Sustainability is one of the biggest issues of 2019 as global carbon emission levels continue to rise at an alarming rate. With the most recent global climate strike seeing close to 4 million individuals around the world stand in solidarity demanding action from our leaders. And while drastic action is needed to address climate change, we mustn’t forget the small changes you can make to help reduce your carbon footprint. And they might just save you some money too!

Here are 6 easy ways to reduce your carbon footprint that you can start today!

1. Buy Recycled Clothing

The environmental impact of exploding fast fashion businesses is fast becoming well-known. Both the energy and water it takes to produce clothing, and the impact it has when it gets sent to landfill, contributes greatly to our carbon footprint. By visiting op shops, swapping with your friends or buying from eco-conscious labels that use recycled materials, you can help to reduce your impact. Hot tip: vintage is cool again, take advantage!

2. Switch off Electricity When You Don’t Need It

This one goes for both your home and the office. The electricity sector is the biggest contributor of greenhouse gases in Australia with 33% of our total emissions coming from the use of electricity according to studies conducted by the Climate Council. Simply reducing your use of electricity by turning appliances off at the power point and making sure lights are switched off when you’re not in the room can reduce your carbon footprint. Another is heating and cooling, two things that take a fair chunk of electricity. Rather than going to the reverse cycle as your first option, try putting on a jacket or opening some windows first.

3. Take Shorter Showers

We’d all love to be able to spend half an hour a day under the hot stream of water coming from our shower heads but our indulgent habits are costing the planet. Water use is one important aspect, with much of Australia in the worst drought the country has seen, but heating that water for your steaming shower takes an incredible amount of energy. Sticking to a couple of minutes in the shower each day is a simple practice that will add up big-time over the course of a year and ultimately reduce your carbon footprint. Your energy bill and the planet will also thank you.

4. Use Alternate Modes Of Transport Instead Of Your Car

The transport sector is a leading contributor of greenhouse emissions around the world thanks to the burning of fossil fuels required to facilitate air, sea and land travel. While the transport industry operates on a major global scale, we can have a significant impact as individuals by ditching our cars and switching to more environmentally friendly modes of transport. These include taking public transport, walking, riding a bike or taking advantage of car sharing services like GoGet that allow you to hire a car by the hour.

5. Contribute To Carbon Offset Schemes When You Travel By Air

In 2016, Australian aviation release the equivalent of 22 million tonnes of carbon dioxide. To remedy that, most major airlines, and even some of the smaller ones, give you the option to offset your carbon emissions by paying a small fee when you book your ticket. This money goes toward a variety of initiatives that includes things like restoring rainforests, developing renewable energy sources or reinvesting to improve the energy efficiency of flights.

Schemes with Australian airlines Qantas, Virgin Australia and Jetstar are all directed to the Fly Carbon Neutral program. It’s verified by the government and the airlines don’t take a cut or admin fee so you’d be crazy not to throw in a few extra dollars to offset the emissions next time you’re up in the air.

6. Reduce Your Consumption Of Meat

Direct livestock emissions account for around 10% of Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions with methane and nitrous oxide produced by livestock two of the most significant greenhouse gases effecting our planet. This doesn’t even take into consideration the amount of energy and water it takes to raise livestock.  While Australian agriculture practices are getting smarter, we can do our bit on a smaller scale by reducing the amount of meat we buy in favour of plant-based options.