These 5 Small Changes Can Start An Environmental Revolution

Our friends at the Australian Youth Climate Coalition have contributed this blog for Divestment Day. This article is proudly supported by Bank Australia.

When you walk into your first yoga studio and the instructor tells you that each small step will eventually turn you into a yogi, it's hard to believe them - especially if they're in a headstand at the time. But we all know that real change starts small, and social movements are no different.

Almost every progressive social movement of the past 50 years has been driven by everyday individuals. Real people making small changes that ripple out to a social revolution.

As a millennial, one of the greatest challenges facing my generation is climate change. We've already heard that everyday changes that can make a difference, but how do we create a revolution to tackle something as global as a changing climate?

Here are 5 small changes - based on great social movements of the past - that you can do today to start an environmental revolution.

1. Clean your cash

Did you know that since the December Paris climate change agreement, Australia's four big banks have poured $5.6 billion into the fossil fuel sector? And do you know where they get some of that money from? Yep - our savings.

If money is power, then where the big banks are investing our money is not only powerful, it's destroying our climate. Divestment - or taking money out of unethical investments - has been an influential tactic in social movements of the past. It was critical in pressuring the South African Apartheid government, and it's starting to gain momentum in Australia regarding environmental concerns.

While large organisations such as universities can make a big splash when they divest from fossil fuels, your individual divestment can send just as loud a message to your bank. Not only will you be telling your bank that they're on the wrong side of this revolution, but pulling your money out of investments in fossil fuels can decrease the funding that's available to those companies.

You can head to to see which banks are on the right side.

Want to go even further? Divestment can extend to many aspects of the money market, including superannuation, ethical stock portfolios, and home loans. There are lots of ways you can keep that cash clean!

2. Make it cool:

For me, this is the most fun of the small changes I made. Like the most recent wave of the feminist movement, there are celebrities making this social revolution very trendy.

(Anyone else have dreams of Beyonce's next tour: Formation of a zero carbon economy? Catchy… right? Right?)

This one you can buy or DIY, but the key thing is to make your message visible. There's this shirt that I wear to the gym or I'm seriously thinking of ordering this one. You can make your own shopping bags instead of using those plastic ones, or shop for some very trendy ones like in this blog.

3. Sharing is caring:

This wouldn't be an article written by a millennial unless I talked about social media. While some of those who refer to it as "the Facebook" may lament the rise of "slacktivism", social media can be a huge driver of public opinion and a great tool for our environmental revolution.

Social movements have been using viral campaigns to great effect, raising funds (such as the Icebucket Challenge) and organising rallies and events (such as Black Lives Matter).

Climate change can seem huge and scary, but the more we talk about it the harder it is for governments and businesses to ignore. Obviously we'd love you to follow our social media on AYCC's Facebook, and to use your social voice!

4. Boycott for change:

Boycotts are one of the most effective ways for a consumer-driven economy to show that a company isn't fly with us. It's a tool that's been used lots over the years, and to incredible effect. Gandhi - through the Swadeshi movement - used the boycott of British products to help achieve Indian independence.

In the environment movement, this tactic has been incredibly successful in encouraging companies to stop using palm oil, which contributes to deforestation. (If you haven't seen this amazing video about palm oil in products, please watch!)

The easiest way to boycott the fossil fuel companies that are speeding dangerous global warming is to go solar. But since a lot of us rent, a great way to take part in this boycott movement is to buy electricity from green energy companies: a quick Google search will help you out here for your area.

5. Bring a friend:

When we combine our actions we become our own megaphones. These 5 changes can help spark an environmental revolution because they highlight the broader injustices and bring others along on the journey. And that's one thing that is certain about climate change - it will affect everyone.

Talk to your parents and friends. Seriously. Call them and don't let them shrug their shoulders and mumble about the ice age. Send them to this website and tell them to actually read the articles. I used to be scared of spiders, but just because I closed my eyes whenever I saw one didn't mean it wasn't there. Climate change is the spider in this metaphor. Let's squish it together.

And come join us! At the AYCC, we're building a movement of young people to tackle the climate crisis. You can check out our current campaigns, volunteer or donate on or follow us at @AYCC.

Banner image: Shutterstock

Read this next: How To Become A Recycling Expert

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