Just thought I'd quickly mention the One Million Women website/project. It's a project that aims to get one million Australian women to each save one tonne (1,000kgs) of carbon emissions through changes to their lifestyle over the next year. Obviously, the aim is to cut Australia's total carbon emissions by one million tonnes this year and this group decided to take matters into their own hands.
So far nearly 5,000 women have signed up and it probably won't reach one million, but it's still an inspiring idea that I encourage all women to get involved in. (I do think it's crap that it's just targeted at women, but so be it.) I've been signed up for about a week and have already saved 7 kilos of carbon emissions, although that's just the tip of the iceberg as more changes are coming. I was unsure about signing up because not a lot of info is provided upfront about what lifestyle changes you would actually have to make. I already lead a pretty green-conscious life and am a renter so can't change my home much, but I was definitely able to make enough changes to save a tonne and then some.
Of course it's disheartening to think that all it takes is one business person or politician flying Melbourne to Sydney or Canberra regularly to wipe out all my savings, but it's also important to look at an action like this as a political statement. The more people who sign up to something like this or who make lifestyle choices like installing solar power or buying wind power, the less governments can argue that people aren't willing to make sacrifices to help the environment and the more likely they are to take the big picture action that is really needed.
Just a couple of the ways you can save, and how much carbon this would save annually:
Washing clothes on cold cycle and sun/air-drying - 400kg
Installing water-saving shower heads and having 4 minute showers - 875kg
Switching off appliances on standby at the powerpoint - 150kg
Walk or cycle 5km more a week instead of driving solo - 52kg
Sorry if this is a little earnest for some, posts on all the things we've been building in our back yard to follow soon!