52 Climate Actions is a project led by the Permaculture Association (UK) in collaboration with multiple stakeholders and followed a declaration by the international permaculture community to the Paris Climate Conference. See https://www.52climateactions.com/ for more information. The project was publicly launched in 2019, offering 52 possible actions that we can take, individually or collectively, to address climate change either by mitigation or adaption.
The start of a new year and a new decade seems like a good time to re-commit to taking action in every possible way. The bush-fires that have ripped through swathes of Australia, destroying habitat, killing over half a billion animals (at last count), destroying property and livelihoods, and killing people, make it abundantly clear that we are already feeling the effects of a warmer, drier climate, and that without radical and significant action it will get worse.
My plan is to work through one climate action each week, with some ideas on how it can be implemented. The actions can be implemented in any order, but it makes sense to start at the beginning!
1: COMMIT TO CLIMATE ACTION
Making the decision to be a force for good is not so difficult. Knowing how to achieve this is more challenging. Although it is tempting to jump ahead, the Permaculture Principle “Observe and Interact” gives us direction. It is important to know where we are starting from. What is the baseline we are hoping to shift?
A good first step is to carry out an audit of your personal carbon or greenhouse gas production. Everything we do or consume requires inputs of energy in one form or another, creating outputs of “waste.” Our reliance on fossil fuels as a source of energy has resulted in an excess of Carbon Dioxide, more than our oceans and forests can process, creating an imbalance now called “The Greenhouse Effect.”
The Ecological footprint calculator by WWF is one way of measuring our impact. If everyone lived a similar lifestyle to mine, how many planets would we need? Find the calculator here:
Once you’ve completed the calculator, write down the result for future reference. Also note any areas that surprised you or that are particularly high.
A couple more things to add to the list: make note of who your energy supplier (gas/electricity) is, who you bank with, which superannuation company you are with. What are the big ticket items on your weekly/monthly/annual shopping list or budget? These can be areas where making a change can have a greater impact. By changing your power supplier to one that sources only renewable energy, you are creating demand within the industry, and sending a message to the coal reliant producers.
Finally, set up a journal or record so you can keep track of your progress. We think we will remember, but details will get lost in the busy day to day. Looking back at the changes you make will also motivate you to continue when you feel discouraged and provide a story to share with other interested friends and family. We all need to step up and be leaders and change-makers!
Good luck! Here’s to a productive and planet-friendly year ahead!