Everyone knows the environment is suffering, but do you wanna know something crazy? Doing your part doesn’t have to be hard. Lots of groups would have you believe that the only way to fight in the war against climate change is to make huge changes to your lifestyle by going vegan or spending a tonne of money on an electric car.
Don’t get me wrong, those things do help, and can make a difference, but those options aren’t necessarily possible for everyone. Some people can’t afford a new car or need to eat non-plant-based products for health reasons. Not everyone can do everything, but if you’re someone who spends lots of time at a computer, there are ways you can help without even getting out of your chair. Read on to find out how…
If you primarily work from a laptop, you’ve probably noticed that the display turns off if you don’t do anything for a while. This is because your laptop goes into sleep or hibernate mode, conserving power while remaining on standby so you can resume your work quickly and won’t lose anything in the meantime.
If you’re a desktop user, however, your computer is likely set to not do this, or perhaps only turn the display off and not go fully into hibernation. This can be a huge waste of energy, as some PC/monitor combos use upwards of 100 watts of power at idle. This doesn’t sound like a lot, but if you leave your computer on for 12 hours overnight, that’s an extra 1.2kWh of energy you didn’t have to use and some carbon emissions that could have been saved.
If you use a green energy supplier, this has less of an impact, but even when you’re on a renewable energy tariff, there’s still a carbon cost associated with your energy usage, so the less you use, the better.
You also have the secondary benefit of saving money on your tariff. By setting your PC to sleep or hibernate, you’ll also slightly improve the lifetime of the components, leading to more savings in the long run.
I recommend setting your screen-off time to three minutes, and your sleep/hibernate time to five if your operating system will allow that.
You may have heard of this, but if you haven’t, Ecosia is essentially a search engine, like Google Search, Yahoo, Bing, etc. Like these other search engines, Ecosia serves you with ads at the top of your search results. What separates Ecosia from the others, however, is that they spend their ad revenue on planting trees. This means that every time you search for something, you’re helping save the environment!
On average, people make 3–4 searches during a normal working day. Ecosia promises to plant a tree every 50 searches, meaning that the average Ecosia user helps plant around 14–18 (based on 45 x 5 working days) trees per year! And all for just switching to a new search engine. That’s a win for the environment, for sure.
You can get started with Ecosia by going to their website. It’ll guide you through the setup process for your browser, and you can create an account to sync your climate warrior stats across devices.
Speaking of cross-device searching, Ecosia also has an app you can use in place of Chrome, Safari or whatever you’re currently using.
Tab for a Cause
Like Ecosia, Tab for a Cause is a way to make a difference from your browser. It’s an extension that changes your browser’s home page. Similarly to Ecosia, Tab for a Cause will serve you ads every time you open a new browser tab, and will award you ‘hearts’, which you can then gift to a charity of your choice. TfaC will then donate their ad revenue to these charities in proportion to the amount of hearts they receive from all users.
One of the charities TfaC allows you to support is Eden Reforestation Projects, a climate charity that works with local communities to reforest on a massive, massive scale. You can also choose to spread your hearts among other charities, so you can support the causes closest to you.
Another cool thing about Tab for a Cause is that it works with Ecosia! You can set Ecosia as your default search provider from TfaC’s settings, meaning you can fight the climate war with twin pistols.
Did you know that if you visit smile.amazon.co.uk (or smile.amazon.com, etc.), Amazon will donate a portion of each purchase to a charity of your choice? Well, now you do, so you should probably start using it.
Amazon started their Smile campaign in 2013 as a social experiment of sorts. They didn’t advertise it in order to see how much people would spread charity by word of mouth. If you ask me, it seems like they did it to look like they’re doing charitable work without having to donate on every purchase.
Either way, if you sign up to Amazon Smile, there’s a veritable wealth of charities you can choose to support with your purchases. I have mine set up to support Cool Earth Action, but there are tonnes of eco-charities on Amazon’s list, so pick your favourite and get buying!
I urge you to start doing at least one of these things, if not all four! Everyone can do their little bits to contribute to the fight for the environment. If you’re interested in the larger-scale action I think we should be taking in the UK, why not check out this short essay?
Also, let me know what you’re doing to combat climate change. I’m always up for a conversation and learning about the amazing things the global community is doing! You can find me on Twitter or just email me.
I hope to speak to you soon.