The scale of the climate challenge means that we won't solve it through our lifestyle choices. We need institutional change at every level to shape consumer behaviour, so that needs to be where we focus most of our energy.
Having said that, there are things we can do to reduce our carbon footprint and to model behaviour right now. For the average Canadian household, here are the big four:
1) Burn Less Gas In Cars
The average Canadian drives about 20,000 km a year and in a regular car this amounts to about four tonnes of greenhouse gasses. You can avoid these emissions by driving less, using transit or bicycles, or switching to a hybrid or fully electric car. There are government incentives for electric vehicles, and second-hand electrics are also available that cost less.
2) Fly Less
Just one flight Vancouver-Toronto return emits about one tonne of greenhouse gasses per person. We are lucky to live in a beautiful country, making stay-cations desirable, and video conferencing can now substitute for many work trips.
3) East Less Meat
You can shave almost a tonne off your annual emissions by going meat-free, but even cutting back on meat and dairy is helpful and can improve your health. Eating local food also cuts down on emissions spent in transport, and supports local farmers.
4) Move Your Money
Are your savings helping to drive the climate crisis? Odds are, unless you have specified otherwise, your RRSP and other savings are invested in fossil fuels. You can change this by asking your bank or credit union to shift your money into fossil-fuel-free investments. If they don't offer that, shop around to other financial institutions.