Since climate change is adversely affecting our lives, it is essential to quickly reduce our greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, adapt our behaviour, and change our lifestyle and consumption habits to sustain our quality of life.
It is possible to combat climate change through everyday decisions. Here are some suggestions for action that are among the most climate-friendly.
Avoid wasting food
More than one-third of the food produced worldwide is not consumed. Farmland is thus planted needlessly, the considerable amount of water used for irrigation is wasted, and GHG emissions are generated in the production of uneaten food. Avoiding wasting food can make a significant difference to the climate.
In Québec, organic matter such as vegetables, fruits, and meat account for 55% of household waste. When such waste is buried, it produces methane, a highly noxious gas that contributes to climate change. When such foods are composted, their decomposition is less harmful. The resulting compost can be reused as a natural fertilizer in gardens. What is more, composting reduces the amount of waste that is discarded. In short, it is a gesture that makes a substantial difference.
Promoting active, shared, or electric transportation
Walking or cycling are the most ecological ways to travel when feasible, and keeps us healthy. Relying on mass transit, carpooling, ride-sharing and electric vehicles are also excellent ways to considerably reduce everyday travel-related GHG emissions. Choosing a home close to the workplace and services can facilitate the use of active and collective modes of transportation, while reducing distances to be traveled by car.
Eating less meat
Reducing portion sizes and eating meat less frequently are effective, accessible ways to fight climate change. Indeed, livestock rearing, especially of ruminants, is a significant source of GHG emissions in the agriculture sector. Reducing consumption of animal products, including meat, and diversifying our diets to increase the share of plant-based foods is contributing greatly to reducing our climate footprint.
The food and goods that we consume often travel thousands of kilometres to reach our stores and homes. Transportation and the refrigeration used to preserve food during transportation emit substantial amounts of GHG. Choosing food and goods produced in Québec thus reduces transportation-related pollution in addition to encouraging the local economy.
Reducing air travel
Air travel is energy-intensive and emits a great deal of GHG. Avoiding air travel as much as possible considerably reduces the carbon dioxide footprint of individuals.
Getting involved in the community to change your living environment
Transforming alleyways into green lanes, organizing volunteers to green a schoolyard, and participating in meetings of the municipal council to support sustainable development projects in a neighbourhood are all significant gestures that enable residents to change things and effectively combat climate change.
Planting trees, plants, and flowers
Planting trees and perennials or planting a flower or vegetable garden adds greenery to a living environment. Trees and plants mitigate the impact of heat during heat waves. Moreover, planting flower beds can help pollinating insects such as bees to survive in urban centres, which is also a positive gesture to preserve biodiversity.
Adapting to face climate hazards and emergencies
Climate change is increasing the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events such as floods here in Québec. It is causing various problems, including considerable damage to buildings. To better tackle climate change, it is recommended, by way of an example, to avoid building homes in flood-prone areas, implement precautionary measures to better manage rainwater, for example, by consolidating the roof or removing snow more frequently, improving drainage on the lot, installing a non-return valve, and preparing for emergencies particularly by keeping an emergency “go” kit.