With Earth Hour approaching (Saturday, the 26th of March), here at Biome, we have started to question how much we can change in an hour; what global impacts can one individual encourage or discourage if we put our heads down and make changes that matter?
So often, the “big” things are looming over us when we are in the middle of massive life changes. So, of course, we tick the superannuation our new employee has selected without overthinking it. We stay with the same electricity company as the last tenants in our house because it’s easiest. We remain on the same phone plan that we used to buy our phone or are still with the same banks our parents opened our first-ever account with.
It happens. It isn’t often we have the time to sit back and truly consider our every decision. But, this earth hour is an opportunity to do just that. Often the big decisions are the most simple long term. There’s a bit of an initial push needed to change over our companies and do the research to know who we want to support, but once it’s over, its smooth sailing knowing our everyday choices are affecting the planet; this time for the better!
So are you feeling capable, energised and ready to get stuck into it?
Let’s look at some of the “big ticket” items we can all tick off this earth hour and make a world of difference. While switching off our lights for an hour is an excellent activity for our planet, there are some more significant switches we can also consider this Earth Hour.
Consider changing your superannuation fund!
Superannuation refers to the amount of money put aside by your employers. Superannuation is paid into an account every time you are paid your standard salary, and this sum is set aside for when you retire.
An essential factor to consider is this sum of money doesn’t just sit in an account waiting for your 65th birthday; instead, the fund managing the account will invest it. This investment is very much out of our hands. However, we can choose the superannuation fund based on the investing they usually adhere to.
By taking the time to investigate the different superannuation funds available, we can choose to support corporations that hold the same values as we do. For example, some superannuation funds support renewable energy and green solutions, which may be preferential to those investing in projects involving fossil fuels or arms manufacturing.
Taking the opportunity to research and find a corporation that you can trust will make decisions that you can feel proud of is a big step forward. It’s absolutely the case that even on the small scale of an individual, we can make more mindful decisions around the financial input into different sustainable or unsustainable endeavours.
Make the switch to solar power
Solar energy is a very renewable source; it functions from the sun’s energy! Solar energy produces no pollution and has no adverse environmental effects.
The price of solar has significantly dropped over the past ten years to become more affordable. On top of this, if you are a homeowner, the government offers subsidies that will help pay for installing the panels onto your house. The decrease in electricity bills will also allow this upfront investment to pay off long-term.
If you are renting, you can try to find a house with solar or if you are already renting a home without solar energy, suggest implementing solar with your landlord; there’s no harm in asking, right?!
Alternatively, you can switch to a green energy provider and try to find products that use solar power outside of your main power supply. Here are two resources we have come across to make the best green energy decision for your home: Choice and Green Electricity Guide.
Opt for a carbon-neutral or net-zero mobile plan
To have the incredible ability to use our phone’s whenever and wherever cell towers and data centres are working in the background producing carbon emissions. However, due to growing public awareness and demand, some mobile companies have decided to work towards being carbon-neutral to lower their impact on our planet.
To be classified as ‘carbon-neutral’, a company has to remove the same amount of carbon from the environment as they put into it. This step is actioned by either supporting other renewable energy sources or buying “credits” with the government. Although this method doesn’t require the company to reduce their carbon emissions which would be considered “net zero”, it requires the balance of producing and removing to be equal, which is a far better step forward than nothing.
Add carbon offsetting to travel or parcels
The idea of including carbon offsetting add ons when making certain purchases like parcel deliveries or travel is that the individual can pay to offset their carbon footprint. This is the same concept as with the mobile plan of the company investing in removing from the environment the equivalent amount of carbon they are using.
The more people that choose to sign up for these small additional costs, the more of the carbon will be offset. So, for example, if every passenger on a plane decides to opt-in, the flight could be carbon-neutral. However, at this point, the big Australian airlines (Qantas (including Jetstar) and Virgin Australia) have reported that only about 10 per cent of passengers select this option.
This certainly isn’t to say that the lower percentage of participants aren’t making a difference. For example, Aus Post had this to say about their carbon-neutral parcel delivery option:
“We’re committed to delivering better environmental outcomes, which is why we introduced our carbon neutral parcel delivery initiative. Since 2019, we’ve sent 160+ million parcels carbon neutral, which is the equivalent of taking 75,000 cars off the road – or roughly 200,000 tonnes of emissions.”
Here at Biome we are proud to go beyond ‘carbon neutral’ to draw down more emissions than we release from our operations and supply chain, plus take additional actions that make a greater positive contribution to the environment.
Opt for planet-friendly transportation
With fuel prices skyrocketing, there’s no time like the present for considering different transportation options. Electric cars have come a long way and are becoming more affordable, but there are other options if you aren’t ready to make such a big transition just yet.
Consider taking a bicycle or walking for shorter trips, plus these two options also tick off your daily exercise. On the other hand, if you hope to keep the exercise at the gym and arrive at work without working up a sweat, consider an electric scooter or look into the public transport options available near you.
The most important question we can ask ourselves around transportation is “Do I need to drive?” sometimes, this might mean you travel together with a friend or decide to take a walk for a shorter trip. Still, in general, it means being more mindful of the times we use our car.
Consider an eco-friendly web browser!
How about planting trees while you surf the web? Switch your browser to Ecosia! Ecosia plants tree worldwide – over 146 million trees so far! The trees are planted in vulnerable biodiversity hotspots, bird migration routes, and environmental crisis zones. Ecosia works with local partners to identify these areas and manage the process. They also support other methods such as sowing, natural regeneration and forest management.
As well as planting trees, your searches are also powered by renewables! You remove about 0.5 kg of CO2 from the atmosphere with each search! Now that’s an easy switch that makes all the difference.
Beyond Earth Hour
We hope this blog post has given you a few things to think about and inspires change not only for Earth Hour but for your everyday.