A climate rally with a woman's hand in the foreground. holding a sign that reads "Climate Action Now."

Shrink your carbon footprint!

The two biggest impacts you make on climate change are what you eat and how you travel. Here’s a great study, done in 2017, that quantifies emissions reductions for actions we can take.

What can you do to fight climate change?

1. Change what you eat

  • Choose plant-based meals (vegetarian or vegan) most often for your week’s menus, as well as poultry (chicken, turkey) and fish. Shift away from eating red meat (beef and lamb) as this has an enormous impact on climate change.

Why? Almost a quarter of global greenhouse gases come from agriculture and other related land uses.  Of all our foods, beef has the biggest carbon footprint by far, due to methane production and deforestation for grazing land.

If you are short on time, there are lots of prepared options in the grocery stores, and also in restaurants.  Or if you like to cook, visit our Climate Friendly Recipes page for some of our favourite main dishes.

2. Reduce your food waste

Why? Food waste also has a significant carbon footprint, releasing methane as it decomposes in the landfill. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates 8% of greenhouse gas emissions come from discarded food.

  • Plan your weekly meals, starting with what foods you have already in your fridge, freezer or cupboards.
  • Aim for vegetarian/vegan (the best options), poultry, and fish dinners throughout your week.
  • Write a shopping list based on your week’s meals, and stick to it, saving money by getting only what you need.
  • At the end of the week, use up your leftovers in a soup, stir-fry, or salad.  See ideas on our Climate Friendly Recipes page.

3. Choose foods which don’t travel far

Why? Reducing the distance your food travels from its source to your table reduces its carbon foodprint. To better understand how your food choices in the grocery store impact the biosphere, we recommend that you have a look at the Foodprint Calculator: htpps:www.earthday.org/foodprints-calculator/

  • Concentrate on buying local/BC grown foods.  One of our Climate Action team members, Sam, has visited most grocery stores in Kamloops to find out what local foods they carry and whether they label the sources of their foods .  See his chart on our Local/BC Food Sources page.
  • Grow your own. If you haven’t a yard for growing food, check out availability in the Community Garden network throughout the City.  Here’s a map of community gardens in Kamloops. Also check out the Butler Urban Farm.

Or try container gardening in a sunny spot on your deck.  Or ask your strata council to put in a strata community garden plot.

4. Change how you travel

  • Choose to bus, bike or walk whenever possible.
  • Check out the new Ride Share options in Kamloops, and get involved in making these more common. Watch for the launch of a new cooperative vehicle sharing program: Propel Us Carshare.
  • Carpool more often.
  • Avoid air travel, especially short flights such as Kamloops to Vancouver/Kelowna.
  • Go electric. Take advantage of government rebates when you buy an electric bike, motorcycle, car or truck.

5. Speak out

  • Read City of Kamloops Community Climate Action Plan. See what the City has already done and is planning to do and support the City Council in its efforts.
  • Share your voice and shape our City by providing feedback to Kamloops City Councillors via Let’s Talk Kamloops. This is the City of Kamloops’ online engagement site where you can contribute your ideas and feedback on City Matters, especially if you have ideas on further actions the City can take to fight climate change.
  • Join an advocacy group – amplify your voice!  A great start would be to volunteer with Transition Kamloops and/or the Kamloops Cycling Coalition.
  • Inspire others!  Talk about what you are doing to fight climate change to your family and friends.  Reach out to your Facebook friends and your Neighbourhood Association as well!
A graphic showing High-Impact Actions for Individuals to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions, from small household actions with low impact (like recycling) to medium-impact actions like changing to a plant-forward diet, to high-impact actions like avoiding flying, living car-free and (the very most impactful) having one fewer child.

Data from Wynes, Seth, and Kimberly A Nicholas. 2017. “The Climate Mitigation Gap: Education and Government Recommendations Miss the Most Effective Individual Actions.” Environmental Research Letters 12(7).  DOI: 10.1088/1748-9326/aa7541. Image credit: Catrin Jakobsson. 

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