– By Michael Mobbs –
We citizens can cut 20 per cent of our individual climate pollution this month. (Four times what the government wants to do by 2020 with their Kyoto Dreaming.)
It’s easy for each of us to cut our climate pollution. We need only our own permission and some know how. We don’t need a go-ahead from governments. Nor do we need to spend extra money – just spend it differently.
And I estimate that for every 100 citizens who take the actions outlined here there’ll be one new job created by our re-directed money.
The main losers here will be our country’s biggest profit makers, the Coles and Woolies chain stores and the banks (who will cream less money from credit cards).
Would you like to give these suggestions a go for a month?
If so, here’s how. (There’s a list below for you to bookmark or print out.)
Food is our first priority. The bulk of our climate and resource pollution comes from how we grow, buy, eat and waste food. (1)
Try to eat red meat and chicken meat just two or three days a week, less if you like to cook and experiment.
Eat kangaroo meat as much as you like; it’s by far the least polluting of our lovely country. And fish is great, too, so long as it’s local. Don’t buy imported meats or other food except for the occasional treat.
If you do give these suggestions a run, you’ll need treats during your month’s experiment. They’re important, particularly for that sinful feeling they may give.
Try to buy only food from your state and within a few hundred kilometres of your place, and which is in season.
And try to buy as much of your food from local markets, especially ones you can walk to.
It’s simply not true that if you’re poor or live in some remote part of a city with poor shopping choices that you’re obliged to buy from the chain store bushrangers; those who say otherwise are the hand-wringers of academia, who focus more on complaints and woe than on solutions which empower us. There is always a farmer, a food box service or markets who will deliver or with whom any one may make arrangements to buy fresh food; for contacts such as:
Generally, aim to buy only bare essentials like matches, toilet paper and such from Coles and Woollies; these supermarket chains abuse our Aussie farmers, do massive damage to our vulnerable agricultural soils, and our vulnerable poorer folk who, very sadly, buy their unfresh food and are fooled by their entirely unjustifiable claims they provide “fresh” food.
Next – clothes, services and leisure travel. They also make a lot of pollution and suck up vats of resources.
I can think of two ways to go here. You can keep on as you are and invest in carbon farming (2) to take the pollution out of the air which your purchases cause, or you can buy second hand clothes, have local holidays, and do and buy things made where you live. Better still, you can do both the carbon farming and the local buying.
Join a car share company, preferably two (to increase competition, compare services and costs). In Sydney I have found the cheapest is the Charter Drive service, having left GoGet after finding it far more expensive. If there is no car share service near you ask the company to provide one and get a couple of your neighbours and businesses to join you, thereby providing the financial justification for the service to come to your area. (3)
Next are our houses, units and offices.
There are two key things to do here, both of which will cut your use of dirty coal-fired electricity.
If you have an electric hot water system you must replace it with gas or solar. No ifs, no buts.
If you don’t wish to do this you’re going to make it hard on yourself to achieve your 20 per cent cut; you’d have to spend over $100 a month investing in growing soil on carbon farms to take all your pollution out of the air by growing soil. There’s $2500 or so rebate; yes, this is a cost but you’ll save it in reduced energy bills in a year.
Buy only electricity that is “Greenpower”, but not just any. Don’t buy some (such as Jackgreen – they’re not green and they’re typically the cheapest), and do buy others which sell fair dinkum clean power (4)
When we cut our own pollution we won’t stop all of it. There’ll still be coal-fired power stations, garbage trucks, jet-setting politicians, whopper fridges, and “sustainability” consultants zipping here and there for climate change conferences and such.
Let that go, it’s a distraction.
Spending time on yourself, what you buy, how you eat and travel so you cut your own pollution by 20 per cent in the next month is worth a try, don’t you think?
Your list of 20 per cent greenhouse cuts
Buy most, preferably all, fruit and vegies from local markets, local farmers = ~ 2- 5 per cent
Plant a lime or lemon tree at your house or unit = ~ 0.5 per cent
Plant a lime or lemon tree in the street near your house or unit or office = ~ 0.5 per cent
Ask your councillors to have your local council buy only local fruit and vegies and only kangaroo meat and local seafood = ~ 2-5 per cent
Only eat red meat from local farmers two days a week and replace with kangaroo meat = ~ 10-15 per cent
Travel by car share car and no car = ~ 2 per cent
Walk and no car = ~ 3 per cent
Solar hot water = ~ 5 per cent
Total greenhouse and resource cuts available with food, clothing, travel, services = ~ -15 per cent to – 20 per cent.
NOTE: look at the size of the savings, not so much the specific numbers as the variations in diets, where you live and how you buy food make it too hard to be precise with the numbers
(1) https://www.acfonline.org.au/consumptionatlas/, and https://www.isa.org.usyd.edu.au/