energy is responsible for a ton of annual CO2 released into the Earth’s atmosphere, so turning off your computer and monitors will help to alleviate the problem.
Get a reusable coffee cups
Coffee is the most traded commodity in the world, and for good reason—it’s delicious, and energises us. The polyethylene coating used inside the paper cups themselves means they can’t be recycled, so they end up in gigantic landfill sites. Reusable coffee cups solve this issue, and you can buy some awesome ones.
Don’t print unless you need to
Trees are a formidable weapon in the fight against climate change. The more paper we use, the more trees need to be cut down. Don’t print anything unless you absolutely need to.
Use your car less
It seems obvious—using your car less will reduce the CO2 emissions that you’re releasing into the atmosphere. Opt for a brisk walk instead—there’s tons of mental health benefits from walking, and you’ll get fitter.
Get a more efficient car
Even though you think your gas-guzzling v8 makes you look cool, most people probably think you’re a douche, and compensating for your deep-seated insecurity. Consider trading in your vehicle for something more economical. You’ll be helping to save the planet, and will have more money in the bank.
Service your vehicle
This is a big one — a poorly tuned car can use up to 50% more fuel¹. By regularly servicing your vehicle, you’ll be saving money, and doing your part for the environment. Every 6 months or every 10,000km is the rule of thumb, and make sure you update the little sticker on your windscreen with the date of the service. A six-monthly calendar reminder on your phone is a good idea too.
Get an electric car
If you live in a country whose national grid is not highly dependent on dirty fossil fuels such as coal, buying an electric car is a great way to reduce your CO2 emissions. Hybrids are good too.
Combine your trips
Multiple errands can often be combined into a single trip, reducing the amount of car usage. There’s really no need to go to the shopping mall on Saturday, and back again on Sunday.
Trains instead of planes
Planes are incredibly bad for the environment. If it’s feasible, consider taking a train instead. They’re more comfortable, with more potentially beautiful views, and increased time for reflection. If you must fly, do the right thing and pay a little extra to offset your carbon emissions.
Use public transportation
There’s tons of benefits to taking the bus or train—you can spend the time reading a captivating book, catching up your latest Netflix show, or just daydreaming. Public transport has none of the stresses of driving: battling your way through traffic jams, trying to find a parking spot, or worrying about a wallet-emptying crash.
Cycling is an awesome form of exercise, reducing your risk of stroke, heart attack, cancer, depression, diabetes, and obesity⁴. It feels much easier than running too. The less you use your car, the fewer your carbon emissions.
Sharing your trips with others is a great way to reduce CO2 emissions, and saves you money. Live close to a colleague? Consider travelling into work with them. Uber also has a car pool option, and Muve is another taxi service designed specifically with ride sharing in mind.
Rapid acceleration, excessive braking, and speeding all increase your fuel usage, and release greater amounts of greenhouse gas. You’ll also feel calmer if you drive normally.
Remove roof racks
Roof racks can be heavy, reducing fuel efficiency by up to 5%¹. Remove them if they’re not being used.
Properly inflate your car tyres
Every missing unit of PSI pressure results in 0.4% loss in fuel mileage⁵. This quickly adds up if your tyres are badly underinflated. It’s also dangerous.
Check your tyre pressure every couple of weeks—you can find the recommended tyre pressure for your car on a sticker in the driver’s side door jam, or in the owner’s manual.
Turn off your engine
When waiting to pick someone up, turn off your car’s engine. You’ll save fuel.
Divest from polluting companies
If you’re invested in a polluting energy company, a food manufacturer that uses palm oil, or any other company that has a direct impact on our environment, removing your investment is one of the most effective actions you can take. These companies want your investment.
This has its biggest impact when larger entities such as other companies, pension funds, and universities remove their investments—$8 trillion USD have been divested over the last six years, from a joint global effort. Using whatever influence you have to encourage divestment can go a long way.
Invest in renewable energy
Investment can affect a company’s share price, with the potential to increase its capital. Putting your money into the renewable energy sector will allow it to continue growing into the future, when eventually, it might be able to completely replace polluting chemical energy such as coal and oil.
Invest in battery technology
Tesla has been breaking ground with battery technology for years. Might we see a future where batteries power entire villages, negating the need for power plants? Elon Musk believes so. Investing in companies such as Tesla is a good show of support.
Invest in carbon removal technology
Carbon removal technology is a means to capture and remove carbon dioxide directly from the atmosphere. Though still new on the block, it’s showing a lot of promise as a tool in the fight against climate change.
There’s tons of charities who are doing great things to fight climate change. Your donation makes a difference. Find a list of charities with a quick Google search.
Become a minimalist
Contrary to popular believe, buying stuff can make us unhappy. The more shit we accumulate, the unhappier we become⁶. It’s also bad for our environment and wallets.
There’s some gems to be found in markets, garage sales and thrift shops. Every second hand item that you buy will negate the need for something new to be manufactured, which helps to reduce the amount of CO2 being released into our planet’s atmosphere.
Watch these shows
By using captivating storytelling and vivid imagery, film can be a powerful medium for inspiring change. Check out these awesome documentaries on climate change, and get inspired.
Millions of tiny actions add up to big changes, and could be the difference between our planet continuing to heat towards devastating temperatures, or reversing the trend and returning to safety. We must keep the climate crisis in the forefront of our mind, and make the right decisions every single day.
Only we can make the difference, but we must act. Right now.
- NRDC, How You Can Help Fight Climate Change
- Per Christensson, Lower Your Display Brightness
- Amy Morin, Want To Be Happier? Change Your Commute Or Change Your Attitude
- Better Health, Cycling—Health Benefits
- Popular Mechanics, Debunking a Mileage Myth: Can You Really “Pump Up” Your Fuel Economy?
- Wikipedia, Economic Materialism