The arrival of 2021 must have been the most anticipated NYE event in human history. Yet deep down, we always knew it wouldn’t be a fresh start. COVID is raging out of control and so are the bushfires – although this year they are concentrated in WA thanks to La Nina drenching the eastern states. And who would have thought we’d still be watching the political car crash in the US two months after the elections?
Still, January is a month to take stock. And with the climate emergency still being the number-one concern for Australians, it’s time to see where we’re at and how to continue doing our bit for the environment.
Green goodbye to the old
Nothing says “January” more than a good clear-out. Be ruthless in your letting go but don’t toss it all into landfill. Here’s how to get rid of 2020 in an environmentally friendly way.
Now’s also the time to get your mojo back. 2020 was an exhausting year. Here’s what theory and research tell us about how to feel more rested and alive in 2021. Spoiler alert: it includes nature.
Keep up the good work
Ocean pollution is one of our biggest annoyances here at The Vocal Minority. If anything, in 2021 we wish to see the end of dying sea animals wrapped in plastic and dead birds’ stomachs full of trash. That may be a pipe dream but with growing awareness, a solution will be ever closer. This year we’ll continue to say NO to single-use plastics and keep educating ourselves on how we can do better.
States and territories are legislating a ban on single-use plastics such as plastic straws, plates, cutlery and stirrers. Queensland’s ban has been delayed until September but many cafes are already transitioning to environmentally friendly products. The state government is seeking community feedback on whether the ban should be extended to include polystyrene, so if you’re in Queensland, start writing to your local MP. For other states you can find more information here.
Looking after your patch
Like the polar bear became a symbol for climate change, koalas have become the face of Australia’s failure to protect its native plants and animals. We are now seeing reports that some dolphin species are in trouble. While dolphins can survive in fresh water for a short period, if the salinity of its habitat is affected – for example by extreme rainfall – it cannot cope.
Another Aussie icon, the platypus, is disappearing from locations in south east Queensland. Removal of native trees, damming and pumping of water out of the systems and ongoing droughts have probably all contributed.
So what can we do? The Wilderness Society lists a range of practical things you can do in 2021 here. Or consider joining Landcare to help look after your local bushland, waterways or coastline. Oh, and keep the cat inside.
It has just been reported by the Bureau of Meteorology that last year was the fourth hottest year on record. This is despite La Nina keeping temperatures down. Major investors – including our 2.5 trillion-dollar super industry – are actively planning for the financial impact of climate change. The question “Where is my money invested?” should be on everyone’s list this year. Contact your superfund, your bank or financial planner and ask what their ethical investment strategy is. Are they actively backing investments in renewables?
Nothing will happen unless we keep speaking up and take action. Take a deep breath, embrace 2021 and get ready to make a change.