2021 Climate Goals
We've suggested 21 actions that you can take during 2021 to protect the outdoors.
Take the pledge and get active, connect with others, have your say, reduce your emissions, move your money, and inspire change in your community and beyond.
Download and print the A4 checklist to keep these goals somewhere handy.
Getting active in the climate movement allows us to connect with others, learn more, drive action and grow much needed support for climate solutions.
1. Subscribe to the email list of an inspiring climate or environment group.
Find many groups making a difference on our handy webpage here. Find even more groups on the Climate for Change website here. We highly recommend signing up to the Climate Council email list.
2. Attend a training, talk or meeting to connect and learn.
Check out our events page for upcoming OPC events. Keep an eye on our Linktree for upcoming talks, trainings and meetings. Find virtual climate events on eventbrite here and in person events around Australia here. Key groups that host fantastic talks include Climate Council and Citizens Climate Lobby.
3. Participate in a rally or action to speak up and take action with others.
Keep an eye on our Linktree for upcoming rallies and actions. Subscribe to the email lists of and get involved with groups in your area that host actions and rallies to stay in the loop. Key groups that host actions include: Extinction Rebellion, GetUp!, 350.org, and the Bob Brown Foundation.
4. Volunteer or otherwise take action regularly.
There are many opportunities to take action regularly from home or in your local area. Many groups have specific campaigns or local groups that you can join. Search for groups that are active in your area or state/territory. Find a list of Australia-wide groups on our Groups page. Find even more groups on the Climate for Change website.
5. Learn about the climate crisis and solutions with resources produced by experts.
Find a list of our favourite places to learn about climate change and solutions here. Learning about climate change doesn't have to be difficult. Readable reports, thought-provoking books, websites, articles, videos, documentaries and podcasts make it easy.
Whilst government action is essential, we have the personal power to reduce our emissions dramatically. Australia's carbon emissions are currently 16 tonnes per person, and must fall to two tonnes of CO2 per person by 2050 to avoid severe global warming.
6. Measure your footprint - record the results and track your progress.
There are many footprint calculators available. Check out this ecological footprint calculator here by Global Footprint Network and this easy to use carbon footprint calculator by carbonneutral here.
7. Eat greener - eat more plant-based, buy local and organic, or grow some of your own.
Eating more plant-based is one of the most impactful action we can take to lower our 'food footprint'. The climate impact of plant-based foods is typically 10 to 50 times smaller than that of animal products. See an in-depth explainer by CarbonBrief here. We can further reduce our food impact by eating local (even from our backyards), and supportive organic and regenerative agriculture.
8. Travel lighter. Avoid flights, carpool, use public and active transport or buy an electric vehicle.
Kilometre for kilometre, flying is the most climate damaging way to travel. Its been estimated that on average living car free will save 2.4 tonnes of CO2 a year whilst avoiding one return transatlantic flight will save 1.6 tonnes. Avoiding flights is a relatively easy way to have a huge impact, whilst limiting our driving related emissions also makes a big difference. If you'd like to go 'flight free' for a full year, you can add your name to Flight Free Australia's pledge here.
9. Buy or install green electricity. Enhance this action by saving energy at home.
Option 1: Install solar - find a guide to household solar systems here.
Option 2: Switch to and buy renewable power from an electricity company that's greener overall - check out the Green Electricity Guide here.
Option 3: Buy green electricity from your existing energy supplier. Find out which power companies offer green electricity here.
Option 4: Get involved with a community energy project - search for community energy projects in your state or local area.
10. Reduce waste. Find ways to avoid plastic, tackle food waste or buy less or 2nd hand.
1/3 of all food produced is wasted and surprisingly much of that food waste happens in homes. Find food waste hacks here, plastic free tips here and tricks to avoid buying new things here.
Globally, in 2018 charities with an environmental focus attracted less than 3% of all donations. Since pledging to support the Paris agreement in 2015, Australia's big four banks have together loaned $35.5 billion to the dirty coal, oil and gas industry. Our money can be a powerful force for good.
11. Divest your bank. Swap your bank account to a bank that doesn’t invest in fossil fuels.
Check out our Divestment page here to find all the instructions, resources and links you'll need to find a bank that doesn't invest in fossil fuels and learn how to make the switch.
12. Divest your super. Swap to a superannuation fund that doesn’t invest in coal, oil and gas.
Check out our Divestment page here to find all the instructions, resources and links you'll need to find a super that doesn't invest in fossil fuels and learn how to make the switch.
13. Fund action. Give (regularly if possible) to a climate or environmental group.
Every bit helps! Help fund the fight for climate wins. Money given to the Bob Brown Foundation can help in the effort to end native forest logging in Australia, whilst giving to the Environmental Defenders Office can help their lawyers take fossil fuel companies to court. Check out our groups page here to find many Australian climate and environmental groups and organisations worth donating to. You can donate to OPC here.
14. Fund climate solutions. Pitch in to drawdown carbon, avoid emissions and/or accelerate solutions.
Giving money to the right project can help fight climate change, by employing climate solutions like renewable energy or ecosystem restoration. Many projects also have additional benefits for people, the environment and biodiversity. Trees for the Future, who plant trees whilst helping to provide long-term access to food and income to impoverished farmers in sub-Saharan Africa, are one example.
Australia was ranked worst in climate policy out of all 57 nations included in the Climate Change Performance Index 2020 and doesn't even have a net-zero target (unlike more than 100 other nations). Strong leadership from our governments is essential in tackling the climate crisis. As citizens we must demand action.
15. Write to your federal MP to call for climate action on a federal level.
For everything you need to know, check out the Climate Council's 'How to Write an Effective Letter to Your MP' here.
16. Write to your state MP about climate change and what you’d like to see happen in your state.
As above, use the Climate Council's letter writing guide as a resource, here. Make your 'ask' (request for action) relevant to your state or territory. States are in charge of public transport, delivering clean energy projects, state climate laws and targets, forests and much more! Find your state MP and their contact information on your state/territory parliament website.
17. Write a submission for a public consultation, for example to oppose a fossil fuel development.
Many opportunities come up throughout the year to have your say. Check out this list of current public consultations on the Environmental Defenders Office (EDO) website. A number of major environmental organisations like Wilderness Society and Australian Conservation Society will keep you posted and provide toolkits for important submissions, so be sure to sign up to one of their email lists to stay in the loop. Likewise, be sure to sign up to an email list for a major environmental group in your state/territory (eg. Friends of the earth in Victoria or Nature NSW).
18. Have more conversations with the people in your life about the climate crisis and climate action.
Check out these guides by the Climate Council for some tips and tricks on how to have effective climate conversations. If you'd like to host a Climate Conversation in your home (or virtually) with 8-12 of your friends of family, Climate for Change can send a trained facilitator - find more information here.
19. Employ a climate solution at your workplace or institution.
Why not influence your company, organisation or institution to conserve energy, buy or install green electricity, divest, reduce employee transport, reduce and better manage waste, or buy more sustainable products? Be a role-model to those around you where you work or study and provide feedback to your company, organisation or institution.
20. Switch to a company that’s doing better for the climate. Consider how your internet provider, insurance, or even coffee brand compares to others.
To find a more sustainable company look for objective rankings, relevant certifications, awards, praise or criticisms. Investigate criteria like: use of renewable energy, carbon-neutrality and other climate and emissions targets, materials used, or other environmental commitments. Check if they are they a B Corp or a not-for-profit.
To compare ethics (including environmental) of a wide range of products including food check out the Shop Ethical Guide. See which major Australian companies are leading and lagging with renewable energy on Greenpeace's Reenergize rankings. View Market Force's ranking table to see if your general insurance or health insurance funds fossil fuels.
21. Once you've taken a climate action, help someone else. You could bring a friend or family member to a rally, show them how to divest, or support them in writing to their MP.
Some climate actions can be intimidating, so it's a huge help once you've got the know-how to then support your friends and family to take action too. Invite them along to an event or walk them through a process and answer their questions. From there it will just keep spreading - climate action is contagious!