Take action to tackle the climate crisis
Big or small, everyone has the power to take action in their everyday life and be a positive force for change against the climate crisis. When we all work together, our individual actions can add up to a big impact.
Climate action starts at home
Homes and buildings account for 13% of Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions. This is due to the energy required to heat, cool, and power them. Here are examples of actions you can take to reduce your emissions and your bills.
Heating, cooling and electricity
Heating, cooling and electricity
Check your windows and doors
If your house is leaking air, it’s not efficient (and it’ll cost you). Cover any air leaks with weatherproofing strips, add thick curtains to your windows, and seal drafty doors. This will help you get the most out of your home insulation, reducing your energy bills and your carbon footprint.
Install a smart thermostat
A smart or adaptive thermostat can automatically adjust and maintain the temperature of your home and turn off when you’re away. This ensures that you’re only using as much heat or air conditioning as you need, and you won’t have to make as many manual adjustments.
Call for voluntary home inspections
Initiate an at-home energy inspection, where a worker can inspect your home for areas that could be more efficient, offer ways to make your home more eco-friendly, and suggest government supports you may qualify for.
Replace your home’s oil heating system with a heat pump
Switching from oil heating to an energy-efficient heat pump can help you save thousands of dollars on your heating costs every year and help reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Eligible homeowners may qualify to receive an upfront payment of up to $10,000.
Install energy-efficient windows and doors
If you’re a homeowner, consider investing in energy-efficient windows and doors to keep the heat in—or out, depending on the season. Your neighbours may notice your house’s new look, giving you a chance to talk up the practical and environmental benefits.
Use less water
Pumping, treating, and heating water? It all requires energy, which means greenhouse gas emissions. Reducing your water usage—for example, by taking showers instead of baths and not running the dishwasher until it’s full—not only conserves a precious resource, it can also reduce your water bills.
Install a water-saving shower head
A water-efficient shower head can provide just as satisfying an experience, while using less water (and once again, less water usage equals lower bills).
Switch to a tankless or solar-powered water heater
While it may cost more at the beginning, switching from a gas water heater to a tankless one, or one powered with solar panels, can greatly reduce your carbon footprint and your energy bills. Tell your friends and neighbours how much you’re saving to encourage them to save, too.
Share your awareness with others
Use your voice to help ensure other households discover ways to cut their emissions. Encourage your local government to set up in-person information kiosks in public areas that showcase the benefits of water conservation, the efficiency and simplicity of water-saving products, and how various levels of government can help with introducing them into homes.
Use your appliances less
You can lower your carbon footprint (and your bills) by using your appliances less. For example, a dryer can cost hundreds of dollars a year to run, while hanging your clothes to dry will save energy and money.
Maintain your appliances—don’t just toss them
Manufacturing new appliances creates a significant amount of greenhouse gas emissions. So rather than automatically replacing them when they break, try to repair them when it makes sense to do so. (Repairing rather than replacing can be more cost-efficient.) You can also regularly maintain your appliances to ensure they live a long life.
Organize an appliance recycling day
If you have appliances that still work but are no longer needed, reach out to your local community to sell, exchange, or give them away, so they can have a second life. You can even organize an appliance recycling day (such as after holidays, when people are likely to have old items to donate) or arrange community yard sales.
Support community trading posts
Talk with local representatives and officials about appliance recycling programs and creating pickup/drop-off spaces in your area.
Find energy-efficient appliances
Looking to buy a new, energy-efficient appliance? It’s a great way to do your part for climate action while cutting down on your power and water bills.
Small changes to our consumption habits add up
When shopping and at work in our communities, we can shift to climate-friendly behaviours—from what we buy to how we shop.
Quality over quantity in your wardrobe
The global fashion industry may be responsible for as much as 10% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. Buying fewer outfits, opting for garments that are built to last, and purchasing second-hand will lessen your impact on the planet and encourage you to focus on quality over quantity.
Repair and refashion old clothes
The average Canadian household spends thousands on clothing each year. Save some money—and lower your footprint—by giving your clothes a second chance at life by repairing or even refashioning them.
Recycle old clothes by thrifting and donating
Manufacturing clothes not only contributes to greenhouse gas emissions, it uses many valuable resources, like water (according to one estimate, it takes more than 3,700 litres of water to make one pair of jeans). Used clothes are easier on the planet. Donate your clothes to second-hand clothing shops or charities.
Encourage others to donate and swap clothes
Start a clothing drive encouraging others in your neighbourhood or workplace to donate unused clothes to a charitable organization. Hosting clothing swaps with friends and neighbours is another way to encourage people to reuse clothes. Socializing while refreshing your wardrobe for free makes for a win-win-win situation.
Walk or cycle to the store—or use delivery services
If you leave the car at home, not only will you save on greenhouse gas emissions, you’ll get some exercise and may be less tempted to buy more than you need. And if that’s not feasible for you, there’s evidence that delivery services can be more fuel efficient than travelling by car, as the delivery vehicles can take the optimal route from the store to multiple homes.
Purchase in bulk
When you need a lot of something, cut down on emissions from frequent trips to the store by purchasing essential items in bulk (just be mindful of expiry dates when you buy in large quantities). It also saves money!
Shop in zero-waste, no-container stores
Plastic manufacturing is a major source of greenhouse gas emissions. You can dramatically reduce the plastic packaging and waste you create by shopping when you can in stores that allow you to bring your own reusable containers—and purchase only the amount you need.
Encourage the no-container movement
Engage with your local representatives to encourage local stores to cut down on plastic use for food and allow customers to refill reusable containers with things like dry goods. If they don’t exist yet, encourage local retailers to start a “bring-your-own-container” program.
Choose recycled paper
Sometimes there’s no alternative but to use paper products. Using recycled paper minimizes the negative impacts—it uses less energy and water to produce, and recycling paper saves space in landfills across the country.
Go paperless at home
Switch your bills to online only, take notes on your phone, and place a notice outside your home requesting no junk mail. Use email more, invest in an e-reader, and subscribe to online magazines and newspapers. A more paperless lifestyle means a lower carbon impact—and less recycling to deal with on collection day.
Go paperless at work
Share the benefits of switching to digital by encouraging your workplace to go as paperless as possible. Post reminders near printers, for example, and make meetings paperless. Talk to your IT department about implementing a program that tracks users’ paper usage so people can see their impact to encourage them to print less.
Encourage reducing and recycling
Encourage your local representatives to add recycling bins to public spaces in your area, especially where you notice places they might be needed. This will also cut down on litter, helping to make your community more attractive. You can also reduce paper usage in your community by asking organizations that currently contact people by mail to use email instead.
Food and diet
Put the climate fight on the menu
Producing and transporting food involves a lot of greenhouse gas emissions—10% of Canada’s emissions come from crop and livestock production. Below, learn how shopping and eating decisions can make a difference, from bite-sized to community-wide.
Eat local and in-season produce
Because transporting food long distances requires the burning of fossil fuels, local produce is the climate-friendly choice. Not only will it support local farmers and farmers’ markets, it will reduce your carbon footprint—and tastes great!
Plant a home vegetable garden
Reduce carbon emissions by growing vegetables right in your backyard or balcony. Involve your friends and neighbours—if you’re handy with plants, why not offer to teach a friend who isn’t?
Start a community garden
In addition to cutting down on emissions, a community garden can benefit wildlife, introduce beautiful greenery to your community, and act as a social space.
Support your local food supply
Encourage your local representatives to advocate for more community garden spaces and farmers’ markets. If you’re a farmer, contact urban farmers’ markets to see if they have space for new vendors, so you can reach more people while helping your customers reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.
Food waste and meat
Food waste and meat
Reduce your food waste
Researchers estimate that 20% of food produced in Canada goes to waste each year—that’s about one in five meals going into the garbage. When discarded food ends up in a landfill, it can emit the greenhouse gas methane. To reduce your impact, reduce your food waste.
Plan your meals
Planning meals and snacks not only helps you to reduce food waste by only buying what you will use, it also helps to make healthier choices and saves time grocery shopping.
Eat more plants
Plant-based foods generally use fewer natural resources such as land and water, and their production releases less greenhouse gases than meat and animal products. Incorporating more plant-based foods into your diet (and your household’s) can decrease the environmental impact.
Share tasty plant-based dishes
From holidays to potlucks, there can be lots of opportunities to encourage people in your life to make and share plant-based foods—a delicious challenge! You can also suggest to local restaurants and your workplace cafeteria, if you have one, that they offer meatless specials.
Transportation and travel
Take your climate action on the road
How we get around today could have a big impact on where we are headed in the future. Car and air travel make an especially large contribution to greenhouse gas emissions, so they are obvious areas to tackle.
Walk or take public transit when you can
Opting to get around by foot or transit, versus driving a car, can significantly reduce your greenhouse gas emissions and decrease the amount of pollutants in the atmosphere. Bonus: leaving the car at home can boost your physical fitness.
Get around on a bike
Riding a bike is healthy, fun, and good for the environment. It's also one of the most time-efficient ways to combine regular exercise with your everyday routine, while having one less car on the road. Plus, you’ll save on gas and parking—pedal power is always free.
Work toward a bike-friendly community
Reach out to your local representatives to encourage a more accessible bike-friendly community, which includes bike-share stations around your area, more bike parking, and safer bike lanes. Ask that new housing developments support walking and biking by providing quality infrastructure and a mix of land uses.
The Rural Transit Solutions Fund
The Rural Transit Solutions Fund supports the development of public transit solutions in rural and remote communities, which enables residents to do their day-to-day activities and help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Take the bus and train when possible
Aviation is estimated to be responsible for around 2% of global greenhouse gas emissions, making it an important area for improvement. When time and distance allow, taking a chartered bus or a train generates significantly fewer emissions than a plane. It can also be a more relaxed way to travel.
Help your community walk the walk
Let your representatives know about the importance of creating walkable areas that can lower the carbon footprint, increase foot traffic, and boost the local and tourist economy for local businesses. Visitors tend to flock to walkable communities.
Reduce personal car use when possible
If you're running an errand nearby or looking to head out with friends, try and leave the car at home and opt for public transportation, walking, biking, or sharing a ride with someone. You’ll save on gas and get more exercise too.
Consider purchasing an electric car
Hybrid and electric vehicles offer all the speed and comfort of a fuel-based car, but with less of a footprint. It is estimated that drivers can reduce their personal greenhouse gas emissions by more than 60% over the lifespan of the car (including production, use, and recycling/disposal) by switching, while also saving thousands of dollars a year on fuel costs.
Bring charging stations to your community
Encourage your local representatives to add electric vehicle charging stations in your area. The Government of Canada has a program to help with that:
You know who’s raising the bar in the fight
against the climate crisis?
Charles, who now takes the bus to work twice a week.
Megan, who chose electric tools instead of gas-powered ones.
Jade and Amina, who are financing their new heat pump
with government incentives.
And the Nguyen family,
who dry their laundry with nothing but a little fresh air.
Learn more ways we can raise the bar together at
A message from the Government of Canada.
- Date modified: