How to use your retirement to fight climate change
19 September 2019
The consensus among the scientific community is that global warming, climate change and environmental destruction are occurring - and humanity is to blame. According to NASA, Arctic Sea ice coverage has shrunk every decade since 1979 by 3.5 to 4.1%, sea levels will rise one to four feet by 2100 and droughts will increase in frequency.
For people with young families or who are simply devastated by the changes we can see happening to our planet, retirement could be the perfect opportunity for you to lend a helping hand to prevent catastrophic change. Pensioners are a strong tool in any cause because of all the experience they bring to the table alongside the extra time available to dedicate to the cause.
Here are some ideas of how to use your retirement to fight against climate change:
1. Align your spending plan with environmentally friendly options
Retirement for many of us comes with a strict budget attached. This can be a fantastic opportunity to align your spending habits to options that are more economical for you whilst also helping to protect the environment. For example, investing in solar panels, extra insulation or other energy-efficient apparatus for your home can help reduce your emissions whilst also saving you on bills.
Another great way to reduce your carbon footprint is to carefully consider your transport options. Assess whether it is financially prudent to keep a car. Public transport, walking or cycling can be just as easy, cheaper and significantly reduce the amount of carbon you produce.
2. Put your gardening skills to good use
Gardening is a great way to keep fit and healthy whilst also exercising your creative skills - all within the comfort of your own home. Gardening can also provide many benefits to your local ecology.
Consider ‘rewilding’ parts of your garden and cultivating native trees and plants that are attractive to birds and insects. Native plants also require significantly less water than traditional lawns, which helps to reduce your water and energy usage.
The garden can also help you to eat more sustainably - both for your health and the planets. Red meat production generates far more greenhouses gases than any other food source, including chicken meat, fruit, vegetables and cereals. It also requires substantially more water. Consider growing more of your own food and going meat-free at least one day a week to significantly reduce the amount of energy used in your food production - and you get some tasty home grown veg to enjoy!
3. Get involved at a governmental level
There is no denying that climate change needs to be tackled on a larger scale than just our individual habits. Making your community aware of the issues at stake can allow change to be achieved at a wider level.
If you're uncertain of how to get involved, consider researching some local environmental groups or charities and see how you can lend your skills. Start as small as you feel comfortable - even writing letters can be a significant tool in working towards policy change.
4. Contribute your time to ecological activities
Many environmental efforts require a significant amount of people power to get the job done. This could be helping to clear rubbish, planting trees or building better paths in areas of natural beauty. Volunteering your time and skills to these efforts is greatly appreciated and actively improves your local area.
It can also be a great way to meet people while being active and spending time outdoors. Such activities can usually be found online or information is available at community services such as libraries or your local council.
5. Make your money do some work
Investing is an essential part of managing your money in retirement, and you want to make the most from your savings and live a comfortable life after working.
Responsible investing offers the opportunity to invest only in vetted sustainable companies that also offer good long term returns. For example, Local Government Super employs both negative and positive screening to give investors a diverse range of responsible assets. This means that your money is working for you whilst also helping to support exciting sustainable innovations.
To learn more about ethical investment and how it could be used in your financial plan, get in touch with a Local Government Super financial planner today.
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