Hollay Ghadery Last Updated On: December 21, 2023

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How Consumers Can Help Stop the Climate Crisis

effective ways to stop climate change

“How can I help stop climate change?” is an increasingly common question. After all, consumers are on the hook for 60-70% of all direct and indirect emissions and our choices have a direct impact on the climate crisis. 

But this is actually good news: it means that individually, we have the power to make a difference and every seemingly small choice can add up. So, how exactly can we help stop the climate crisis? 

We’ll dive into ten easy ways consumers can help below, by increasing their awareness, making more informed choices, and using their spending power to make a difference. 

Keep reading to find out what you can do starting today and over the long term to fight the climate crisis.

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10 Easy Ways Consumers Can Help Stop the Climate Crisis

  1. Understand Your Impact: Step one in understanding “how can I help stop climate change”, is to find out what you’re personally contributing. The UN has this handy carbon footprint calculator to help you get an idea of how your lifestyle is contributing to (or helping) the climate crisis. You might be uncomfortably surprised by the results, but let that fuel you into making better choices—we’ll show you how below.

  2. Make Informed Purchasing Choices: You don’t need to do a background check on everything in your shopping cart, but having a rough idea of what you’re buying and where it came from can help you make more responsible choices. For example, if you’re buying produce from across the country or from another country, it has to travel to get to you, increasing your carbon footprint if you purchase it. Instead, opt for food grown and made locally. It’ll not only taste fresher but likely contain more nutrients since it didn’t spend a week traveling to you after being picked.

  3. Educate Family and Friends: It’s easy to feel like the small choices you’re making aren’t adding up to any meaningful impact. But this mindset isn’t helpful and isn’t even accurate. Making the right choices can help inspire others to make better choices too: in a 2018 survey, half of the respondents who knew someone who’d given up flying because of climate change flew less frequently themselves. In one experiment, people at a US cafe were twice as likely to order a meatless lunch when they were told that 30% of Americans had started eating less meat. The choices you make and demonstrate matter, and can even influence those around you to make similar choices.

  4. Change Your Habits at Home: Your home is your oasis, but a few changes can make it a carbon footprint-friendly oasis. These include:

    • Avoid leaving the water running while brushing your teeth, shaving, washing your face, etc.
    • Lower the thermostat and put on a sweatshirt instead
    • Air dry clothes as often as possible
    • Turn off lights when not in use
    • Unplug devices and appliances when not in use
      Small changes can add up over time, both in terms of savings to your wallet and your impact on the environment.

  5. Make Energy-Efficient Changes to Your Home: The tips above can help your energy savings add up. Ready to see even more savings? Try these bigger-ticket changes around the house:
    • Replace showerheads with water-efficient options
    • Switch to energy-efficient light bulbs
    • Add insulation to reduce heating and cooling costs
    • Seal air leaks around windows
    • Use the air conditioner only when necessary
    • When it’s time to replace appliances, choose energy-efficient replacements
    • Install solar panels
      Many of these are longer-term changes that cost more upfront but can save you big down the line. Plus, these smart home upgrades may qualify you for insurance savings, making them a sound investment. 

  6. Drive Less: Transportation now generates the largest amount of greenhouse gas emissions, and the main offenders are passenger cars and trucks. The takeaway? We all need to drive less. Whether that means biking to the office more frequently, taking public transportation, carpooling, or even working from home more frequently, there are ways each of us can drive less frequently. Aside from having fewer children, going car-free is the single most effective action someone can take to reduce their annual personal emissions. But ditching the car entirely isn’t always feasible for everyone, to be fair. If it’s an option for you, try to switch to an eco-friendly car to lessen the environmental impact of your driving. You’ll also become eligible for car insurance discounts, not to mention government subsidies, to help with the purchase.

  7. Skip the Airport: While we’re at it, we should all aim to travel less overall. To put it into perspective, the impact of skipping one flight is equivalent to going (gas) car-free for an entire year. But that doesn’t mean you need to stay home: explore local cities, travel by train, enjoy nature, and find other ways to satisfy your travel bug without jumping on a plane.

  8. Vote: One of the easiest things you can do when it comes to “how can I help stop climate change”? Vote for the right leadership to make the decisions and pass the laws that can make a larger difference in the climate crisis.

  9. Eat Less Meat: You don’t have to go fully vegetarian or vegan to make an impact; even simply eating less meat a few times a week can make a difference. After all, the livestock sector is responsible for a staggering 14.5% of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide. Consuming fewer animal products is one of the most impactful choices we can make when we’re trying to figure out “how can I help stop climate change”.

  10. Shop Less: A good rule of thumb: buy fewer new things overall. Every item we buy has a carbon footprint, from the way it’s produced to how far it travels to get to you. The fashion industry and the skyrocketing demand for fast fashion are responsible for more annual carbon emissions than all international flights and maritime shipping combined.  

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Key Takeaways

Remember, small changes and informed choices can make a world of difference. If you’ve ever wondered, “how can I help stop climate change”, the answer is in the choices you make every single day. Start with these ten simple changes to make an immediate difference, but keep trying to find ways to leave the planet a little better off than you found it—and that’s all each of us can do. 

Hollay Ghadery Hollay Ghadery is a writer and editor who is passionate about financial literacy as a means to personal fulfillment. Hollay has over 18 years of experience creating content about a range of topics related to personal finance, including insurance, investing, banking, and credit cards. When Hollay isn't writing, she's spending time with her four children, two dogs, and three goats.

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