Reducing your emissions
Reducing your greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions is a great way to take action on climate change in your daily life. We understand and acknowledge that individual actions are only part of the solution to halting the impacts of climate change, but these small actions do have the power to send messages to Governments, investors, large multinational corporations and market forces that we support and demand large scale action.
Our daily consumption habits are determined by our backgrounds, communities, culture, budget, education, preferences and awareness and social norms, but when we purchase something, anything, we are voting with our dollar, and this can be a very powerful tool to create change.
You can find lots more information about climate change and what you can do about it on the Climate Council Australia website.
The world’s food system is responsible for about one-quarter of the planet-warming greenhouse gases that humans generate each year. That includes raising and harvesting all the plants, animals and animal products we eat — beef, chicken, fish, milk, lentils, kale, corn and more — as well as processing, packaging and shipping food to markets all over the world. If you eat food, you’re part of this system.
When trying to reduce the environmental impacts of the foods you eat and enjoy, some ideas to get you started include:
- Start growing your own veggies and herbs or join a local community garden to learn new skills and grow as part of a group
- Eat as much locally grown produce as possible by shopping at local markets or researching for local growers and suppliers
- If you're not a vegan or vegetarian, give Meatless Mondays a go to try to reduce your meat intake
- For meat and fish, shop from local farmers or the butcher or direct from the seafood suppliers, and start asking where you meat / fish has come from
- Use the Sustainable Seafood Guide to inform your choices
- With dairy, research what farm the produce has come from and get to know their story / ethics around production
- Eat as much organic produce as possible
- Eat as much locally grown or produced food as possible, followed by Australian made, before choosing global products. This decreases your food miles
- Eat wholefoods over processed foods
- Compost or worm farm any food scraps
- Buy in bulk and choose items with less packaging
Local resources to help you
- GULP NT - Growing and Understanding Local Produce in the Northern Territory (Darwin region) is a community project. The GULP project aims to connect community through the sharing of culinary and gardening skills and ideas. We support people to use local produce grown in back gardens, community gardens and local farms. This reduces food miles, connects people to place, promotes healthy eating and allows people to share their knowledge cross culturally within the community, online and face to face.
- Taste of the Top End
- Food footprint calculator (it is an American website, but still very informative & worthwhile)
- Sustainable Table - Guide to eating more sustainably
- STEM Education kit - The science behind tropical local food
Interesting reads from reputable bodies
- Climate explained: how the climate impact of beef compares with plant-based alternatives - The Conversation, May 2020
- Your Questions About Food and Climate Change, Answered. How to shop, cook and eat in a warming world. - New York Times, 2019
- What we eat matters: to change climate crisis, we need to reshape the food system, The Guardian, 2019
- Food and climate change - David Suzuki
- Check out the COOLmob Guide to Going Solar in the Top End
- Tips & toolkit to reduce your energy use at home in the Top End
- Environment Centre NT's Repower NT Campaign - Information on renewable energy policies in the NT
- Ideas and information to reduce your waste in the Top End
- What is a circular economy and why should we move in this direction?
- Check out the COOLmob transport tips to reducing your car miles in Darwin
- Check out our tips for reducing water use in the Top End
Whenever you're making a decision about purchasing something - be it food, clothing, furniture, electronics, a hotel for the weekend, anything, begin by asking some simple questions to gain a better understanding of the carbon footprint of that item. This includes things like how much energy and water it took to make the item, package it, transport it to you, and the options for either reuse, recycling or landfilling at it's end of life.
Some questions to think about and ways to find answers include:
- Research the company, their sustainability commitments and principles, and where they invest their money
- If the company has no publicly available information, email them and ask them some questions. You can ask them things like where the item is made, in what factory, if they pay workers 'liveable' wages, if they use secondhand materials or offcuts, if they have a return scheme at the items end of life
- Research if you can find the item secondhand
- Think about where the item has come from. Try to prioritise locally made items, as these have had to travel less distance. For example, choosing locally made olive oil rather than Italian made olive oil
- Consider what you will do at the product's end of life. Can it be sent back to the supplier for recycling, can it be recycled locally, can it be reused, or does it have to be landfilled?
Find more information here:
- Fashion Revolution campaign - for a clean, safe, fair, transparent and accountable fashion industry
- Opshop to Runway - second hand shopping and fashion
- Sustainable and ethical fashion brand rating system
Divestment is the removal of your investment capital from stocks, bonds or funds and this global movement encourages individuals, businesses and institutions to move their money out of oil, coal and gas companies for both moral and financial reasons. For anyone who is a shareholder of a company heavily reliant on the fossil fuel industry or in the fossil fuel industry, use your power as a shareholder to pressure them to support the energy transition as constructively and ethically as possible. Your influence matters.
As an individual, two easy ways you can do this are by looking into your chosen bank and superannuation fund, and seeing how ethical they are investing your money. If they are not ethical, switch to a new, socially and environmentally responsible bank or superannuation company who are.
More information on this topic:
- Financing The Future event
- Global divestment movement hits $11 trillion, pushes for more – and faster - Renew Economy, September 2019
- Ethical superannuation what is it and does it actually work, The Conversation, October 2019