There’s a lot of pressure on our government in Australia to do something urgently about climate change. And of course, they must do something, but I have a more important question right now. What are YOU doing? How are YOU changing the way you live every day to directly address this global catastrophe? To put it bluntly, this is the world WE built and so, it is also the world WE must rebuild. We can’t expect our government to make radical changes if we won’t.
I’m staying hopeful about our future by taking everyday actions to reduce my own impact. Hell, I’m no Little Miss Perfect. It’s about progress not perfection.
To take the gloom and doom out of it all, I’ve turned it into a game. I’m creating a list of 101 everyday acts I’m personally taking and writing about them. Some acts on the list are a big deal, others not so big. Some actions are not even about reducing our footprint, they’re just about doing good things for others, which is what Everyday Activists* is all about. Please share your everyday acts with me so I can share them in future posts.
One action I took this month, was to radically reduce my car-bon emissions by selling my car and buying an electric bike. This was a biggie for me because I loved my little car and I’d come to depend on it (probably way too much).
My friend Deb and I were both fortunate enough to get our hands on the Aldi e-bike. We must have found the last two in Australia! This bike truly makes me feel like I belong on the streets of Copenhagen. (And no, Aldi is not sponsoring this post.)
In 28 days, I’ve ridden 133 km’s and the battery has been recharged at home with renewable energy. I’m not sure what car-bon emissions that has already eliminated and I’m trying to find out how to calculate that. (Any pointers are welcome).
Why an e-bike and not a good-old-fashioned push-bike you might ask? Well, I’ve always been nervous to take new paths or ride long distances on a push-bike when not knowing the terrain. It’s also harder to carry heavy weights like groceries. The e-bike has given me more freedom to explore and I now have saddle-bags that take up to 25kg’s.
Of course, there will be times I’ll need a car. Deb has agreed to share hers and there is Car Next Door and GoGet in my neighbourhood and of course Melbourne has a brilliant public transport system and the car-ride service Shebah. So, in all, it feels like all my transport needs are covered.
Interestingly, I’m writing this in the beautiful beach-side town of Robe, South Australia (pictured below), a six-hour drive from Melbourne. I mentioned to my neighbour Marion that I’d just said goodbye to my car and I now had to rent a car to go on holiday. She immediately offered me hers as she wasn’t using it and liked the idea of the extra cash. I could easily slip my bike in the car which I could never have done in mine. At Robe, the car has laid idle while I’ve explored the town and beach on bike.
Something that has weighed on my mind however, is whether this bike was made ethically or whether I should have bought a second-hand e-bike or one made locally? I’ll be honest and admit I could have done more research. As I said in the beginning, I’m no Little Miss Perfect. If you have ideas on how I might have done better, I’m all ears.
I realise my approach to reducing my car-bon emissions is not possible for everyone, but there are still many things you could do. If your family has two cars, why not reduce that to one? If you drive a big car, why not downsize to a small one? If you have the means, why not buy an electric car? Walk. Ride. Car-share. Car-pool. Take public transport. There are so many options. What action will you take today to radically reduce your car-bon emissions?
Stay tuned for everyday action #2 soon.
*Everyday activists are the grassroots people in the world making change one person and one community at a time. They’re not the ones with big names, big pockets and big pulling-power. They’re everyday people following their calling, doing work that matters and taking action every single day to do good for humanity and the planet.
Carolyn Tate is the author of Everyday Activists and The Purpose Project. She’s passionate about bringing purpose and meaning to everyday life for everyday people in the workplace. Find out more about her work on LinkedIn and website.