Citizens can do their part

We have the power to turn the climate crisis around.

What we do matters.

According to Statistics Canada, just under 20 percent of Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions come from activities in households, including transportation. If we add the emissions associated with things we buy like food, clothes, and consumer products, household emissions rise to over 40 percent of Canada’s total. If we add emissions related to flying, household emissions rise even more. 

Taking direct action is important. So is talking to friends and family about climate change. When we share our concerns and ideas about solutions, we signal to friends and family that it is an important issue. When we take the time to listen to each other, and speak from the heart about what we each care about, we can find common ground. Check out this guide from Climate Outreach on how to talk about climate change: Climate Outreach’s Real Talk Model is a great guide:

  • Respect your conversational partner and find common ground 
  • Enjoy the conversation 
  • Ask questions 
  • Listen, and show you’ve heard 
  • Tell your story 
  • Action makes it easier (but doesn’t fix it) 
  • Learn from the conversation 
  • Keep going and keep connected 

Talking about climate change is a great first step to acting. When you tell friends and family how you feel about it, they start to care too. Share these resources and comment on social media like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Social media comments influence how people think about issues. Let them know climate change is important to you.

More solutions

There are many solutions to climate change. Some solutions we can manage ourselves but many require government help through policies and incentives (click here to write a letter to the Premier). 

As citizens, we can urge decision-makers to do their part and we can do what we can to reduce our household carbon footprint.

Here are some tips on reducing our household carbon footprint

Most people think about garbage when they think about environmental problems. We turn to recycling as a solution and we worry about plastics in our oceans. That’s a good place to start, but it won’t be enough to solve climate change. To do that, we also have to think about the energy we use. 

Here are some tips to lowering your carbon footprint covering energy, transportation, food and waste (click on the section title for more information).

Energy and transportation

The big contributor to household greenhouse gas emissions is our vehicle (about half and more if you count flying) followed by space heating, water heating, appliances, and lighting. Think about these solutions the next time you travel, buy products, and buy or renovate your home:

Food

These seven actions do the most to cut food-related greenhouse gas emissions (from energy used to grow or transport food, from rotting food in landfills, animals like beef that burp methane or fossil fuel-based fertilizers). To learn more, click here to read our food and climate change fact sheet.

Buy local food and build food security in New Brunswick: Supporting local farmers is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint and build food security in New Brunswick. Buying locally lowers your dependence on food transported vast distances and can increase your intake of fresh fruits and vegetables.

Waste less food: Food we throw away decomposes in landfills and emits methane, a potent greenhouse gas. Over 100 years, methane is at least 28 times for effective at holding heat at the Earth’s surface than carbon dioxide. 

Eat less meat: Meat and dairy account for over half of agriculture’s Canadian greenhouse gas emissions

Try plant-based protein: One study of 55,504 people found that those who ate medium amounts of meat per day — 1.8–3.5 ounces (50–100 grams) — had a significantly lower carbon footprint than those who ate more than 3.5 ounces (100 grams) per day. 

Cut back on dairy: Dairy cattle and their manure emit greenhouse gasses like methane, carbon dioxide, nitric oxide, and ammonia.

Eat more fiber-rich foods: Diets rich in fiber-rich plant foods and low in saturated fats and sodium are also the diets lowest in greenhouse gas emissions.

Grow your own produce: Gardening helps divert food waste away from landfills

Waste

Waste generates about six percent of Canada’s total greenhouse gas emissions, including from rotting food in landfills and using oil and natural gas to make plastic. Once plastics are in the environment they, on average, take more than 400 years to degrade while leaching toxic chemicals into the natural environment, harming or killing wildlife, and contaminating land and oceans.

  • Reduce plastics use by buying unpackaged goods and re-using plastics because nearly 90 per cent of plastic in Canada is not recycled and pollutes our lakes, parks, oceans, landfills, or our air when incinerated. Oil and gas are used to make plastics, most of which is used for packaging and then sent to landfills. 
  • Government policies like banning single-use plastics, requiring more recycling and making producers responsible for their waste are important cutting plastics use.

Protect yourself from the impacts of climate change

Climate change affects our health through heatwaves, floods, and insect-borne diseases to name a few. We can take steps to reduce the risk.

Calculate your carbon footprint

Seeing is believing. Take a few minutes to calculate your carbon footprint, click here. To calculate greenhouse gas emissions for an upcoming or recent flight click here.

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