While the growing Fridays for Future movement has a central goal of influencing leadership worldwide regarding climate breakdown, there’s no need to wait for leadership to come along, before we start making a big difference.
As global conflict resolution expert John Paul Lederach has noted, most “real work” that happens towards deep human need is accomplished from the bottom up, not the top down.
That’s not to say that leadership and policy is unimportant. It is. But, truly, we the people have incredible power, because we are ultimately the consumers who can, well, choose to consume or not—and do so in particular ways.
While it’s also true that design can constrain how we consume, the bottom line is we can be very, very creative when we want to be, and we rarely need to wait for leaders or companies to totally get on board before we make a difference. And, regarding whether they eventually get on board, well, we have power in that too. It’s one of the upsides of a capitalistic system (which can otherwise get kind of a bad rap): the consumer can significantly drive change.
In a country like the U.S., we are also free to organize any number of creative community efforts to tackle realities like climate breakdown, right where we are.
So, if you are excited by the idea of “Fridays for Future,” but you don’t want to wait for leaders and companies to step up and make a difference (and, think about it… why should they, if we change nothing about how we live and consume?), here are ten great ways you can “go future” on Fridays:
1. Lunchtime Learning
Catch a friend and devote your mutual lunchtime to learning about the Top 80 Game Changers in curbing climate breakdown. Learning is the first step in getting creative.
After a month of Fridays, choose one or two game changers where you can see yourself going even deeper. Then, on subsequent Fridays, research about your chosen game changer.
2. Use Sun Power Instead of Electric Power
If you can swing it for the complete daylight hours on Fridays, use sun power instead of electric power.
If you think this would make no difference, think again. All I did was unplug a bunch of unused appliances in my house (not just on Fridays), and I cut my electric bill almost in half.
That’s incredible. Imagine what we the consumers could accomplish if we switched off lights (and unplugged unused appliances) just even one day a week.
3. Use Muscle Power Instead of Wimpy Power
A lot of us wish we were in better physical health, stronger, or overall more vital. It’s no secret that using our muscles makes a huge difference in everything from learning and brain health to focus and emotional well-being.
On Fridays, use muscle power instead of wimpy power.
(This can go for a range of choices whether in the kitchen (hand mixer versus beater), in the yard (rake versus leaf blower), in workplaces and stores (stairs versus elevator), or in transport (walking or biking versus vehicle).
4. Eat Your Veggies (Or Fruits)
Whether it’s to lose weight, stay cognitively fit, or prevent cancer and heart disease, by now most of us realize that eating our veggies (or fruits) is the better overall choice for our health.
What’s good for our health turns out to be good for climate health, too. A “plant rich” diet is in the top 4 out of 80 game changers!
So, on Fridays, go veg ‘n fruit. If not all day, at least for lunch. Get your friends to go veggie with you and make it a team effort.
5. Choose a Smaller Plate and Be Part of the Club
I admit that I always found the saying “be a member of the clean plate club” sort of irritating. The focus on eating all of one’s food, versus listening to one’s body seemed ill-advised.
But there’s wisdom in it, from a waste standpoint. Reducing food waste is in the top 3 out of 80 game changers for climate breakdown. Now, granted, some of that food waste isn’t happening at the individual level but rather at the farm and the store. But we’ve still got power in this regard. Choosing a smaller plate at home can be a start.
If you’re interested in dreaming up other ideas about reducing food waste, you might like to begin by taking a Food Waste Quiz over your lunch break some Friday. You might also like to look into being a more colorful eater overall (some people call it eating ugly, but I do prefer “colorful.” 🙂 )
6. Plant Trees Without Lifting a Shovel
Do it on Fridays. Or make the complete switch. (I use Ecosia all week long.)
7. Repurpose Instead of Buying New
In my house, we spend a little time each week making old things new. Try your hand at repurposing something on Fridays. (Below, some coffee sleeves made with repurposed jean fabric.) And, as the holidays approach, consider making or buying repurposed items. (I saw the coolest silver jewelry at Melita’s the other day, that was strung together with old fishing line! 🙂 )
8. Get Refrigerant Management Smart + Ask Your Town To
What the heck is refrigerant management? It happens to be the number one climate breakdown game changer. But when I wanted to safely get rid of my own old air conditioners, there was no clear info from my town as to how. I did learn that the Home Depot three towns over would take an old air conditioner, but only in exchange if I was buying a new one from them.
So one of the things on my own personal “Go Future” list is to get my town to make it clearer as to how to deal with our old air conditioners. For refrigerators, it’s a matter of putting them at the curb without their doors on, but I’m not sure what the town does with the fridges from there. Now I want to know. I also want to know more in general about what’s being developed for the next generation of air conditioners, so I’ll be putting that on my lunchtime learning list.
9. Donate to an Organization Dealing With a Game Changer
There are so many things to spend our money on, and often we either fritter it away or stockpile it, depending on our personalities and upbringing.
But one of the joyful things about making money can be to give it away.
Consider making Fridays a giving day. Focus your giving on organizations who are working on one of the top 80 game changers. You can give just a little. $5, $10. What’s that in the scheme of things, to make the world livable for us and those we love?
10. Take an Internet Break (What?)
The Internet is actually one of the biggest emissions producers in the world. Makes sense, if you think about it. While it looks and feels a bit like magic and invisible energy, it’s not. The Internet takes an astounding amount of resources to power.
So, on Fridays, take an Internet lunch break. Or “downsize” your inbox or other Internet presences. Maybe even shut off the Net after supper. Play a game instead. Walk with a friend. Dream of the future, together. Then reach for it with how you actually live.