Move to a less energy-intensive lifestyle

Move to a less energy-intensive lifestyle
Jacqui van Heerden

The answer to create the change we need is not in technocratic solutions to sustain our current lifestyles; it is in changing our human behaviour.

If you have reached a point of knowing that relying only on government and big business to lead the way is abdicating your self-responsibility, here are some actions and steps to consider to reduce your energy usage.

Take it slow and undertake small steps; fundamental and holding change takes time.   

An important concept to understand in energy dynamics is embodied energy. Embodied energy is the sum of all the energy required to produce any goods or services and get it to your doorstep. For more detailed information on energy, click here.


Reconsider buying new things and services

Every dollar you spend has an impact on the planet. Why am I purchasing this? Where does this come from, how is it made, where will it end up?

We have to overcome many years of conditioning, with massive advertising campaigns that have screamed at us from our lounge rooms, big billboards, at footy games that we are not enough and need things, and that there isn’t enough, creating fear and scarcity. You are enough and there is enough and what you do matters.

You drive demand for goods and services.    

To navigate the green washing and what is best you may need help. The Ethical Consumer Group is a community based, not-for-profit organisation and network, set up to help facilitate more sustainable purchasing practices for the everyday consumer. Visit their website:

Alternatives to buying include recycle boutiques, clothes swaps, opp shops and repair cafes.

Kensington Repair Hub is on at McCracken Street Church, 1pm to 4pm, on Sunday, August 21, September 18, October 16, November 20 and December 18.

Learn more at and


Grow your own food

Growing your own food cuts greenhouse gas emissions by 25 per cent.    

By growing your own food, you are helping to reduce the high amounts of burning fossil fuels that fill our environment as a direct result of conventional farming and importing foods from commercial farmers. You also are reducing waste from food packaging materials such as man-made plastics and cardboard, that travels hundreds and thousands of miles and is full of embodied energy.

Conventional farming utilises an extreme amount of pesticides and synthetic fertilisers, heavily reliant on fossil fuel.

Grow your own food in your backyard, on nature strips, your balcony/roof and/or join a community garden.


Buy locally-grown food

If you don’t have space to grow your own food, support local produce markets and urban farms. It is estimated that an average distance of 1500 miles is travelled before the food is consumed. Large-scale, long-distance transportation of food relies heavily on the energy from burning fossil fuels.

Local chemical-free grown produce (not for profit) is for sale on Sunday, August 21 at McCracken Street Church alongside The Repair Hub 1pm to 4pm.


Reduce your meat intake

The livestock industry is one of the most significant contributors to global warming, loss of fresh water, rainforest destruction, air and water pollution, and loss of habitat.

One of the most effective things you can do to reduce your energy footprint is to reduce your meat and dairy consumption.

Learn more at


Use your car less
Go plastic free

The production of plastics such as polyethylene and polypropylene which make up the bulk of plastic production, is heavily reliant on fossil fuel usage in all its production steps from; extraction and refining, production of naphtha; production of olefins; polymerisation and finally; extrusion, injection moulding, product manufacturing.

There is enough research; data and evidence to show us why we need to just stop using plastic.


Go organic

Organic farmers severely restrict the use of synthetic chemicals, pesticides and fertilisers used in growing food, and the use of drugs commonly used in intensive livestock farming.

Choose certified organic or biodynamic. For more information:

Choose fruits and veggies that are low in pesticide use when organic isn’t available visit


Use less energy at home

Reduce heating and air conditioning use. Use passive heating using sun rather than gas and electricity – use an efficient fireplace that can use cuttings from your tree prunings.   Curtains and strategically planted trees can keep a house cooler in summer and warmer in winter.


Rethink energy appliances.

Consider a rocket stove. Most of our household energy requirements and bills are for heating our homes, cooking or heating water. Rocket stoves are an example of appropriate technology which can cover all of those needs, cost you next to nothing to build, and just a few sticks to run.

For more information:

This is not new information.

If you choose to take responsibility for your lifestyle and impact on this planet, you are not alone, join the many movements and groups that are creating fundamental change at the grass roots.

In the future when your grandchildren may ask what you did during this time of climate crises? What will be your reply?

Knowing is not doing. •

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