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.  

At home

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.

Keeping the heat in 

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.

Get more info about smart thermostats

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.

 

EnerGuide energy efficiency home evaluations information

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.

Oil to Heat Pump Affordability Program

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.

Learn more about investing in efficient windows, doors, and skylights

Water conservation

Water conservation

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.

Use your dishwasher more efficiently for big savings

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).

Make small changes that add up

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.

Guide to residential water heaters

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.

Electrical appliances

Electrical appliances

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.

Energy efficiency guide for parents

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. 

Learn more about residential appliances and energy use

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.

See an inventory of recycling programs in Canada

Support community trading posts

Talk with local representatives and officials about appliance recycling programs and creating pickup/drop-off spaces in your area.

Learn how to dispose of toxic electronics properly

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.

Find an energy-efficient product that’s right for your home

Consumption habits

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. 

Clothing

Clothing

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.

How your clothing choices can cut down on microplastics

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.

Shopping

Shopping

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.

Going paperless

Going paperless

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.

Is that paper really recycled? Learn what forest certification logos mean

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.

Produce

Produce

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! 

Shopping for Canadian food

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?

Gardening tips for beginners

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.

Understanding food best-before dates

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.

Meal planning in four steps

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.

Plant-based protein

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.

Cooking with plant-based protein foods

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.

Short-distance travel

Short-distance travel

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.

Learn how the Government of Canada is supporting public transit and active transportation across the country

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.

Build active transportation into your life

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.

First-ever federal fund for cycling paths and trails

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. 

See how it’s benefiting communities across Canada

Long-distance travel

Long-distance travel

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.

Personal vehicles

Personal vehicles

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.

See how the Government of Canada is funding our public transit future

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.

Learn about choosing a zero-emission vehicle

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:

Learn about the Zero Emission Vehicle Infrastructure Program

Raising the bar in the fight against the climate crisis

Learn more about the urgency of the climate crisis and why we must act now.

Transcript

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
canada.ca/climate-crisis.
A message from the Government of Canada.

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