Here I am on Day 1 of 365 Days Of Low Carbon Living.
One of the easiest ways of shifting to living a low carbon life can be done very quickly from the comfort of your home: switching to clean, renewable energy.
What I have done
1. As soon as ‘green electricity’ was available where I live, I made the switch to have 100% of my electricity supplied from clean energy. At the time, I had to pay extra for it – yet I decided that was a small price to pay for a safer, healthier future.
2. Later, I became a renewable electricity generator myself when I installed solar (photovoltaic or PV) panels on my roof.
I decided to make the investment to generate as much clean electricity as I could (more than my household needed) to speed up the shift to a zero-carbon electric future.
Although the initial expenditure was high, making the shift has also saved me a lot of money in the long run. The cost of solar power has since plummeted, so payback times are now much shorter.
3. I have also participated in local community-led campaigns that have led the Australian Capital Territory (where I live) to introduce significant policies to stop the ACT’s damage to our climate. This includes contracting for 100% of electricity for current uses to be supplied from renewable energy by 2020.
4. I am investing in local community power, both local and further afield. My local project has been a long time in the making and I am hoping to pay for my investment very soon!
The major reason we have a damaged climate (and are starting to experience the consequences of that damage) is because of our use of coal, fossil oil and fossil gas since the industrial revolution. This accelerated since the 1950s as we increased use of those fossil fuels for producing electricity and heat (and transport).
It therefore makes sense that the quickest way to stop damage to our climate is to stop using fuels for energy.
We can supply all our electricity from clean energy sources like the sun and wind. In fact, around the world the shift is already well underway.
Furthermore, to have any hope of restoring a stable and hospitable climate, we must make this change as a matter of urgency; that is, we need to dramatically speed up the transition to clean energy.
(Don’t be fooled by what you may have heard to the contrary: people who are pushing to keep our electricity generated from old-fashioned, dirty and climate-wrecking coal and fossil (‘natural’) gas are generally those with vested interests in those businesses and those who believe their claims and seem unable to imagine anything different.)
As the heading on the Australian Government’s GreenPower Your Home website says:
GreenPowering your home is easy.
The fastest and easiest way is to ask your electricity supplier to supply you with ‘green electricity’.
GreenPower Your Home provides this excellent summary of what to do:
Simply phone your electricity company or apply online.
You don’t have to change your electricity supplier, your meter box or your existing electricity contract and you still get the same reliability of supply.
If your [current] electricity supplier does not have the product you’re after, shop around to find the most suitable GreenPower option for your home. [In Australia, consult the GreenPower Your Home website.]
As always, make sure you consider all the fees and costs associated with swapping to another company. Should your circumstances change in the future, most GreenPower contracts can be left without paying a cancellation fee, but always read the fine print or ask your electricity supplier if you are in doubt.
To get more than what you use (eg to speed up the shift to clean energy, or to provide clean energy for people or organizations who cannot get 100% renewable energy) there are several options, such as:
- pay for 200% GreenPower
- invest in a fund that provides community energy
- invest directly in community energy
- install your own renewable energy (solar power or wind power) to meet your own needs as well as paying for GreenPower and/or investing in community energy
Investing directly in local community energy and/or your own renewable energy generation (with or without storage) takes a bit more effort. They may be options for you, depending on your financial circumstances as well as where you live and (for renewable energy) the building(s) in which you live and/or the wind or other renewable energy resources on your property. A quick search online can get you started.
Shifting your utility, council or government’s policy takes more effort – but it can be done with community pressure. Indeed, it must be done – at the same time as we are making change happen with where we spend our money.
Any change or challenge is easier if you have company along the way, so let’s travel on this journey together.
- Read my blog every day for ideas, thoughts and experiences for living a lower carbon lifestyle, more in harmony with nature – while also adapting to the consequences of our damaged climate.
- Subscribe to get posts direct to your inbox.
- Commit to taking action yourself.
- Add a comment to let me know you’re joining in the effort to turn around our world so it can remain liveable – and what your experiences are.
- Share with others my posts and what you’re doing – our efforts, progress, experiences and challenges – on Facebook, on Twitter, in conversations with friends, on talkback radio and in letters to the editor.
A problem shared is a problem halved. We’re all affected by the changes to our world so we need to be all in on the action!
Till next time…