Climate change has been a big topic of 2019. As reports continue to come out that paint a dire picture for our planet, here are some ways that you can personally contribute to being more conscious in the new decade.
Invest in solar power
While South Africa’s power-grid is still fed by mostly coal-powered power stations, so it’s hard to be completely carbon-neutral when it comes to powering your home, using solar power can reduce your households carbon footprint. Even if it just supplements heating your geyser, this can help you save in electricity bills and means you are not relying as much on non-renewable resources.
Mend your clothing
The rise in fast fashion labels like Zara and H&M have led to massive growth in the amount of clothing thrown away each year. These speedily made fashion lines use damaging products like plastic in their items, use unethical labour practices and flimsy environmental “commitments.” By mending broken clothes you can reduce the amount of fashion waste that fills up landfills and save money at the same time. Another option is to support local clothing makers, to ensure you know the source of your clothes and the quality.
Be water conscious
South Africa has been a prime example of how easy it is to fall into a drought, and why constant vigilance is key when it comes to saving water. This includes keeping a bucket in your shower, using the excess water to flush toilets and water plant, only showering for a maximum of 5 minutes, being aware of any leaking taps or pipes in your house and encouraging conscious washing when it comes to water heavy appliances like dishwashers and washing machines.
Be proactive about packaging
The bans against plastic straws swept the world in 2019. In 2020, we should all take this a step further by reducing the use of single-use plastic items in our takeaways, online orders and bottled water. Keep designated glass bottles, straws, containers and coffee cups with you at all times so you can make sure you are prepared should you need them.
Carpool or use bus routes
Carbon-dioxide pollution from cars is still a major contributor to air pollution, with countries that have little wind and big commuter populations feeling the choking fume smog this year. South Africa’s poor transport systems make it hard to give up the convenience and relative safety of your car, but were possible, start car-pools at your office to minimize the number of people on the road. In bigger cities, in certain areas the upgraded bus routes can also be used for work commutes. This will also help reduce the amount of traffic, a growing problem in most South African cities.
Actively re-use, reduce and recycle
Most households and public spaces have seen a shift to recycling, but this in isolation will not be enough. Buying single-use plastics and then recycling them causes issues at recycling plants, especially since many of these items can’t actually be recycled. In 2020, it is time for all of us to make daily active decisions to help reduce our impact on the environment rather than it being an after-thought, left to be dealt with later.