If you’re ready to take action on climate change then there are big and small ways you can go about doing just that. Whether you’re looking to take action in your own life or you want to join together with your friends and neighbours – there are lots of ways you can take action on our changing climate.
Not every step and solution may be the right action for you. Reflect on your lifestyle, what are things you think you can change? Or work towards changing? Start there. Here are some suggestions about how you, as an individual, can support action against climate change:
Educate yourself. Without being a climate scientist it’s impossible to have all the answers, but it is a good idea to have a basic working knowledge of how climate change is affecting our planet. Luckily there are literally thousands of scientists out there already doing the work for you. Visit these sites for a crash course on climate change:
Global Weirding is a YouTube channel by Dr. Katharine Hayhoe, a climate scientist who breaks down the hot topics surrounding climate change.
Climate Atlas interprets data through storytelling and visuals to help inspire and inform Canadians.
Alberta Climate Records are detailed notes and records about the changing landscape and climate in Alberta.
Talk about climate change. Breaking the climate silence is an important step to tackling the bigger issues. Many Canadians know that climate change is real, but fear that discussing the topic will alienate friends and family or don’t discuss it because they don’t have all the answers (hopefully we tackled this above). Check out our climate conversation guide to get started!
Walk the walk & talk the talk. If you’re serious about making a difference studies show that changes in your personal lifestyle are key to systematic climate action. Others are more likely to listen and take you seriously if you are already incorporating changes into your own life. Some actions you can take are:
Tackle food waste. Did you know that food waste is a big contributor to climate change? It is! And it’s often not discussed when we talk about climate action. You can learn more at www.wasteless.ca/food
Use alternate transport. Using public transport, walking/cycling, carpooling, even thinking “do I really need to go out or can it wait until I’m out next time…” can significantly reduce our personal carbon footprints. If every household in Lethbridge walked 1km a week for a year instead of driving, 367kg CO2e would be saved (based on the average emissions of a Toyota Corolla using car-emissions calculations).
Minimize your energy usage. This includes swapping your lights for LEDs, setting and programming your thermostat, putting a sweater on before bumping the heat, and unplugging devices that draw power even when they aren’t in use. If you have the means, you could do a home energy audit and/or retrofit parts of your home to be more efficient, like upgrade to energy-efficient appliances, improve insulation or install solar panels.
Be a conscious consumer. When you’re purchasing items try to be mindful of the businesses, organizations, etc., you’re supporting and whether their ideals are in-line with yours. Other things to consider are:
Buying and gifting. The “buyerarchy” of needs is essentially a reflection on our habits and asking ourselves “do we need this?”, and if you do, can you make it, borrow it, or buy it second-hand?
Know where you are buying from. If you have to purchase an item, big or small, it’s a good idea to know where and what your money is supporting. Sites like Good On You and B Corp track brands that are sustainable and committed to ethical manufacturing. You can cross-reference brands you already support to see if they’re environmentally conscious.
Once you’re ready for the next step, look to your community for support. In Lethbridge and the surrounding area, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to know that if you’re passionate about something there is most likely a group out there that will help you on your climate action journey. If you’re looking to take action locally, you can:
Volunteer. The best way to learn and support your values is to volunteer for an organization that is working towards goals you admire.
Join an activist movement.
The Youth Climate Strikes are a group of young and old people alike that have been inspired by Greta Thunberg’s Friday for Futures strikes. Follow their social media channels for updates on strikes and gatherings.
Join local groups. If you’re looking for a more casual setting, joining local groups to learn, share ideas, and hold occasional events is a great way to get involved.
True North Environmental is a non-partisan environmental awareness group that advocates for transparent environmental policy.
Southern Alberta Group for the Environment (SAGE) is a leading voice for a healthy and environmentally sustainable community through informing citizens, participating in public processes, and supporting sound environmental initiatives and actions.
Engaging with all levels of government is a strong and effective way to support climate action.
Vote. Every vote from municipal to provincial to federal matters. Make sure you’re voting for candidates and parties that support strong environmental action.
Write to your representatives to voice your support, or your disappointment. Is there a climate project or concern in our community that you believe isn’t getting the funding or attention it deserves? What about Provincially? Federally?
Lethbridge City Council: Mayor Chris Spearman + 8 Councillors
Federal Member of Parliament representing Lethbridge: Rachel Harder