How to Fight the Climate Crisis at Home: Small Tips for Making Big Change

Do your part to help stop climate change.

Sophie Hirsh - Author

Aug. 20 2019, Updated 3:02 p.m. ET

climate change home
Source: istock

A great way to fight climate change is by hitting the streets. Everything from showing up at protests to participating in trash cleanups to voicing your concerns at town hall meetings can be extremely productive. That being said, those forms of activism are not accessible to people who don’t have free time, or the freedom to leave their house on a whim — whether that’s because of a demanding job, childcare responsibilities, a disability, or whatever else. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to fight the climate crisis from the comfort of your own home.

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Ways to Stop Climate Change at Home

This article is not just about finding little ways to reduce your impact — rather, it’s about ways to stop climate change from your home. Because of that, we’re going to focus on a few large-scale changes you can make in different areas of your house or your life. 

So read on for some of our best tips for stopping climate change at home, whether that’s by making changes to your house, switching up your routine, upgrading your diet, contacting people in power, or putting your money towards positive causes.

1. Reduce Your Carbon Footprint Around the House

A great place to start is by making a few changes to your house or apartment. Green Matters has a guide to reducing your carbon footprint at home, which is filled with tips on lowering your impact in all areas of the home, from overall electricity to your water use. Here are a few changes you can make around the house that will have the largest overall impact:

2. Go Zero-Waste to Fight Climate Change

Going zero waste doesn’t have to be intimidating — and that’s because the zero-waste movement is not about perfection, but just about reducing your impact in whatever ways are personally sustainable for you. In fact, once you get the hang of things, you’ll probably enjoy it. And considering the statistic that the average American throws away 4.4 pounds of garbage every day, which is about 1,600 pounds a year, moving toward a zero-waste lifestyle can keep significant amounts of waste from landfills.

Green Matters has a comprehensive guide on beginning your zero-waste journey at home, but here are a few of our best tips for getting started that will make a big impact:

  • Use what you have: before shopping for fancy zero-waste reusable items you’ve seen on Instagram, look around the house to see what items you can repurpose or upcycle to help you reduce your waste. 
  • Replace single-use items: Once you run out of single-use things like Q-tips, plastic water bottles, and baby wipes, do some research, and replace them with sustainable or reusable alternatives.
  • Shop cruelty-free and non-toxic: As you finish up things like shampoo, household cleaning products, and makeup, replace them with cruelty-free and non-toxic alternatives.
  • Reduce food waste in the kitchen: Try tools like Meal Prep Mate to optimize your groceries and reduce food waste
  • Start composting: Even if you live in an apartment, composting your food scraps is possible — check out our guide to composting.
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3. The Best Diet for Stopping Climate Change

While reducing your water use and electricity use is always a positive thing, the biggest way to reduce your contribution to the climate crisis is by eating a vegan diet. The UN recently released a report on global land use, concluding that eating a plant-based diet is an effective way to reduce land use and lower our carbon footprints. The report echoed a 2018 study by the University of Oxford, which also concluded that eliminating meat, dairy, and eggs from our diets is the best thing we can do for the planet.

How Is Eating Animals Linked to Climate Change?

As explained by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO), livestock is responsible for the largest use of land resources on Earth. Farms, factory farms, and crops dedicated to feeding livestock represent 80 percent of all agricultural land on Earth; and 26 percent of the ice-free terrestrial land on Earth is used for farming animals, according to the FAO. And in addition to land use, animal agriculture uses massive amounts of water. According to Mercy for Animals, animal agriculture uses 20 to 33 percent of the world’s fresh water; and in the U.S., 56 percent of water consumed is done so by animals. 

Livestock also produces significant greenhouse gas emissions (namely methane); not to mention, the runoff from animal agriculture has polluted almost a third of U.S. rivers. And on top of all that, eating a whole foods plant-based diet, which is rich in fruits, vegetables, nuts, and grains, and is low in oil, refined sugar, and processed foods is one of the healthiest diets there is. Plant-based diets can even reverse and prevent diseases including high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, pre-diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and obesity.

If you are interested in making your diet more earth-friendly from the comfort of your own home, check out our guide for switching to a vegan diet, which is filled with different transition tactics, documentary and YouTube video recommendations, free vegan support (from the organizations Challenge 22 and Veganuary), and more. Transitioning to a vegan lifestyle may seem overwhelming at first, but so is changing any habit — and once you get used to your new eating habits, you’ll really feel the benefits of eating for the planet, eating for the animals, and nourishing your body with plants.

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4. Contact Corporations and Local Government About Climate Change

Without even leaving your couch, you can easily make phone calls, write letters, and send emails to companies, corporations, and your local leaders. If there’s a company you use or make purchases from that isn’t doing everything they can do to fight climate change (read: almost every company), contact them to voice your concerns. For example: if a makeup or personal care company tests on animals, if a product you like is packaged in excessive plastic, or if a restaurant you like doesn’t have any vegan options, let them know. Companies follow the money, so if enough customers are asking them to make a change, they will consider it.

You can also contact your local leaders about implementing changes in your community. Is your town doing enough to fight the climate crisis? Probably not. In the U.S., all local leaders have contact information online, so it’s super easy to get in touch and provide suggestions for making your town more eco-friendly. Click here to look up contact information for your elected officials at the federal, state, and local levels.

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5. Where to Donate or Invest to Fight Climate Change

Another great way to stop climate change from home is by donating to organizations who are fighting the climate crisis. Green Matters has a guide to some of the best environmental charities, which is a good starting place. But if there’s a particular facet of the environmental crisis that especially resonates with you (such as endangered species conservation, land preservation, fighting animal agriculture, etc.), do your own research on charities that are helping those causes, and then use Charity Navigator to verify their work.

Additionally, if you have way more money than you have time (like, way more money), consider investing in a company that is working to fight the climate crisis, such as a plant-based meat alternative startup or a renewable energy company.

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