ActNow is the United Nations campaign for individual action on climate change and sustainability.
Start with these ten actions!
Everyone can help limit climate change. From the way we travel to the electricity we use and the food we eat, we can make a difference. Start with these ten actions to help tackle the climate crisis.
Unplug – Save energy at home
Much of our electricity and heat are powered by coal, oil and gas. Use less energy by lowering your heating and cooling, switching to LED light bulbs and energy-efficient electric appliances, washing your laundry with cold water, or hanging things to dry instead of using a dryer.
Drive less – Walk, bike, or take public transport
The world’s roadways are clogged with vehicles, most of them burning diesel or gasoline. Walking or riding a bike instead of driving will reduce greenhouse gas emissions — and help your health and fitness. For longer distances, consider taking a train or bus. And carpool whenever possible.
Eat plant-based foods – Eat more vegetables
Eating more vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds, and less meat and dairy can significantly lower your environmental impact. Producing plant-based foods generally results in fewer greenhouse gas emissions and requires less energy, land, and water.
Fly less – Consider your travel
Airplanes burn large amounts of fossil fuels, producing significant greenhouse gas emissions. That makes taking fewer flights one of the fastest ways to reduce your environmental impact. When you can, meet virtually, take a train, or skip that long-distance trip altogether.
Cut food waste – Throw away less food
When you throw food away, you’re also wasting the resources and energy that were used to grow, produce, package, and transport it. And when food rots in a landfill, it produces methane, a powerful greenhouse gas. So use what you buy and compost any leftovers.
Recycle – Reduce, reuse, repair & recycle
Electronics, clothes, and other items we buy cause carbon emissions at each point in production, from the extraction of raw materials to manufacturing and transporting goods to market. To protect our climate, buy fewer things, shop second-hand, repair what you can, and recycle.
Use renewable energy – Change your home’s source of energy
Ask your utility company if your home energy comes from oil, coal or gas. If possible, see if you can switch to renewable sources such as wind or solar. Or install solar panels on your roof to generate energy for your home.
electric car – Switch to an electric vehicle
If you plan to buy a car, consider going electric, with more and cheaper models coming on the market. Even if they still run on electricity produced from fossil fuels, electric cars help reduce air pollution and cause significantly fewer greenhouse gas emissions than gas or diesel-powered vehicles.
Choose eco-friendly products
Everything we spend money on affects the planet. You have the power to choose which goods and services you support. To reduce your environmental impact, buy local and seasonal foods, and choose products from companies that use resources responsibly and are committed to cutting their gas emissions and waste.
Speak up and get others to join in taking action. It’s one of the quickest and most effective ways to make a difference. Talk to your neighbours, colleagues, friends, and family. Let business owners know you support bold changes. Appeal to local and world leaders to act now.
For more detailed information on low-carbon lifestyles, see the UN Environment Programme’s Emissions Gap Report 2020.
For more on how to reduce carbon-intensive consumption and scale-up low-carbon alternatives, see this UNEP policy brief.