10 Things You Can Do To Personally Make the Future A Little Less Sh*tty 🌈
1. Don't directly fund fossil fuel. ⛽️
You can't escape fossil fuels for now. They're intrinsically linked to daily life in modern society. That said, you don't need to help finance the companies pumping out the stuff.
Depending on where you're at in life, you may be actively or passively invested in publicly traded companies. If you're serious about the climate crisis, it may be time to divest from any holdings funding fossil fuel. If you're unsure about a fund or ETF, then you should check out asyousow.com.
2. Stop eating meat—or eat less of it. 🥓
I don't expect people to give up meat wholesale. But it's certainly possible to eat a lot less.
And become an early adopter when cultured meat is commercially available.
3. When it comes to wheels opt for light, simple, second hand, and/or electric. 🚗
Some people need cars. That's a fact of life.
But when you buy a new Land Rover, you personally contribute 35 tons of CO2 into the atmosphere. Conversely, a new Honda Civic produces less than 15 tons of CO2. And when you buy a used vehicle you're responsible for a fraction of the amount.
4. Be mindful of your holiday cheer. 🧑🎄
Not to be Scrooge over here, but going all out for the holidays can be one of the worst things you do for the planet.
I know. I love holiday decorations too. But the difference between someone who goes full on 'Santa's Village' and someone with a basic, reusable setup is over 3 tons of CO2 emissions. The big offenders to watch out for are:
- unwanted presents and wrapping;
- food waste;
- lights; and
- decorations (especially single use disposable).
5. Stop buying so much stuff. 🛍
We need to create a culture around personal accountability for the things that come in and out of our lives. Excessive consumption needs to be replaced with conscious consumption.
People need stuff to an extent, but it's out of hand. We don't need holiday-specific outfits; 20 pairs of shoes; 100 different kitchen gadgets; and new iphones every year.
Buy fewer, gooder things. And reusable things too.
6. Try to buy second hand. 💞
No matter what tax bracket I'm in, I'm always going to buy big ticket items second hand. And try to shop second hand for the little stuff too. Whether it's a car, chair, or cast iron frying pan.
You save tons—literal tons—of CO2 when you purchase stuff second hand over the course of your lifetime. You offset the carbon cost of a new item, and delay the carbon cost of ending another.
7. Steer clear of new jewelry with precious gems and metals 💍
A single necklace can produce 880lbs of CO2. Extracting gold, diamonds, and precious metals is resource heavy and creates ample pollution. Plus, there's a huge spillover of harmful impacts like deforestation and environmental degradation that occur in the pursuit of these precious materials (not to mention the exploitation of workers).
An easy workaround? Buy second hand or recycled. Also, lab grown diamonds are a thing. So please stop paying 3 months salary for an engagement ring. That was literally an advertising campaign created by De Beers to increase diamond demand.
8. Don't waste food. 🌮
We harp on food waste quite a bit at rü because it's in a category of its own when it comes to pollution and waste. Depending on where you live, food waste could make up roughly 20% of your annual CO2 emissions. That's more than from your fuel and electricity use combined.
There are so many inputs that go into putting food on your plate. Having it go to waste means a massive amount of energy and resources were expended for nothing.
9. Don't just vote. Promote. 🗳
There are maybe 7 politicians in the entire world who genuinely give a sh*t about the planet. The others care about getting elected. We, as voters, need to not just vote for people who care, but put pressure on elected officials to care.
If you live in the United States, here's how you can contact your elected officials.
If you live in Canada, here's how you can contact your elected officials.
Make it known that the public wants—no, needs—a planet to live on.
10. Lead by example. 🌱
The little things add up. Little decisions like bringing lunch to work, recycling, turning off your lights, refusing single use, riding your bike, opting for vegan options, composting, buying second hand, etc. These teeny tiny changes have such a profound impact when you add them up macro scale.
And here's the thing, most people and companies don't give a solitary dog turd about the planet. But they do care about perception and the opinions of others.
We are monkey-see, monkey-do creatures. And when enough people do something, more people do it. Sustainability is contagious like that—but only if it's visible. So take pride in your second hand stuff and plant-based meals. Talk about it. Share it.