3 Ridiculously Easy Ways Every Gen Z Can Do to Fight Climate Change Now!

Cut 5x your carbon footprint.

By Jean Ong

The world is officially heating up. Climate change doesn’t get more in face than wild fires ravaging Europe, heatwave baking the USA& Canada, droughts in California. What’s next? The Arctic melting? Oh wait, that’s happening too.

boy in superhero outfit

Everyone is waiting for the millenials (aka adults with power) to get their act together. These responsible adults are supposed to fix the world and all its problems right? But they need all the help they can get. The plan is to help everyone to cut 5x their carbon footprint NOW! Doing your part even if you’re still in middle school or college will make a difference. Funny how you’re already saving the planet even when they tell you you’re too young to make a difference. As the Taylor Swift song goes “when you are young they assume you know nothing” and yet in the end, we’re stepping up.

With just 3 easy actions you can cut 5x your carbon footprint and make a real difference about climate change.

  1. Eat!
girl eating burger
Photo by Louis Hansel on Unsplash

Something as easy as eating can help you save the planet. Incredible that just by finishing the food on your plate, you’re cutting down 3.3 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide gas (aka greenhouse gas that’s causing climate change). To put it simply, if food waste were a country, it would be the world’s 3rd largest emitter of greenhouse gas. So when you finish the food on your plate, you are helping divert 3 billion tons of carbon dioxide.

I hate to say this, but parents got it right when they tell us to finish the food on our plate. Food waste or food that you throw away gets thrown in the landfill. In this landfill, food doesn’t just produce carbon dioxide. No! It creates a gas 25x more powerful than carbon dioxide in heating up the world. It creates methane. If dealing with carbon dioxide is like fighting Iron Man’s enemy, well dealing with methane is like releasing all the Infinity Stone in Avengers Endgame.

How to prevent food waste? Get only the serving size you’re sure you can finish. You can refill your plate as you finish it up. And when trying a new dish, do a sampler platter. Get a small portion to try first and load up if you like it. You can also check the ref and microwave that leftover pizza or any leftover.

Just by this doing this one easy and effortless action, you are already cutting your carbon footprint in half. Who said only adults can make a difference?

  1. Eat more vegetables and chicken.

What you put in your mouth determines the fate of our planet. Simply switching your roast beef for an order of chicken or pork chops cuts your carbon footprint by 8x-10x. Pretty easy right? Who knew you wield so much power just with deciding what to have for lunch?

That’s because growing beef have higher greenhouse gas emissions; growing one kilo of beef emits 59 kilos of carbon dioxide. For pork it’s 7kg, and for chicken, it’s 6kg.

Having more vegetable sides and cutting down on your meat portions is even better for the planet. It cuts your carbon footprint by 20x- 50x. That’s because growing vegetables doesn’t produce as much earth-heating gas as animal based food.

The easiest and most delicious way to cut your greenhouse gas emissions is to substitute your beef cuts with any other meat cut. And adding more vegetables to your diet. You can load up on vegetable sides before reaching for your meat-based main dish. Doing this cuts your meat portion without you even noticing.

Who knew your fork is such a powerful weapon to fight climate change. Just by choosing pork chops or roast chicken over a hamburger already cuts 8x-10x the carbon dioxide of your food. Now, that’s making a big difference with a small action.

  1. Don’t shop for new clothes, shop for accessories.

Fitting in in middle school and high school is all about looking the part. Wearing the season’s “it” clothes is the go-to hack to fit in.

girls at carnival

But what if your hack to fit in is wrecking the planet?

How much is our wardrobe responsible for heating up the planet? A lot it seems. The fashion industry releases 10% of the world’s greenhouse gas every year. Or 2.1 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide (yep, the gas that’s responsible for climate change)

That pair of jeans you just tossed? That’s responsible for creating 33 kilos of carbon dioxide.

So how do you sport the season’s “it” look without wrecking the planet?

  • Buy accessories in the season’s “it” designs while still wearing your regular clothes.

Stick with your basic jeans and t-shirt combo but pile on the trendy accessories. Remember the pineapple trend? I wore my usual plain tees and shorts combo but sported a pineapple printed backpack.

  • Buy the season’s “color of the moment” for your plain t-shirts or accessories like belts and hat. You’re instantly on trend.
woman in sun

These hacks are kinder to the planet because you don’t toss out accessories and t-shirts after the season. They won’t look dated. So you can still wear them over and over beyond the season. Accessories even add a pop of quirk when you wear them with a season’s “new look” or create your own look book with them. Think vlogger with their own unique sense of style without being dated. Remember my pineapple backpack circa 2012? I wore it with summer’s pastel color and I looked trendy with a pop of “quirk”. I won’t go crazy and combine several “it” trends at once though.

This hack is kinder to the planet because you get to wear your clothes over and over without buying new ones just to fit in. Just by wearing one pair of jeans over and over already cuts down 33 kilos of your carbon footprint. Imagine if you reuse your entire wardrobe, now how much carbon footprint you’ve cut? More than 100 kilos!

Our actions do have an impact; we can cut 5x our carbon footprint. We might not be old enough to drink legally but we’re old enough to make a difference. They say we are young and we know nothing. But we do know one thing, we know how to fight climate change.

Jean Ong

Jean Ong is the founder of Ecolover United, a movement that makes it easier for the everyday folk to live sustainably and in style.

She graduated college with a degree in Business Management major in Marketing, she currently work as a store manager by day, and an Earth Hero at night and on the weekends.

She’s a keen nature lover, maybe this came from fulfilling the prophetic nature of getting her name? Her Chinese name is Lin, meaning forest or grove of trees.

She believes that: if it’s good for Mother Earth, it’s good for you.

You can find her on Instagram at @jean.ecolover_united