Being green should be on everyone’s mind, given the lasting impact it has on our planet and future generations. Every day we make choices in our lives that affect the environment. There’s a lot we can do to reduce our environmental footprint. Every simple daily action can make a big difference.
It’s small changes like these could help you lessen your environmental impact. Here are 10 green habits we can do to make our life greener and more sustainable.
1. Reduce, re-use, recycle
We heard it at school; it’s just as valid now as it was then.
An easy way to minimise your environmental impact is to reduce your consumption of stuff generally – from fast fashion and fast furniture, to the little things like single-use plastic (straws, plastic bags).
Carry around a re-usable water bottle and coffee cup, and shop at bulk food stores when you can. Borrow from the library instead of buying books outright (there’s even a library of cake tins!).
Purchase second-hand or recycled products from organisations like Who Gives A Crap, who sell 100% recycled toilet paper and divert 50% of their profits to building toilets in the developing world.
Speaking of recycling:
2. Recycle and dispose of waste properly
You might be surprised by what you can recycle or dispose of safely.
Some State Government programs collect toxic household chemicals such as solvents, poisons and cleaning products.
Various drop-off locations are available to accept:
As Sustainability Victoria would say:
“From smoke detectors to televisions, let’s make sure nothing goes to landfill unnecessarily.”
3. Buy organic food
Look for fruit and vegetables grown without synthetic, polluting pesticides and fertilisers, and which are planted and harvested fairly.
Did you know that some foods are grown using regenerative farming methods? Regenerative agriculture works to heal the soil, so it can better act as a carbon sink.
A study conducted by Rodale found a global switch to regenerative farming could actually reverse the climate crisis.
Proper administration and diligence are a big part of a project manager’s job. From developing an accurate project completion timeline to ensuring timely resolution of tasks and assignments, the project manager must always be on top of the situation and monitor how the project is advancing.
4. Buy local
When we buy imported goods, we rarely think of the distance those goods travelled and their associated carbon footprint.
So, try to buy locally wherever possible – it’s usually fresher, too.
A great example is social enterprise Ceres Fair Food from Melbourne. Ceres offers organic seasonal produce delivery, while also employing refugees and those seeking asylum – it’s a win-win!
5. Buy mindfully
Buying responsibly means buying products and services that don’t exploit workers, and aren’t cruel and inhumane to animals.
It’s not a pleasant thought but modern slavery is often hidden deep in global supply chains. Even chocolate falls into this category, due to the hazardous conditions of growing cocoa.
There is an estimated 15,000 people living in conditions of modern slavery in Australia right now.
Recently, Australia has passed the Modern Slavery Act, requiring organisations with at least A$100 million consolidated revenue (including charities and not-for-profits) to publish modern slavery statements.
Savvy consumers can look for the Fairtrade logo, which promotes products which give a fair go to farmers, workers and their communities in some of the world’s poorest countries.
You can even look up your own slavery footprint at slaveryfootprint.org.
6. Go meat free
Going plant-based has both sustainability and health benefits.
The detrimental impact of animal agriculture and industrial fishing is widely known. Livestock as a whole is estimated to be responsible for around 15% of global greenhouse gas emissions.
30% of the earth’s entire land surface—a massive 70% of all agricultural land—is used for rearing farmed animals. Much of this is grazing land would have otherwise hosted natural habitats such as valuable rainforests.
But it’s not just the planet’s health that benefits from us eating less meat. The World Health Organization has classified processed meats – including ham, salami, bacon and frankfurts – as a Group 1 carcinogen.
The World Cancer Research Fund recommends we “choose mostly plant foods, limit red meat and avoid processed meat”. Sounds good to me! Not ready to give up those burgers? Meat Free Monday is a not-for-profit campaign encouraging people to help slow climate change, conserve precious natural resources and improve their health by having at least one plant-based day each week.
7. Change the way you travel
According to the Climate Council’s Climate Action Toolkit, transport is one of the biggest contributors to Australia’s overall greenhouse gas pollution (18%).
So, have a think about how you get from A to B; walk, cycle or use public transport wherever possible.
Not able to walk on water? Shame. Because aviation alone is responsible for about 2% of global carbon dioxide emissions according to the Climate Council.
When the only way is by air, offset your carbon emissions by purchasing offset units.
These units fund projects which remove or reduce emissions from the atmosphere, such as renewable energy, energy efficiency and reforestation programs.
Most major airlines offer this feature when you make your booking with the help of accredited off-set scheme providers.
8. Bank and invest responsibly
Do you know where your personal finances are invested?
Some banks and superannuation funds may invest your money in companies that may not align to your values.
Look for a fund that:
- measures and reports its social responsibility contribution,
- has a transparent portfolio and investment process and;
- doesn’t merely ‘greenwash’.
If you are with Elevate Super, you know your portfolio of investments is measured against the UN Sustainable Development Goals (the best framework, in our opinion) so you have a clear picture of your super impact.
But do your research using sites like Super Switch by Market Forces, which assess the fossil fuel exposure of a superannuation fund’s equity holdings.
9. Green your energy use
There are lots of little ways you can reduce your energy consumption at home.
Obvious ones include:
- turning down the thermostat,
- switching off lights and appliances when you are not using them,
- upgrading your lightbulbs to energy efficient bulbs like LED and;
- drying your clothes on the line instead of in the dryer.
These actions also have the perk of reducing your power bill.
And while we are on the topic of power bills, you can also pick an energy provider that uses green power (depending on your state) such as Powershop or Amber Electric.
There’s also a government-accredited scheme called GreenPower, allowing renters, households and businesses to purchase electricity produced from renewable sources.
Or for even more sustainability points if you own your home, generate your own power by getting solar panels installed.
Some State Governments are currently offering rebates to make this a bit more affordable.
10. Use your voice
Greta Thunberg demonstrated the power of one voice when she protested climate change outside the Swedish parliament, inspiring a global climate movement.
You, too, have a powerful voice.
Encourage your friends, family (yes, even your grandma) to live more sustainably, and show them how. Give them this article!
If you want to go further, you can petition your local council to join the Cities Power Partnership (CPP), which seeks to accelerate Australia’s transition to a renewable energy future through our towns and cities.
Email or write to your local MP outlining your concerns, or to an editor of a press publication.
Petition the companies you purchase from to look at their supply chains and commit to a sustainability policy.
If we can start chipping away at these small behavioural changes, and urge others to do the same, we could make a significant impact – helping creating a more sustainable future for all.
About Elevate Super
Elevate Super is a retail super fund, powered by successful fintech AtlasTrend. AtlasTrend was created in 2015 to build a new investment service to help our customers learn and invest with purpose in long term world trends. At Elevate Super, we believe you shouldn’t have to give up competitive financial returns to do good.
We assess and measure investments based on their long-term growth fundamentals plus positive contribution to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – a global blueprint for balancing our economic, social and environmental needs.
Elevate Super is a sub plan of the Aracon Superannuation Fund (ABN 40 586 548 205) (Fund) issued by Equity Trustees Superannuation Limited (ABN 50 055 641 757, AFS Licence No. 229757, RSE Licence No. L0001458) (Equity Trustees). AtlasTrend Pty Ltd (ABN 83 605 565 491) (AtlasTrend) is the promoter of Elevate Super and a Corporate Authorised Representative (No. 001233660) of Fundhost Limited (AFSL 233045) (Fundhost) and Havana Financial Services Pty Ltd (AFSL 500435) (Havana). This communication contains general advice only and does not take into consideration your personal objectives, financial situation or needs. None of the information provided is, or should be considered to be, personal financial advice.
The information provided in this communication is believed to be accurate at the time of writing. None of AtlasTrend, Equity Trustees, Havana, Fundhost or their related entities nor their respective officers and agents accept responsibility for any inaccuracy in, or any actions taken in reliance upon the general advice provided. A copy of AtlasTrend’s financial services guide can be found at www.elevatesuper.com.au/fsg. This communication is not an offer to invest in Elevate Super and is produced by AtlasTrend Pty Ltd. Before deciding on Elevate Super, you should read the Product Disclosure Statement available at www.elevatesuper.com.au/pds or by calling Elevate Super on 1800 875 148 and seek professional financial advice to consider if Elevate Super is appropriate for you.