One Million's Women story begins with two girlfriends chatting over a cup of tea. What if living better doesn’t have to be difficult? What if the way we live, the choices we make every single day add up to a big difference for the planet and future generations? What if 1 million women were making it that simple?
One Million Women launched in 2009 in Australia. Here, like many well-off nations, everyday lifestyles can be wasteful, polluting. Many just consume too much. This harms the planet, it costs us a lot, and wanting more and more is stressful. The solution is less stuff, while getting more out of life.
As women we decide about 85% of household purchases. If 1 million women all make one better choice, however small, it leads to real change. We are a community of women acting on climate change. Together, our choices and how we live make us powerful!
Over-consumption and waste in our throwaway society are placing an intolerable strain on the planet’s natural resources and environment, with climate change a major symptom of the problem. Careful, thoughtful purchases considering quality over quantity will lead to a saving on space, money, energy and pollution. What can one person do to change consumption behaviour? Just ask yourself: Do I really need this? And where does it really come from? Asking yourself basic questions and doing a bit of research before you make a purchase is the first step. Take a bit of time. You will find that the money that you save from avoiding snap decision purchases means you will be able to afford better quality and higher ethical standard goods.
Almost everything we buy and use in our daily lives ends up being thrown away at some point. It goes to landfill, becomes litter or pollutes our oceans, contributes to the emission of harmful greenhouse gases, or harms the planet in other ways. We need to cut our consumption to reduce our environmental impact. Reuse and sharing is how earlier generations made the most of limited resources in less wealthy and consumer-convenient times.
We share our news and views, our memories, our celebrations and sometimes commiserations with those around us, so why not our material things? Something as simple as a hand-me-down coat, toys your family doesn’t need any more, or something bigger - like a repaired and gifted lawn mower means there is one less item being thrown away. It may also put a smile on someone’s face. Why can’t we have a whole economy of people repairing and sharing instead of tossing away?
Wasting food costs you money and harms our environment. When food produced for people doesn’t get eaten, all the value of the land, water, nutrients, energy, transport and other items is diminished or lost. The impact of this wastage is great, yet the solutions are so simple.
Imagine paying for 5 shopping bags filled with food at the store, then walking outside and immediately throwing one bagful in a rubbish bin. Sounds crazy? The facts are that we waste at least 20% of the food we buy – that’s $1 out of every $5 spent on food shopping. Planning our shopping and meals is vital. Monitor and manage around ‘best before’ and ‘use by’ dates. Have great leftovers recipes. Store food well. Grow some of you own, because that instills a true sense of the value of food. There’s lots of everyday solutions.
Rethink how you travel, what you travel in, when you travel, and whether you travel at all. If a million of us act, it will have a huge impact on dangerous climate change. In today’s online world, some trips just don’t have to be made.
Take time when you are planning trips to ask yourself whether you need to travel at all, especially in your car for just the one purpose, or is there a better option?
Sometimes the answer will be to use the Internet or the telephone instead of the car.
Always consider using the broad range of available online or phone services instead, including:
- Ordering or downloading videos online
- Using internet and phone banking
- Renewing your library books using your library’s online system
- Shopping using the Internet
Where does our energy come from, and where is it going? Inefficient appliances, chargers left plugged in, TVs on stand-by, overheating halogen downlights; the list is endless . . . There are smart ways to help everyone beat rising energy costs by reducing consumption, and turning on to clean energy like rooftop solar. We just have to be energy smart. We waste 10-20% of our electricity. That’s just the start of what we can save.
Ask yourself, how many lights do you have on in your home? How many of them do you need to have on? What about all of the electrical appliances in your home? Do a stocktake and the total number might surprise you. Which ones can you do without? Through simple behaviour change we can learn to power down, switch off, even use alternatives like natural ventilation and lighting if we build well. We need to use less traditional electricity from fossil fuel power stations, and more from solar panel on our roofs.
Make every dollar and cent work for you and the environment.
Making financial decisions for the environment and society as well as your bank balance is a powerful tool in the fight against climate change. Choosing a green or ethical investment fund is one way. On a smaller more manageable scale we can consider the banking and finance partners we choose to deal with. Every cent we invest has an impact on the future of everyone’s world as well as our own. A million women voting with their money shifts the superannuation industry.
- Produce innovative programs like SAVE and 10,000 TEENS
- Create resources & tools to enable action
- Mobilise and train our volunteer force
- Amplify our social voice to educate and inspire
- Evolve a beautiful brand for women to embrace
- Research practical solutions for women
- Promote women’s leadership for climate action