101 THINGS YOU CAN DO TO HELPADDRESS CLIMATE CHANGEClimate change is the biggest threat to the wellbeing of future generations and to theworld we love. If we work together, we can stop its worst effects.Sometimes climate change seems too big a problem for any one person to tackle. Thisis one of the big psychological barriers that hinders action on climate change. But infact we all can do something, and these contributions all add up. Psychologistsworking on behaviour change know that just starting somewhere helps us to engagewith the issue and start to create the world we want to see. It also helps us realisehow much we need the community to get on board to pressure for bigger social andpolitical change to tackle the scale of the problem.Acting personally and collectively to reduce our carbon footprint is a significantcoping strategy. Our actions not only contribute to the solutions to climate change butalso help us to feel we are part of the solution, not just the problem, and help managethe distressing feelings aroused by this grave threat to our future. Action is the bestantidote to despair and helplessness. It is also the case that speedy action on climatechange will not happen unless we create the political will, and that requires action byall of us beyond the context of our personal lives.Getting active is one of the eight strategies outlined in the Climate ChangeEmpowerment Handbook, an APS resource which helps people come to terms andcope with the profound implications of climate change and participate in speedysocietal change to restore a safe climate. The Handbook draws on decades of researchin social, environmental, community and developmental psychology about how topromote behaviour change, activate pro-social values and engage people in effectivesustainability actions while also increasing their personal wellbeing.
This series of everyday green action tips is based on an extensive body of research.Some of the ideas come out of research into the importance of social norms in helpingto promote sustainable behaviours. Some are based on research into ‘psychologicalrestoration’ and the importance of spending time in nature to restore attention andwellbeing. Others use environmental psychology research about prioritising highimpact actions over lower impact actions, and group actions over individual actions.Developmental psychology research on the importance of teaching children skills forcivic responsibility provide the basis for others.Some of the common-sense green action tips in this list appear in other lists as well – wewanted to give you plenty of options for things you can do, so you can feel your owncapacity to make change and build your sense of efficacy. We can all do many things,and enormous changes are possible when we all contribute to a sustainable world andurgently address climate change.You can read more about the psychological research underlying this resource in theAPS Climate Change Empowerment Handbook and other resources listed at the end.101 GREEN ACTION TIPSIn the following pages are some ideas about what you can do to reduce greenhouse gasemissions and help to limit climate change. Which of these can you do? Consider settingyourself a goal each week, or choosing 5 things to commit to. And reward yourself eachweek when you achieve your goal!Some actions have a greater impact on reducing greenhouse gas emissions than others.As a consumer, you can make a big impact on your own emissions by things like gettingrid of your car, flying less, and switching to a plant based diet. As a citizen, lobbyinggovernments and big businesses for policy change is an important way to impact onglobal emissions. Try to take on some of these stronger actions because these will havethe biggest effect on greenhouse gas emissions overall.
TRAVELLING1. Use public transport to get to work and leisure activities.2. Carpool to get to work, or to get to events that friends are also attending.3. Share a car with your neighbours or friends.4. Reduce your car and plane travel for work – use teleconferencing.5. Reduce your vacation travel – take local holidays.6. Park your car at a friend’s house so it’s easy not to use it every day.7. Buy carbon offsets when you have to fly.8. If you really need a car, buy a smaller and more efficient one, or better still,an electric or hybrid vehicle.9. Put climate change stickers on your car or bike.10. Maintain your car with regular tune-ups and correct air pressure.11. Drive smoothly, avoid sudden acceleration.
AT HOME12. Use less electricity and gas – buy energy-efficient light bulbs andappliances, turn off lights.13. Insulate your house, starting with the roof space.14. Wear warm jumpers and thick socks in winter and turn down your heaterthermostat in winter to 18 degrees or cooler.15. Cool yourself before you cool your home in summer, and turn up your airconditioner thermostat to 24 degrees or warmer, but try to just use a fan.16. Recycle everything you can.17. Follow a ‘climatarian’ diet - eat less sheep and beef (they produce mostmethane); compost your food waste.18. Install solar power panels and solar hot water.19. Buy renewable energy.20. Plant trees in your garden and wherever you can. Grow your own fruit andvegetables.21. Use less water – time your showers, install rainwater tanks.22. Put up signs on your garden fence or letterbox about climate change.23. If you're building, use an eco-friendly design and builder.24. Replace heating and cooling units with more efficient models.25. When you move house, go small - prioritise energy efficiency and publictransport.26. See http://shrinkthatfootprint.com for more ideas about reducing yourenergy use at home.
AT WORK27. Join or form a green team at work.28. Ask your workplace to divest from companies that invest in fossil fuels.29. Develop a sustainability policy with guidelines for energy efficiency, paperuse, procurement policies, catering, recycling, energy providers etc.30. Make your environmental values clear to your colleagues.Ride a bike or walkto work and to visit friends.VALUE NATURE31. Spend time in the natural places that you love.32. Notice the wild, natural world around you wherever you are.33. Spend time with others in nature or join a social group with a shared interest liketree planting, weed removal or bird watching.34. Donate your money or time to nature conservation activities.
AT THE SHOPS35. Buy less! Do you really need it?36. Walk or ride to the shops.37. Refuse plastic bags when you shop and tell them why – take your own clothbags.38. Buy local, organic, seasonal food.39. Buy recycled goods.40. Reduce your food miles.41. Get hold of a sustainable supermarket guide and be a wise consumer.42. Avoid products in non-recyclable containers.43. Buy energy-efficient appliances when you need them.44. Take your money out of banks and other financial institutions that supportthe fossil fuel industry – and tell them why you are doing so.45. Give your friends and family gifts that support the environment and socialjustice - e.g. bze.org.au/shop and www.oxfamshop.org.au.COMMUNICATION46. Tell people that 97% of climate scientists agree that climate change ishappening and is caused by human behavior.47. Remind people that there’s still time to take action on climate change andprevent the worst harms.48. Show other people that it’s normal to be green.49. Tell stories of people doing positive things for the environment.50. Show pictures and talk with people about the natural places you love.51. Tell people how good you feel when riding your bike to work.52. Leave visible (behavioural) traces of the things you do to protect theenvironment so that people can learn from your example (E.g., keep-cup onyour desk, bike helmet swinging from your backpack).53. Be obvious about your environmental values.54. Break the silence on climate change by bringing it up whenever possible. Thishelp others to see that people just like them are concerned and taking action.55. Encourage other people to express their concerns about climate change, andmake it 'normal' to do so.
WITH KIDS56. Plant a tree for the future with them.57. Let them walk or ride to school and after-school activities (perhaps with you).58. Show them how you are working on climate change so they can have a betterworld to grow up in.59. Talk about ways you can reduce your carbon footprint as a family.60. Encourage teachers to talk about climate change (but without being scary).61. Encourage the school to model sustainability (paper recycling, energy efficiency).62. Encourage the school to engage students in climate change projects – e.g.tree-planting, letters to politicians about their hopes and fears for the future,putting on a play or concert on climate change, studying the effects on theGreat Barrier Reef).63. Find ways of letting children have unstructured, unsupervised time inwild, natural places.
FOR ENTERTAINMENT, OUT AND ABOUT64. Refuse to buy bottled water. Take your own water bottle with you, and your owntravel cup for take-away coffee.65. When you can, choose to eat in the restaurant rather than getting takeaway.Restaurants tend to use less packaging waste when dining in.66. When treating yourself, consider choosing services, like massages or dining out,rather than buying more ‘stuff’.DO THINGS WITH OTHERS67. Get your school or college to start projects on climate change.68. Get your choir to sing climate change songs.69. Get your book club to read books on climate change.70. Have a dinner party with friends, family, colleagues or neighbours with aspeaker on climate change (see www.climateforchange.org.au).71. Put up posters on climate change at work.72. Invite your friends and colleagues to talks, films and other activities whichfocus on climate change.73. Use social media to share your concerns.74. Get onto email lists and social media platforms to keep in touch about climatechange events.
LOOK AFTER YOURSELF75. Acknowledge any painful feelings about climate change – anger, fear, despair,grief, guilt – and talk about them with others.76. Spend time with others who are actively working to prevent climate change.77. Choose climate change activities which make you feel good!78. Celebrate small successes.79. Remember taking action is the best remedy against anxiety about an issue.80. Look for and write out wise and motivating sayings - put them on your fridgeand computer. For example ‘Never doubt that a small group of thoughtfulcommitted citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that everhas.’ (Margaret Mead) ‘When we feel responsible, concerned and committed,we begin to feel deep emotion and great courage’. (The 14th Dalai Lama).81. Notice when you try to avoid thinking about climate change. It’s ok to take abreak from time to time, but not helpful if we start to minimise or deny theproblem and stop taking action.82. When you feel hopeless – do one of the easier things on this list, and noticethe sense of accomplishment from just doing something!JOIN IN AND GET POLITICAL83. Join your local climate action group. (1)84. Donate money to help climate groups.85. Sign petitions on climate change (e.g. about coal mines, dirty power stations).86. Lobby against policies that place profit before the environment.87. Pressure your bank and superannuation fund to divest of fossil fuels.88. Tell your local, state and federal politicians that your vote depends on theirclimate policies.89. Lobby your local council to divest of fossil fuels.90. Join groups pressing for the closure of coal mines, ports, dirty power stations.91. Lobby for measures of progress which don't just rely on economic indicators.92. Join groups advocating for higher renewable energy targets.93. Join groups advocating for higher energy efficiency ratings for houses.94. Support groups that advocate for just climate policies that protect the mostvulnerable in our society.95. Join in marches and rallies and protests, and bring your friends and family.
LEARN MORE96. Learn some key facts about climate change and its impacts in Australia andaround the world which you can share with others. (2)97. Learn about which companies are the worst emitters of carbon and which arethe best - and boycott the worst ones, tell them why, and tell your friends.98. Learn which banks and other businesses support the big carbon emitters - andboycott them, tell them why, and tell your friends.99. Learn about ways to prevent the worst climate change from occurring.100. Learn about the climate policies of political parties, share information with otherpeople and use your vote to protect the climate.101. Learn about non-violent direct action.1) As more and more people are realising the urgency of working on climate change, there are lots ofgroups you could join. Many of these are listed under ‘Members on theAustralian Climate Action Network website (http://www.cana.net.au).(2) Some good places to learn more about climate change are: The Climate Council(https://www.climatecouncil.org.au/), Skeptical Science (https://www.skepticalscience.com/), andBeyond Zero Emissions (bze.org.a). The Australian Psychological Society ic/Psychology-topics/Climate-change-psychology) has lotsof resources.
RESOURCESAustralian Psychological Society (2017). The Climate Change EmpowermentHandbook. http://bit.ly/climatechangepsychologyCenter for Research on Environmental Decisions (CRED) (2014) Connecting onclimate: A guide to effective climate change communication. New York, NY: EarthInstitute and Columbia University.Cialdini, R.B. (2003). Crafting normative messages to protect the environment.Current Directions in Psychological Science, 12, 4. 105-109.Cook, J., Nuccitelli, D., et al., (2013). Quantifying the consensus on anthropogenicglobal warming in the scientific literature. Environmental Research Letters, 8.024024 doi:10.1088/1748-9326/8/2/024024Gardner, G.T. &