How to
take action

It is clear that our lifestyle and consumer habits contribute to climate change. The good news is that there are solutions!

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Added together, the little things we do to fight climate change make a real difference. This section suggests ways to help you change certain behaviors to reduce your carbon footprint and adapt to the effects of climate change.

Together, we are part of the solution!

Actions in the "Ways to reduce our climate impact" category

Some of our lifestyle habits directly or indirectly affect greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. By changing these behaviors, we can help fight climate change.

Here are some suggestions on how to reduce your carbon footprint:

Reduce unnecessary energy consumption

Reducing your energy consumption is easy:

  • Turn off the light when you leave a room
  • Install energy efficient light bulbs, e.g., LED
  • Reduce the temperature of your home at night and when you’re away
  • Unplug electrical devices when you don’t need them
  • Install programmable electronic thermostats
  • Look for the ENERGY STAR symbol when buying household appliances
  • On sunny days, close the curtains in the summer and open them in the winter
  • Improve your home insulation before winter (caulk windows, install weatherstripping, etc.)
  • Protect your pool with a thermal cover, install a timer for the filter, and buy a solar water heater

All these measures will help you cut down on the amount of energy you consume. They also provide many other benefits. For example, when you install programmable thermostats, you can reduce your annual heating bill by up to 10%! By caulking your windows, you can eliminate up to 40% of heat losses from your home and decrease the amount of energy it takes to heat your home.

Avoid using wood as your main source of heat

Wood heating is a big source of contaminants in the air. It generates smoke both inside and outside the home and can be harmful to health (in French).

You should opt for less polluting types of energy such as electricity as the main source of heat in your home. If you want a fireplace or wood stove, use them sparingly, particularly on smoggy days. Buy a certified model that complies with the Regulation respecting wood-burning appliances with a particle emission rate around 1 g/h (indicated on the technical data sheet).

Replace your old heating system

Some homes are equipped with heating systems and hot water heaters powered by fuel oil or other fossil fuels. By replacing them with equipment that runs on renewable energy such as electricity, you can improve the energy efficiency of your home, reduce your GHG emissions, and save money too.

Reduce, reuse, recycle—and compost

By decreasing your consumption at the source, recycling, and reusing existing products, you reduce the amount of raw materials that must be extracted and processed to manufacture new ones. That way, you help reduce the GHG emissions associated with using new products.

Composting also generates fewer GHG emissions than the decomposition of organic matter in landfill sites, which produces large quantities of methane, a very powerful GHG.

Sorting your garbage allows you and your family to become more aware of wasteful consumer habits. And remember, less waste means more money in your pocket.

Opt for durable over disposable

By choosing durable rather than disposable products such as paper towels, wipes, disposable razors, plastic dishware and utensils, you go a long way to reducing the amount of garbage buried in landfill sites. That way you help reduce GHGs generated by their manufacture and their disposal.

Consume local products

Eating locally helps you and the environment stay healthy. It’s easy. Simply look for logos and certifications identifying products from Québec (Québec Vrai, Aliments du Québec), shop at a farmer’s market, or sign up for a local food basket.

By buying locally and in season, you reduce your carbon footprint, encourage local businesses, and get to enjoy an array of fresh, local products.

If you’re thinking of renovating or building, consider using local products such as Québec lumber, which has a low carbon footprint.

Québec lumber is not only beautiful, it is also a renewable product that generates fewer GHG emissions than many other materials commonly used in the construction industry.

Use public transit, walk, or bike

Leaving your car at home is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint. Opt for public transit and active transportation such as walking or biking for personal and work-related travel.

Taking public transit such as buses is often quicker than going by car, especially during rush hour.

For short distances, biking is faster than walking, taking public transit, or even driving. Bikes are cheap to buy and to use, easy to park, and also keep you in shape!

Your children can also walk or bike to school. For more information, check out Vélo Québec’s On the Move in the Community program.

Observe the speed limit

Observe the speed limit on highways and use your cruise control.

Driving over 90 km/h considerably increases fuel consumption. By maintaining a constant, moderate speed, you reduce your GHG emissions and save a significant amount on fuel.

For more information on ecodriving techniques, go to www.ecomobile.gouv.qc.ca.

Avoid idling your engine

The longer you keep your engine idling, the more GHGs it emits and the more fuel it consumes, so it’s actually better to turn off your engine. That way you save money and protect the environment.

By idling your engine 30 minutes a day for two months in the winter you consume a full tank of gas without moving a kilometer. Think about it.

There are many ways to reduce your fuel consumption and GHG emissions. For more information on the effects of idling your engine, go to www.ecomobile.gouv.qc.ca.

If you need to buy a car, think green.

By buying a green vehicle such as an electric or plug-in hybrid car, you’ll cut down on fuel consumption and GHG emissions for years to come! Read more:

Regularly service your vehicle

Regular maintenance improves your vehicle’s energy performance. A well-tuned engine uses less fuel. And by checking your tire pressure regularly, you extend the life of your tires and reduce fuel consumption.

Opt for greener travel

Car pooling and car sharing are other attractive options. Try them out!

When you leave your car at home, you significantly cut down on your GHG emissions. The less you use your car, the fewer contaminants you release into the air. It’s a healthy lifestyle habit, for both you and your family.

Plan your trips around town to avoid useless trips that waste time and money.

When vacationing, travel by train or bus whenever possible and take the opportunity to explore Québec!

Travelling by train or bus consumes much less fuel than planes or solo car trips. What’s more, Québec is full of fascinating tourist destinations that many Quebecers have never visited.

 

Actions in the "Ideas on how to adapt" category

Climate change affects the environment, infrastructure, buildings, and even your quality of life. So we all need to get a better understanding of this phenomenon so we can adapt to it.

Here are a few suggestions on how to become more resilient to climate change:

Protect yourself from oppressive heat

Don’t go out during the hottest part of the day. If it is very hot out, avoid activities that are physically demanding. Cool yourself down by going swimming or taking a cool bath or shower. Stay in wooded or air conditioned areas. Drink lots of water and wear light colored clothing.

With rising temperatures and the likelihood of more frequent heat waves due to climate change, we must adapt our behavior and activities to minimize the effects of heat on our health.

For more information, see the Adaptation aux effets de la chaleur (in French) section of the monclimatmasante.qc.ca (in French) website.

Consider the risk of flooding and erosion when buying a property

Before choosing a location for your house or cottage, evaluate the risk of shoreline erosion, coastal erosion, flooding, and landslides, which may worsen due to climate change. By doing so, you’ll save yourself considerable trouble and expense!

Climate change will cause more frequent, more intense extreme weather events (summer and winter storms, violent winds, heavy rains, etc.), which could cause various natural disasters such as floods, erosion, and landslides. In light of these threats, we must adapt our practices, especially in terms of land use planning and risk management.

Guard against insect and tick bites

When you’re out hiking, protect yourself and your children from insect and tick bites by wearing light-colored long pants and long-sleeved shirts and using conventional or, preferably, natural insect repellents.

The new climatic conditions may encourage the spread of illnesses such as Lyme disease or the West Nile virus, which are transmitted to humans by ticks and mosquitoes.

For more information, see the Mesures d’adaptation aux maladies à transmission vectorielle et zoonoses (in French) section on the monclimatmasante.qc.ca (in French) website.

Be prepared for floods

Whether or not you live near water, it’s important to be prepared for floods. Make sure your home has a check valve that will prevent sewer and stormwater backups into your basement. To minimize losses in case of a flood, caulk around basement and ground floor windows and doors, install water-resistant siding on the basement, move electrical outlets higher, and store your valuables and important documents upstairs or on shelves. Use materials that allow water to infiltrate directly into the ground in your parking area and around your home to prevent water from running toward the house.

Climate change is likely to increase the frequency and intensity of heavy rains, which, as we’ve seen in recent years, can cause floods. You may be affected even if you don’t live near a river. Heavy rain can cause sewer and stormwater system backups that can damage your basement.

For more information, see the Flooding section of the urgencequebec.gouv.qc.ca website.

Prepare yourself for extreme weather events

Prepare your family safety plan and emergency kit today to ensure you’re ready for an extreme weather event in the future.

Climate change will probably increase the intensity and frequency of extreme weather events (summer and winter storms, violent winds, heavy rains, freezing rain, etc.). So you should expect temporary disruptions in essential services such as power and drinking water. It’s better to be prepared in order to ensure your own safety and that of your loved ones.

For more information, see the Responsibilities of citizens section of the urgencequebec.gouv.qc.ca website.

Create cool zones on your property

Combat the effects of heat by creating shady areas on your property. Plant trees and shrubs, especially near windows, to cool both the inside and outside of your home. Use reflective or light-colored materials on your roof to dissipate heat. Dark roofs tend to absorb heat.

Rising temperatures and the greater likelihood of more frequent heat waves due to climate change make it important to adapt your living environment to minimize the effects of heat on your health.

If you live in the city, seek out water and parks on hot days.

Eliminate areas of standing water around your home

Eliminating areas of standing water around your home (outdoor toys, pool covers, etc.) helps control mosquitoes that can transmit disease.

The new climatic conditions may encourage the spread of illnesses such as Lyme disease or the West Nile virus, which are transmitted to humans by ticks and mosquitoes.

For more information, see the Mesures d’adaptation aux maladies à transmission vectorielle et zoonoses (in French) section of the monclimatmasante.qc.ca (in French) website.