What you can do
Getting into the nitty-gritty of climate change can be a tad overwhelming. But the great thing about it is that there is so much we can do today to make a difference.
You can make simple changes today that result in less greenhouse emissions. Then help us spread the word and get everyone you know involved!
Shrink your energy use
Being more efficient with energy consumption is one of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to tackle climate change.
“Using less energy isn’t about making drastic lifestyle changes or sacrifices. Conservation and efficiency measures can be as simple as improving the standards for new buildings so that they use less energy for heating and cooling, replacing an old refrigerator…or adjusting the thermostat before leaving home.” Suzuki Foundation
You can make simple electricity savings throughout your household like the ones below.
- Turn down the thermostat to a toasty 20 degrees for winter. And try putting on another layer before turning up the heat. In summer, keep the air conditioning at a balmy 26 degrees.
- You can save a bundle by not heating rooms you don’t use, and turning the heat down when you go out or at night when you're snuggled under that doona.
- Let sunshine do its thing. Open up the curtains and blinds on north facing windows so it can warm up the house during the day. And give the drier a rest and hang the clothes out on the line to dry. Nothing smells quite as good as line dried sheets!
- Make like granny and put draught snakes along the bottom of your doors. When combined with weather seals for windows and outer doors and other gap fillers, draughts will be a thing of the past (and they are super cheap to buy and install, even if you are a renter).
- Turn off appliances you aren’t using. Some appliances use as much energy when they’re on 'stand by' as when they’re turned on, especially ones with small lights on them, or which have a remote control.
- Use cold water to wash clothes and hold off on washing until you have a full load. A hot clothes wash uses 20 times more energy than a cold wash.
- Make the switch to low energy compact fluroescent globes that last eight times longer than conventional globes and use less energy along the way. Make sure to recycle them
Get active in your community
Get yourself involved in one of the many ongoing campaigns and programs designed to reduce Victoria's greenhouse gas emissions and restore our climate by the year 2020. Take action
Energy efficiency at home
Australian homes produce roughly 13 per cent of our total greenhouse pollution. Yet energy efficiency measures could slash these emissions by more than 70 per cent using existing technologies. It'll save you and others across Australia a total of $65 billion over 12 years.
Energy efficiency in the workplace
The good news is that commercial and manufacturing energy efficiency could easily increase by 20-30 per cent. And that’s with technology we have right now. These efficiency improvements would pay for themselves in just four years through energy savings. What’s more, putting such improvements in place in these and other sectors would grow Australia’s economy (real GDP) by $1.8 billion annually. At the same time, we would create 9,000 jobs, according to research by Australian governments. With political leadership, Australians could have the right incentives to unlock these valuable savings.
Want to be a hero where you work? Check out the things you can do at work
You’re sure to find lots of great ideas to make you look good for the boss.
Energy efficiency for cars
Right now Australia’s tax system rewards big-car purchases and driving more kilometres. Cars are used for four out of five trips in Australia, compared to just half of trips in Europe and two out of five in wealthy Asian cities. Yet oil is a limited and increasingly costly resource. And Australia is already importing more of it than we produce. It’s time for our leaders to give you urban planning options that make cars a luxury, not a necessity.
In the meantime you can make a few simple changes today by driving smarter. Get the facts
Now don’t you feel smarter already!
Shift to cleaner transport
Venice, Amsterdam, Copenhagen. It's no coincidence that some of the world's most beautiful cities have few or no cars. The freedom you have with a car comes at a price: noise, congestion, smog, greenhouse pollution, urban sprawl and further dependency on non-renewable oil supplies.
And cars might not be as convenient as they appear. An Australian Greenhouse Office study added up time spent buying and maintaining cars, as well as actual travel times. It found the 'effective speed' of cars was 12.8 to 18.1 km/h - often slower than bikes (18.1 km/h) and well behind bus travel (21.3 km/h).
“Imagine you live in a city free of the noise, stench and danger of cars, trucks and buses. Imagine all your needs, from groceries to child care, within a five-minute walk of your home. Imagine that the longest commute within your city takes 35 minutes from door to door, by way of a cheap, safe and efficient public transportation system.” J.H. Crawford, Car-Free Cities, 2000
Cleaner transport is easier than you think
Walking, cycling, taking trains or buses, or even combining cars with public transport will help clear the air, save money and even improve your health.
Many urban car journeys are relatively short - in Melbourne 40 percent of trips are less than 3km - so cycling or walking is often a smarter, healthier alternative. Especially considering cold-starting cars for short trips produces the largest share of air pollution. At the least, using more fuel efficient cars or motorcycles can be a step in the right direction.
Efficiency for cities
Research on Scandinavian cities reveals that residents of centralized, high-density urban areas use 60 per cent less energy for transport than residents of sprawling, low-density cities. Higher-density, centralized centres help clear the air by reducing the need for car use. They also encourage healthy transport such as walking and cycling.